Halo Wars

What we’re all wondering is: can we play as the Covenant? It hasn’t been confirmed by Ensemble, but they’ve been so coy about it in the media that it’s near enough a banker. One thing that is for sure, however, is that the Flood won’t be making an appearance - the Covenant hasn’t let the cat out of the bag at this stage of the timeline.

Above: A tap of the shoulder button when you’ve got the appropriate building highlighted brings up this menu - a versatile interface that allows you to do anything from resource management to the vehicle construction. Simply flick the analogue stick toward the option you want, tap A to select it and you’re away

Halo worked brilliantly because the individual components - the weaponry, the Covenant types, the vehicles - gelled together and complemented one another. Plasma shields were effective against certain weapons, while others could defuse them in a single shot. This gave Halo a tactical edge over its rivals - and should translate to RTS well.

Everything is in place and behaves as you remember. Warthogs swivel and turn in the sand, setting up for a long run before vaulting over a cliff edge. Grunts drop their weapons and scamper lest they get crushed underneath the Warthog wheels, while above, patrolling Ghosts circle around in packs, looking for human stragglers to pick off one by one. It’s like you’re watching an intense Halo 3 battle from a cloudy pedestal, and it’s no doubt the sort of carnage Bungie imagined back when they originally designed Halo as an all-out strategy game.

Halo Wars may be the strategy title everyone can enjoy - which means hardcore strategy fans might be a little disillusioned by some of the changes Ensemble have made to ensure accessibility. Either way, it’ll be one to watch in ‘08.

Feb 6, 2008