Halo Wars Review
Halo Wars box art
System: X360 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Ensemble Studios 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Microsoft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: March 3, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-6 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The developers chose not to focus on resources very much, but rather on combat. Still, players can build Supply Pads (UNSC) or Warehouses (The Covenant). By building them, you will instantly receive resources. Balancing out resources and other buildings becomes very strategic, because you want to create enough Supply Pads so that you can create many units, discover advanced technologies, and build vehicles. But, you do not want to create so many to the point where you won't have space to build Barracks and other essential buildings.

Halo Wars screenshot

I found it fun to create about four Supply Pads on the first base and two Barracks. I then destroyed a smaller enemy base further into the map, built another base there, and then created more Supply Pads and Barracks. I had enough resources being produced that I never ran out. Essentially, more resources were being produced than units. Doing this allowed me to create a mobile military force and therefore made it easier to destroy the enemy.

The graphics and presentation are a mixed bag. You will see a lot of effects being used in Halo Wars that are not typically used in a real-time strategy game. All the units from both the UNSC and The Covenant are recognizable, but they are not very detailed, though the textures are decent, and there are many units on the screen at once. You will notice the framerate drop every once in a while when there are too many effects and units all on screen at once. I think players will be happy to see that Ensemble created the Halo world like they remember it from the Halo Trilogy. The sound is decent as well. All the familiar gun sounds, vehicle effects, and characters sound like they did in the shooter. There is also the familiar Halo music that will surely amp up many fans to play the game.


Halo Wars is an interesting experiment that turned out to be a complete success. Microsoft and Ensemble proved that this type of game can be successful on consoles. However, I do not believe it is perfect, because I still would prefer to play it on a PC. Also, the campaign is too easy and lacking strategy, there are not enough maps for six players, and I think the developer should have made resource gathering more challenging. Halo fans have to remember that this is a very different Halo than what they are used to. If they are hardcore shooter fans, they may want to rent this game before buying it. Otherwise, I think this is a good game. If you enjoy the RTS genre, give your computer chair a break, buy the game, and enjoy your couch!

By Youcef Baouchi
CCC Freelance Writer

The graphics are decent, but there is no wow factor.
The controls work very well; no complaints.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
All the effects you're used to hearing are back as well as the music.
Play Value
Campaign is too linear, but the multiplayer is fun. I do wish they had more maps for 3v3 matches.
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Groundbreaking Xbox 360 strategy game: Since inception, Halo Wars was explicitly designed to bring a typical PC genre to console gamers. Commanding armies is easy, controlling troops and units effortless, and epic battles are smoothly handled using an intuitive user interface. Halo Wars represents the true next-generation experience, combining a masterful control scheme with the award-winning strategic gameplay only developers Ensemble Studios can provide.
  • Strategic command of armies in large-scale combat: Gamers are in command of the battlefield, playing as either of two unique civilizations: UNSC or Covenant. Counter and crush your opponent by tactically fielding the superior army. Choose among leaders possessing elite skills that can turn the tide of battle. Use various combinations of leaders and units, and create countless strategies tailored to your preferred playing styles.
  • New take on a legendary world: Experience the early battles between the UNSC and Covenant, in a time predating Halo. Join the crew onboard the Spirit of Fire, a Phoenix-class colony ship converted for UNSC military use, and guided by the A.I. persona Serina. Discover an ancient artifact during a journey to the planet Harvest, the first planet to be attacked by The Covenant. And then get ready for the wars.
  • Screen Resolution: Up to 1080p (Full HDTV).

  • Screenshots / Images
    Halo Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Halo Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Halo Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Halo Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Halo Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Halo Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Halo Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Halo Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Halo Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Halo Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Halo Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Halo Wars screenshot - click to enlarge

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