Halo Wars gets cre­atively re­ass em­bled

The To­tal War team are re­vamp­ing an Xbox 360 clas­sic

XBox: The Official Magazine - - DASHBOARD -

Some­times the plan­ets of the games in­dus­try’s so­lar sys­tem align so per­fectly, you can al­most hear atoms screech­ing un­der the strain. Cre­ative Assem­bly sign­ing on to de­velop a se­quel to Ensem­ble’s Halo Wars is one of these oc­ca­sions.

New to Halo Wars? It’s one of the few gen­uinely playable real-time strat­egy games on con­sole, a cun­ning al­loy of Ensem­ble’s Age of Em­pires se­ries and the unit re­la­tion­ships of the num­bered Halo games. CA, of course, is the devel­oper of the To­tal War se­ries – the arm­chair tac­ti­cian’s Call of Duty – and Alien: Iso­la­tion, a game that demon­strates both a mas­tery of Xbox One’s in­nards and a tal­ent for squeez­ing ge­nius out of ex­ter­nally-owned prop­erty. Stir all this to­gether, and you’ve got the ba­sis for the finest ex­er­cise in liv­ing room gen­er­alling since Alexan­der the Great had Napoleon Bon­a­parte over for a round of Twis­ter.

CA has said that HW2 won’t be a re­skinned To­tal War – it’ll be “Halo Wars taken to the next stage”. What this amounts to re­mains to be seen, but it strikes the right note. To­tal War’s mi­cro­man­age­ment would be a night­mare on a pad, and Ensem­ble’s take on the con­sole RTS has yet to be eclipsed. The crew of the Spirit of Fire re­turn in This Brute looks new though.

It’s not just a ques­tion of smart con­trols, with group se­lect com­mands on the shoul­der but­tons, and a cur­sor you can ex­pand by hold­ing a face but­ton. Halo Wars also slims down the con­ven­tions of base-build­ing – you still get to choose be­tween re­search and unit pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties, but ev­ery­thing slots into a pre­set base tem­plate, so there’s no need to worry about niceties of place­ment. If CA can im­prove on that for­mula – per­haps in the form of a proper Covenant cam­paign – it’ll have a clas­sic on its hands.

// Ensem­ble’s take on con­sole strat­egy has yet to be eclipsed//

HW2.

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