Halo Wars 2 is set to be released next month. A couple weeks ago Microsoft gave us a chance to spend an afternoon with the game to see how it it was coming along. Early impressions for the game are very positive. The original Halo Wars showed up on Xbox 360 and no one quite knew what to expect as there had not been a lot of RTS games that were good on a controller. Halo Wars bucked that trend though and early indications are that Halo Wars 2 will be another solid RTS for fans to play on a console. Of course Halo Wars 2 is also going to be available on PC in case you want to go that route.
We were able to play the first couple missions of the campaign for Halo Wars 2 to get a taste of what is in store for us. The cinematics are beautiful just like the original title and it appears that the enemy is stronger than ever. Halo Wars 2 also looks really nice. If you played the original on the 360 (or the remastered version of Halo Wars on Xbox One) then you know what to expect here in terms of how everything generally works and feels. For those who haven’t experienced those games before it can be one of those titles that is easy to play but hard to master. You can control your entire squadron with the press of the button if you so choose or divide them to try can capture multiple objectives at the same time. You will need to concentrate on building up your base and getting resources so that you have enough to build different vehicles that will help you out in combat as well as different classes of soldiers themselves. Building things takes time though so you need to plan your attacks carefully so that you don’t get completely ambushed and wiped out whether it is by the AI or another player if you are online.
The multiplayer for Halo Wars 2 will feature five different modes, however, we only got to try out three of them. We were able to try out “Strongholds” “Deathmatch” and “Blitz”. The Strongholds mode is a game mode that is timed and the objective is to basically control more bases than your opponents at the moment the clock reaches zero. This particular mode can be pretty frantic due to the established time limit which made for some crazy final seconds as you desperately try to capture that last point before the clock expires or hold off the enemy long enough to where you don’t lose it.
The Deathmatch mode is something I am sure will be familiar to a lot of gamers. In this mode you will build up your base and army but instead of fighting for control of territories you will fight to see who will be the last man standing. You still want to control as many territories as possible as that will make it easier for you to wipe out your opponent. Strategy is key here because you need to be able to build up your base and manage your resources appropriately so that you have a sufficient army to take on whatever your opponent is building up. Building up different bases in different territories is important to so that you can not only build things at a quicker pace but so that your army is big enough so you can defend your areas as well as attack your opposition.
The Blitz mode is a new addition to Halo Wars. This particular mode revolves around building a powerful deck of cards. Each card that you have will represent something in the game whether it is characters, different abilities, a group of units or whatever. You can choose to build your own pack or simply play with what the game gives you. Each deck of cards that you will receive is made up of 12 cards and will award different bonuses. Whenever you decide to use a card a new one from your deck will replace it. You can obtain these cards much like how they handled Halo 5 with buy random packs of cards with in-game currency as well as micro transactions. It should be noted though that we were told this is not “pay to win” because matchmaking will be based on skill and deck strength. It won’t be you losing to a person who decided to spend a lot more money than you on the game or anything like that. Once you begin to understand the mechanics of this mode it can be a lot of fun. Being engaged in battle fighting over a territory with my opposition and then using a card to call in a vehicle for air support can be pretty satisfying...as long as that actually works and your opponent doesn’t blow your new vehicle out of the sky.
Overall our early impressions for Halo Wars 2 were pretty positive after being able to spend an afternoon with the game. It looks like the development team is on the right track and picking up right where they left off with the original Halo Wars on the Xbox 360. Halo Wars 2 is set to be released on February 21 on Xbox One as well as Windows 10 PC.