haha you know me, i'm persistent. :PI would like an expanded cover system but it seems that halo wars is trying to favor more mobile gameplay and is opting for less garrison map features than even the first game.Without fail. I could set my watch to you and your infantry cover mechanics.
If there was an expanded cover system I would implement it like this
- light and heavy cover types with different bonuses
- cover has a 'health bar' and armor and takes as much damage as is mitigated. heavy cover becomes light cover when destroyed.
- cover provides limited stealth (units have to come closer to reveal units in cover) and defenses against direct weapons
- cover can be entered and exited through move commands (as opposed to having to select the garrison and issuing an exit order)
- infantry automatically move to nearby available cover
- some weapons are more effective against units in cover (grenades, flamethrowers, plasma artillery)
- larger vehicle wrecks create cover
- leader powers can call down specialized cover (turret bunker, covenant sniper tower etc.)
Halo Wars 2
- "Know your enemy."
- — Official tagline
Halo Wars 2 is a 2017 real-time strategy video game which serves as a direct sequel to Halo Wars, developed by Creative Assembly and 343 Industries and published by Microsoft Studios. Set in the year 2559, the game focuses on a conflict for control of the Ark between the UNSC and the Banished. It was first revealed at Gamescom 2015 with a teaser trailer and was playable at E3 2016. The game was released simultaneously on Windows 10 and Xbox One on February 21, 2017.
Characters and setting
- "There's a sense of scale and scale that I think was maybe missing from Halo Wars."
- — Frank O'Connor
Halo Wars 2 takes place 28 years after the events of Halo Wars in 2531, after Phoenix-class colony shipUNSC Spirit of Fire had floated adrift in space for decades and declared by the rest of the United Nations Space Command as "lost with all hands". The remaining crew of the Spirit of Fire are awoken from cryo-sleep above the Forerunners' Installation 00, previously the setting for Halo 3. Led by CaptainJames Cutter, the crew of Spirit of Fire encounter the mercenary faction known as the Banished, led by the cunning Jiralhanae warlord Atriox. Having previously battled the Covenant, the Banished rose to power in wake of the empire's fall in 2552 by gaining control of numerous assets from the Covenant.
According to franchise director Frank O'Connor, a primary theme of the game is two commanders from two very different backgrounds facing off against each other in an attempt to gain control of Installation 00. The crew of the Spirit of Fire, having been in cryo-sleep since 2531, are unaware of the nature of the installation, nor do they know the result of the Human-Covenant War. In an effort to return home, Captain James Cutter leads the ship's crew to the surface of Installation 00 to search for a way to reconnect with the rest of the UNSC. It is at this time that the crew encounter Atriox and the Banished. While Halo Wars 2 is tonally designed to feel like a direct continuation of Halo Wars, managing director Kevin Grace stated that the game would have a similar tone to Halo: Combat Evolved, as the game's setting is primarily contained within one location.
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
In 2559, after 28 years of drifting through space, the Spirit of Fire begins to return to operational status. In a message to Captain James Cutter, the ship's AISerina outlines the current state of affairs, stating that she has awakened the crew due to an unexpected development. Serina herself is long gone, with her report a mere recording; at the end of her seven-year operational lifespan, she terminated herself in accordance with UNSC final dispensation regulations. Cutter meets with Professor Ellen Anders on the observation deck, where she is already at hard work investigating the current situation: the Spirit of Fire has been transported through slipspace to an unknown location outside the galaxy. Looming below them is an enormous megastructure, evidently the source of the mysterious slipspace transit. An encrypted transmission of UNSC origin is intercepted from the surface of the construct and recon teams are deployed to investigate.
Scouting the surface, Spartan-IIRed Team comes across signs of battle and a deserted science outpost. Inside they meet a frightened logistics AI who identifies herself as Isabel. Almost immediately, the Spartans are ambushed by a large Jiralhanae. In a lopsided fight to the alien's favor, Douglas-042 is seriously wounded. The Spartans fall back, evacuating their now-unconscious comrade, and escape the outpost with hostile forces in pursuit. While the others board a Pelican, Alice-130 stays behind to hold off the attackers, her fate uncertain. Aboard the Spirit of Fire, a shaken Isabel briefs Captain Cutter and the crew on the new threat: A Jiralhanae warlord, Atriox, who rebelled against the Covenant during the Human-Covenant War, amassing a mercenary army known as the Banished, who have now attacked the Ark and massacred the humans under Isabel's charge. The AI pleads the crew to flee, but Cutter instead chooses to stay and stop the Banished on the Ark.
The Spirit of Fire crew begin their campaign against the Banished with a strike on a salvage operation led by Atriox's lieutenant Decimus, while Anders works to find a way to contact the UNSC. Decimus and his local forces are eventually defeated, but he manages to escape. In the Banished base's wreckage, data is discovered pointing to a Cartographer — a map room of the entire installation. To prevent the Banished from making use of the Cartographer, Captain Cutter decides to mount an assault on the site. While the UNSC forces secure the access point to the Cartographer, the narrative returns to Alice-130, who has been carrying out her own operations against the Banished behind their lines. She launches an operation to rescue UNSC prisoners while using another abandoned research outpost to reestablish contact with the Spirit of Fire. After successfully doing so, she is placed in command of the UNSC forces in the area by Captain Cutter, with the intent of continuing a local campaign against the Banished.
Meanwhile, the UNSC forces reach the Cartographer, and after meeting some resistance from the Banished and the Ark's Sentinels, they gain access to the central chamber. Interfacing with the Cartographer, Professor Anders learns that Atriox has been using the site to take over the Ark's entire portal network, allowing him to quickly transport his forces across the installation. Destroying a key control node will deny the Banished access to the portals. Anticipating the UNSC's plans, Atriox has stationed forces led by Decimus in the area. After a lengthy battle, the UNSC forces manage to destroy the portal node and kill Decimus. However, their victory is short-lived as the Spirit of Fire falls under attack by the Banished flagship Enduring Conviction. While the Spirit fights off the attack in space, Alice-130 and her forces must survive waves of Banished forces without orbital support. Aboard the Spirit of Fire, Professor Anders introduces a bold plan: in order to reestablish contact with the UNSC, they will launch a Halo ring. It is revealed that the Ark maintains a nearly complete Halo in its Foundry as an emergency replacement. Additionally, Anders has discovered a means to disable the ring's firing mechanism, though it can only be deployed to one of the sites of the original installations. Cutter resolves that since Installation 04 was discovered relatively close to Reach, a communications beacon deployed in its former site may feasibly reach the UNSC.
