Longtime Halo Wars and Starcraft fan here. Allow me to provide my thoughts and criticisms for the devs after getting through about 12 games, two of which I dropped.
I managed to freeze up on every main menu screen numerous times, tutorial included, except for the player lobby. I also froze up entering the game and being told to wait for players to connect despite seeing my base, units, and the game timer running. - For gameplay, I’m getting a lot of delay between clicking a structure and the menu either popping up or there being a delay in registering my selection. There’s possibly been some similar delay in units but I’m not noticing it as much. - I am seeing a lot of effects like MAC cannon, Y abilities, gunfire, sound, etc. simply not working. For example, sometimes when using the MAC, I can’t see the red laser and there will be no visual effect/sound of it hitting, but units will still die. - With capturing the dominion points, it doesn’t always work when infantry are there. It also doesn’t seem to work when units are moving, which seems silly to me. I would think there would be a ring in which you need to be within, much like how Halo 5 has it for similar game types. I’m not sure how the capturing/holding points works exactly, but it seems to bug out when you are right on top of it but opposing units start attacking.Some personal thoughts on the game:
It doesn’t feel like Halo Wars, which is disappointing. I like that it feels a bit faster but otherwise I don’t get the same good feelings from the controls, which feel clunky. I’m especially getting bogged down when I move the cursor from one structure to another on the same base. It’s like a stickiness in a bad way (perhaps a bug?), but maybe this is a setting we don’t have access to in the beta. - The unit designs are a little cartoony, but I can live with it. - The colors are too similar between teammates. - It is difficult to distinguish between the units. As an example, unlike the first Halo Wars, I can never find my Chieftain leader in this one unless I select all local units and RT until I get to him. There should really be some distinguishing features or effects. - I’m enjoying the leader powers tree. I think it’s a nice balance between choice, strategy, and adding some more diversity and flavor from the original game. However, I’m disappointed that we can’t seem to just build ODST or have multiple upgradeable MAC cannons. Essentially what I’m saying is the powerful leader abilities from the first game appear better and are more satisfying to use than these are proving to be thus far. - Speaking of powers, where’s the chieftain vortex or similar ability? It appears he has some kind of Y ability but it doesn’t work for me when I try to use it. I hope the Covenant and any other race leaders still have their abilities because it’s really what made the original dynamic so interesting. - I’d prefer the fast scroll to be a little faster - Significantly, when battles are happening and a good match is going on, it’s frustrating not being able to quickly tell which building is which. The buildings for both races seem to blend in together and aren’t distinguishable. For UNSC it seems to be a lot of sharp edges and designs that are too complicated while on the covenant side all I see when quickly looking at bases are smooth curves with similar artistic lines on all the buildings. Simply put, the designs were simpler and easier to recognize in Halo Wars. - It is also annoying snapping between bases with the D pad only to have the single/double structure outposts being included. I wish there was a better way to quickly access the buildings you actually want to use. - Army sizes seem small. The supply cap is higher than Halo Wars but units like a single sniper take up 4 supply, so it doesn’t account for as much as it appears, which is disappointing. - Hero recall seems to be gone - Dominion seems like a poor choice of a beta test mode. Most people just want to play deathmatch and it seems this would be the best way to find out unit balance. It’d be nice if there was a way for them to update the beta with a new mode. I’m not sure how valuable it is for the devs when a good number of matches are decided solely by starting units or people starting to leave games when you have dominion point rushes immediately. - Infantry units run the show in dominion (and the game in general with how much time and energy it takes to get to tiers 2 and 3), especially since you can’t capture points with vehicles. This is very different from the first game where it was all about vehicles and I have mixed feelings on it. - Love the unit diversity. I think there are a lot of cool new units but I do wonder how many will actually be viable as people learn the game. - However, the downside to all the new units is that some just don’t feel Halo-like and tend to stand out more (like that flying Covenant assault blob thing) than the ones that I would prefer to, such as spartans, leaders, ODSTs, etc. - I don’t mind having two different resources to manage so much (Starcraft has this and I’m a big fan, so…). However, it becomes annoying when you have to build so many resource buildings just to get the resources to then upgrade your main base multiple times so that you can then get a single tank. Seems a bit much, yes? Marines/grunt squads only stay fun for so long.There’s a lot more I could say that I’m forgetting for now, but ultimately I find the game fun but very flawed in its current beta state. There are a frightening amount of bugs and control issues that I hope will get cleaned up. For now though, my biggest complaints are that the game just doesn’t feel like a Halo Wars sequel. It doesn’t play like it, look like it, or capture the same fun and Halo atmosphere that the original had. It’s no doubt Halo, but the art style seems like it better belongs in an arcade game than a follow-up game of this caliber. But the biggest deal killer for me come release day will be whether they can tighten up the controls and actually make it fun to play like the original. Do that and I can probably live with the other complaints of it not being an upgraded and updated version of the original (I’ll still be sad for what could have been, though).