Halo Wars 2 will be arriving on Xbox One and Windows 10 in just over two weeks’ time, potentially bringing with it a shot in the arm for the RTS genre on consoles. Real-time strategy has never been a particularly popular genre outside of the PC scene, but with Microsoft’s spinoff series carrying the iconic Halo name, it’s one that has enjoyed a great deal of popularity on the platform.
I must admit, though, I had my concerns for the sequel following its first beta test last year. While clearly a long way from being finished during that period, Creative Assembly and 343 Industries’ follow-up to the original Halo Wars suffered from rather glaring balance issues in the early days, something that has largely been addressed since, made evident by the much more impressive beta test held last month. Besides the obvious improvements to pacing, the recently-announced Blitz Mode, which splices traditional RTS elements with card-based strategy has proven to be an excellent addition to the package.
In case you’re not up-to-date on the wider series lore, Halo Wars 2 takes place 28 years after the original, where the crew of the UNSC Spirit of Fire has awoken from cryosleep to find the Ark, a Forerunner installation last seen in Halo 3. Unaware that the Human/Covenant war has since ended, the crew disembark only to find The Banished, a cell of Brutes that split from the now-defunct alien coalition that’s led by the powerful warlord Atriox. For a more intimate view of all the parties involved in Halo Wars 2‘s story, see the foreboding launch trailer above.
Halo Wars 2 releases February 21 for Xbox One and Windows 10.