For those of you living under a rock (but still reading my blog for some reason), the demo for Halo Wars was released today. If you are a fan of Halo, you’ll probably like it. If you are a fan of RTS’s, you’ll probably like it. If you are a fan of My Little Pony, you probably won’t like it. That being said, I think it is freaking awesome.
I was interested in the release, and was planning on buying it because I am a fan of the Halo series, but I wasn’t _sure_. The studios turning an First Person Shooter (FPS) genre into a Real Time Strategy (RTS) could have screwed it up royally. It wouldn’t be the first time. Take a look back at MechCommander, it was OK… but not that amazing compared to say MechWarrior 2 (which I devoted much of my youth too). Anyway, I downloaded the Demo today and gave it a play through. You have no idea how sad and disappointed I was when the demo came to an end.
They really did a fine job of making an RTS for a console. Yes, I miss having hotkey’d groups, but overall they do a good job of making it easy to control the entire game with the Xbox controller. You can zip around the map, make units, build bases, do upgrades, attack, and send down freaking MAC rounds on the unsuspecting Covenant (or rebel army). You can also, of course, play as the covenant, but really, who cares about the purple bastards. It’s all about the Spartans, and yes, you can build them. One map I had, I could build 3. For those of you screaming “But there was only one Master Chief!”, remember: Master Chief (or John-117) was one of several hundred SPARTAN-II‘s. And while many of them died, the Halo Wars game takes place roughly 5 years after the events of Halo: Contact Harvest (which is a good book, and I recommend you read it), or about 20 years before the events of the original Halo video game.
In summary, I think the game is great. Granted it was only a demo, but I’m willing to stake $80 on the collectors edition (which I swore I’d never do again after Everquest 2). I think it is going to be a ton of fun, and will keep me in my RTS fix until Starcraft 2 is released (if ever). Plus, the idea of being able to play multiplayer over Xbox Live is rather kick ass. If/when you buy the game, leave a comment on the blog or Tweet at me with your GamerTag so we can play over Live on 3/3/09 (PS. I’m SOOO taking the day off work).
While I generally don’t embed video’s, I’m going to. Just because I think it is that awesome.
UPDATE: John wrote his own entry about Halo Wars.