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Halo Wars

Halo Wars

Halo Wars

Halo Wars is a real-time strategy video game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360 video game console. It was released in Japan and Australia on February 26, 2009, in Europe on February 27, and in North America on March 3. The game is set in the science fiction universe of the Halo series in the year 2531, 21 years before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. The player leads human soldiers aboard the warship Spirit of Fire in an effort to stop an ancient fleet of ships from falling into the hands of the genocidal alien Covenant.

Halo Wars was officially unveiled at the X06 Xbox show in 2006. Ensemble designed the game specifically for the Xbox 360 controller, in an attempt to circumvent issues present in previous console RTS. Ensemble was closed by Microsoft before the game's release, but soon after Robot Entertainment was founded by many of Ensemble's former employees; this new company continued to support Halo Wars with updates and downloadable content.

Halo Wars received generally positive reviews. Reviewers lauded the game's pre-rendered cinematics, attention to detail in replicating the Halo universe, and intuitive control scheme. Complaints against the game included the lack of an option to play as the Covenant faction in campaign mode as well as the lack of strategic options during play. Critics from GameSpot and USA Today wrote that experienced RTS players would find the strategic elements of the title shallow. The game sold one million units worldwide through March 2009, making it the best-selling console real-time strategy game to date.

Halo Wars Plot

The Spirit of Fire is sent to the ruined planet Harvest to investigate Covenant activity, where Cutter learns that the Covenant has excavated something at the planet's northern pole. When the UNSC's main outpost on Harvest is captured, Cutter orders Forge to retake it. Soon after, Forge scouts the Covenant excavation and discovers that they, under the direction of the Arbiter, have discovered a Forerunner facility. Forge's troops defeat the Covenant forces before they can destroy the installation, and Anders arrives. She determines that the facility is an interstellar map, and recognizes a set of coordinates that points to the human colony of Arcadia.

After repelling a Covenant counterattack on the Forerunner facility, the Spirit of Fire travels to Arcadia, where the Covenant has begun raiding local cities and slaughtering civilians. Forge contacts the local Spartan special forces and assists with the evacuation process. The Covenant builds a giant energy shield to hide the construction of a gigantic Scarab super-weapon, but the UNSC forces use experimental equipment to break through. The Scarab is destroyed, but the Arbiter kidnaps Anders and escapes the planet.

Forge and the Spartans return to the Spirit of Fire and the crew follows Anders' signal to an uncharted planet in another star system. The planet's surface is infested by the parasitic Flood, who attack and assimilate any sentient life they encounter. The Spirit of Fire inadvertently activates a Forerunner docking station and enters the planet's interior. Flood board the ship, and very soon Forerunner Sentinels appear to cleanse the Flood threat and also to destroy all UNSC forces in the process. The crew discovers the planet is actually hollow, with a habitable interior and a miniature sun. The Covenant's plan is to activate a dormant fleet of highly advanced Forerunner starships inside the planet, and use them to obliterate humanity.

While the Forerunner ships are being activated, Anders escapes through a teleportation device and is rescued. Cutter decides to destroy the Forerunner fleet rather than allow the Covenant to use it. Anders formulates a plan to detonate the ship's faster-than-light drive in the planet's sun, as the explosion would cause a supernova. Before they can prepare the reactor, Forge and the Spartans are ambushed by the Arbiter and his Elites. The Spartans dispatch the aliens and Forge kills the Arbiter. The reactor is damaged during the fight, necessitating a manual detonation. Forge volunteers for the suicidal task, telling the Spartans that they will be needed in the coming fight. The Spirit of Fire escapes just as Forge overloads the reactor, destroying the Forerunner fleet. Without its faster-than-light drive, the Spirit of Fire is left drifting in space. The crew enters cryonic sleep for long-term storage as Cutter takes a last look at Forge's empty cryonic tube. If the game is completed on the "Legendary" difficulty mode, Serina wakes Cutter and tells him that "something has happened".

Halo Wars Gameplay

Halo Wars is a real-time strategy (RTS) video game developed exclusively for the Xbox 360 console, in which players command armies from a bird's-eye view of the battlefield. The game focuses on military combat, but contains streamlined resource management and base construction elements. It was designed with the Xbox 360 Controller in mind; for example, the A button is used for selecting units. A single tap of the button selects one unit, while a double tap selects all units of the same type. The Left D-pad navigates to current battles and cycles through bases, while the right analog stick adjusts the camera angle. A radial menu is used for base construction.

Halo Wars features a story-based, military campaign game mode that can be played alone or cooperatively over the Xbox Live service. A plotless multiplayer option, called "skirmish mode", lets players compete against human or computer-controlled opponents. The game features two factions the players can control: the human United Nations Space Command (UNSC) and alien Covenant. Each faction has different units, strengths, and special abilities. There are three selectable "Leaders" for each side; the chosen leader allows the use of specific units and upgrades during play. While Covenant Leaders appear on the battlefield as units, human leaders do not.

Combat in Halo Wars is balanced by a "rock-paper-scissors" system. In general, ground vehicles are effective in combat against infantry, infantry are effective against aircraft, and aircraft are effective against vehicles. Most units have a unique special ability; for example, human Marines throw grenades, while the "Warthog" vehicle can run over enemies. Humans have access to their ship, the Spirit of Fire, and its special abilities, such as a powerful coilgun called a M.A.C. (Magnetic Accelerator Cannon). Covenant units are generally weaker than their UNSC counterparts, but can use inexpensive and powerful defensive shield generators to add protection to their bases. Players establish their armies by building and expanding bases; these are used to train units and to allocate resources to the research of upgrades and technologies. There are a limited number of potential locations for bases on each scenario or map, making base fortification and defense a priority. A player is defeated if all his or her bases are destroyed, unless a new base is quickly established.

Units are trained, buildings upgraded, and special abilities activated using resources known as "supplies". Players can find supplies on the battlefield, or generate them by building supply structures at bases. Greater numbers of these buildings produce more supplies. Some structures and upgrades become available only after the player achieves a certain "tech level". The UNSC can achieve multiple tech levels through the construction of reactors, with some actions requiring up to level four; the Covenant builds a single temple that allows three upgrades of tech level. The Covenant has one fewer tech level, and each upgrade is more expensive. Destruction of a temple results in the loss of all tech until the temple is rebuilt. Each base has a limited amount of space, so players must balance their resource buildings with other facilities, such as those used to create military units. The number of units a player can deploy is limited, but certain upgrades ease this limit.

SettingHalo Wars takes place in the science fictional universe of the Halo series, during the 26th century. In 2525, a collective of alien races known as the Covenant attacked humanity, declaring humans an affront to their gods, the Forerunners. The game takes place in 2531, roughly 20 years before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. Six years after the Covenant invaded the colony of Harvest, human UNSC forces are still locked in battle on the planet.


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