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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 7 May 2009
On paper, Halo Wars doesn't quite look like it should work. This only adds to the surprise that this vibrant, fast-paced RTS really does deliver - despite depriving you of your beloved mouse and keyboard! Ensemble Studios set aside a whole year finetuning the controls alone for the Xbox, and it shows in the gameplay.

Skimming across the map is hardly needed most of the time, due to the simplistic shortcuts bound to the D-pad. Left cycles through your bases, up opens up the circle menu for aerial support (as the humans) or focuses the camera on your leader (as the covenant), and down toggles between unit groups. Pressing right on the D-pad showcases an innovative feature that scrolls through any new developments - such as completed upgrades, incoming attacks, and more.

Controlling the units themselves is also refreshingly straightforward. Holding down the A button causes a transparent "paintbrush" circle tool to blossom on-screen, allowing you to glide it around and group units together accordingly. Getting them from A to B is carried out by panning the camera to whereever you want them to go (or whatever you want them to shoot at/claw at/ram into/etc), and tapping X - there's support for queueing commands too, squaring up to the advanced controls boasted by PC RTS's.

The game has a slick, stylish graphics scheme, which neatly complements the manic scenes of battle it can put out. While it's not as powerful visually as its shooter cousin, it's hardly noticeable when the screen is lit up by hundreds of marines and covenant. I've yet to see the engine get bogged down or choppy, even in larger skirmishes. Which is a hell of a lot more than I can say for most PC RTS's in my experiences!

Halo Wars is, as you'd expect, fully compatible with Microsoft's premium online service Xbox Live, sporting three brackets ranging from 1v1, 2v2 and 3v3. From the week or so I've spent getting my arse handed to me on it (damn you matchmaking, damn you), I've had a great time - it really sucks you in when you've got two team mates yelping themselves hoarse with cries for aerial support, or the inevitable cheery trashtalk at the end of each game, as the other team audibly wonders where in god's name your fleet of tanks sprung up out of the ground. Or the occasional covie grunt impression that everybody has a go at, at some point in their life. Or at least, I hope it's not just me.

Overall, this is one heck of an enjoyable buy for the 360, especially if you're a fan of RTS or Halo (if you're a fan of both, jackpot!), and I heartily recommend you pick it up sometime!
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VINE VOICEon 26 February 2009
Just received my version in the post a day early and after spending the last few hours zoned in on the TV all I can say is, it's a great little game.

Please note i've never played the Halo games so my review is from a Gamer point of view.

It looks great, works perfectly with the 360 Control pad unlike C&C. It is easy to pick up and play and can be mastered in a very short time. It is the pick up and play game of RTS.

The basic idea (as always but even more so) is build a small army as quick as possible and head off to attack before your enemy has chance to. Doesn't seem to be too time consuming on the first few levels anyway.

One thing I will note is that while it is enjoyable I am unsure as to what the long term enjoyment level will be as I don't think it will have too much replay value on the missions.

Overall 4 stars for this easy to pick up and fun to play game.
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on 11 November 2009
Halo wars is a real time stratergy game out for Xbox 360.

Over the years halo has created a massive fan base, Halo ODST out sold Killzone 2 in one day simply for the demand for more in this series. But Halo Wars was treated with some scepticism by the hardcore halo fans. They wondered whether it would fit in, being a stratergy, into a FP universe.

Some people even started to bash the game before it came out and had a chance to prove itself. They couldn't have been more wrong. Having played the demo I fell in love with it having never touched a Stratergy in my life. I bought it and it is enjoyable.

The game apeals to the hardcore and casual. I love having my army roll, charge, fly, run across my TV, the game has scale and good graphics.

I would recomend you try the demo before you buy the game because it may not be your thing, which is fine, its just haters I don't like, who are predujice.

Good points: Career- Great story and characters, cutscenes you'll love them, good voice acting.
Skirmish- Great for long battles or quick skirmishs adds to the game like zombies to Cod5.
Multiplayer- 3v3 combat
Halo timeline- Shows all main halo events, nice feature.
Gameplay- Lots of units and varied missions, loads of tactics.
.
Bad points: Multiplayer- plagued by quitters and noobs, only two online modes.
Campaign- A couple of pointless missions
Gameplay- On Standard mode it can get a bit boring waiting for things to upgrade and produce(not a massive problem).
Downladable content- Expensive for just new game modes, not made by Ensemble (cry).

