IGN: Halo Wars Review

Halo Wars deftly dodges between the hardcore micromanagement of real-time strategy and the instant gratification expected by Halo fans. Ensemble has nailed console RTS controls, but at the expense of some depth. The campaign missions often seem overly scripted and the experience doesn't have the wide-open feel of some other RTSs. But the Halo feel is most definitely present, and serves as one of the game's biggest strengths. The cinematic cutscenes are gorgeous, if the narrative is somewhat thin in places. Overall, Halo Wars is a fresh and expertly polished approach to the console strategy genre, and it's a fitting goodbye from a beloved studio.

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tatotiburon3581d ago

Nice score, can't wait for this


Yep, good score.

Looks like a pretty solid 8 across the boards, not bad for a console RTS.

Monchichi0253581d ago

The demo totally convinced me to buy this game. Being a Halo fan but absolutely HATING RTS games I was not looking forward to this game. Now it's a day one purchase.

I'm guessing it was simplified and made straightforward for people like me. and since there are a lot more casual gamers like me then hardcore RTS fans, I'm guessing it was a great business move by Ensemble.

Happy Gaming!!

3581d ago
Anon19743581d ago

LOTH BFME II also received good scores, but in playing it I just found I didn't like RTS on the console. Maybe one day, if my 360 lives long enough I'll pick up a used copy of this and give it a shot, but there's still too many other great games out at the moment that I actually want to play. Games I'm on the fence about can wait.

Harry Pothead3581d ago

I thought 8 was bad? Oh wait you guys grew up, its about damn time! Now i can have fun in the open zone, without hurting someones feelings and lose my bubbles.

Aquanox3581d ago

8.5 in average is very good for the genre, especially in consoles.

First day buy for me.

Bnet3433581d ago

Already paid off the game, can't wait.

Lifendz3581d ago

An 8 or higher for a console RTS is great. Most hardcore Halo fans I know are skipping it. My cousin downloaded the demo and deleted it after two playthroughs. When/if I get my 360, the first game I'm playing is Halo 3. I doubt I'd ever think about getting this. Not because its a bad game but because I think Halo is best as an FPS and have no interest to play an RTS version of it. But what do you think.

Agree: I'll rent it but probably won't buy it.
Disagree: I love Halo and the Halo universe. Buying this one for sure.

BRG90003581d ago

What do I click for "I'm not particularly hooked on the Halo universe, but played the demo and it was one of the better RTSs I've played on a console so I'm going to buy it." Report?

EL MAESTRO3581d ago

I like halo and this even though not FPS its a nice fresh spinoff. on another note, has anyone notice the new terms of use in facebook. I deleted my account and encourage everyone to do so, this MIGHT have been a move by the goverment with the same of excuse (terrorism protection) or maybe a move by corporate to therefore bombard us with advertising, either way its a move that facebook did or is goin to permatnetly do. REMOVE YOURSEVES FROM SLAVERY, REMOVE YOURSELF FROM FACEBOOK.

jammy_703581d ago

360 exclusive review n4g comments are so much different to the ps3 exclucive review n4g comments lol

good score... thou im not a halo fan.

1ikedamaster3581d ago


We know, you will never be convinced. Resist the temptation to troll though.

MrJack3581d ago

Nothing? Then why aren't reviews saying so, why should PS3 exclusives be forced to take games to another level, whilst Xbox games get a seemingly free pass?

Nonsense 4 Gamers3581d ago

I remember when LBP got a 9.5 from IGN you were trolling around saying "9.5 FLOP!" but suddenly 8.4 is a "great score"

caladbolg7773581d ago

Receiving an 8.4 is extremely generous. IMO, 8.4 is a GREAT score and, sadly, Halo Wars is not a GREAT game. It's more worthy of a 6.5 or 7.0, in my opinion, which is still a GOOD score but not a GREAT one.

cayal3581d ago

Pretty good score considering the previous RTS on consoles. Sounds like it was done right.

Though not getting it, since I do not like the genre.

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Fiona3581d ago

Looks good. still on the fence, so i might give it a rental and see how it goes. The demo didnt do it for me. But its been getting pretty good reviews. so i might give it a chance.

Zeus Lee3581d ago

A solid 8,definitely worth a rental.