However, the plan cannot proceed before the present threat of the Enduring Conviction is addressed. Isabel outlines a plan to use a Forerunner particle cannon on the Ark's surface to fire on the assault carrier, while she and Jerome-092 will board the flagship through its gravity lift. Anders manages to activate the particle cannon, though it only disables the Enduring Conviction's shields. Jerome and Isabel then head to the gravity lift but their Pelican is shot down on the way. After UNSC forces besiege the Banished base at the gravity lift, Jerome successfully boards the lift, infiltrates the carrier, and inserts Isabel into its systems. She then fires the ship's ventral energy projector on the Banished troops below, feeding off of her rage over their massacre of the Ark personnel under her care. The beam soon penetrates the Ark's crust, rousing the installation's Aggressor Sentinels. Swarms of the Sentinels descend upon the Enduring Conviction, ramming themselves into the carrier in massive numbers. While Jerome fights off Banished Jiralhanae inside the ship, the Sentinels finally manage to bisect the ship, stopping in perfect synchrony once they have punched through. Jerome picks up Isabel and jumps off the ship toward the Ark.
In the aftermath, Atriox and ShipmasterLet 'Volir survey the wreckage of the Enduring Conviction. As they assess their losses, both are surprised to witness a Halo rising from the Ark's Foundry. Atriox immediately orders 'Volir to send all his forces on the ring to prevent the humans from gaining a foothold. While the UNSC work to establish a presence on the new Halo, the Banished mount their own invasion there through access portals at the Ark's Foundry. After the UNSC forces destroy Banished bases sending troops to the Halo, they travel to the new ring as well through the access portal. Atriox contacts Captain Cutter and makes an offer to spare the crew of the Spirit of Fire — if they leave. Cutter staunchly refuses, pointing out that Atriox did not extend similar mercy to the personnel he slaughtered before their arrival. On the Halo, the UNSC must reach the control room and disarm the ring before it can reach human space, while the Banished continue to send in forces in an effort to gain control of the installation. The control room is shielded, but Anders manages to take control of an initially hostile Retriever Sentinel and use the machine to disable the energy barrier.
While Anders enters the control room to disable the Halo's firing systems and deploy a communications beacon, the UNSC must hold off waves of Banished attacks before she can complete her work. Interfacing with the control room's core, Anders manages to cordon off a section of the ring's landmass housing the majority of the Banished troops and launch it into space. The UNSC forces then evacuate from the ring, but Anders has no time to make it out of the control room before the Halo enters a slipspace portal toward its destination — the Soell system, the original site of Installation 04. Anders assures Captain Cutter that she intends to return as soon as possible, perhaps only in several weeks, before her signal is cut off. Cutter resolves to continue the fight against the Banished on the Ark before Anders returns, while Atriox, furious about his defeat, looks upon a massing of his forces.
On its way to the Soell system, the Halo unexpectedly drops out of slipspace. An elevator descends to the control room's central chamber and Anders returns to the surface, where she is confronted by a Guardian.
Spoilers end here.
Halo Wars 2 is a real-time strategy video game with two playable factions: the United Nations Space Command and the Banished.
Halo Wars 2 comes with three tutorial missions to allow new players to get to grips with the controls and gameplay of the game.
- "Basic" - "Learn basic training and get combat-ready for Halo Wars 2."
- "Advanced" - "Learn more advanced techniques to gain the edge in battle."
- "Blitz" - "An introduction to the rules and techniques of Blitz."
The Halo Wars 2campaign consists of twelve missions.
- "The Signal" - "Spartan Jerome and Red Team investigate the source of a UNSC emergency signal."
- "A New Enemy" - "Captain Cutter dispatches a strike team to launch an attack against Atriox's lieutenant, Decimus."
- "Ascension" - "Spartan Jerome and his forces fight through Banished fortifications on the way to the Cartographer."
- "One Three Zero" - "Fighting behind enemy lines, Spartan Alice must rescue UNSC prisoners to open up a second front in the war against the Banished."
- "The Cartographer" - "Professor Anders and Jerome arrive at the Cartographer to discover the secret of Atriox's command over the Ark."
- "Lights Out" - "Jerome must destroy The Banished's portal network controls and cripple Atriox's transport capabilities across the Ark."
- "From the Deep" - "Alice must defend against the Banished as they assault her rag-tag band of survivors."
- "Hold the Line" - "In part one of Isabel's plan, the UNSC must defend a Forerunner cannon as it immobilizes the Banished's carrier and breaks through its shields."
- "Under The Dark" - "In part two of Isabel's plan, Jerome and Isabel infiltrate a Banished compound and prepare to enter the belly of the beast."
- "The Foundry" - "Alice and Douglas lead an assault to cut off the wave of Banished boarding the Halo."
- "The Halo" - "A reunited Red Team must push back the Banished invasion of the Halo so Anders can reach the Control Room."
- "Last Stand" - "Cutter and his crew must fend off the Banished in a final defense of Anders as she prepares the Halo for its voyage."
Campaign DLC released after the original game.
- Operation: SPEARBREAKER
- Main article: Halo Wars 2: Operation: SPEARBREAKER
- "Gatecrashers" - "Major Vaughan leads his Boomerang Company ODSTs to a Banished operation site."
- "Not on My Watch" - "Major Vaughan and his ODST team battle to stop the Banished from launching a Forerunner ship."
- Awakening the Nightmare
- Main article: Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare
- "What Could Go Wrong?" - "Voridus launches a Scarab assault through Sentinel-heavy territory to break into High Charity."
- "Fighting Retreat" - "Pavium and his troops prepare an exit route to extract High Charity salvage."
- "Light the Fuse" - "Pavium must rescue Voridus and clear a path to the Forerunner structure nearby."
- "The Archive" - "Voridus desperately seeks a way to reactivate the Ark's sentinel defenses in an effort to stop the spread of the Flood."
- "Manifestation" - "Voridus and Pavium must assist the Ark's defenses in a final push to contain the Flood threat."
The multiplayer mode of Halo Wars 2 features a number of gamemodes and supports up to six players.
The Skirmish mode allows players, through solo or cooperative play, to battle against AIs with a range of difficulty levels. Strongholds is a fast-paced, timed gamemode where players must control more bases than their opponent when the timer stops to win.Domination centers around players building bases, armies, and battling for control of the map. Deathmatch involves players building up their own bases and armies, though players battle to eliminate one another rather than taking control of the map.
- Main article: Blitz
Blitz is a new gamemode with a unique approach to RTS gameplay. In Blitz, players contest control points by positioning their forces over particular areas of the map. When one team holds more control points than the other, they start accumulating points until the balance is redressed. The first team to hit 200 points, or the highest scoring team after 12 minutes wins the game.
Using the same gameplay as Blitz, Blitz Firefight will focus players on survival of countless waves. Player must hold the control points as long as they can while the enemies number increases over new wave of attack.
- Main article: Terminus Firefight
A brand new cooperative experience to the Firefight family. In Terminus Firefight, up to three players amass armies to defend both their bases, and their Forerunner terminus node against an ever-increasing and intensifying hoard of attacking enemies.
Halo Wars 2 uses a socket base system similar to the original Halo Wars, with some differences. Halo Wars 2 introduces Minibases as a new feature allowing the player to build subsidiary "Battle Bases" or "Supply Bases". Visually, the various base structures are no longer constructed from the base hub and are instead delivered by dropships.
