Posted June 22, 2016 by Angus Baillie in Feature

E3 2016: Halo Wars 2 Preview

The Halo series needs no introductions and Microsoft show no signs of retiring the franchise anytime soon, with a new entry announced for their RTS spin-off series Halo Wars. We were shown a Campaign demo for Halo Wars 2 on Windows 10 at E3 and it’s starting to look quite promising.

The demo opened with the Spartan crew coming out of stasis to answer a distress signal coming from the planet they’re in orbit around. Soon they find themselves involved in a war against a new interstellar threat.

Combat is the standard RTS fare. You can select individual or multiple units to command, then click on the enemy units you wish to attack. To make managing these units quick and easy, players are able to assign units to specific numbered groups and switch between them at will, similar to the Total War games. The Halo series has always been known for its variety of science-fiction inspired weaponry and vehicles, and Halo Wars 2 will be taking full advantage of this variety in the types of units players can command. In the demo there were standard infantry troops, flamethrower wielding ‘Hellbringers’, as well as Tanks and warthogs. The units can then also be directed into different offensive and defensive formations, which can also be saved and cycled through.


Halo Wars 2 will feature special ‘leader powers’ that can be activated during missions. For example, the demo showcased a medic drone power that allowed allied units within a certain area to be healed. Another feature of particular interest to us is the base building element of the game. Reminiscent of Microsoft’s other RTS property Age of Empires, players will be able to direct their limited resources into the development of certain buildings within their base – which has the potential to make prioritizing these developments crucial to managing a successful mission.


Terrain will also be important to consider in the game. Armies that control the high ground will be able to detect enemies from farther away, meaning that they will be able to sight other units below them and attack first. This asymmetric element to the gameplay will effectively allow players to exploit the ‘fog of war’ for surprise, ambush attacks.

Visually, Halo Wars 2 is really impressive. Buildings gradually show damage as you attack them until they eventually explode. It’s good indicator of the damage you’re dealing and a good visual representation of it. The attention to detail with this is great and makes it one of the better looking RTS games I’ve ever seen.

The demo for Halo Wars 2 was impressive and left us feeling optimistic about the game when it gets its full release on Xbox One and Windows 10 on the 21st of February next year.

Angus Baillie



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