Halo Wars 2 Review

Written by Jake Tucker

February 20, 2017 | 16:29

Tags: #halo-wars-2 #review #strategy

Companies: #creative-assembly

Halo Wars 2 Review

As a fan of real-time strategy games and Halo, I was excited to get stuck into this universe, but the game itself seems to be too shallow for me to really sink my teeth into. A fairly basic rock-paper-shotgun system underpins a lot of the combat - air beats vehicles, which beat infantry, which beats anti-air, which beats air - and it'd be quite easy to counter the enemy with a type advantage and roll through their bases, but I found that just as the AI didn't care much about out-thinking me, I didn't really care enough to out-think it either. Instead, I just made a mob of scary looking units and fired them at the enemy with a few healing units in tow. This worked in just about every campaign level, and then I found with amusement that it worked out just fine for multiplayer, too.

Halo Wars 2's multiplayer is the only thing that could really give it much longevity, and I was disappointed to find at this early stage that the meta seems to largely revolve around building the biggest random mob possible and firing it all at your enemies. There isn't a lot of variety to the fights, although the powers you're given do vary depending on which leader you choose. None of these are super compelling picks, with the various powers being fairly interesting and adding the slightest shades of tactical depth to a game that's otherwise quite flat. Unfortunately, neither the USNC or Banished factions really play that differently, so after a few games of the multiplayer I was happy to tap out.

Halo Wars 2 Review

There's also a Blitz game mode, an attempt to import collectible card game mechanics to the RTS, with you building decks to choose what you can summon. This adds an interesting new avenue, but the game itself is still quite flat, tactically, and as a result the Blitz mode didn't really land with me either, especially paired with some remarkably cynical micro-transactions stuffed in too.

Despite all this, it's really not a terrible game. It's sort of like a paddling pool set up next to Niagara Falls. The views are amazing, and it might look like the real deal, but it's painfully shallow. If you're a Halo fan or just getting into strategy games and want to blow your way around levels making stuff explode, this could be just what you're looking for, a strategy-lite title that sits proudly in the Halo canon. Strategy purists and those looking for a real challenge are likely to be disappointed, however, and would be better served elsewhere.

Halo Wars 2 Review

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