Halo Wars 2 features a number of units carried over from the previous Halo Wars, as well as several all-new ones. Unlike Halo Wars in which each Hero Unit is given unique abilities and Super Units, each faction now has only one type of Super Unit: the G81 Condor Gunship for the UNSC and the Banished Scarab for the Banished. For neutrals, Sentinals have the Retriever Sentinel as Super Unit and the Flood has the Abomination as Super Unit.
Unlike Halo Wars, units are no longer listed by role such as Building Killer, Infantry Killer or even Vehicle Killer. They are now listed as their role in their unit such as Reconnaissance, Sniper, Anti-Air Walker, etc.
When producing a unit, it has three colors to indicate its strengths against various unit categories, namely Infantry, Air, Vehicles and Buildings, each represented with an icon, respectively as:
- Green - Good unit to deal with.
- Yellow - Okay to deal with.
- Red - Poor unit to deal with.
- Clear - Cannot attack that type of unit.
A units' strength against enemies, however, does not determine its capabilities to deal with them; sometimes numbers can close the gap or maintain it. Cannon Fodder, for example, does poorly against all units but will deal considerable damage if engaged with large numbers and buffed with Methane Wagon and Goblins.
Veterancy is now limited to three ranks unlike Halo Wars where there are five. Each veterancy rank increases one's units' attack and defense capabilities.
Super Units are labelled with a special icon on the minimap, while Hero Units are commonly labelled with a star.
The following units are available for the UNSC, the Banished and Neutrals, respectively:
Like in Halo Wars, players in multiplayer pick a leader to play as, each of whom have a set of unique "Leader Powers" and units. Leaders for the UNSC include Captain Cutter, Professor Anders, Isabel, and Sergeant Forge, with four characters, Morgan Kinsano, Sergeant Johnson, Jerome-092 and Serina, added post-launch as downloadable content. Atriox, Decimus, and Let' Volir serve as the leaders for the Banished faction, with five new characters, Colony, Ripa 'Moramee, Yapyap the Destroyer, Pavium, and Voridus, added post-launch as DLC. However each of the leaders is now able to use the same super units, unlike Halo Wars where each leader had their own super unit unique to them. Each leader has their own privileges; for example, Professor Anders can deploy two types of super unit at one time (G81 Condor Gunship and Retriever Sentinel) or Yapyap, who can recruit Cannon Fodder without using any resources.
Unlike Halo Wars, where each leader had only one leader power, each leader on Halo Wars 2 now has a set of 10 unique leader powers split into 5 tiers, either passive or active. Player must assign leader points to unlocked leader powers in order to unlock the next tier of leader powers. This gives the player a new challenge, as leader powers now no longer can be upgraded from the war council / armory and player have to assign leader points wisely to gain the advantage and win the battle-or, in terminus firefight, survive more waves.
This includes a hero unit as well where their abilities can be upgraded but with more balanced build due to compensated by sets of Leader Powers. Each upgrade now increases damage and health while under some circumstances, some ability may improved as long as it was related to the ability the Hero possess. Hero Unit now must be purchased instead of acquiring it for free for the first time. Hero unit also will display what they are good, okay, and poor unit to deal with so player can form strategy more efficiently to compensate hero's lacking.
Leaders and specialties
Each of the leaders in Halo Wars 2 has a certain specialty with select unique units and leader powers. Like in Halo Wars, some of the leaders can be summoned to the field as hero units. Some Leaders only available in the campaign.
- Leader Points and Leader Powers
When the player acquires leader points, they can be applied on several leader powers (special abilities that can aid the player on the battlefield). Even when the player is idle, the leader point bar gauge charges gradually and when the gauge is full, the player gains a point. However, points can be earned faster by killing enemy unit and destroying enemy buildings. The number of available leader points is indicated by stars above the map HUD. Player must distribute at least two points on previous tier to unlock the next tier.
|Support Power||Duration / Type||Population||Supply Cost||Power Cost||Cooldown||Type|
|UNSC Campaign Leader Powers|
|Close Air Support||30 Second / Support Power||4 Pelicans||1500||0||360 seconds||Air Support|
|ODST Drop||Permanent / Active Power||12 Population||600||0||180 seconds||Elite Infantry|
|Turret Drop||Permanent / Active Power||1 Defense Turret||350/425/500||0||203 seconds||Defense Turret|
|Archer Missiles||3 Second / Active Power||14/15/16 Missiles||275//375/475||275/375//475||228 seconds||Bombardment|
|Restoration Drones||15 Second / Support Power||N/A||300/400/500||100/150/200||210 seconds||Healing|
|Battle Hardened||Permanent / Passive||N/A||N/A||N/A||No Cooldown||Veterancy Boost|
|R & D||Permanent / Passive||N/A||N/A||N/A||No Cooldown||Advanced Technology|
|Holographic Decoy||30 second / Support Power||N/A||650||N/A||150 seconds||Decoys|
|Lotus Mine||Permanent / Active Power||3 Mines||50/100/150||50/100/150||105 seconds||Cloaked Mine|
|Banished Campaign Leader Powers|
|Atriox's Bulwark||15 Second / Support Power||N/A||350/450/550||125/175/225||180 seconds||Healing|
|Rain of Fire||10 Second / Active Power||7 Beams||200/300/400||200/300/400||137 seconds||Bombardment|
|Orbital Designator||12 Second / Support Power||N/A||0||100/200||130 seconds||Reconnaissance|
|Burnout||30 Second / Support Power||N/A||100/200/300||50/100/200||140 seconds||Resource Production|
|Stasis||10/16 Second / Support Power||N/A||150/200||150/200||180 seconds||Control|
|Ultra Mines||Permanent / Active Power||7 Mines||200/330||200/330||105 seconds||Mines|
|Infusion Wake||90 Second / Active Power||N/A||350/450/550||225/300/400||150 seconds||Bombardment|
|Cataclysm||Active Power||N/A||600||400||230 seconds||Explosion|
|Lich Vanguard||120 Second / Support Power||1 Lich||600||600||330 seconds||Air Support|
In Halo Wars 2, players are no longer capped the Reactor as the Tech Level system is replaced by Generator Power Resources that are generated by Generators that function similarly to the Supplies in the original game. In order to advance Technology, the player must upgrade the Firebase to the next tier in order to upgrade units. Player are unable to upgrade further until tech requirements are met. This brings player to new challenge as they have to keep the generator running to generate more power to upgrade units further.
- Main article: Halo Wars 2 skulls
Skulls can be obtained through completing various optional missions, like killing specific enemies and keeping allies alive.
- Main article: Achievements (Halo Wars 2)
- This section needs expansion. You can help Halopedia by expanding it.
- Main article: Phoenix Logs
Similar to the Black Boxes of the original Halo Wars, collectibles known as Phoenix Logs found throughout the campaign unlock codex entries featuring background information for various characters, events and locations in the story.
Halo Wars: Definitive Edition
Halo Wars: Definitive Edition is a remaster and re-release of the original Halo Warsreal-time strategy game that was released on the Xbox 360 in March of 2009. Halo Wars: Definitive Edition was originally released for Xbox One and Windows 10 on December 20, 2016, bundled with the Ultimate Edition of Halo Wars 2. On April 20, 2017, it was released for standalone purchase on Steam as well as Xbox One and Windows 10.
