Of all the amazing new games out there, none could be more suited to a strategy guide than Halo Wars 2, the console RTS from the genre veterans at Creative Assembly, creators of the hit RTS Total War. Considering that a toasted sandwich could play an RTS game better than I can, it only makes sense that I take a look at the game’s new strategy guide kindly sent over by Prima Games!
The layout of the book is very straightforward, starting out with basic RTS strategy, illustrating basic concepts, tactics and mechanics, followed by an explanation of how your standard game plays out, from the initial setup and establishment of an army to the final showdown. Next, Prima has broken down the various modes in the game, walking readers through each campaign mission in exceptional detail, before telling all there is to know about multiplayer and Halo Wars 2’s new mode, Blitz. To round things off, the final chapters cover the details on characters, units, structures and collectibles like the Phoenix Logs dotted around the campaign.
Once you’ve swotted up on basic strategy and concepts, its time to hop right into the campaign section – and there’s plenty of it to absorb. Each act and mission is book-ended with a spread that tells the story between missions, with a written synopsis with a backdrop of gorgeous visuals from the campaign and cutscenes. Each mission starts with a detailed map of the battleground, marked with a key full of icons indicating bases, objectives and more.
The guide then walks readers through the mission from start to finish, with helpful pointers and strategy advice dotted throughout. As you follow the walkthrough, additional segments are placed at relevant points detailing any bonus objectives in the mission, skull unlock requirements and tips from the testers. Perhaps the coolest section comes toward the end of each mission – the “Designer Overview” offers a mini Q&A with mission designers, talking about story structure, map design and the evolution of the mission during development.
Next we have perhaps the most useful section of the guide – Multiplayer. As a total noob at RTS titles, despite being a big fan of the first game, I’ve found this segment incredibly helpful. The first section runs readers through the basics of standard multiplayer, including HUD layout, descriptions of the various modes and what to expect plus an overview of the various leaders and their factions. There is an especially helpful spread on the intricate details of the different units, their type match-ups, veterancy and the various upgrades that can be unlocked for each one.
For those who like to know their battlefields, the Atlas section comes next, equipped with all the maps and advice you could need to know each environment like the back of your hand. Each map is broken down by area with hints and tips for each part, and there is a birds-eye-view of each with the different configurations for each game-mode.
Next, we have Blitz. Now, Blitz is the big new scary mode in Halo Wars 2 that could throw new players quite easily, but it doesn’t have to be. The Blitz section of the guide will run readers through the basics of energy and unit management, and how it differs from standard multiplayer. More importantly, it contains a detailed library of the cards available, and even recommends some solid deck builds, each targeted for a different strategy.
The final chapter in the book is the Data section. This chunky end to the guide details all the numbers behind the leaders, leader powers, base structures and individual units. This is handy for players wanting to build strategies and know the different resource requirements for the armies they want to build.
If that all wasn’t enough, the final few pages are packed with awesome concept art to feast your eyes on, including some rather tasty shots of The Ark’s landscape and detailed graphics of Atriox and his gear. All in all there’s something for every Halo Wars 2 player in this guide, whether you’re looking to simply make life a bit easier, or want to join the ranks of the hardcore competitive player.
The intricately detailed breakdown of the game’s various elements combined with the insight of developers and testers makes for a comprehensive coverage of what can be a very daunting game, and it’s all presented beautifully with excellent design and layout throughout. The stylish cover and stunning imagery within make it an excellent all-round guide that wouldn’t be out of place on your coffee table, certainly one to pick up if you’ve caught the Halo Wars bug again!