I don’t know how many of you guys played that on the Xbox 360, but in my opinion it was and still is the best console RTS game ever made. It wasn’t as simplified and 'dumbed down" as Halo Wars is in my humble opinion. I think there was much more actual strategy to it. It was just a much more in depth and complete strategy game. For example:
The bases were definitely more interesting than what we have in Halo Wars. It had lots of onscreen heroes. There was a morale system that would make units cower in fear or run away in certain situations. There was a turn based ‘War of the Ring’ campaign map which you moved your forces around to attack and defend and claim things of strategic interest. There were 6 playable factions. There was naval combat. There were good and evil campaigns. And much much more.
I agree that was a very good game. I played it on both 360 and pc. I learned the game and spent most of my time playing it on 360. It wasn’t until years later I played it on pc. It was a much more in-depth rts game when compared to either halo wars. You had freedom to build your base any way you wanted. As long as you could get a worker to the spot and the terrain was acceptable, you could build freely. It has a sort of paper rock scissors style of combat but to me it made more logical sense. Swordmen were effective against pikemen, pikemen against mounted units, mounted units effective against archers, and archers against Swordmen. There were many heros, with the ability to level up to level 10 within a match which would unlock multiple active and passive abilities. Some heros would even gain the ability to switch between mounted and not, which would change there effectiveness and vulnerability respectively.
The factions were distinctively different. Halo wars basically has 2 factions and those 2 factions have 3 unique leaders within them but they aren’t different enough to be considered unique. Halo wars 2 feels even less diverse to me. It seems the different leaders are only unique when it comes to leader powers.
BFME2 was a good game but it had performance issues. Later EA created command and conquer 3 Tiberium wars for the 360 and you could tell it was made off the same engine. It ran smoother, and looked better, but made distinct changes. The worker unit used to build structures was removed and structures were now created in a menu and then placed when competed and they would instantly unpack, but free base building still remained. Command and conquer 3 kane’s wrath added in the radial menu which made things much easier for console players. The halo wars developers used this radial menu but also used the “rule of eight” which stated that the radial menu should never have more than eight selections, something the hw2 developers clearly didn’t agree on.
Halo wars and halo wars 2 have been simplified to make it easier to play with a controller. They simplified base building to firebases, using predetermined locations to build bases and having limited build slots for additional buildings. There is no setting up turrets in chokepoints for strategic defense. There is no setting up units in formation like you could in Lord of the rings or either command and conquer. HW takes out all the complexities that many rts games have had in the past just so it takes less effort to play effectively. I hate that I can’t hit a hot key in halo wars to select all of my air pads or war factories and queue up some units without moving my camera. Instead I have to jump back to my base, select each production facility individually and queue up units one at a time. If halo wars was meant to be so combat based, then why isn’t it simpler to manage production? The compromised some of the core and basic mechanics of rts games in halo wars specifically because they want you to play it with an xbox controller. Why would you compromise a game in such a fashion? Why would you take a pc based genre and try to make it for a platform that undoubtedly would never work as well? Why compromise so much just for it to have the word “xbox” on it? If you cared about the game and wanted it to be the best it could be, you wouldn’t have tried making it for an unsuitable platform. Even halo wars 2 feels like it was made for console and then ported to pc, even if it was released for both at the same time.
When I play starcraft, battle for middle Earth, command and conquer, or any other rts, I feel I have more direct control over my units than I do in either halo wars. I sometimes feel in halo wars that my units don’t even listen to me when all I do is tell them to move somewhere. Yesterday the hw2 campaign messed up on me and my Spartan became unresponsive. Literally Alice wouldn’t do anything but die and use her Spartan slam. She wouldn’t move or attack, which that was simply a glitch and clearly not an intended game mechanic.
I want to be able to give my units more complex commands though. I want them to stand in formation, I want them to “attack move”, I want them to hold fire, I want them to guard units. Command and conquer had a list of commands you could give units, one of which was a retreat move. It was useful for telling your tanks to pull back by rolling backwards which kept their armored front-end facing the enemy instead of exposing their weak rear end to the enemy while they flee.
My point is, they made both halo wars to be so simple but they didn’t have to. The complexities of an in-depth rts could be there but they didn’t want to overwhelm the playerbase that they aimed this game towards which was people unfamiliar with the genre. They claim rts is dead and that they are bringing it back and also to console. Rts is not dead and it has NO place on console before pc. That’s like trying to make a first person shooter for a tablet.
The least you guys could do is bring keyboard and mouse support to xbox and keep a pc style menu for the game, but it seems you WANT people playing with a controller. I would have done things much differently with both halo wars and the first and most obvious thing would be to create it with a keyboard and mouse in mind like it should have been from day one.