The game features improved graphics, updated achievements, and all of the downloadable content that was offered for Halo Wars original release. Players are able to achieve three additional multiplayer ranks of Three-Star General, Four-Star General and Five-Star General.
Players who pre-ordered the Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition were able to play the Definitive Edition beginning on December 20, 2016, more than two months prior to the release of Halo Wars 2, and four months prior to its solo release.
Halo Wars: Definitive Edition additionally offers Steam rewards, which can be viewed here.
The in-game options and extras menu has a concept art gallery, whose contents are depicted below.
Every Halo Game, Ranked By How Awesome The Cover Art Was
Video game cover art has been steadily de-emphasized over the years, but, twenty years on, the Halo franchise still delivers in this aspect.
Bungie and 343's seminal first-person shooter franchise, Halohas, for the better part of two decades, been one of the most beloved video games series of all time. To date, the Halo franchise includes Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: ODST, Halo Reach, Halo Wars, Halo Wars 2, Halo 4, Halo 5: Guardians, as well as the upcoming Halo: Infinite for Xbox One X and One S.
RELATED: 10 Hilarious Bungie Memes Only Halo And Destiny Fans Understand
Over the years, fans, have ranked everything Halo-related, the games, the characters, the storylines, but one area which is seriously lacking in the ranking department is the cover art of each title.
10 Halo: Combat Evolved
To be fair, it was truly a challenge deciding on which of the Halo titles had the least-awesome cover art. Perhaps due sheerly to the time of the game's release all the way back in 2001, Halo: Combat Evolved has the worst cover art. Could it be the razor-sharp polygons of graphics from the era? Who knows, but, while Halo: Combat Evolved is indeed a classic FPS, out of the nine entries to this beloved franchise, the first game has the least-awesome cover art.
9 Halo 3
Many fans hail Halo 3 as the last true Halo game, citing that Bungie is the only developer for the franchise. Halo 3 concludes the first trilogy story for Master Chief and begins approximately two weeks after the events that take place in Halo 2.
The cover art, however, does not really showcase the fact that this is the final installment in an epic trilogy; it features Master Chief holding his signature assault rifle, while, in the background, there isn't much going on save for a silhouetted construct that could be of forerunner origin.
8 Halo Wars
After the release of the first trilogy in the Halo-verse which included Halo Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Halo 3, the developers at Ensemble Studios and Bungie decided to go the route of real-time-strategy with Halo Wars.
RELATED: 10 Small Details You Only Notice Replaying The Original Halo
The game takes place two decades prior to the events of Halo: Combat Evolved and explores the first encounters that humanity had with the covenant. While Halo Wars was met with mostly positive reviews, the cover art just doesn't live up to the epic battles players are able to engage in.
7 Halo: Spartan Strike
Halo: Spartan Strike is a mobile video game that challenges gamers to 30 missions that take place in the various cities and jungles of the Halo-verse. Players have a diverse arsenal of weapons, abilities, and vehicles, including the Warthog at their disposal to take on Covenant and Promethean enemies.
The cover art is badass and features a Spartan donned in rust-orange armor, while, in the background, a Warthog can be seen taking on a squad of Promethean enemies.
6 Halo: Spartan Assault
Halo: Spartan Assault is the first of the Halo mobile game in the franchise. Just like Spartan Strike, players have control of Spartans with an array of weapons and abilities as they lay waste to Covenant enemies.
The cover of Spartan Assault is ever so slightly more awesome than the sequel, boasting a Spartan clad in white armor, while, in the background, one can see the silhouettes of various Covenant enemies, including a colossal Hunter, complete with glowing energy weapons.
5 Halo 2
Halo 2 is often lauded as the best entry to the Halo video game franchise. After the smash hit that Halo: Combat Evolved was, many fans were nervous that Halo 2 would not even live up to the awesomeness that the first game was. It's safe to say that both fans and critics were more than satisfied. Halo 2 continues the story of Master Chief, Cortana, the Covenant, and the Flood. However, Halo 2 was the first title to allow players to take control of Covenant forces in the form of the Arbiter.
RELATED: Halo: 10 Things You Didn't Know About 343 Guilty Spark
While simple, the cover art features Master Chief wielding not one, but two new weapons, those being SMGs, which debuted in Halo 2. He's dual-wielding the weapons while standing atop a building while the fires of a battle on Earth rage on behind him. It's iconic and awesome in every sense of the words.
4 Halo 3: ODST
Halo 3: ODST is an expansion to the Halo 3 storyline where players take control of an orbital drop shock trooper, AKA ODST. As opposed to playing with Master Chief, players are not as robust as Master Chief; you can't jump as high, and you definitely do not have the same power with melee attacks.
The game had a moody, almost film-noir feel to it as you're thrown into exploring the city of New Mombasa as you hunt for your missing ODST teammates. The cover art itself is powerful, albeit moody, as it features an ODST standing in the rain, with the mostly midnight blue hue adding to that film noir feel.
3 Halo Reach
Following Halo 3, the developers at Bungie Studios developed Halo Reach, a direct prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved. Instead of suiting up as Master Chief, players got to play as five different Spartans, all with their own unique weapons and abilities. The story unfolds on the UNSC fortress world of Reach, mere weeks before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. Noble Team, a squad of UNSC Spartan supersoldiers, is sent to investigate the sudden loss of comms from a key outpost.
The cover art is particularly awesome, featuring Noble Team in all their badassery and a cloud-shrouded skyline with a Covenant ship emerging from hyperspace, swarthed in lightning generated from the clouds.
2 Halo 4
Halo 4 was the first entry to the Halo franchise, developed by 343 industries. The game's story takes place four years after the events of Halo 3. After an ominous energy passes through the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn, Cortana awakens Master Chief by activating his cryopod as unknown enemies board the ship.
RELATED: Halo 4: All Specializations, Ranked
While hardcore Halo and Bungie fans had a lot to say about 343's approach to the Halo universe, the game was praised by both critics and fans. Halo 4's cover art is exceptional, albeit simple, featuring Master Chief on one knee amidst what seems to some sort of wreckage.
1 Halo 5: Guardians
Halo 5: Guardians is 343's second installment to the Halo franchise. The story features a new threat to the galaxy, while Master Chief is MIA and thus his loyalties are questioned, specifically by another Spartan, Locke, voiced by Mike Colter, who leads another team of Spartan soldiers.
Halo 5: Guardians allows players to the reigns as both Locke and Master Chief and introduced faster gameplay, playing more like a twitch shooter than any other titles in the series. Once again, less is more here, as the cover art simply features Locke and Master Chief facing each other head one, while, in the background, we can see a forerunner Guardian in all its ancient glory.
NEXT: Halo: 10 Things You Didn't Know About The Sangheili
NextEvery Fully Evolved Fairy-Type Pokémon, Ranked By StrengthAbout The Author
Lloyd Newkirk is a writer, digital marketer, actor, presenter, voice artist, gamer, music enthusiast and an honest to Cthulu geek. A graduate of City Varsity Cape Town and Red & Yellow Creative School of Business, he set out as an actor in 2010, jumped to marketing and writing as a secondary career path in 2016 and has now found himself back on a cosmically aligned path, writing about the things he loves. Film, television, video games and comics.
