Halo Wars: Impressions

The plan was for me to jump on really quick.  I had been playing Halo Wars most of the day, mainly because I needed the relaxation and because, well, I have social anxiety issues.  So I just wanted a quick game.  1 v 1 on Halo Wars for maybe a half hour and then a late dinner.  TWO HOURS LATER, my enemy still wasn’t dead! His bases would not die, and I could never kill enough of his forces.  I’d send a gang of tanks to his base and he would board them with Spartans.  I would have forty warthogs head to his base and he would fight them off with Cobras.  Just when I thought I was making progress, he would damage my secondary base and force me to waste my time.  This is the good and the bad of Halo Wars.  It is really fun, and it will take over a tiny part of your life you might not be able to spare.

For those who might not know, Halo Wars is a Real Time Strategy Game (RTS) based in the Halo Universe.  Sorry, there is no Master Chief.  This story is set twenty years in the past.  You command Covenant or UNSC forces. You build bases and troops and you try your best to destory the other guy’s bases. You can build tanks, warthogs, hornets, grunts, Elites, anything in the Halo games that you’ve loved.  You can even build up to three Spartans, with the wonderful ability to take over an enemies vehicles.  The campaign has you using these abilities to do various “chores” on different maps.  Clean off attackers on the ship, move a bomb to the top of a mountain, protect these innocent people, stuff like that.  Honestly, the campaign bores me a little, and is only worth playing for the wonderful, wonderful cut scenes.  I’m not saying the campaign is bad, but it doesn’t hold my interest as long as other single-player romps have.

No, the game shines in multiplayer.  I haven’t  had this sort of fun in a while.  Get two of your friends together and sit back for some amazing moments.  Working together to beat a team of guys that might be better than you is a thrill like no other.  These games are hard.  There are strategies that seem to make my mind buckle.  When you do win a match, you know that you earned it.  There wasn’t some stupid hiccup, no lag or some random bit of geometry that messed up the game.  There was just smart, focused game play that allowed you to out-think your enemy.

This game isn’t perfect, of course.  There are a few things wrong with it.  It could “look” a bit better.  I know there are alot of things going on in the map, but I feel like it missed a bit of polish.  Also, not being able to play as the “Spoiler” is a bit of a bummer.  Add to that “Hero” rushes and over powered units and you have a few things to complain about.  However, I feel no remorse about spending the money on this game, even though the economy isn’t being very nice to any of us.  I have no doubt that Halo Wars is a dumb man’s RTS.  Thankfully, I’m a dumb man, and it is exactly what I need right now.