Halo Wars

Publisher: Microsoft Price: �44.99 Format: Xbox 360 Age rating: 18+ MASTER Chief might have been pensioned off at the end of Halo 3, but Halo Wars proves the series has not run out of ideas. Set in the same universe as the Halo trilogy of first person

Publisher: Microsoft

Price: �44.99

Format: Xbox 360

Age rating: 18+


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MASTER Chief might have been pensioned off at the end of Halo 3, but Halo Wars proves the series has not run out of ideas.

Set in the same universe as the Halo trilogy of first person shooters, it takes the series in a completely new direction, reinventing itself as a real-time strategy game. The switch in gaming styles gives armchair generals the opportunity to marshal the forces of the UNSC against those of the Covenant in one of the earliest encounters between the two sworn enemies.

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As a commander onboard the UNSC warship Spirit of Fire, you're provided with a bird's-eye view of the battlefield and told to annihilate any Covenant forces you come across. After receiving specific objectives for each of the game's 16 levels, it's then a mad dash to set up a base, manage your resources, go in search of the enemy and destroy their HQ before they can overrun yours.

Units under your control are recognizable from previous Halo games and include UNSC marines as well as Warthog jeeps and Scorpion tanks. Each unit can be upgraded once new technologies become available or through battlefield experience. A group of marines, for example, might receive rocket-propelled grenades while a jeep might get armour plating. If you find yourself outgunned, you can also call in an aerial bombardment from the orbiting Spirit of Fire.

The game's controls couldn't be easier to master with just a few buttons controlling everything on the screen. A neat 'paintbrush' effect is used to group units together while ordering them into action is simply a case of stabbing the appropriate button.

Once you've played through the single-player campaign there's the option to do it all again with a friend over Xbox Live, while online skirmishes support up to six players and let you fight on the side of the Covenant as well as the UNSC.

With the parasitic Flood putting in an appearance and some stunning cutscenes adding to the Halo mythos, it's easy to see why Halo Wars is one of the best RTS games ever to appear on a console.

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