|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ensemble / Bungie||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 9, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Announced Sept. 27/06 at Microsoft's X06 event in Barcelona, Spain (why not make it a little harder to get to next time, say perhaps X07...on the moon!), Halo Wars is a real-time strategy game direct from the talented folks at Ensemble Studios, who brought us the exquisite Age of Empires.
Halo Wars takes place early on in the Halo canon, dropping players into the timeline before the events of the original Halo. In fact, HW provides a window into the origins of the conflict that exists between humans and the Covenant. What starts out as nothing more than a skirmish between the UNSCs Spirit of Fire (your team) and the Covenant, quickly escalates into an all out war. Hey, we told the USNC guys that dating Covenant chicks wouldn't go over...
Developed from the ground up exclusively for the Xbox 360 (ie: no pc support), Ensemble Studios is quick to make the distinction between their new game and previous RTS games that have been ported to the consoles with less than stellar results. From the FAQ on the Halo Wars website: "...We didn't have to make compromises or shoe-horn in artifacts from a Windows PC game. We were able to take all the best aspects of RTS games, make them work perfectly on the Xbox 360, and exclude the rest." Those are big words, but since they're coming out of the mouth of Ensemble, we'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they can work their RTS magic on a console.
While another Halo project was announced at X06 developed under the watchful eye of Peter Jackson, and we know that Halo 3 is underway for the X360, there will be no shortage of Master Chief in 2007. It remains to be seen if diluting the franchise will be beneficial for Microsoft. What's next? Covenant Kart Racing? Halo vs. Capcom? Shudder...
A release date isn't known at this time, and a myriad of details also remains under lock and key, such as "Will we be able to play as the Covenant?" (I'd say, bet on it). If anymore details or actual screenshots surface, you'll find them here.
By Vaughn Smith
CCC Site Director