HALO WARS Demo Review


Feb 15, 2007
So HALO is back. Despite the fact that RTS is not HALO's norm, Microsoft and Ensemble (now defunct) set to prove that this genre can actually be successful on consoles. The 1.4GB demo hit Xbox LIVE Marketplace yesterday and offers 2 levels from the campaign, 2 levels of tutorial, and a skirmish map. The retail version will be out February 27, 2009.

I'm going to make it short with just spifft and iffy aspects of the demo.


  • The epic, grandiose and colossal HALO world feels successfully translates to RTS form
  • For ACTION genre gamers like me (who tend to suck at RTS games), the gameplay is easy to get hang of, without overwhelming the first timer with complex/normal RTS standards like micromanagment, resource managing etc.
  • The musical score blends well with the trilogy
  • The controls are really REALLY easy and definitely tailor made for Xbox 360 Controller
  • The story is conveyed through impressive CG cutscenes

  • Halo Wars was clearly aimed for people who have never played RTS games before. Longtime RTS vets might be disappointed at the lack of RTS standards
  • No controller in the world matches the precision and ease of a mouse. Moving around with Left Stick feels slower and needs a bit of practice to master
  • Action/Adventure genre players can still suck at playing RTS
I've played my share of RTS games on PC like C&C: Generals, Age of Mythology, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, SimCity 4, LOTR: Battle for Middle-earth but LOTR: BFME was the ONLY one I ever ended. Couldn't get past level 3 on C&C 3: Tiberium Wars on Xbox 360.

All in all, story looks interesting, battles feel cool, and this game is probably going to be a SUPERB last hurrah for Ensemble Studios.


Well-known member
Aug 13, 2007
Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Wow that was short and nice review :D anyways I guess Halo Wars didn't suck after all, right?

Anyways, I would appreciate if the staff/admin adds this review to the homepage of PG.

BTW are you the only 1 who downloaded Halo Wars yet? Come on guys share your experiences if anyone else has downloaded it too.


Member Sellers
Nov 26, 2008
well if you come to think of it....the game isnt that nice...i havent played it but judging from the guys review...the good part is...its easy to play....good cg cutscenes....good music....thats not wht makes a game good...its the gameplay....n clearly he says that its just not good....rts was never meant to b for consoles...stick to pc when it comes to rts unless ofcourse u add support for a mouse n keyboard


Born to Be Wild Away On a Ride
Dec 8, 2007
First Impressions: Halo Wars

In the past, some have asked what war might be good for. As the story song goes, the answer is always “absolutelynothin’!” Well, with the latest installment in the Halo series from Ensemble Studios, whose other projects include the Age of Empires series, it proves that war can provide a bit of entertainment. I, along with the rest of the Xbox community, had a chance to snag the demo and, to my surprise, found it to be quite enjoyable. Let me start by saying that real-time strategy games aren’t really the highest on my list of games to play. If you’ve been reading my weekly posts, you’ll notice that I tend to stick with first person shooters for preview and review coverage. My only prior exposure to a real RTS was StarCraft from way back in the day. To make matters worse, you take away my mouse and give me a gamepad to play? That just seemed like a terrible idea; so as you can guess, I approached Halo Wars with very low expectations.
Boy, was I surprised! The demo was actually pretty fun. Nay, it was a lot of fun. In fact, I’ll probably go back and play another skirmish after I complete this article! As I already mentioned, I have limited experience with RTS games, so perhaps the more experienced player will have more nitpicking to do than I. However, I thought the demo gave me a good taste of a game that I might actually pick up, after the price drops, of course.

The game takes place about 20 years before Halo: Combat Evolved, as the war between humans and the Covenant begins. The demo gives you a very brief preview of the story through a couple campaign levels. I’m no die-hard Halo fanatic, but I did find myself enjoying the story that was presented and look forward to seeing how it plays out.
In the demo you can play through the aforementioned campaign levels or skirmish against an AI opponent. While it is fun, my beef is the great disparity between difficulty levels: “normal” mode is way too easy and “heroic” kicks my ass every time! Again, this may be chalked up to my inexperience with RTS games, but I’d like to think it’s the game and not me.

When the game ships, it will include a few different ways to play: Campaign for the story mode, Skirmish to play against AI, Multiplayer versus, and in true Halo fashion, Cooperative.
As far as the controls are concerned, though the gamepad doesn’t offer the same precision as the mouse and keyboard, it isn’t terribly difficult to select troops. You can easily select all troops or just visible troops with the left or right bumper respectively. When you make either of these selections, all similar groups (Marines, Warthogs, Scorpions, etc) are grouped together. After selecting one of these groups, you can narrow your selection even more by pulling the right trigger to scroll through the selected groups. This way you can easily send all of one class to a specific area. While this does help to select multiple groups, it does ignore selecting a highly diverse group for an attack. For example, if I want to select one out of three groups of Marines and two of three Warthogs, I have to hand pick them with the “A” button. I also have not discovered a way to assign groups to a button or command sequence, which limits the ability to hot select groups you have assigned in the past.

Control issues aside, the gameplay is smooth and enjoyable, the sound doesn’t take away from the experience, the music is definitely appropriate and the graphics are great. All in all, the game looks to be a sure hit for any Halo fan or RTS junkie that is looking to experience the Halo universe in a new way.

It isnt baaaad.

Being a AOE fan I know what Ensemble is capable of and I know how they got me into RTS. Would love to give it a try instead.


Screww you guys, im going home
Jan 20, 2007
Karachi !
I'd say HW is a very different RTS. rather than wasting time on number cruching and minute updates it plays a simple rock paper scissors (with enough common sense to know that 100 papers CAN fight up to 2 scissors) its really simple and fun and a whole new perspective to the haloverse!

i would have loved a sequel :(
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