Halo Wars review

Driving the Chief up a blind alley

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

Placing stronger units towards the front of the pack and having long-range ones at the rear would seem to be the most sensible option in a battle, but no preset formations are allowed here. You have to try moving small groups of them individually, which is a real pain when there are countless enemies camped out nearby. While you’re struggling to assemble a particular group, any units not under direct control will succumb to bloodlust and start attacking, even if it’s a bunch of marines against a Scarab.

You can’t easily split the army and try flanking the enemy. The only real variation you can introduce into these predictable wars of attrition is to command units to launch their secondary attacks by tapping Y. It takes a while to recharge, and as soon as it’s ready you’ll want to do it again and again – because your opponent will be doing exactly the same.

When there are several players, either human or AI, you can team up with allies and co-ordinate attacks, but each player is still stifled by the same limitations that plague the solo campaign. It’s a shame because the cutscenes are of a supremely high quality and the presentation mimics Halo 3’s clean precision. Essentially, then, Halo Wars looks the part but it’s basically all show. There was a brilliantly innovative online RTS series a few years back that had the same sort of fun and depth as Halo – Bungie’s very own Myth games, now sadly forgotten. Reviving something like that would have been a lot more appropriate than the generic, inflexible Halo Wars.

Feb 20, 2009

More info

DescriptionHalo fans rejoice! RTS fans grieve!
Franchise nameHalo
UK franchise nameHalo
Platform"Xbox 360"
US censor rating"Teen"
UK censor rating"16+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Freelance Journalist

Martin Kitts is a veteran of the video game journalism field, having worked his way up through the ranks at N64 magazine and into its iterations as NGC and NGamer. Martin has contributed to countless other publications over the years, including GamesRadar+, GamesMaster, and Official Xbox Magazine.