Kotaku: Halo Wars Looks Good

Of course fans expect that a Halo game will look good. Maybe it won't be the absolutely most edge-bleedingly, envelope-pushingly, buzzword-compliantly beautiful game on the market at release, but it will look good.

According to Kotaku, then, Halo Wars is a Halo game, and it looks good:

Halo Wars has some impressive visual pop to it, more colorful than when we last saw it. The game's visual effects, in motion, look spectacular. It may not have the immediate visual sex appeal of something like Halo 3, with it's micro-sized units and overhead perspective, but it looks good.

Of course, how an RTS game controls on a console is really the central issue, and Kotaku says that's another area where Halo Wars excels:

Halo plus real-time strategy plus gamepad controls may sound like a recipe for a franchise misfire, but Ensemble Studios has polished Halo Wars to the point of an immediately playable console title. While some may argue that, like first person shooters, RTS games should only be played on a mouse and keyboard, Ensemble has done an admirable job of nailing the controls. We got a chance to go hands-on with the game at E3 and came away surprisingly pleased.

That does sound pretty good. Those of the faithful who won't be able to stomach games in the Haloverse outside of Bungie's watchful eyes might have problems with some of Ensemble's choices (indeed, some are already, including myself) but the bottom line should be whether a game is fun and interesting to play, and it sounds like so far Halo Wars has a good chance of rising to that challenge.

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Comments

Have you tried Civilization: Revolution game for XBOX 360 (there's a demo available in the XBLM)?

I've played Civ II, III, and IV on the PC. I was very skeptical about Civ gameplay, specifically command input, on the Xbox by way of the 360 controller.

I was surprised that at how easy it was to navigate the landscape, select units, and issue commands in the Civ Rev demo. They did a great job on the user experience. Of course a keyboard and mouse offers more flexibility and control, but the Civ controls on the 360 were pretty good (caveat: I've never played a RTS with a controller).

I have faith that Ensemble can build the RTS to play well with the controller. Civ Rev had gameplay standards to live up to as that game was hardly new IP. Halo Wars has started from the ground up with the developers knowing that it would be played on the console. So, I'm thinking even gameplay will be geared toward controller users. (Yes, I think Halo Wars would have different gameplay features if it was first built for the PC.)

[quote=rapture]Have you tried Civilization: Revolution game for XBOX 360 (there's a demo available in the XBLM)?[/quote]

I haven't yet, but not from lack of interest. I've just got a stack of unplayed games, plus I had my eye on Psychonauts on Xbox Originals, and I still haven't finished Portal... and... well, you know how it is.

[quote=rapture]I've played Civ II, III, and IV on the PC. I was very skeptical about Civ gameplay, specifically command input, on the Xbox by way of the 360 controller.[/quote]

Somehow I never got into Civ. I liked Populous, and SimAnt and the SimCity series, and Myth:TFL and Myth 2, but somehow Civ never quite got onto my radar.

[quote=rapture]I was surprised that at how easy it was to navigate the landscape, select units, and issue commands in the Civ Rev demo. They did a great job on the user experience. Of course a keyboard and mouse offers more flexibility and control, but the Civ controls on the 360 were pretty good (caveat: I've never played a RTS with a controller). [/quote]

I think it's possible. There just aren't a lot of good examples yet.

The C&C game on XBL now, for instance... is not a good example.

[quote=rapture]I have faith that Ensemble can build the RTS to play well with the controller. Civ Rev had gameplay standards to live up to as that game was hardly new IP. Halo Wars has started from the ground up with the developers knowing that it would be played on the console. So, I'm thinking even gameplay will be geared toward controller users. (Yes, I think Halo Wars would have different gameplay features if it was first built for the PC.)[/quote]

Oh, I agree. So far my issues with the game resolve around their use of the universe, not what little I've seen of the gameplay or controls.


Rampant for over se7en years.

I wonder what laughing boy will have to say when Bungie stops making Halo titles and takes their kick ball off MS's field and goes to play someplace else? Then MS's games division starts to slip again leaving them no hot IP to replace it and Final Fantasy MCXXVIII does not live up to expectations? Assuming of course he even still works there.

[quote=blackstar]I wonder what laughing boy will have to say when Bungie stops making Halo titles and takes their kick ball off MS's field and goes to play someplace else? Then MS's games division starts to slip again leaving them no hot IP to replace it and Final Fantasy MCXXVIII does not live up to expectations? Assuming of course he even still works there.[/quote]

Well I have no idea if that will or even can happen. It would have been silly for MS to set Bungie free completely unfettered. Whatever publishing deal they have in place may have some requirements-- maybe they get rights of first refusal, they almost certainly have all rights for the Halo franchise; maybe Bungie has a minimum commitment to do X more Halo games? I don't know. None of these things is public.

I think if Bungie does come up with another hit IP and publishes it elsewhere, then it's an indication that MS did indeed feel that Bungie was a one-hit pony, and should have stayed in-house and kept doing Halo titles. If Bungie publishes a new hit IP with Microsoft, then perhaps there was some other motivating factor for MS to allow the split.


Rampant for over se7en years.