HALO WARS 2 BETA
By Dennis "CallMeBackdraft" Aspers on June 27, 2016
Back in 2009, the already huge Halo franchise expanded its pursuits with a new gaming genre for the series, developed by the Ensemble studios (known for the late and great Age of empires series). A new game was unleashed upon the world: Halo wars. Even though the game was a Real Time Strategy game, which of course is quite a bit different to the usual FPS gameplay Halo is known for, the game was well received by Halo fans, newcomers to the series and media outlets alike.
Unfortunately, Ensemble studios had to close their doors soon after the game’s release, which might just be one of the reasons we haven't heard from the Halo Wars franchise in about 7 years. But, after all these years, all gaming fan out there can get their hands on Halo Wars 2 in February of 2017. And not only that; during a press conference on the E3 of this year, Microsoft announced that they would release an open multiplayer Beta. This Beta ran from June 13th until June 20th; it even got extended by two more days because of its popularity. Of course, being a Halo fan(boy), I could not let this opportunity pass me by, so I decided to get hands with this long-awaited game.
Halo Wars 2 is a Real time strategy game, as was its predecessor. Although this game type doesn't always do all that well on consoles, it must be said that Halo Wars’ controls are intuitive and on spot, even on this platform. The Beta was divided up into two parts; the first couple of days the game mode available for play was Domination, which offered the classic RTS gameplay of the original Halo Wars and was played on a map called Ricochet. The second part of the week offered us a taste of Deathmatch, a game mode that tasked players with building their base and army on a map called Veteran. But, instead of fighting for map control, players must fight until only one of them remains standing.
During the Halo Wars 2 Beta, players were able to choose from two leaders; each from a different faction and each with their own leader powers. You were able to unlock these powers by earning Commander points during the game. The UNSC sent out Captain Cutter, while the Banished unleashed the brutality of Atriox upon the battlefield. When the game releases in 2017, a total of six leaders will be made available. The total number of maps available upon release has not been confirmed as of yet.
The two leaders that were available to us, both had a completely different feel to them, changing the way you had to strategize your gameplay. The gameplay differs a lot between the two available game modes and can change from slow and strategic to fast and brutal on a dime. This makes you learn pretty quick and makes you see the need to have multiple bases and resources flowing in quickly, just too make sure you can rebuild your army fast enough after a failed (or even after a successful) attack. The graphics, as with any new-gen sequel, are really polished; they look absolutely wonderful and give the game that genuine Halo vibe.
Now that the Beta is over, we will have to wait until February of 2017 before we can finally get our hands on the game again. And although most of us are certainly wondering what more the team of 343 industries and Creative Assembly can come up with in the future, from what we have seen up till now we can be sure they are going to have a great game ready for us.