Wars cover halo
2009 real-time strategy video game
2009 video game
Halo Wars is a real-time strategy (RTS) video game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360video game console. It was released in 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 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. An enhanced version of the game—Halo Wars: Definitive Edition—was released for Windows and Xbox One in December 2016. Halo Wars 2, a sequel developed by 343 Industries and Creative Assembly was released in February 2017.
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 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) as Captain Cutter, Sergeant Forge, or Professor Anders, and the alien Covenant as the Prophet Of Regret, the Arbiter, or Brute Chieftain. 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. The army of a player must also be destroyed to be defeated.
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.
Setting and characters
Halo 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. Years after the Covenant invaded the colony of Harvest, human UNSC forces are still locked in battle on the planet.
The commander of the UNSC warship Spirit of Fire is Captain James Cutter (Gregg Berger), a strong leader who has earned the admiration of his subordinates. Cutter's lack of political ambition prevents him from climbing the ranks further. Serving under Cutter is Sergeant John Forge (Nolan North), a gruff Marine whose devotion to his men has caused him to be jailed twice for disobeying orders and engaging in disorderly conduct. Joining the Spirit of Fire's military expedition is Professor Ellen Anders (Kim Mai Guest), a scientist interested in ancient ruins of the mysterious Forerunners. The Spirit of Fire is operated with help from Serina (Courtenay Taylor), a super-intelligent artificial intelligence (AI) with a sardonic sense of humor. Leading the Covenant search for Forerunner technology is a holy warrior known as the Arbiter (David Sobolov), who the Covenant leaders, the Prophet Hierarchs, have tasked with the oversight of humanity's destruction.
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. However, they are ambushed by cloaked Covenant forces, and are then pinned down deep within the facility. After some time, they are relieved, and Forge, Anders, and the surviving Marines that accompanied them in are rescued, with Anders and Forge returning to the Spirit of Fire.
After escaping the 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, with limited assistance from surviving Arcadian police in the area, helps facilitate the evacuation process. After the last of the transports leave, Forge's troops retreat to the city's outskirts. There, they establish a base of operations in a large crater, and hold out for support. This support comes slowly at first, with only a few other surviving UNSC forces retreating to their position in the crater. However, after some time, a large Spartan force arrives from the Spirit of Fire, and their position is evacuated. Upon further exploration of Covenant activity on the planet, it is discovered that the Covenant has built a giant energy shield to hide the construction of a gigantic Scarab super-weapon, and their search of Forerunner ruins in the area. However, the UNSC forces use experimental equipment to break through, and after heavy shelling via the M.A.C., and a ground-based assault, the Scarab is destroyed. Despite their efforts, the Arbiter kidnaps Anders during a salvage operation, and, after a short fight with Forge, 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. After unwittingly sending two scouting parties to their demise, forces from the Spirit of Fire establish a base of operations on the planets surface, and destroy a Proto-Gravemind after a lengthy battle. 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 inadvertently destroy all UNSC forces in the process. After cleaning the Spirit of Fire's hull, the crew manages to escape the dock, and leaves out the other side. Doing this, the crew discovers the planet is actually hollow, with a habitable interior and a miniature sun at its core. 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. After a small detour, involving using heavy equipment to manually haul the drive the last stretch of its journey, the detonation team, including Forge, and Spartans Jerome, Alice and Douglas, reach the Apex site. From there, they get the reactor into position to bring it into the core of the artificial Sun. 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".
Computer game developer Bungie conceived Halo: Combat Evolved as a real-time strategy game in which players would tactically control units and vehicles in a three-dimensional environment. Microsoft acquired Bungie in 2000, and the game became a first-person shooter and "killer app" for the Xbox console. Bungie produced two best-selling sequels, Halo 2 in 2004 and Halo 3 in 2007, before separating from Microsoft and becoming an independent company once more. Although Bungie is free to produce new intellectual property, the rights to Halo remain with Microsoft. Shane Kim, the head of Microsoft Game Studios, said during the split announcement that "our intent is to continue investing in [Halo] and growing it."
In 2004, the Microsoft-owned Ensemble Studios—developers of the Age of Empires strategy series—began work on the game that would become Halo Wars. The studio confirmed in April 2006 that it was working on a console-based RTS. CEO Tony Goodman said, "We're giving RTS games on the console a shot. We actually spent a whole year just trying to reconstruct how the controls would work on an RTS game." Without revealing the title, Goodman described the game as being shorter and more visceral than their previous projects.
Halo Wars was originally not a Halo series title. Ensemble spent 12 to 18 months working on the control scheme, using the Age of Mythology engine. The development team hacked an Age of Mythology expansion, The Titans, and used it as a prototype for control experiments. Ensemble found that managing Age of Mythology's resources, units, and buildings was too difficult with the console's controller. "The answer [to making a PC-style strategy game for a console] is actually hidden in the question," Jason Pace, Microsoft Game Studio's lead producer, told The New Zealand Herald. "It's something we believe has held strategy games back from succeeding on the console: you can't effectively bring a PC-style strategy game to the console because the fundamental game mechanic is tied to the mouse and keyboard input devices. It's not a question of just changing the control scheme to be gamepad friendly—you need to adapt the underlying strategy mechanic to make sense with the new input device." Senior designer Justin Rouse said that the team kept the controls from the research they had conducted, but scrapped the rest in favor of "build[ing] from the floor up what we need[ed]: the basics, the core of a strategy game." With the goal of making "the first great strategy game on the console", Ensemble streamlined gameplay mechanics; the game's single resource is produced at each base site, which allows players to quickly cycle through their bases instead of micromanaging multiple resources at many locations.
Once the developers were satisfied with the controls, they presented their project to Microsoft, who suggested that it be turned into a Halo game. Bungie was reportedly not happy about this development. Ensemble's Founder, Tony Goodman, stated in a 2012 interview that Bungie saw the move as "the whoring out of our franchise"
Although Ensemble had to re-create all of Bungie's assets from scratch, Bungie had produced a large amount of reference material for the Halo film adaptation that the Halo Wars team used for inspiration. Another reference point was art from the Halo first-person shooters; however, as the art was from a forward perspective and Halo Wars takes place from a bird's-eye view, the team exaggerated shapes to make the units recognizable. Lead designer Graeme Devine noted that the Warthog Jeep is "actually jumping three times as high as it does in Halo, and it goes four times faster than it does in Halo, and all these things—but it looks the same. Very different, between look and accuracy." To ensure artistic continuity between Halo Wars and previous games in the series, Ensemble created a set of guidelines for their artists to follow; for example, the Covenant were to retain their curvy, organic look, while the Forerunner and UNSC were to keep the same geometry angles. UNSC structures and units were given a green tint, with gold specular highlights. The Covenant were textured with a repeating honeycomb pattern, with small blue lights against a purple base color.
