In the world of real time strategy (RTS) video games, there may be no more recognizable name than Halo. Taking place in the science fiction universe of the Halo Series, one of the newest incarnations of this popular series is one by the name of Halo Wars 2. Following similar tenants as its previous installments, this military science fiction first-person shooter video game has become a phenomenon all around the world and continues gaining fans every single day.
What Is Halo Wars 2?
While many people are familiar with the Halo franchise, many may not have heard of Halo Wars 2. Released on February 21, 2017, Halo Wars 2 is the latest video game from this franchise. Developed by 343 Industries and Creative Assembly, this game is set in the year 2559. As a sequel to Halo Wars, which came out in 2009, this game takes place chronologically after the events of Halo 5: Guardians.As the game begins, the Spirit of Fire Crew emerges from their state of cryosleep in order to take on an alien faction known as the “Banished.” While previous Halo games featured a war between humanity and an alien alliance known as the “Covenant,” as action in this game commences, that storyline has concluded.Following a similar vein as others in this franchise, players construct a base of operations, accumulate resources, and then command their armies from a bird’s-eye view of the battlefield. The goal of every single mission is to either destroy an opponent’s base or to capture and control another territory in order to extend one’s influence. This game features 2 playable factions: either the Banished or the United Nations Space Command which is humanity’s military arm.Featuring stories which are crucial to each battle, Halo Wars 2 is filled with beautifully composed cut scenes that help move the narrative forward. With a mission structure that is different enough to pique interest but will not dissuade Halo veterans, this game is a perfect follow-up to its predecessors.
Having become established as one of the most successful RTS video game franchises, Halo Wars 2 is not very different from its predecessors. While it features a fresh, pulsating musical score by composers Gordy Haab, Brian Lee White, and Brian Trifone, the overall storylines and themes of the game follow similar beats as previous installments.The major improvements in the game are mostly graphical. Due to the incredibly detailed cut scenes which help move the storyline forward, the game has moments where it feels more like an action film than a game of conquest.
Depending on the time of year, Halo Wars 2 can be purchased for around $20 to $50. The game can be purchased on websites such as Amazon or Microsoft or at retailers like Walmart or GameStop.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
- Elite Dangerous
- Portal 2
- Surviving Mars
Halo Wars 2
With a price range from $20 to $50, Halo Wars 2 is an incredibly affordable game that allows for multiple reuses.
Ease of Use
Since Halo Wars 2 is an RTS which follows similar protocols as previous incarnations, completing the game is quite simple if you have played the others in the series. Once a player has established which units to build, missions become rather simple to complete.
While other incarnations of Halo games feature longer, more drawn-out battles, Halo Wars 2 has flipped that idea on its head and introduced more explosive and faster missions. With much improved voice-over acting and graphical quality, the battles feel realistic and allow players to become more immersed in the Halo Universe.That being said, the game itself lacks strategic depth which makes some missions a little too easy to accomplish. Though it works in the favor of beginners, for people that love these games, it may dissuade a person from finishing the entire process.
Created for Windows and Xbox One platforms, this game is only compatible with those types of consoles or computers with the Windows operating system.
Since Halo Wars 2 was created for Windows or Xbox One, there isn’t much of an installation process needed. Simply placing the game in a console or a computer will start it up and allow you to enter into the RTS universe.
- Very detailed cut scenes
- Improved sound design
- Easy to follow storyline
- The scope of the missions can be seen as incredibly surface-level due to their lack of strategic depth
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Initially released in 2014 on the Microsoft Windows platform, Elite Dangerous is a space flight simulation game developed and published by Frontier Developments. Though other space simulation games have been released before, Elite Dangerous gives players an entire galaxy as their playground. With no real mission, it is the player’s job to virtually shape their reality. Presenting players with the option to decide what career path they want their character to inhabit (ex: a Master Trader), this game allows players of all skill levels to engage with the Milky Way inspired universe as they choose.Whether wanting to engage in dog fights or field explorations, every player can feel as though their particular style is represented through the lens of their Avatar.
With the ability to explore an entire galaxy, Elite Dangerous can be purchased for approximately $40 to $55. Dependent on the time of year and the place of purchase, the prices will vary.
Ease of Use
Though the premise of the game seems simple, for most it will take a little time to get the hang of the large scope of the setting of this game. Because this game simulates the emptiness and vastness of the Milky Way system, players will spend a great deal of time in sheer black. While it is easy to play the game, those large stretches where nothing happens makes it harder to figure out what your purpose is and what the player’s motivation is.