Overall 8/10 £20 is a very reasonable price, just don't be eating crisps while your waiting for your units, there could be a suprise attack at any moment. ;)
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on 18 June 2009
halo wars is a game i think is fantastic. i liked C&C3 but you can really tell as other reviews say this was made for 360.
the visuals are strong and sharp and despite some things such as base presentation being pre-determined, there is a suprising amount of depth in the upgrades to units and buildings alike.
pretty cut scenes tell a worthwhile addition to the existing halo mythology and most importantly... good fun gameplay and missions. i have rated this game 5 stars for being better than i expected it to be. i at time of writing have not looked too much at the online options but with online coop, team and single player death matches, it as a package appears to have what most will desire and expect in place.
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on 27 February 2009
I got this game a day early from PC World, don't know why it was on the shelf, but anyway what a great game. Online play can be more traditional with the slow build up of your resources (standard), or it can be fast and furious in the Deathmatch mode. This game gets better and better with the more people that play, i.e. 3v3.

One disappointing thing is that you can't really build defenses around your base or choke points on the map. The game-play is more about strategy with the units, not too much on the layout of the bases. Another bad point is the fact that you can't split your army into groups which is annoying but not that important. The small unit count is not really to my liking, however, playing online with friends cancels that point out because you co-ordinate attacks with your combined armies, which is more than enough.

Overall, this is a great game and would have been the best RTS on the console if it had been tweaked slightly. The addition of another faction would have made the game amazing, with a 2v2 2v2 2v2 option. Also, a bit more fluidity with the base building and defenses and this game would have been incredible!

Graphics-9
Gameplay-8.5
Sound-9
Online-9
Campain-8.5
overall-9

But it could have been better! Shame.
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on 3 June 2009
Overall Halo Wars is a well executed and slick real time strategy game on a console, which generally aren't well suited to such games.

Graphics, sound and the control system are all top notch, with an enjoyable and well though out single player campaign drwaing you into the Halo universe. It was great fun to command the various warthogs, marines and vehicles and war machines.

The game has limited replay value as compared to say the other Halo games, but while it lasts, and if you can get this at a reduced price, I can wholeheartedly recommend it..
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on 11 March 2009
Having just completed the campaign I thought I should write a review to share my thoughts. First of all I would like to say that I am not a huge Halo fan. I enjoyed Halo 3 (multiplayer, not single player) but previous Halo games did nothing for me.

They have tried to make a credible real time strategy game out of Halo and for that I applaud them, after all Halo was originally going to be a RTS before it was changed to a first person shooter. However after completing the campaign I feel this is just a dumbed down version of C&C set in the Halo universe. I have no doubt that the legions of 10 year olds who adore the Halo games will love this, in fact I can pretty much guarantee it will be a success just from the Halo name alone.

One thing of note that differs from C&C is base building. You cannot select where to build your base, you are given a set base location on which you can build various structures. This also means that building defensive structures (e.g. turrets) is very limited. You can only build 4 per base and they are set in location. I think they did this in an attempt to get players to use strategy with their units rather than overpowered base defences, unfortunately I don't think it's worked. The population cap is too low in my opinion, although you can research a perk to up it slightly this is still too low. They should have either a) allowed proper base building or B) had a bigger population cap.

Online games are pretty much all the same, whoever can quickly build the biggest amount of strong units wins. Everyone picks the covenant (mainly for the scarab unit). If playing a team game and your stuck with a player that isn't into the 'rush' tactic or is new to the game, you've lost. Simple as that.

This isn't a bad game, far from it. I enjoyed playing it to a certain extent (hence the 4* fun rating) however the base building/population cap issues along with poor online play/community left me wanting. I rented this game and I'm happy I did, if I'd have paid full retail for this I have a feeling I would be less happy.
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on 19 October 2012
A fun little game that I enjoyed the hell out of. It doesn't really expand the Halo universe in any meaningful way - in that its events don't really effect the main series, but it was cool to play, the controls worked well, and it was interesting to see how well a different developer handled the Halo universe. Considering how cheaply you can pick this up now, I'd recommend it
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on 16 August 2013
I will admit that I wasn't that excited when this game first came out, as I'm not a big fan of the RTS genre. However, I am a big Halo fan, and after playing this game at a friend's house, I just had to buy it. Despite this game being a few years old it still has a lot to offer. People still play the multiplayer modes, the campaign is great and it's a well polished game. If you're a Halo fan and you don't have this in your collection, buy it. It's only a tenner.
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on 29 April 2013
I was sceptical about this game, and have had virtually no experience with other more complex RTS games. However, ever since my purchase back in 2010, this has been one of my favourite games of all time.

Pros:
-Fantastically satisying to play, easy to control
-Story may not be anything special, but the cinematic value is off the scales
-Co-op campaign is great fun
-Really great multiplayer that actually requires some kind of skill, (and I usually hate competitive multiplayer)
-Believe it or not it still has quite an active fanbase that play it regularly, so the multiplayer still works well
-Balanced units

Cons:
-Campaign might be a bit too short for some
-Might be considered a bit too 'dumbed down', especially for veteran RTS fans

Conclusion:
It might not be everyones cup of tea, but I absolutely adore this game. I hope that one day a Halo Wars 2 will be made...
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