Devine described the challenge of developing Halo Wars as "getting Halo fans to play a realtime strategy game, and getting realtime strategy fans to play a Halo game." "Fans of the [first-person shooter] series have very strong expectations for how a Halo games looks, feels and plays. Halo is all about heroic action to save humanity, mega-battles across the galaxy, visceral, highly-tuned combat and heart-pounding tension," Pace said. These themes were considered fundamental to the Halo experience, and so Ensemble tried to replicate them for Halo Wars. Early in play tests, the developers watched devoted Halo fans play the game; their feedback led to the development of special abilities, which, according to Devine, enhanced the Halo feel. Ensemble initially considered making the Flood a playable race, but this idea did not progress beyond the concept stage. According to Devine, this was largely because the Flood would have needed to be similar to StarCraft's Zerg, in order to maintain balance with the UNSC and Covenant. This did not match the Flood's role as "the single scariest thing in the galaxy".
Because of the Master Chief's large role in previous games, significant effort was expended on the Spartan units. Lead designer Dave Pottinger said the design team "started out just accepting and embracing the fact that the Spartans have to be the coolest unit in the game. If they're not, it's not going to meet the Halo fans' expectations." To position the Spartans as "kingmakers" in gameplay, the team gave them what it considered to be the "coolest" unit ability: hijacking enemy vehicles. The developers hoped players would become attached to individual Spartans in the campaign and gave each one an individual name; skirmish units were left nameless. The character design of the Spartans was meant to emphasize their relative inexperience and the setting of the game, which takes place decades before the events of the main trilogy. Devine commented on the Spartans' look:
... We felt because it was 20 years earlier, these are much younger Spartans. They aren't quite as experienced as Master Chief, and we looked a lot at combat infantry going into actual wars, and typically at the beginning of a war, especially the Vietnam War, if you look at the infantry, they're all loaded up. They have all the backpacks on, they have all the belts on, every single bit of armor is there, and they're carrying around lots of armor. At the end of the war, they've lost it all and just carry what they need. This is all they have. So if you look at our Spartans, they have more pieces of armor on going into the war. They have more markings on there, more pieces of armor. They've still got the belts on, they're still carrying around everything.
Ensemble expanded the Halo universe during the game's development, in order to create enough units to give players strategic options. Among the new units was the Gorgon, a biped mech that used weapons called Needlers to destroy light aircraft. However, Ensemble later realized that the Gorgon invalidated a rule they had established: "anything with two legs that walks" was an infantry unit. Instead, the team added a new aircraft called the Vampire. The UNSC, meanwhile, lacked a melee unit to match the Covenant's hand-to-hand power. Ensemble considered using the original, less advanced Spartan Mark I suits of armor, in keeping with Halo lore, but once added these units were indistinguishable from Spartans in appearance. Instead, they created a lumbering, mechanized unit called the Cyclops, a nod to Age of Mythology.
Time constraints prevented many elements from appearing in the final game. One such missing feature was a fatality system by which Spartans or Covenant leaders could inflict massive damage on large groups of units. Pottinger said that the animations, while interesting, did not mesh with the fast-paced combat of Halo Wars and raised balance concerns. Other elements based on Halo fiction did not work in a strategy game. Although more than 100 people worked on the project, which cost tens of millions of dollars, a Covenant campaign was never realized because of a lack of manpower and money.
Halo Wars was officially announced at Microsoft's X06 media briefing on September 27, 2006, with a pre-rendered trailer created by Blur Studio. The trailer depicts a group of Warthog vehicles searching for missing soldiers. Covenant Elites ambush the patrol and a battle ensues involving human and Covenant vehicles and infantry. The trailer ends with the arrival of Spartan reinforcements. GameSpy listed the trailer in its top 25 video game cinematic moments, because it showed "the world of Halo on a much grander scale".
Halo Wars was exhibited at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2007 and 2008. Devine narrated the soundtrack for a video shown at E3 2007, which was later made available on the Xbox Live Marketplace. This video described the game's controls, user interface, vehicles, special weapons, and new units. It also showed a UNSC base consisting of an airbase, vehicle depot, missile silo, and other buildings. IGN, Next Generation, and PC World ranked Halo Wars as one of the most anticipated showings at E3.
On September 10, 2008, Ensemble Studios announced that it would close after Halo Wars' completion. Ensemble founder Tony Goodman and other employees announced the formation of a new studio, Robot Entertainment, shortly before the game's release; another group of ex-staff created Bonfire Studios. Robot announced that, while developing new intellectual property, it would support Halo Wars and Age of Empires through a partnership with Microsoft Game Studios.
|"Spirit of Fire"||2:11|
|"Bad Here Day"||3:00|
|"Money or Meteors"||3:23|
|"Just Ad Nauseum"||0:56|
|"Flip and Sizzle"||3:39|
|"Put the Lady Down"||2:20|
|"Six-Armed Robbing Suit"||2:55|
|"Action Figure Hands"||2:59|
|"Status Quo Show"||1:13|
|"Part of the Plan"||0:29|
|"Work Burns and Runaway Grunts"||3:06|
|"Rescued or Not"||1:31|
|"Best Guess at Best"||2:55|
|"One Problem at a Time"||1:14|
|"De Facto the Matter"||1:31|
|"Part of the Problem"||2:58|
|"Fingerprints Are Broken"||3:22|
|"Out of There Alive"||1:04|
|"Through Your Hoops"||1:35|
|"Under Your Hurdles"||1:28|
|"Insignificantia (All Sloppy/No Joe)"||3:19|
Halo Wars' music was composed by Stephen Rippy, the composer for all of the Age of Empires games. Rippy wanted to write new material while maintaining continuity by reusing iconic elements of the Halo trilogy's music, written by Martin O'Donnell and partner Michael Salvatori. Consultation with O'Donnell and Salvatori finished before Rippy became involved in the project, but the composer sent a compact disc of his work to O'Donnell halfway through the writing process. Before starting work on Halo Wars, Rippy listened to previous Halo soundtracks and searched for useful material in discarded Ensemble projects; "I'm a big fan of both cataloging that stuff and stealing from it without remorse," Rippy said. "Sometimes you don't know what you've got until you really, really need it." Rippy and audio lead Kevin McMullan examined O'Donnell's tracks to identify elements to reuse in Halo Wars. Foregoing his usual method of writing melodies before determining the method of sound production, Rippy built melodies around synthesizer patches or drum loops. He felt that scoring for science fiction was a change of pace from his previous work, which was written for historical settings.
Rippy began writing music for the game in April 2007. "Some of the plot points of Halo Wars revolve around discovery, and I think that was my favorite idea to write to—that sense of, 'no one's seen this before,'" he said. The first two tracks combined repurposed elements from past projects with his efforts to convey the Halo sound. "Flollo" contained musical ideas Rippy had experimented with since his last project, Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs. "Bad Here Day" was the first piece in which he tried to incorporate the "Halo sound". Rippy felt it important to avoid repeating too many old themes because he wanted the game to have its own identity; however, he wanted to continue to incorporate choir and piano, elements he believed to be integral to the sound of previous Halo games. In adherence to an Ensemble Studios tradition, the tracks are often named after coined phrases and inside jokes, rather than in-game events.
