I wrote this as opne post, but it’s more than 10 000 characters.
As the subject suggests, I would like a continuation on the RTS aspect of the Halo franchise, either as Halo Wars 2, or an entirely new game.
Let’s take a look at Halo Wars:
I haven’t been able to find a source on the claims, but a time after Halo Wars’ release, I read on the Halo Wars community forums that 90% of the disc space was used for full HD CGI cut scenes. There are 15 CGI cutscenes, that’s basicly one per mission.
They range from about 50 seconds to 6 minutes. However, considering how much storage space a blu-ray has, I don’t think that the claim about 90% of the disc space being cut scenes is far from the truth. It’s more than 15 minutes, heck, more than 20 minutes for sure. So yes, highly possible.
Ah, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong by the way.
90% out of the 8.5 - 8.7 GB a dual layer DVD can store today is quite a lot. I’m not sure what storage capacity Halo Wars DVDs are at. 7.65 - 7.83 GBs were used soley for cut scenes, doesn’t leave much for the game itself. Less than a Giga Byte.
That is if the 90% claims are true. Even 80% and 70% on cut scenes leave little space for the game itself.
What about the game? It’s a basic RTS with two sides, ground and air units, unit upgrades and very limited base building. One unit type counters another unit type, unlimited recorces and neutral buildings providing bonuses to you and your team.
Two sides is fairly easy to balance I would assume but a small number these days.
There’s nothing wrong with ground and air units, that’s the basic setup.
Unit upgrades is essential as well, unless another solution can come into play.
Limited base building isn’t really a good thing in my book.
Rock Paper Scissor gameplay, can’t really say much about that, it’s in most RTS games. Atleast the older ones.
Unlimited resources, I do like it. It is something that can break map controll and the need to expand.
Neutral buildins is what lifts up map controll, altough, I don’t think that the bonuses offered are worth enough in order for you to actually controll that area. The limited base building kills it off even more since you can’t build anything there to keep controll and use your units for other things.
Cover spots. Campaign and a few MP maps featured a system where you could put infantry units in cover behind debris as well as up in sniper tower.
That’s about it. Here’s my opinions about it all.
Two sides with the limited units they have offer little variation even with the different leaders. They don’t offer that much variation and everything boils down to basicly a few strategies. Mass special units, Leader Rush or get the most powerful units and steamroll the other team.
Air and ground is enough, I haven’t played that much Red Alert but I hear that it’s well pulled of in those games, but when we look at other games such as the Tiberian side of the C&C franchise, no water units. Starcraft has no water units, Warcraft 2 had, but they changed it back in Warcraft 3, it’s only campaign and a few multiplayer maps that feature water units, but on those there’s cheap air transport available as well for ground units.
Unit upgrades, I’ve only played one game that didn’t feature upgrades, but in that game it worked. I can’t see that other games as they are built would manage without it. It’s essential.
Limited base building is bad in my book, the strategy in building placement was thrown in the trash here. It’s not fun being limited to a rectangular box with seven building spots plus four turret spaces. I can’t place turrets at key places or guard that bottle neck with them. Sure, I can do it with units but they move around and in Halo Wars I couldn’t order them to stay put, unless it was a Cobra. Units have better things to do than sit around guarding a spot, turrets are made for that kind of thing. Strategic placing of buildings is essential as well when you want units to get to a key position fast or if you want to limit enemy movement in your base. Heck, even rush and build a unit production building outside of an enemy base would have worked. Yes I know the Elephant was available, but only to Cutter.
Not really much to say in this area.
Unlimited resources worked in this game because of the limited base building and the pre destined expansions. However, the current system wouldn’t work with free building. I’ll get back to that later though.
Neutral buldings has been done before, but I feel that Halo Wars didn’t really feature enough of them in the MP maps. They didn’t either provide a “proper” enough bonus to be bothered with, except the generators. Some were barely even featured in the MP maps.
The cover system and the sniper towers were barely used in MP and later on in Campaign. It can be somewhat compared to the Ghuta in Reach. In the mission Nightfall you encounter two massive native creatures called Ghuta. It’s a one minute encounter with the creatures in the whole game. It has a simple AI, a model, textures, sounds, a conversation between Jun and Kat about it and animations. Yet you encounter it once in the whole game. It’s not usable in Firefight, doesn’t appear in MP. So I asked myself, why bother putting time and money on something that’s encountered once in the game? I don’t know. The cover system is more or less the same. It’s a nice idea that could have been usable in so many ways both in single as well as multiplayer. The developers however apparently forgot about it.
Other things I had “issues” with was that the maps were kind of small, it only supported max 3v3 Multiplayer, the unit variation was small and some units were even useless and the campaign some parts of the campaign didn’t make sense.
I don’t know if it was systems that limited the max player count, but I would have liked to see atleast 8 players.
As far as unit goes, I can’t say that there were many to choose from, then those that existed, were mostly useless. As far as Infantry goes, you had ODSTs, Jackal Snipers and Hunters, and you had to be Cutter to get ODSTs. Sure, Flamethrowers were useful, but only in close quarters and they rarely got that close anyway. Grunt squads were only useful in Sniper towers, and I put Jackals in those. I did destroy a Scarab with a handful of Grunts once though, using plasma grenades, other than that, I found little use for them in other matches. It was a “Reinforcement” match, where you couldn’t build units but got them in waves.
Campaign, well you spent two or three missions in every place then you left.
Three missions on Harvest, then you left
Four missions on Arcadia then you left
Three missions on the outside of the Sphere World
Two missions on the Spirit of Fire
Three missions inside the Sphere World.
Harvest I understand, it’s where the war started. Then on Harvest you find a Cartographer pointing at Arcadia. The Covenant goes there, you go there. It’s obviously important because the Covenant went there. Once you’re there you rescuse a few civilians and destroy a Scarab. There’s really nothing Forerunnery there expect for the Scarab part, and that isn’t explored for more than 30 seconds into a cut scene in which Anders gets kidnapped and off you go to save her. The Forerunner cartographer pointed at Arcadia but the reasons are never explained. The Covenant wanted to build a Scarab. Couldn’t they build it somewhere else? Without linking it to Forerunner stuff? Why Arcadia?
Okay, so then you’re on the outside of a Forerunner world, you see the Flood there and you battle it. I assume that the Covenant let it out by mistake, or was it free from the start? Nothing is explained about it. Felt more like it was put in the just to because it’s a Halo game. Anyhow, you have your first encounter with the Brutes here as well. It’s a small band of Brutes, it’s also the only place in the whole Campaign you encounter them. They are responsible for the invasion of Harvest, yet you don’t see them on Harvest, only once in a tiny spot on the HUGE planet faar away from Harvest. This feels like they just had to use the models they designed to put into MP, and they designed the models becuase the books explained that they were a part of the war, excellent. Two things that were forcefully put in the game without any explanation whatso ever.
When you’re on a Forerunner installation you can’t miss the Sentinels, these I don’t have a problem with. They are part of any Forerunner installation. They didn’t however really play a big role like they did in the FPS games. So I can’t help but to get that same feeling again. Something that was forced into the game just because it’s a Halo game.
Halo Wars was fun while it lasted, but I think it could have been better.