So Halo 3 sold a lot right?
I recently read somewhere that many believe Halo is our generations Star Wars. I personally don't agree with that, but that fact that someone believed it enough to publish it says something.
It is, without a doubt, one of gaming's biggest franchises. While it may not be near and dear to everyone's heart like some Italian plumber (Mario – when will you ever get the gratitude from Princess Peach you deserve?), it still has a place as one of the greats.
So what do you do with any successful franchise? Well Sonic the Hedgehog could answer that one for you… you exploit it!
Microsoft may be trying with the amount of Halo games coming out in the next few years, but so far they haven't done what Sonic has; make bad games based on their franchise. Halo Wars is the first Halo game that won't be the story of Master Chief, but instead will just be set within that universe (twenty years before the first Halo game to be more specific). It's a Real-Time-Strategy (RTS) game that is exclusive to the Xbox 360.
Now most people will argue that you can't do a decent RTS without a mouse and keyboard, and I will have to disagree. You can do a decent one, the important question is can you do a great one? With the amount of Halo Wars I have managed to play, I can't fully tell yet, but it definitely seems like a good start. The controls are fairly simple to grasp and base building is done in a very clever way. Basically it is a rip-off of the first Battle for Middle Earth game, where your base is a set place on the map with building pads attached to it. You click on a pad and choose which building you want, and I think this works perfectly for a Console RTS.
Some buildings will be resource buildings that generate money, others are research buildings and some are unit building ones. So it is all about balancing how much of what you want based on your strategy.
While I am sure there will be a variety of units in the game, the demo I played had very little. I got to control warthogs, marines and guys with flamethrowers. Controlling the army was relatively easy at first and selecting individual units in order to use their special abilities is also fairly quick and easy. I think it will be interesting to see how the game can handle multiple battles taking place on different parts of a map, as larger armies did become a little bit tricky to tactically manage.
This seems to be countered though, because units appear to have a reasonable amount of health, which gives you more time to react to things and make sure everyone is doing what you want or need them to.
For now I just had the first two missions from the single player game, which were fairly straightforward. There is no mistaking that you are in the Halo universe. They've really done a great job of capturing everything; the sounds, the colours, the way units move and do things. Beyond that, it looks good. It's not the best looking RTS in the world, but due to Halo's fantastic art style, it definitely is pleasing to the eyes, especially the larger explosions.
There is also the bonus of between-mission cinematics which push the story forward. These are extremely well made, and so far hint at a very deep and interesting Halo story.
It was fun to play, but it will be interesting to see how the final build turns out. From the small taste I've had, all I can truly say is that I know the controls are good. It's easy to move things, build things and get around the map well enough, but I cannot say how deep the strategy can get or how multiplayer is going to work.
But the demo has definitely peaked my interest and I look forward to finding out.