( PC Singleplayer Impressions.)
Halo Wars 2 feels like a mix of different games and feels like a product of two different eras: Old and new.
On one side of Halo Wars 2, you will find the real-time strategy games that were big on the PC way back in the mid 2000’s and somehow made it’s way to the other platforms like the Xbox 360. RTS games paved the way for games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, and many other games and on the other side, it feels and is the traditional RTS games that make you build armies and forts like Total War. When the original Halo Wars released in 2009, the Halo franchise was confined to the FPS genre and still is and so time has passed since it’s debut and alot of things have changed: RTS games have somehow faded from public eye and now in 2017, Halo Wars 2 has emerged and it feels like a game that is somehow in it’s own way a product of the past and anarchistic.
The sequel evolves what the original built on and refining what it means to play a RTS game with a controller. It redefines certain things and builds upon those things because now Halo Wars 2 feels like a RTS that was meant for PC, it feels great on mouse and keyboard and also controller, personally it feels the best on controller. Halo Wars 2 is a really good game, that is worth playing if you’re into RTS games.
Here’s the rundown: Halo Wars 2 begins as the UNSC ship, the Spirit of Fire is awakened from extended cryosleep in deep space after a decade has passed from the original game and what the crew finds is more conflict, this time in the form of the Banished and Atroix, who is determined to finish off anything and anyone that stands in his way. It is unclear where the game stands in the Halo lore, and what time frame does the game begin.
Atroix who is obviously the main villain is given a sense of terror, menace, and personality that I haven’t seen in a Halo villain yet. Halo Wars 2 takes place on the other side of the conflict between humanity and the covenant, and the stakes are removed from the determinations and responsibility of the Master Chief and this results in a game that plays more like war then a sci-fi movie and the story works as if it was like a mainline Halo game, it’s very interesting.
The only problem that I have with Halo Wars 2 is that so far, it doesn’t quite stick but let’s see where it goes. Halo Wars 2’s story is more coherent then Halo 5’s for example and it gave me patience to learn how an RTS Halo would play like and there’s a big learning curve if you never played the original Halo Wars.
Halo Wars 2 looks and feels like a traditional RTS game which is great, it’s a mix of what came before and what was seen in the early to mid 2000’s: You have one or more bases with different abilities that churn out different units and upgrades to your army, which you use to take objectives and do missions with that includes destroying a covenant base.
Halo Wars 2 squeezes a full suite of RTS controls that input and output on a controller but on mouse and keyboard, you have full master control of the ship and you have the full colors of the spectrum but ironically, the controller feels faster to do tasks in-game then it is with the mouse and keyboard but on PC, the game itself feels more faster and easier then what it might feel like on an Xbox One. Halo Wars 2 on PC feels like a traditional RTS that might be a PC exclusive if it wasn’t on Xbox with a heavy focus on action and is a little bit streamlined but I like it.
For now, Halo Wars 2 is a really good game and it warrants at least a playthrough, it is an accessible RTS that anyone can pick up and it serves as a big reminder that Halo can work outside of the FPS genre and can work without the Master Chief and what revolves around him. Stay tuned for my review.