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Ensemble Studios (the Age of Empires series) has completed Halo Wars and has sent it to be manufactured, and I ask, who, outside of the Halo fanboydom, honestly cares? Halo as a series has perpetually gone downhill; with Halo: Combat Evolved breaking onto the scene way back in 2001, gamers and media outlets across the world ranted and raved how it revolutionized console first-person-shooters through its sleek control scheme, engrossing story, balanced weaponry and superb AI. It was completely deserving of all the praise. With each new release, focus shifted from story to multiplayer, which I’m usually not one to complain about, however, with a story so enthralling introduced in the first installment, I couldn’t help but find myself wanting more at the end of the series. I know Bungie has it tucked away, waiting to let the beast out on the world.

Almost exactly three years after Halo: Combat Evolved, Bungie released Halo 2, where almost no new changes were made, barring new weapons, a new playable character, and a less than lackluster story. Halo 3 regained some of the original’s former glory, with the best multiplayer the series had seen, yet, as with the second installment, the story faltered and provided a lukewarm end to an amazing beginning.


Now enter Halo Wars. With its release just about a month away, and the demo set to hit XBLA February 5th, Halo zealots are clamoring about this RTS set twenty years prior to the original game. Lets take a look at some problems with this game, problems that many gamers and media outlets seem to be forgetting. The first, and most obvious, is that an RTS very, very rarely happens to be designed well enough that the controls don’t feel clunky, slow, and unresponsive when made for a console. When your micromanaging multiple groups of allies across an expansive battlefield, not having a mouse is a severe disadvantage. Unless Ensemble has created a control scheme that will revolutionize the console RTS, then we’re going to be stuck with another Army Men game, though hopefully, the story won’t make you want to shove a pencil down your pee-hole . Which leads me to my second problem; Bungie has had relatively zero involvement in the game’s development, an aspect that bothers me as a fan of the series.

Although the story was not the greatest between Halo 2 and Halo 3, it still had an engrossing pull to it, a feature I believe lost without any input from Bungie, as their creative minds bestowed Halo onto the gaming community. My third, and last hangup with Halo Wars is that it resembles StarCraft, in terms of setting and the armies offered. If I’m going to play a futuristic RTS, I do not want to be reminded of a superior game that came out over a decade ago. I want innovation, not Age of Halo.

Yes, I know this game is on multiple lists of “the most highly anticipated games of 2009.” But how can you say that based on a brand? History has shows that the RTS genre does not translate well onto consoles, and with the absence of Bungie and any real innovation, Ensemble Studios better hope that this was the right time to go gold, because I’m afraid that history will repeat itself. This Halo fan will just have to wait for Halo: ODST.

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  1. Yes, I cannot wait to play the demo and see what the game will be like.

  2. avatar Quraishi

    No, personally I dont care even though I like all of the Halo games.

  3. I have a feeling that a lot of the 360 owners that love Halo will buy this game not fully understanding what an RTS is.

    I, on the other hand, am looking forward to trying it. It sounds like they might have a great controller configuration for a console RTS finally figured out.

  4. avatar Raz0r

    Halo Wars will the go to of console RTS like Halo (FPS) was to the shooters

  5. avatar JuggernautJulius

    This is gonna be awesome. Every1 is alreadying saying that the controls completely revolutionize console RTS. It’s gonna be get, but I’m still gonna try it out first. To Writer: read previews knucklehead.

  6. i will give this game a chance just like the other halo games but my expectations are low

  7. avatar Xbot

    I stopped caring about halo after number 2.

  8. avatar Questionaire

    The real question I have is why would a respectable “journalist” even ask such a question. “Halo Wars Goes Gold…But Do You Care? ” Oh, I forgot, journalist, Fanboy, the lines are so blurred now-a-days they are completely non-distinguishable.

    Could it be because he cares or could it be that he’s just another douche doing the douche dance?

  9. avatar haloRTS?

    I’m not sure about this one.

  10. avatar Demonwor

    I do care… just not alot… If the control scheme is perfected… we have another hit… in console RTS

  11. avatar Xbot

    The xbox controler sucks so no i dont care hehe.

  12. avatar Rabid

    I’m looking forward to the demo but as everyone’s saying… it’s played with a controller. I hate to say it but for an RTS to work on a console, you’d almost have to have something like the VATS system from Fallout to stop the action and help simulate the speed of a mouse and keyboard.

  13. @ Questionaire

    It’s just an interesting title guy, read the full article, you jumped the ship to quick lol.

  14. avatar Alex

    Halo wars, then Halo 3: recon,
    pretty soon, it’s going to be Halo Karts, Halo Party, Halo Golf and Halo tennis.
    No. I could give a crap about this game.
    I own both a ps3 and 360, and am not a fanboy.

  15. avatar Tamesis

    Heeeey the Halobox gets another Halo, oh please shout for joy another halo game. thank goodness the 360 is not the only console on the market

  16. Amen Tamesis, but also I’m thankful that the box is around.

  17. avatar ChrisWanker

    NOPE! But only because they put clothes on Serena (Cortana like Holo)…. Sad, sad day it is…

  18. avatar Guy

    I’m eagerly waiting for Halo Wars for the following reasons:
    1) Halo was initially thought by Bungie themselves as an RTS (Similar to Myth) so it’s interesting to see if the story arc and gameplay elements work well in this genre
    2) Ensemble made the acclaimed Age of Empires series. They know how to make good RTS games and I hope this will be no different.
    3) There are currently no good RTS games for console (EndWar and RA3 didn’t do the job). An RTS game designed from the ground up for consoles might do the trick. Halo revolutionized the FPS genre before, so it’s always possible to hope Halo Wars will do the same to the RTS genre.

  19. avatar Lalesub

    BUNGIE was absolutely involved in this project… expecially about story, Lore and general set up…

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