If you’re an avid Halo fan, then you’re probably aware of the open beta of Halo Wars 2 going on right now until the 30th of this month. The beta for this game is actually the second beta for the game as the first one happened back in June. This time around 343 Industries is giving us access to a brand new mode called Blitz. You have a game mode that uses the Strongholds game mode from Halo 5: Guardians where there are three bases and in order to score you have to be in control of at least two. To win the player or team has to get to 200 points or get the highest score within the 12-minute timer (that’s right, 12 minutes!)
This game type is meant to be a very fast mode compared to most RTS (Real-Time Strategy) game modes in the genre. The twist that speeds up the game is the fact that you use a deck full of units that you can put on the battlefield. So instead of building up a base and then individual buildings to train individual units, you have a handful of cards in front of you on the screen that you can choose from and spend “Energy” which is used as the currency to essentially pay a cost to use the cards, the more powerful the card, the more energy that’s required.
Back during the days of the first Halo Wars game, some online games would take me anywhere from half an hour to over an hour. Which can really limit the number of games you can sit down and play. If you’re someone who likes fast paced action and shorter games then Blitz is the game mode for you. Now one thing that I love about the card idea is that it offer a progression system, something that was lacking in the original game.
Now one thing that I love about the card idea is that it offer a progression system, something that was lacking in the original game. And it certainly borrows elements from the REQ Pack system that was implemented in Halo 5: Guardians where you can buy/earn packs to unlock additional armor and weapons, etc. This will add replayability for those who want to unlock the best cards in the game and come up with the best deck they can.
Now my experience playing the beta has been overall very positive. I’ve played enough games that I was able to put a decent deck together (note: progress doesn’t carry over, but you do get two packs for playing the beta that you will get at launch) your deck strategy really does make a big difference in the game as its the only way to get units. I tried to find a good balance of air and ground units to have better options against a wider variety of decks.
I played this on PC using an Xbox One controller. One thing that was difficult to get used to was the controls, they’ve changed them a bit from the original game, the controls are still good but I’m just not used to them fully yet. This is the first Halo title in the series that is part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program where you can play on the Xbox One or PC with a digital copy of the game.
The gameplay itself was very user-friendly and intuitive. The deck system worked like a charm, in Halo Wars there were 6 leaders, most with their own unique units. But in the end, it was predictable enough because you knew what leader was available. But here there are endless possibilities with the decks. I really look forward to seeing what the top decks in the game will be. If that’s not enough to convince you to pre-order, don’t just take my word for it. Go ahead and download the beta while it’s still active! That’s it for me, so until next time, keep gaming!