RUPITY3581d ago

I can't believe Garnett lee said this would revolutionize console RTSs

Kushan3581d ago

Perhaps revolutionise is the wrong term, but I think it definitely does a lot for Console RTS. Until now, Console RTSs have been little more than PC RTSs with a weird control scheme. Pretty much every Console RTS claimed to have a control scheme that "worked well" on consoles, but I think there's more to it than that.
On a PC, it's pretty easy to micro manage. You've got all sorts of key combinations you can use to trail troops, designate them a team/regiment, build your base, etc. but on a Console, you've just got the pad to work with and suddenly that Micromanagement becomes tedious at best.
Halo Wars seems to have stripped away a lot of this and given console goers the "bare basics" of an RTS game, the core elements and that's not a bad thing at all, it works and it means most consolers that never played RTSs before should be able to pick it up and get to grips with it easily enough. It's what Halo did for FPS games, cut them down a bit and focused on making it just casual enough that it works on consoles.

Jdoki3581d ago

Good post Kushan.

Developers need to stop thinking in terms of shoehorning 'traditional' RTS mechanics in to a console, and instead do as Ensemble have done and build an RTS for a console from the ground up.

There's plenty of innovation to be found in the console RTS genre. Devs just need a bit of creative lateral thinking.

I haven't had chance to try the demo yet, and will reserve judgement until I do - games with Halo attached tend to get over-rated in my humble opinion - so I'm cautiously optimisitc...

titntin3581d ago (Edited 3581d ago )

Sorry Kushan but I absolutely have to disagree.

I've just had a 5 hours playing the full game and it simply hasn't got the depth or the controls you need to make a game like this play well. The unit selection options are simply not good enough to give orders to the correct units in the heat of the battle, and many tried and tested strategic elements of the RTS game are completely missing.
To suggest this is better than CC3 or even Battle for middle earth is plain wrong. Those titles took a game with depth of control and made them work well on a console. This game has dumbed down the RTS to the extent where it feels like your playing a script- go here, do this, build this - fight!
Its simply not as enjoyable an RTS as others on the same system. If you cant' get enough of halo, then I'm sure you'll love the story, which is the strongest element and presented beautifully, but the core gameplay, rather than adding anything the genre, has removed the sense of freedom and tactics that make RTS games so much fun. The 'S' stands for strategy - heavily scripted and linear designed levels don't leave you much in the way of choice at all for strategy.

You can call it a good game if you will, but trying to assert that its simply the best console RTS means one of two things: You haven't actually played this yet, or you haven't actually played any other console RTS yet.

Kushan3581d ago

tintin, you would have made an excellent point had I have said that Halo Wars was the best Console RTS out there.

I never said it was the best, what I said was they made a game that was a more casual RTS, a game that people who weren't big on RTSs with depth could pick up and enjoy without much trouble. Yeah, if you are big on RTS games, you're only going to see it as a dumbed-down RTS without much depth - a lot of FPS fans (particularly those on PCs) said the same about Halo (After all, "FPS" on the PC meant something like Deus Ex or System Shock, very deep games), but on the same note that's kind of the idea of the seires, you relax on your sofa in front of a big TV and just have a quick blast of fun. I think Halo Wars pulls that off well.
Best RTS ever? Probably not, but I stand by my statement that it'll do a lot for RTS games on consoles, you know, like a stepping stone for people who aren't big on PC gaming and never considered other strategy games before, or maybe didn't like them because they were "too complicated".

titntin3581d ago (Edited 3581d ago )

Fair enough mate - no one is wrong, I'm just offering an alternative viewpoint having just played the full game for many hours.

Your right of course that many non RTS gamers will play this - but not becuase of any 'accessability issues', but because its in the Halo universe. Whilst they might well enjoy the experience they have, my concern is that they won't experience the freedoom and depth of stratagey that usually makes these kind of titles so compelling, and I think thats a shame. Of course it won't matter enourmously, as long as people have fun, and the game will no doubt sell monsterously!

People not monster fans of the halo universe and seriously into RTS titles, will be a very small number in comparison to the many who will love it. But that is who I am, and for the small few of us like me, its a little dissapointing how much its dumbed down. Thats all I'm saying.

Bnet3433581d ago

I wouldn't say revolutionized, but more of, setting a standard for RTS games on consoles.

