Home > Demo Impressions, Gaming, Halo, Xbox 360 > “Halo Wars” Xbox 360 Demo Impressions

“Halo Wars” Xbox 360 Demo Impressions

There’s a lot to expect from Halo Wars. Not only does it need to get thousands upon thousands of gramers everywhere (yes, that’s spelled with an R – listen to our first podcast if you don’t know what I’m talking about) interested in an RTS, but it also has to somehow control nicely – something that hasn’t been done yet on a console RTS. Based on my time with the recently-released demo, I think Halo Wars is well on its way to accomplishing both goals.

Halo Wars is not what a lot of people are going to expect. Instead of shooting enemies through the visor of Master Chief, players lead entire armies into battle. You never directly control anybody, but instead give orders from above. Also, there are bases to manage. At these bases, you can produce troops, vehicles, and upgrades, as well as the energy needed to create those things. The beginning of every match requires some time at your base, amassing an army and a source of supplies you’ll need when things get tough. In short, this game requires thinking, and that isn’t something that will appeal to every fan of the “shoot now, ask questions later” gameplay that got the Halo series popular in the first place.


I, however, rather enjoyed this new take on the Halo universe. When you’ve got a fully-functional base mass-producing troops and supplies at an alarming rate, it’s pretty satisfying. After all of that is taken care of, you’re ready to take on the opposing army. In the demo’s two campaign levels, I was always fighting the Covenant (an evil alien race obsessed with the color purple, for all those who don’t know). Playing as the UNSC (aka humans) was fine, but I was enjoying the game the most when I played as the Covenant in the Skirmish mode, where you can play quick, individual matches with an opponent.

Story is big in this campaign. Ensemble Studios (not Bungie) has created a sizable amount of cutscenes to present the science-fiction story. I’m sure there were scores of Halo nuts all over who were drooling the whole time they watched them, but I, who’s knowledge of the Halo universe is limited to what happened in the third game, didn’t care at all. I was actually rather annoyed and just wanted to skip through them. Nothing real big is going on story-wise that I could detect. “Oh no! A Covenant base! We have to go blow it up!”


When the gameplay is started up, things suddenly improve. I haven’t played very many RTS games, but Halo Wars was very easy to learn how to play. You can select all your troops with the right bumper (or individual ones with A), tell them where to go with X, and have them attack by pointing at an enemy and pressing either X or Y. The Y attack is stronger, and involves either running enemies over with your Warthog, or having your troops throw grenades, among other things. After a while, I began to see some setbacks of using Y – for my first example, Warthogs are damaged when they ram into things or run people over, and infantry units can only use grenades every so often.

Those are the basic controls… really just point and click. The D-pad can call in special attacks, such as a giant warship that drops bombs on enemies, or if you’re the Covenant, a giant beam of energy that devastates all it touches. Actually, I think your D-pad special depends on what commander you’re using… something that can be selected in the final game.


If there are any drawbacks, it’s that maybe there is too much waiting at the beginning and the camera moves a little too fast. The environments are nice, but the camera zooms through them at a high rate, which doesn’t make for the smoothest view. The cutscenes are animated nicely, but none of the graphics are beyond what was seen in Halo 3.

I don’t know if this is the type of game I’ll be playing as much as Halo 3, but Halo Wars has definitely grabbed my interest. The gameplay is fun, it does a great job of teaching you how to play, and it controls better than any other RTS demos I’ve played on the Xbox 360. Will this be my gateway into RTS games? It might very well be.

By Josh60502

  1. February 8, 2009 at 7:32 am

    thanks. made very good.
    Oyun oyna

  2. February 9, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I really enjoyed the Halo Wars demo. I’m looking forward to the full release next month. I like the simplified base and resource management and focus on fighting.

  3. February 11, 2009 at 5:25 am

    Hey if you liked Halo Wars, check out the leaked CGI trailer that just came out yesterday on my blog.

  4. February 14, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Yeah, I downloaded the Halo War’s demo and I was pretty impressed. Not only did the cenimatics look really good, but the gameplay was very impressive.

    Have you played the Resident Evil 5 demo yet? It’s pretty sweet!

  5. February 14, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I did play the Resident Evil 5 demo. It was good, although not all that scary and the controls were a little awkward.

  6. February 21, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Yeah, I don’t think that it had the same scary factor that RE4 had, and I still think the Wii Edition for RE4 is the best for controls, but I did like how it had real time weapon change and I thought that the co-op was really good. I’m really looking forward for this game!

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