By the end of 2007, Rippy had completed all of the gameplay music, including end credits, battle themes, and ambient world tracks. In the game's skirmish mode, the music reflects the environment rather than the warring factions. To ensure that the character of the music changed depending on the environment, he followed self-imposed rules; one environment could feature guitars, but not piano, for instance. To musically unify each world, he added a short introductory piece containing common elements. In contrast with the skirmish mode, the campaign mode contains different recurring melodies for each major character and the human ship Spirit of Fire. Rippy's most intensive work period was January 2008, when he began writing music for the game's cinematics; by this point, he had been working on the score for nine months. Rippy finished the score by February 2008, and, after three months, all tracks were ready to be recorded.
Although the previous live orchestrations for Halo games were performed by the Northwest Sinfonia in Seattle, Washington, Rippy chose the FILMharmonic Orchestra of Prague to record Halo Wars' music. Rippy had been in Prague attending recording sessions for Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties and loved both the city and the sound the orchestra produced. The lower cost of recording in Eastern Europe was an additional benefit. The March 10–15 recording sessions involved 24 vocalists and 45 instrumentalists; choir and string sections were later overdubbed to enlarge the sound. In all, roughly 65 minutes of Halo Wars' 75-minute score were recorded in Prague. The final touches and production took place in Seattle; O'Donnell attended one of the mixing sessions.
Rippy used the Audiokinetic Wwise pipeline to create dynamic music that changes with the action in the game. Although Rippy used Wwise's tools only for dynamic music, they made audio system setup much easier than in previous Ensemble games. For each battle sequence, the musical cue was divided into sections and mixed differently for each section. "When a cue is triggered, an intro plays and then the game randomly picks between all of those elements for as long as the battle continues," Rippy explained. "Once it's over, an outro plays and then it's back to the regular "world" music. It was an interesting way to work, and I'd like to push it further if there's an opportunity in the future."
Four tracks from Halo Wars were included as a preview on a bonus DVD bundled with Halo Trilogy—The Complete Original Soundtracks, a December 2008 compilation of previous Halo music. The tracks were mixed in Dolby Digital 5.1-channel Surround Sound and packaged with video of recording sessions and the "Five Long Years" trailer. The soundtrack was released on February 17 as a standalone compact disc and as a digital download.AOL Radio secured the exclusive rights to premiere the soundtrack early, playing a new track at the beginning of every hour.
The pre-release playable demo for Halo Wars was first mentioned in the October 2007 issue of Official Xbox Magazine, and it became available for download on February 5, 2009; redemption codes for early access were given starting January 29. According to Microsoft, the game demo was downloaded by more than 2 million Xbox Live Gold members in the first five days, and set a record for most demo downloads on the service.
In addition to the standard retail version, a Limited Collector's Edition of Halo Wars was made available. To attract Halo 3's player base, Microsoft bundled early access to the Mythic Map Pack, a collection of three Halo 3 multiplayer maps, with the collector's edition. A 48-page, half-size hardcover graphic novel was also included; titled Halo Wars: Genesis, it was created by Phil Noto, Graeme Devine, and Eric Nylund. It explores the background stories of Anders, the Arbiter, Forge and Cutter. Other bonuses included a unique in-game vehicle, trading cards, and a Spirit of Fire patch. Players who pre-ordered the game from certain retailers received a special in-game Warthog vehicle with flame decals.GameStop announced that on February 28, 2009, one thousand stores in the United States would hold Halo Wars tournaments, and two thousand GameStop stores held midnight releases for the game. European markets sold a "Best of Halo" bundle of Halo Wars, Halo 3 and an Xbox 360.
On release, Halo Wars reached second place on the United Kingdom weekly sales charts behind Killzone 2. Halo Wars reached only 16.7% of Halo 3's first-week sales, but it outsold Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars threefold, making it the fastest-selling console strategy game. The following week, Halo Wars's sales were ranked fifth. In Australia, Halo Wars' weekly sales ranked highest, ahead of Killzone 2. By March 12, the limited edition and standard version were ranked second and third, respectively, on the United States Xbox 360 sales charts, behind Call of Duty: World at War. Gamasutra attributed the surge in Halo 3 sales to the release of Halo Wars; the former was fourth in the United States and second in Australia in sales of Xbox 360 games, and reappeared on the list of top 20 United States console games for February.
Before the game's release, industry analyst Michael Pachter estimated that Halo Wars would sell 2 million units. On March 19, 2009, Microsoft announced that the game had sold 1 million units and that players had spent 118 total years of time in online skirmish matches. According to NPD Group's March sales figures, Halo Wars sold 639,000 copies in the U.S. through March, making it the third best-selling game in the market.
In June 2016, Microsoft announced Halo Wars: Definitive Edition—an enhanced version of the game—for Windows and Xbox One. Development of the Definitive Edition was handled by Behaviour Interactive. It was made available on December 20, 2016 as part of the Ultimate Edition version of Halo Wars 2.
After Ensemble's closing, Robot Entertainment announced that it was developing downloadable content (DLC) for Halo Wars. Pottinger described support as ongoing rather than a one-time effort and compared it to Bungie's post-launch additions to Halo 3. He stated that Robot would also work on balance issues, bug fixes, and other patches.
The first DLC package, Strategic Options, added three new multiplayer modes. "Keepaway" is similar to capture the flag; in it, players try to capture and hold Forerunner units. In "Tug-of-war", players earn points by fielding large armies and destroying enemy units. In "Reinforcement", players receive units as reinforcements, rather than training them at bases. The amount of available resources and reactors determines which types of units are deployed and the upgrades they can earn. Strategic Options was released on May 19, 2009, after a patch that addressed software bugs and game balance issues. The update garnered criticism for its small size (2 megabytes) and high price (800 Microsoft Points). Pottinger responded on the Halo Wars forums that the game modes were small downloads "because they are rules. There is some new content, but it's obviously a different type of content compared to a map." Robot released a second DLC package on July 21, 2009. The DLC, dubbed "Historic Battles", contains four additional maps and four new Xbox Live achievements.
Halo Wars garnered generally positive reviews. The game has an average of 82/100 on aggregate web site Metacritic. Critics were split on whether Halo Wars was a successful console translation of the RTS genre. GameSpy's Allen Rausch argued that, as Halo: Combat Evolved showed that first-person shooters could work on consoles, Halo Wars "is an RTS ... on a console ... and it works". Tom Price of TeamXbox said that gamers have been waiting a long time for a console RTS "to get it right", and Halo Wars did so; reviewers for Official Xbox Magazine credited Ensemble with creating a strategy game that felt "absolutely at home on the console", rather than a "poorly shoehorned ... port" of a PC game with clumsy controls.1UP's Thierry Nguyen was neutral about whether it was a good RTS game or Halo title, but called it a "solid beginning towards what could be a really good console RTS".Digital Trends' Scott Steinberg said that, while not perfect, Halo Wars made a strong case for the viability of RTS on consoles; "There's certainly the potential to have PC holdouts seriously reconsidering hoisting the controller." Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle offered a dismissive summation of the game as "a remedial game—real-time strategy for dummies", and stated that the game offered relatively little innovation when compared to other Halo titles.
