By Dennis "CallMeBackdraft" Aspers on September 20, 2019
Aaaah, vacation; you are a fickle mistress, You take way too long to arrive and when you're here you leave before I can even blink my eyes. Yet the time has come to step into the Big Red HQ again. It has been quite a while but last time you visited us dear readers, was just after I left for my holiday and Sadhonker was just too big of a Wuss to use the Tiny Red TimePod after I (expertly, I might add!) tinkered on it...
Well to be fair, it wasn't smart of him to still use it in the end. Especially after I made it abundantly clear on the note that I wasn't done with the upgrades. Don't you worry dear readers, I have been able to make contact with our red-haired friend and he is doing just fine... under the circumstances. We are both working tirelessly to get him back here as soon as humanly possible. For now though, it is time for us to go on an adventure of our own. In this episode, we will be going to the year 2009, a wonderful year if I say so myself. Why? Well, for several different reasons, one of them being the release of the game we will be revisiting today: HALO WARS!
Halo Wars is set in the same universe as the First-Person Shooter game series, Halo, that started with Halo: Combat Evolved. However, a reasonable risk was taken on the development of this one, mostly because the game in question is nowhere near a FPS game. For Halo Wars, the series shifted in a totally other direction, namely that of the Real-Time-Strategy genre. This, of course, is a huge shift and could have gone wrong pretty seriously. However, since Halo has such an expansive universe it actually worked out quite well.
The year is 2531 and it won't be for 21 more years that the events that unfold in Halo Combat Evolved will come to pass. The UNSC space ship Spirit of Fire is sent to the ruins of a planet called Harvest, in order to investigate some activity by the Covenant (an alien alliance hell-bent on destroying the human race, among other nefarious plans). It seems that they uncovered a forerunner facility at one of the poles of Harvest and it is our duty to prevent them from destroying it and, while doing so, gather intel on what this installation has actually been used for in the past.
As stated, Halo Wars is an RTS game and posed a double challenge for the developer of the game, Ensemble Studios. Apart from the obvious challenge of making Halo into an RTS game, Ensemble Studios also has to figure out how to make an RTS game work well on game consoles. One of the ways in which they handled this is by allowing structures to only be built on set places on and around the main structure of a base. This made maintaining and selecting structures a lot more user friendly than managing completely separate buildings all over the place. Other aspects of the gameplay, like training and construction of units follows the same style as classic RTS games, ensuring you could get large armies ready to take the fight to your enemy.
A difference to quite a lot of other RTS games is that buildings, once initially constructed, are not necessarily finished; they can be upgraded, allowing for more specialized units to be built, the creation of additional places for other structures or the placing of better defenses. Another difference is the fact that, although this game has superweapons and special abilities like most other RTS games, in Halo Wars , using these weapons of abilities will actually cost you resources, and not just the usual cooldown, to actually activate them.
Halo Wars was not just a side project. It actually deepened the already deep and expansive lore that exists in the Halo Expanded Universe. Sadly though, Ensemble studios, also known from the Age of Empires and Age of Mythology series went out of business directly after the release of Halo Wars and that was one of the Reasons that the game didn't get a sequel until a whopping EIGHT years after its initial release. For now, however, it is time for us to return to our own reality and look if Sadhonker has made progress in returning to the here and now...
WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED HERE???? I can see the Tiny Red TimePod has returned. But why in the name of all that is holy is it fully dismantled, as is its docking station? Sadhonker, what in the world are you doing?! What do you mean: "removing my upgrades"? Do you even know what they are there for or, for that matter what they are?!
Well if you don't know what you are doing, how do you know you won't destroy stuff again like you usually do? You don't know?!? Oh god...well, at least make sure you don't drop the tiny Fluxdimium Reprocessor... What? Yes, that tiny glowing green bit... Well no, it doesn't actually look like much, but I assure you that it is absolutely... NO, DON'T SHAKE IT!
OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE... RUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!