JokesOnYou3581d ago (Edited 3581d ago )

I do think you make a great point tintin but I agree largely with Kushan. First let me say that I'm not much of a RTS fan so I can't say that I have a ton of experience to base my judgement on; the first RTS I ever played was the original C&C on PC like 10+ yrs ago, I really enjoyed it and for the most part it wasn't very complicated, since then I dabbled in a few RTS's like AoE over the years but found them less and less likeable because of all the needed micro-management. Also alot of console RTS ports have claimed to be "user-friendly" for consoles, C&C:TW was the first I actually gave a shot and brought for 360 the controls aren't bad but I didn't think they were really intuitive, I think LOTR was close but they didn't nail it imo so other than those two I haven't even touched any of the other console RTS's and haven't even looked at PC ones in years.

Now with Halo Wars the controls are great imo, its accessible and fun, so while the "S" is definitely for strategy maybe the "dumbed down" approach to making a console *Strategy game is what I've always really wanted, either way I don't think giving you simplified controls over more complicated controls equals somehow less strategy, I think its more about preference and somewhat a different focus from being a all out "build, manage, fight" traditional RTS, where I feel Halo Wars is definitely more focused on the fight element. The demo assured me that you don't have to micro-manage a RTS to make it fun and finally its a vivid example that controls in a console RTS could work so well. I can see how this might be the same reason that "serious" RTS fans may not love it, but I think both of these concepts go hand in hand are the whole reason Halo Wars appeals to me. The fact that its set in the Halo Universe is just icing on the cake.


Blademask3581d ago

Many blind FPS fans are going to be let down on just buying this due to the name, MS should do a better job explaining what it is to the general halo audience, eitehr way.

It is a slightly modified version of traditional RTS's. I think its more approachable than say, red alert. Glad to see Edge is smoking crack as usual.

edgeofblade3581d ago (Edited 3581d ago )

To me, this is doing for console RTS what Civ Rev did for Civ games. Make it digestible on a console while focusing on fun and deep mechanics.


It might be dumbed down and scripted on the campaign... but the alternate is having a series of bot matches that play no differently than skirmishes. The skirmishes are what I'm really looking forward to. But you seem to get the point that it's plenty fun and it's deep enough to draw in crowds that don't normally play RTS. Think of it as a gateway RTS.

titntin3581d ago

@ JokesOnYou
thanks for the reasoned comments! I pretty much agree with what you say.
The only thing I would like to 'elaborate on' is that its not the control scheme that I believe lessens the strategic element of the title, as you suggested. Rather its several other things that combine to rob the game of many strategic elements I personally enjoy:-

1) The design and scripting of the campaign levels makes how you deal with each level a linear experience planned by the designer, not a set of objectives that you can explore different strategies to try and achieve in the best way. I'm only half way through the campaign so maybe this changes in the second half of the game.

2) No gathering of resources (they are dropped straight into the base), so theres no tactics involved in maintaining your supply line or attacking an enemies which is classic RTS strategic planning.No exploration of far flung corners of the world map in order to gain an advantage over you enemy by claiming a remote resource that helps tip the balance.

3) You cannot create bases anywhere except at the one or two places that are predefined for you. There is no strategic skill in choosing a good defensible location, or a location near resources, good for defense etc. You also can only use predefined slots to create resource buildings - not a huge issue but still a removal a choice that could be strategic in other titles.

4)You cannot group together a series of strategically matched vehicles and units and then call them up as a group. This is a major failing as you often need to balance the strengths and weaknesses of a battle group to ensure you are not vulnerable to particular attack type. In this game, to achieve this, I'm having to individually select vehicles and units and send them to a clear area of map to form the group so that I can frame the map window with just them in sight and then do a local select. Its tedious and time consuming, and destroys the flow, but without it you just try and churn out one of evertyhting and throw it all forward - no strategy at all! :)

As I say - for those new to stratagey games, none of this will be anything they miss or even care about, and good luck to them! But I'm not the only person who enjoys and plays RTS games, and many people who do like the strategic aspects of this genre will be a bit disapointed with the above points, which make the title a lot less 'strategic'. You might say it more consoley, but I regret that people assume console games should be more brain dead - I would have loved to see this game require thoughful deep stratagey, and I think if it had, it could have done very well for itself and attracted some of the millions of people who play this genre on PC only!

Mogabu3581d ago

Is there a mode where you can just go you vs cpu and build a base and fight or is it all linear mission style?

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RUPITY3581d ago

Or was it David Ellis anyways one of those guys was wrong,I think Brad Shoemaker isnt a big fan of this game judging by the latest giantbombcast