Reviewers generally praised Halo Wars's controls. Critics who were less experienced RTS players, such as Darren Zenko of the Toronto Star, appreciated the streamlined RTS experience. In contrast, critics such as Luke Anderson of GameSpot said that the game lacked the depth necessary to attract more seasoned RTS players. Some critics were frustrated by the lack of control features—specifically, the ability to create and manage groups of units, the lack of hotkeys, the inability to set rally points for different units, and the need to return to the base to adjust production. Nguyen wrote that "finesse maneuvers ... are more difficult to pull off than they should be". Brett Molina of USA Today said that experts would find the action oversimplified, but that the game "is an excellent choice for fans of the Halo universe and players new to real-time strategy". Reviewers for GameSpy, G4tv, and Eurogamer stated that the controls worked well mainly because the developers omitted features to make most options quickly available; for example, limiting base construction to select areas made sure players could easily find their buildings.
Reviewers considered the factions balanced. Eurogamer's Kieron Gillen commented that the Covenant was harder to master, especially because the campaign served as a tutorial for the UNSC, but no similar introduction was available for the Covenant. However, he said the two sides were "authentically different", and each offered its own challenges to players. Some critics, such as Nick Cowen of The Daily Telegraph, wished that the Flood was a playable faction; in contrast, Ryan Geddes of IGN disliked the Flood and appreciated their exclusion. Will Porter of IGN UK enjoyed the rock-paper-scissors RTS mechanics, but said that "since the game is singularly crap at indicating which units are rocks and which scissors," players had to learn which units were best via trial and error, an issue that was more prevalent with the Covenant.
The game's plot was well received. Reviewers praised the game's cinematics and voice acting. Geddes said the story was good, but not on par with those of Bungie's Halo games, and that most of the characters were stereotypical and somewhat unlikable. Critics noted that for a strategy game, the campaign was rather short, with only 15 missions; Nate Ralph of Wired completed each in fewer than 40 minutes. Jon Wilcox of Total Video Games wrote "there's an ebb and flow" to the gameplay, with "lengthy chapters cut with shorter punchy ones or time-based missions, all together creating a surprisingly compelling experience". Wilcox said the additions of performance-based medals added replay value to the campaign. Price said that, although the story and mission structure of the game was fairly standard, levels that were "rote" in other RTS games seemed more substantial in Halo Wars. Reviewers such as Geddes, Wilcox, and Patrick Kolan of IGN UK said that the lack of a Covenant campaign was an unfortunate omission.
Publications judged the multiplayer aspect of the game well. Wilcox noted that, although the multiplayer mode "added [nothing] new [to RTS games], at the very least it's a solid experience that expands the longevity of Halo Wars." Adam Biessener of Game Informer wrote that Halo Wars gameplay was better against human players, as campaign "gimmicks" and poor artificial intelligence were not an issue.The Mirror's Kevin Lynch found fault with the "limited" variety of game modes.
Critics generally agreed that Ensemble re-created the Halo universe's aesthetic well. Gillen said knowledge of the game universe could alleviate some issues of player ignorance regarding units' actions: "It's not just the geek thrill of seeing a Scarab in action—it's that you understand what the Scarab means on the battlefield (trouble)," he wrote. "We know which characters are best against tanks, and which are probably best in special vehicles." Nguyen said that, although the core units meshed well, the inclusion of Ensemble-developed units gave Halo Wars the feeling of a generic science-fiction title. While giving the game a mixed review, Anderson said that the authentic-looking units and environments went a long way to integrating the game with the rest of the series. Wilcox commented that with the Halo-inspired menu system and Rippy's score, "before the campaign even begins, the message is clear: this is still very much a Halo game." Overall, Halo Wars was judged a fitting final game for Ensemble.
On August 4, 2015, Microsoft announced Halo Wars 2, developed by Creative Assembly with assistance from 343 Industries. The game was released February 21, 2017 for the Xbox One and Windows 10.
- ^Ensemble (2009). Halo Wars manual(PDF). Leaders. Microsoft Game Studios. pp. 32–33. Archived from the original(PDF) on February 9, 2010.
- ^ abcdStaff (February 25, 2009). "Halo Wars: taking the fight back in time". The New Zealand Herald.
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Free 2-3 business day delivery. Free returns.
All-new, action-packed story
The heroes of Halo Wars return to find themselves—and the galaxy—in more danger than ever. Following the events of Halo 5, the all-new story is told in action-packed missions set on the legendary Halo destination known as the Ark. Players will strategically command overwhelming firepower in large-scale battles against a terrifying threat facing the UNSC and all of humanity.
Play with or against your friends and the Xbox Live community in up to 3v3 matches. All-new units with explosive firepower, leaders with special abilities that help to turn the tide in battle and thrilling multiplayer modes are at your fingertips as you wage war on a variety of maps.
Blitz: Instant Command
Blitz is an entirely new way to experience Halo Wars and real-time strategy gameplay. Combining tactical combat with card-based strategy, your deck is your army in Blitz as you build collections of powerful Halo vehicles and troops and command those units in fast-action matches online or solo against waves of enemies.
Play together with Gold
Gaming is better with Xbox Live Gold. Join the best community of gamers on the most advanced multiplayer network. Get free games every month4, and save up to 50-75% in the Xbox Store.4
 Online multiplayer, Season Pass and early access require Xbox Live Gold membership (sold separately) and broadband internet; ISP fees apply. Xbox Live and broadband internet required for download of game; ISP fees may apply.
 Grow your war chest with the Halo Wars 2 Season Pass. The Season Pass delivers regular updates that span more than six months, including: New Leaders with abilities that change the course of multiplayer matches, new Units that add to your multiplayer arsenal, new Blitz cards to collect and take into battle, and new campaign missions that expand the Halo Wars 2 story.
 Halo Wars Definitive Edition will be in game case or delivered and available to download via the pending games download library. Redeem your code on Xbox One, Xbox.com or the Xbox App on Windows 10. For more information on how to redeem codes, visit Xbox.com/howtoredeem-console. Set early in the iconic war between the Covenant and UNSC—made famous by the Halo FPS games—Halo Wars: Definitive Edition provides a unique angle on the war while bringing new heroes to the battlefield. Control large Halo armies and direct them in action-packed warfare.
 Free Games Offer: For paid Gold members only. On Xbox One, active Gold membership required to play free games you’ve redeemed. Restrictions Apply. Savings based on retail value of game. Games sold separately. Requirements and available features vary across consoles; Multiplayer between Xbox One and Xbox 360 supported for select titles. Download required. http://www.xbox.com/backcompat.
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But she did not sleep with the Devil at all. Her lover was the most ordinary person. And he was never rude and cruel to her. Until recently, they dreamed of running away together, but now he was lying in the grave, and she was raped by the inquisitor right under the church, to which she.