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The demo of Halo Wars is up on the Xbox Live Marketplace. I grabbed it this afternoon and played a few games after the kids went to bed. I was pretty impressed, and will probably drop the $60 on this. Even though it's not Bungie, the game does have the look and feel of a Halo game -- the music, the menus etc. The cut scenes are amazing.

I miss the keyboard and mouse, but the controls are about as good as I think you could get with a controller. Resource gathering has been simplified, and the focus shifted a bit more toward combat, which I think makes sense for both the series and for an RTS on a console. I thought the graphics were fine (although I've seen people elsewhere complain about them being simplistic) but I though the zoom feature was a bit useless; I would have liked to be able to zoom in both a bit tighter, and a bit farther out.

On the whole, an excellent game. If it's one thin Ensemble knows, it's how to make an RTS, Halo Wars, like the Age of Empire series, is awesome.
 

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...nice concise review. I wasn't sure if I was gonna download this one or not, but I think I'll give it a try...like everyone else, I'm concerned about doing an RTS on a console.
 

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I played it for a good 4-5 hours last night and the demo has convinced me to make the purchase.

The controls were better than I expected having never played an RTS on a console.
 

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I have loved the Age of Empires for over ten years and was wondering if any former AOE players might comment on Halo Wars.
 

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If you liked and played AOE a lot (and lord knows I did), you may not find HW to your liking.

I love RTS and Halo so this game is right up my alley, but it's a very simplified RTS compared to AOE, C&C, Starcraft, etc. You can't garrison units, only select all units or only those on the screen (you can select a smaller group, but it's not fast). You don't have to go out and collect multiple different resources in HW, only build supply pads to receive a constant stream of "supplies". And rather than place a structure anywhere, you're limited to the areas on your fortress... as you upgrade the fortress you get more spots (start with 3, then 5 plus 4 weapons placements and finally 7). So far I'm finding you can't get by with just 1 base, especially past the first couple of levels.

Graphics wise HW and AOE are fairly similar... HW won't win any awards for graphics.

Upgrades work like most RTS... pay the supply price and build the pre-cursors to the more advanced stuff. With HW you need to build power stations to get to the higher tech levels.

Units wise, you can only built 30 max to start (different vehicles take differing amounts of your basic 30). About the 5th mission you can upgrade to 40 units. As an additional bonus, you can save captured units to go over the limit (just Warthogs so far) or an airdrop with come in with additional units (5-6 Spartans in mission 5 part 2 :D).

I haven't ventured online yet as I like to finish the campaign first, so I can't really comment on it.

I've played for the last two nights and I'm addicted. :D

If there's anything else you'd like to know, just ask. :)
 

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Thanks Primebane. As noted, I love AOE and so does my family. My son, wife and I often play together either against one another or against computer players. I don't have an Xbox 360 (just PS3 and Wii) hence why I can't download and trial it. It sounds interesting but not enough to spring for a 360.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've had a few days to really play with it and am really enjoying it. I certainly don't think it's a console seller, like Halo 3 or Rock Band, but it's an excellent game in its own right; well worth the $70 I paid for it.

I disagree somewhat with PrimeBane though. While the standard game play doesn't immediately make you go "ooohhhhhh", there's a lot of attention to detail -- the character animations, the vehicles and their markings, the buildings and their associated animations. The more I play the more impressed I am with the graphics.

As for the buildings, yes, you are constrained in where you can build. This is pretty standard fair for console based RTS games. The "Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth" games were the same. I think it's almost a necessity, just because of the lack of keyboard and mouse. They've simplified the building and gathering controls to make them easy to use on a console, but I think they've done it very well (I still miss being able to select groups of units using the number keys though).

I have noticed some nice controls like hitting A twice (like the double-click of a mouse) to select all units of that type, or using the Right-trigger to cycle through units types when a larger group is selected.

If you're a die-hard RTS fan, then the PC is probably your best environment. If you're an RTS fan and/or a fan of Halo, and already have an Xbox, then rent it at the very least. Ensemble has done an excellent job, as you'd expect.
 

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I've come to the last level in the game... I have two beefs.

1. Not long enough... another 5 missions would have been nice.
2. No Covenant campaign. :( Hopefully there's DLC for that down the road.

Hopefully the MP modes keep me busy for a while. :)
 

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I used to play a lot of AOE3, and I like Halo series a lot. I pick up Halo Wars, and I think its quite a decent game. The campaign is a bit short unless you are playing legendary mode, but its quite nice. The multiplyaer mode is definitely a lot of fun.

You can garrison in HW. You can also do selection with all of same unit, or add/subtract existing group of units. Its like AOE, except you can't create group assignment. Thus managing multiple units of different become a pain.

Max unit depends on what leader you pick. Human only max 40, where as Convenient has max of 50.

We need more MP maps, especially 3v3 maps.
 

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I think it's pretty safe to say there will be maps released on Live in the very near future. :)

I was playing 3 on 3 last night with 5 AI... boy do the enemy AI ever come at you hard!
 
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