Halo Wars 2’ s story takes place 28 years af­ter the orig­i­nal, with the crew of the UNSC hav­ing awo­ken from cryosleep to find a dis­tress sig­nal. This leads them into con­flict with Atriox, leader of a splin­ter group of Brutes named the Ban­ished, which has sep­a­rated from the Covenant. Atriox him­self is in­tro­duced in a ter­rific, lav­ish CGI se­quence from Blur Stu­dio. How­ever, hav­ing es­tab­lished a new and im­pos­ing foe, the plot has him dis­ap­pear for much of the game. And al­though the cli­mac­tic en­counter reaches a fit­ting crescendo, an abrupt end­ing makes this feel like an­other Halo story more con­cerned with set­ting up fu­ture en­tries than reach­ing a sat­is­fy­ing con­clu­sion of its own. Still, we’d wel­come Atriox’s re­turn in the in­evitable Halo 6.

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