“Siege The Day”

Falling in line with my predictions, Microsoft’s briefing Monday morning housed the announcement of a Halo Wars 2 beta, available immediately on the Xbox Store following the presser. Running from June 13 – 20, I decided to jump into the multiplayer beta and see what Creative Assembly has been hard at work on. As a casual fan of the original, I was glad to see a sequel receive a green-light for a new generation. Part of Xbox’s big new initiative, Play Anywhere, the title will be available for both Xbox One players, as well as those who want to get in on the action through PC, via Windows 10. While the game won’t be cross play like many of the other projects included in the program, cross save and cross buy functionality will be present. Jumping into Halo Wars 2’s current beta build, I found myself interested, yet far from convinced that the return of the accessible RTS will make its mark on the genre.E3 2016 - Halo Wars 2 | Preview (Braxton Haugen)Known for their work on the critically acclaimed Total War series, the team behind Halo Wars 2 are experienced veterans when it comes to real-time strategy. It soon becomes clear we’re looking at much deeper vision for Halo Wars this time around. The accessible, easy to pick up nature of the original worked for the most part, allowing console players to sink their teeth into a solid RTS package. Halo Wars 2 seems to expand upon that very same vision, while interjecting a level of depth not strived toward in its predecessor. Whether it be the slightly more extensive menus or less streamlined feedback in regards to issuing commands, the sequel looks to be closer to the likes of a traditional real-time strategy experience, than that of the somewhat basic original.


At this stage, it’s unclear whether or not the necessary nuances to shape Halo Wars 2 into the RTS it has the potential to become, are residing under it’s slightly unpolished layer. I found its mechanics, while understandable to grasp, far too slow to effectively traverse the battlefield while commanding multiple sets of troops. Landing myself in over my head on many occasions, the traditional Xbox One controller was a little on the slow side of what I would consider ideal while engaging in various scuffles. In addition to the minor annoyances brought on by the gamepad itself, my initial experience with Halo Wars 2 was bogged down by occasionally uncooperative servers. Hopefully, issues along the lines of these will be ironed out come launch, but as of now, they stood in the way of Halo Wars 2 making a predominantly positive first impression.E3 2016 - Halo Wars 2 | Preview (BraxtonHaugen)It’s too early at this phase to judge how everything will fall into place, but the required parts to build a great game are all present. With the promise of an all new, action-packed story campaign and expansive 3v3 multiplayer, there’s shaping up to be a sturdy package here. Walking away from my time with Halo Wars 2 harboring just as much reservation as excitement, I’m finding myself cautiously optimistic. We’ll have to wait until February to definitively see how things will pan out with Halo Wars’ return, but going off what I’ve seen, this a is a title that could very well surprise, as well as disappoint, those who embark upon its battlefield.

To keep up with my thoughts on all things E3 2016 as they go down live, connect with me on Twitter @BraxHaugen.