Halo Wars 2 review

So after spending around 12 hours with Halo Wars 2 to beating the campaign playing several different multiplayer matches, here is finally my review of what I liked and what I didn’t like. The first thing I’ll mention though is that I never played the original Halo Wars so I can’t really compare it to that one but I have been a big fan of RTS games for a long time.

Campaign and Solo gaming

So I started off with the campaign which I thought was a pretty decent size. It took me a little over 7 hours to play through. I did do that solo but there is a co-op option there if you want to play with your friend.

The campaign does a good job of teaching you how to play the game and manage all your units. It goes through like the rock paper scissors explaining how this unit will take out that unit in this union will take out another, sort of thing. But it doesn’t throw too much at you at once like it’s very easy to pick up and play this game. Some missions don’t have you building a base at all, which is the objective and a lot of RTS games. So, they really varied up the missions and I like how different they all were.

There like there were some missions that play out like a tower defense type game and some missions that were totally opposite. So to me campaign was a lot of fun and by the time that I was done with it I felt like I really knew enough about the game where I didn’t feel lost joining in on multiplayer matches.

The story is all right. It managed to hold my attention. The cutscenes are seriously some of the best looking cutscenes I’ve ever seen. It’s like something you would expect to see in a movie theater. The AI can put up a good fight, give you a decent challenge.

I think some people may find a good bit of replayability value in this game going back through the campaign trying to bump up the difficulty to see how that plays out. I’m even thinking about going back and doing a few missions myself that I thought were pretty fun.

Multiplayer

But aside from the campaign there’s also the multiplayer side of it which of course is where the focus is going to be for a lot of people, and to me one thing that I liked is that there seems to be a lot of different modes that all play differently like they require different skill sets. They take different amounts of time to play, like some of these game types, you can jump in, have a match done in 15 or 20 minutes, some of them may be on shorter than that and then you’ve got you know your basic RTS where you’re building a base up from scratch, gathering resources, building an army, and some of those matches you know can take over an hour.

So there’s a lot of different modes here. They all play difference. I give them props for that.

Now I can tell that this game was built for console and the reason consoles don’t have a lot of RTS games is because it’s hard to make an RTS game that uses the very limited controls of a controller, like a lot of these games you want precision, you want to be able to grab, you know, one particular unit out of a group, and so this game is a lot simpler than other RTS games. If you’re into that you like micromanaging, you like in-depth controls, that come with most RTS games then you may want to stay away from this particular game. But I don’t think that that necessarily makes it a bad game, it’s just different. And if you’re the type of player who maybe you are interested in the RTS games but you feel a little overwhelmed, with the others, this is the perfect game to get started on with this particular genre.

The game does have some glaring flaws and some of these can be patched, some of them are just poor design choices. On the PC i’ve noticed that occasionally clicking on certain areas of the map or even certain units, it just seems unresponsive, like i don’t know what it is, it’s just really weird and it’s probably something that’s only on the PC, but it’s a really bad problem in a game like this. Sometimes i find that the pathfinding four-year units, like you tell them to go to a certain area, the past that they choose to walk, is sometimes pretty dumb. Sometimes the matchmaking system doesn’t appear to do the best job matching you up with somebody who’s around your ran.

But one of the biggest problems I have with this game is is dealing with the blitz mode. It’s only with this particular mode. You get cards for ranking up, you get cads for doing the tutorials, playing the campaign and so far. There’s a lot of options for you to get cards to unlock. But these cards can give you an advantage, like if you have a card that somebody else doesn’t have, you could have an advantage. And the biggest problem of this is that you can go buy cards. You can go put down three dollars to a hundred dollars and buy a ton of cards, that would have rare cards in them. To me that’s the very definition of being able to pay to win. Now this would only impact the blitz mode but this is a sixty-dollar game, and I think it’s bullshit to be able to buy cards that can give you an advantage over somebody else, who just simply said “hey I’m just going to buy this game and this is where my money is”. I don’t like that aspect of the blitz mode.

Overall

Overall though taking in the good and the bad, I am really liking this game. I found myself playing it constantly, even with its flaws. It’s still very playable. It has made me don’t want to stop yet playing with so many game modes like solo or co-op or multiplayer or do skirmishes against the AI.

There’s a lot here in this package for $60. This is a game that I see myself playing for quite a while. If you don’t like RTS games, of course, you’re probably going to hate it, but if you’re itching for a new RTS game, I’d say “go ahead and jump on board”. There just aren’t that many of them now these days coming out and if you wait for a sale, I mean, you can always do that, but the thing about games like this is if you jump in six months after everybody else has been playing. I mean you tend to be pretty far behind the curve because by then the community has already figured out the tactics that work, and which ones don’t. So overall I think it’s a solid game not regretting my purchase one bit.

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