This Week: Halo Wars
This is the game that resulted in me falling behind on Halo games for over a decade. It was so different from the rest of the Halo series, yet it still tied in and needed to be played.
As a kid, I got into a few Real Time Strategy games. Warcraft II(one of the only times I was willing to break the “I have to play the first game first” rules) and StarCraft. I did try an go back to play WarCraft 1, but in my stupid little brain, I assumed the graphics quality would be the same, just the story would be what happened before.
So yeah, I bailed on that, but I really enjoyed the Crafts. As long as I used Cheat Codes. And only played against my family. Whenever I played online, I got my butt handed to me.
But yeah, I apparently didn’t have a a strong affinity to try or succeed, I just wanted to see the end of the story. And also have the biggest army possible TO WIPE OUT MY ENEMIES APOCALYPSE STYLE!
So when I started playing Halo Wars, I tried playing it normal for the first few levels, then I lost on one level where you have to save the citizens, and I stopped playing. I tried to find some cheat codes, but they don’t exist. Or at least aren’t built in like the Craft games.
So I put down the controller and walked away, never to play Halo again. . .
Yeah, I just kept buying Halo games figuring at some point I would finish Halo Wars and be allowed to continue the series. I bought Halo 3: ODST, bought the collector’s edition Halo: Reach, bought the Master Chief Collection, and even the Collector’s Edition Halo 5.
It was suggested that I should have just done a lets play. I considered it, but I’m an old school gamer. I can’t watch a let’s play without wanting to play myself. If I’m not interested in a game enough to play it, then I’m not interested in it enough to watch a let’s play.
But then the Coronavirus attacked and the lock down occurred. And it didn’t effect me one bit because I was a double essential employee. But I decided to take up arms once more. I played through Halo 1-3 and I had to decide where to go next. By release it was Halo Wars. But Halo ODST was built right in (or so I FREAKING THOUGHT!)
As I mentioned before, I had my stimulus check and my tax refund, so I felt rich. I could buy the digital copy on the Microsoft Store for $20. Or I could buy the Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition for $40 and get the Definitive Edition for free. (or I could just throw in the Xbox 360 disc and not spend any additional money)
I figured I would need Halo Wars 2 in the future anyways, so I decided to get the 2 for 1 and ordered the Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition. Well I waited for the delivery, I played ODST. Once I was done, I loaded up Halo Wars Definitive Edition and started all over again.
I beat the first few levels on normal speed but again was a failure in saving the citizen.
When I got to this point I realized the setting was on Normal. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, so I dropped it to easy mode and unleashed hell.
Yeah, it become a lot easier to save the citizens when they stopped dying all the time. So with the kid mode turned on it was much easier to just cruise through the rest of the game.
Like other RTS games, I enjoyed building up my bases, my forces, and once I had a good head of steam going, I would start swarming my enemies with a veritable legion. Or else I would if it weren’t for the fairly restrictive forces option. You generally could only max out at about 40 troops.
You couldn’t make more Spartans, mainly due to the lack of time to steal children and raise them to adulthood.
The Spartans were considered Hero characters, and as a result, they didn’t “die.” If they went down, you just sent troops over and they healed back up.
One thing I am happy about, that some other people may not be happy about, is the fact that you ONLY play as the UNSC. You don’t have three freaking campaigns where you also play as the Covenant and the Flood. I’ll concede, I just wanted to finish the game and move on, so if it moved from 15 missions to 45, I probably would have quit again.
If they were trying to properly compete with games like StarCraft, then yes alternate campaigns would probably be a good move. However, the narrative doesn’t really support that. The Covenant and the Flood are both, without question, the bad guys. The Protoss are not bad guys(haven’t played past StarCraft BroodWar, don’t @ me with SC2 spoilers) and the Zerg are. . . misunderstood?
I mean ultimately all three parties suck, but in Halo, you are firmly on the human’s side, because so far, everyone who is playing it is human.
Also, the gameplay style was significantly different from all the other games in the series, so if you had people, like me, who were ONLY playing it for more of that sweet sweet Halo story, you didn’t want to bog them down for too long of a campaign.
The story is a good one, despite lacking Master Chief. One of the things that bugged me about it going in was that it takes place a few decades before the events of Halo: CE, so it shouldn’t include the Flood. But lo and behold, the Flood shows up about halfway through. Just like in Halo 1-3. So my thought was, why was anybody surprised in Halo: CE?
So apparently this crew is just dropped out of the equation. They encounter all this stuff and before they can drop a line back to UNSC that a new threat to the galaxy exists, they are warped to a completely ass end of the galaxy and have to use their warp drive to blow up the Forerunner Technology the Covenant is trying to use to
So they are stranded at the ass end of the galaxy and it will take them decades to get back to home. Fortunately they have Cryosleep to keep their soldiers the same age.
So yeah, story holds up, the characters are interesting and the sequel that we thought would never happen actually looks good.
Now on to the gameplay. I beat the whole game, but still felt that the controls were weird. I’m sorry, most of the time I am purely on the side of the controller, but when it comes to RTS, I have to side with Keyboard and Mouse crowd.
Also, comparing with games like StarCraft, Halo Wars seems very stripped down and limited. You can never really get more than a small army, at least in the campaign. You can only place buildings in a specific base area, you only have a limited number of buildings, you can’t get beyond a certain preset number of troops. Just a whole lot of needless limitations, mainly just to play on a controller and not throw the FPS out the window by having 16,000 troops to keep track of.
So I would say this is only for Halo fans who are willing to put up with a fairly stripped down RTS. But overall I enjoyed it.
Next Week: Halo: Depression Quest