Halo Wars 2 Review – An Accessible RTS Experience with Plenty to Offer
Eight years it has been and yet it feels like the original Halo Wars released only yesterday. It does take a unique experience to be able to stay away from the mainstream market for such a long time and still stay relevant. The recently released Halo Wars 2 proves that the name ‘Halo’ isn’t entirely dependent on Master Chief to be successful.
Available on both Xbox One and Microsoft Windows 10 as an Xbox Play Anywhere title, Halo Wars 2 is developed by The Creative Assembly – a development team that can be regarded as maestros of the RTS genre and is known for titles like Total War. This change is prominent from the very onset of the campaign and is witnessed through and through.
For more help on Halo Wars 2, check out our In-Depth Halo Wars 2 Guides Archive in which we’ve detailed several aspects of the new experience including Blitz, Leaders, Combat Mechanics, Collectibles, and a lot more.
Halo Wars 2 Review – A Worthy Successor
Halo Wars 2 takes place 28 years after the events of the original game which saw the crew of the UNSC’s Spirit of Fire fall into an extended cyrosleep, letting the UNSC to presume them dead. The crew eventually discovers itself at The Ark, the massive facility behind the creation of Halos. It’s also discovered that the seemingly endless Human-Covenant war ended, thanks to a Spartan.
Floating over The Ark, the crew comes to learn about a rouge group calling itself The Banished. The group basically defected the Covenant after the conclusion of the war and is led by a massive brute named Atriox. If it isn’t obvious enough, the campaign’s primary objective is to defeat Atriox and reclaim The Ark.
The campaign is divided across 12 chapters and while the game presents a clearly defined objective from the very onset of the campaign, there are plenty of twists and variations to keep things interesting. The CG cinematics are done brilliantly and are parallel to quality offered by Halo 5: Guardians. The characters have unique personalities, are likeable, and well fleshed out.
Players who like to play with friends or family, the entire campaign can also be completed in co-op mode which makes room of plenty of different strategies and maneuvers. Apart from this, there is a lot to do such as collecting Phoenix Logs which expand the game’s story and how Atriox came into being.
The system isn’t nothing out of ordinary but I can see fans pouring in a few extra hours to be able to grasp the narrative in a better way.
If narrative isn’t someone’s cup of tea, experiencing the campaign can also prepare one for Halo Wars 2 robust multiplayer experience. The game offers a variety of game modes that can played against AI-controlled opponents or human players. Each of these game modes requires a deep understanding of the game’s core mechanics and different strategies to win.
The discussion on Halo Wars 2 multiplayer isn’t complete without mentioning a new card-based mode titled Blitz. The new game mode involves controlling three Capture Points scattered across the map. As you might’ve guessed, your job is to earn more points that your opponents which is done by controlling more Capture Points than the other team.
However, in order to do so, you need to utilize everything at your disposal including vehicles, units, aircrafts, and leader powers. Each of these things is locked behind cards which require a specific amount of Energy to use. Energy replenishes over time and players can also earn additional Energy by utilizing Energy Deposits scattered all across the map.
The game mode manages to have players on their toes and micro-manage things. Another incentive of playing the campaign is to earn new and better cards for your deck which can also be acquired, thanks to microtransactions. Have no doubt! They’re expensive. All in all, the entire system works well and should be easy to learn for both newcomers and hardcore fans of card-based games.
Visually, Halo Wars 2 isn’t the most impressive game to arrive on Xbox One but the graphics are crisp and refined. Moreover, they tend to work well for an RTS game. CG cinematics, on the other hand, tell a different story altogether. Soundtrack successfully manages to capture a moment’s essence and complements the action going on the screen.
In summary, Halo Wars 2 is worthy successor to the original Halo Wars with a plethora of improvements and tweaks to make the entire experience even more refined. The gameplay mechanics should be sufficient to satisfy both newcomers and war-torn veterans. It’s a quality addition to Xbox One library and with promised content to land later down the road will leave Halo fans satisfied.
Halo Wars 2 is now available on Microsoft Windows 10 and Xbox One.