The most impressive feature of this game is its job market. As a player, you can choose between a vast number of potential jobs for your avatar. Since the game is based on a flight simulator, there is only one perspective which the game can be played from. Though the view is limiting, the game makes up for this with incredible graphics which make it seem as though you are piloting your ship throughout a vast and wide space.
Having been released on platforms such as Microsoft Windows, OS X, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, Elite Dangerous is a game that can be enjoyed on several different platforms.
All that is needed is a gaming console or computer that is compatible with the program. Once the disc is inserted, the game begins and the voyage into space commences.
- Incredibly detailed graphical quality
- Ability for players to choose from a plethora of careers for the main character
- A lot of empty space and downtime
- The imaginary job market is extremely inconsistent, making missions hard to accomplish
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Released in 2011, Portal 2 is a sequel to a game bearing the same name. A first-person puzzle video game developed by Valve Corporation, the main objective of this game is for players to solve puzzles by placing portals and teleporting between them. Building on the already successful Portal brand released in 2007, Portal 2 added features including lasers, light bridges, and tractor beams. Available for Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, this game can be accessed and played on various platforms.
Due to its release in 2011, Portal 2 can be purchased for around $15 to $25. At a low price, a gaming enthusiast is able to partake in a mentally stimulating game.
Ease of Use
While this game does have a bit of a learning curve, it is not something that a beginner or advanced-level player cannot overcome. With great pacing, small bursts of dark humor, and improved voice acting, being able to complete certain tasks becomes doable quite quickly.
With an expanded cast of characters, missions that contain more depth and complexity, and a story that improves upon the prototype set up by the first Portal game, Portal 2 features marked improvements. With the addition of tractor beams, lasers, and light bridges, Portal 2 offers its players more options and greater control during missions. With the improvement in weapon choices and better voice acting and overall writing, this game raises the stakes in a subtle yet very effective way.
Published and developed by Valve Corporation, Portal 2 can be played on platforms such as Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. With so many platforms on which this puzzle platform game can be played, there are many choices for gamers that prefer a certain gaming console.
All that is needed is a gaming console or computer that is compatible with the program. Once the disc is inserted, a player can engage with this puzzle style game and play in either a single player or multi-player mode.
- Improved graphics
- Greater selection of weapons for players to choose from
- Incredibly funny writing and beautiful voice acting
- The second act of Portal 2 lags in comparison to the jam-packed first half
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Released on March 15, 2018, Surviving Mars is a simulation video game developed by Bulgarian Haemimont Games and published by Paradox Interactive. Created from renderings of the actual planet of Mars, the main objective for this game is to create and sustain a colony on this planet.As with any game that involves creating a new group of people, Surviving Mars has a steep learning curve which may frustrate some people. However, with the ability to select certain colony sites and adjust the complexity of the game, a player is able to control the amount of resources provided to their colony while also avoiding certain disasters like a meteor.
Surviving Mars can be bought for around $30 to $50 depending on the time of year, console choice, and where it’s purchased.
Ease of Use
As mentioned earlier, with the main objective being to create and sustain a colony of people on Mars, it can be difficult to know where to begin. With the people of Mars needing constant food, water, and oxygen, a player is sometimes stuck waiting for these resources to arrive. Since the game does not provide much instruction concerning how one would sustain their colony, it may take a few times before a person gets the hang of the game.
Since the main objective of Surviving Mars is creating and sustaining a colony on this foreign planet, the game allows you much freedom in terms of resources and the actual citizens that live in your colony. With different difficulty levels available, a person can choose to have citizens that are alcoholics, gluttons, gamblers, or suffering from a chronic condition. However, there is no real incentive to have people in your workplace that would cause a problem.Though the graphics are passable, the only feature in this game worth noting is the ability for the player to select different difficulty levels in terms of resources, citizens, and even natural disasters.
While this game came out earlier this year, it is already available on platforms such as Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. With so many platforms to choose from, creating your own colony on Mars is simply a matter of preference.
As this game is available in disc form, the only thing that a player would need is a compatible console to run the game from. Once a player chooses which console to use, they can play the game and create their own colony on Mars.
- Ability for players to choose the difficulty of sustaining their colony on Mars
- Immersive sound design
- Graphic quality could be improved
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Halo Wars 2 is a game that continues in the vast and well-known tradition of the Halo Universe. Featuring shorter battles and improved graphical quality, Halo Wars 2 is a game that improves upon previous versions. However, with its lacking plot line and missions that require less strategy than Halo games of the past, the creators of this game missed the mark when trying to build a game that was more user-friendly for beginners. For gamers, Halo Wars 2 is definitely worth trying, but do not be surprised if your attention is not sustained throughout the entirety of the game.Overall, we give Halo Wars 2 a rating of 3 out of 5 stars.