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Halo Wars 2 Review – Simplified Fun On A Familiar Battlefield

After the crew of the UNSC warship Spirit
of Fire wakes up from a quarter-century cryogenic nap, they discover
that humanity’s war against the Covenant has ended. Stranded a galaxy
from home, the crew responds to an emergency beacon only to encounter a
bloodthirsty faction of the Covenant known as the Banished. Their leader
– an imposing Brute named Atriox – dismantles a team of three Spartans
in their first skirmish. As tensions escalate, the Spirit of Fire’s crew
is forced to push back against these battle-hardened space gorillas and
uncover the mystery at the heart of a new Forerunner installation.

Halo
Wars 2’s story is the most compelling aspect of Creative Assembly’s
console-friendly RTS. The characters’ depth made me want to learn more
about them, and the pre-rendered cut scenes – produced by arthouse Blur –
feature enough spectacle to fill a Summer blockbuster. Unfortunately,
the narrative ends on a frustrating cliffhanger, which left me with
uneven feelings about the story as a whole – and the rest of Halo Wars 2
is a similar mix of emotions.

Creative Assembly holds closely
to the work done by Ensemble Studios on the original Halo Wars. At the
center of the strategy is a classic rock-paper-scissors mechanic where
air units are strong against vehicles, while ground troops are strong
against air units, etc. Most of the missions boil down to “capture this
point” or “defend this position for X amount of time,” but the gradual
unlocking of new units prevents the campaign from feeling too
repetitive.

Unfortunately, a few integral components of Halo
Wars 2 feel pared down. First, most of the maps feel smaller than
average. This pushes you into conflict regularly and keeps you from
getting complacent, but it makes the action feel a bit cramped as a
result. Base-building is also cut back. You still manage your resources,
upgrades, and train troops from your base, but these buildings can only
be constructed on predetermined points, which means that all your HQs
essentially look the same. Since you have limited lot space, you’re also
restricted in the number of buildings you can construct, which forces
you to make some needless sacrifices. (Read our impressions of the Xbox One version here.)

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Despite those issues, I
loved the elegant dance of moving the right troops across the field to
take out an enemy’s well-fortified base. I only ran into a few hiccups,
like telling my units to attack a garrisoned foe only to watch them move
toward that point instead. Thankfully, issues like this are rare.

Halo
Wars 2’s successes and failures transfer over to the multiplayer modes,
many of which feature the exact same gameplay. If you’d prefer a battle
of wits against a living opponent, Halo Wars 2 allows you to set up a
number skirmishes where you either eradicate you opponent or battle over
control of specific points.

Creative Assembly’s new Blitz mode
is Halo Wars 2’s most exciting online offering. This mode streamlines
the base building and resource management mechanics by giving players a
deck of cards to use to deploy units and other special abilities
anywhere on the battlefield. You earn new card packs by completing
various missions or buying them in the online store. Thankfully, it
seems like you can earn most of the cards without spending extra money,
and I remained competitive using only cards I got in-game. This new
card-based system also keeps matches short and fast-paced, and I enjoyed
tinkering with my deck between each match. Blitz could be the go-to
mode for anyone looking for a quick strategy fix.

I enjoyed my
time with the first Halo Wars, so I’m glad that Microsoft took a chance
with a sequel. Unfortunately, aside from Blitz, I don’t feel like
Creative Assembly pushed the envelope. Simplified base building, smaller
maps, and outdated level design keep Halo Wars 2 for achieving great
heights. However, if you loved the first Halo Wars, this entry delivers
more of the same.

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Four Things To Know About Halo Wars 2

Adapting what has been primarily a PC genre to the console can be a challenging task riddled with uncertainty.  And while the original Halo Wars was regarded as a triumph in bringing real-time strategy mechanics to the Xbox 360, Creative Assembly (Total War, Alien: Isolation) was charged with building upon the series' proven formula for Halo Wars 2.

Kyle Hilliard and Ben Reeves bring you four things to know before deciding if the game is right for you, and break down the main modes of play.

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For more Halo Wars 2 coverage, check out Ben Reeves' review.

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Star Wars Han Solo Film Has Begun Filming

Today brings word that the next Star Wars film is underway. The untitled Han Solo-focused movie began filming on February 20 at Pinewood Studios in London, and today brought us a shot that shows some of the cast and crew gathered together in the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit.

The new film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca,  and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, along with other cast members Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The movie is being co-directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and written by Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan. 

It's a safe bet that Star Wars fans will be watching the Han Solo movie very closely, and may be more ready to critique actors who are reinterpreting such iconic roles as Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. At the same time, it’s certainly exciting to think about new adventures with those characters in which we should get a new glimpse at their earlier lives before the original trilogy storyline. 

[Source: StarWars.com]

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Title Confirmed Plural By International Sources

Since Star Wars Episode VIII's subtitle, The Last Jedi, was revealed a few weeks ago, fans have been wondering whether or not The Last Jedi was referring to a single Jedi, or multiple Jedi. Thanks to international versions of the logo, fans now know that the title is referring to multiple Jedi instead of just one. 

Looking at the German reveal specifically, the word for "last" is used in the plural form, denoting multiple Jedi. Similarly, the Spanish version of the logo is being reported to utilize a plural order as well.

What this means for the final film remains to be seen. While first impressions might lead to the assumption that Luke Skywalker and Rey are the titular Last Jedi, there is still a good amount we don't know about the film at this point. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is set to hit theatres on December 15, 2017

[Source: Slashfilm]

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New Humble Bundle Offers Collection Of Classic Star Wars Games

A new Humble Bundle collects a handful of great Star Wars games (and throws a few not-so-great ones in for good measure).

The pay what you want tier includes Knights of the Old Republic, X-Wing Alliance, X-Wing vs TIE Fighter – Balance of the Power Campaigns, and Galactic Battlegrounds Saga. The pay above the average tier (currently $ 10.06) includes Battlefront II, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, Starfighter, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, and Rebel Assault I & II. Finally, in the pay $ 14 or more tier, is The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition, The Force Unleashed II, Rogue Squadron 3D, Shadows of the Empire, and Empire at War: Gold Pack. If you go up to $ 35, there is also a Star Wars shirt you can grab as well. As is the case with nearly all Humble Bundles, these are the PC versions of the game.

For our ranking of the 30 best Star Wars games, head here.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

New Humble Bundle Offers Collection Of Classic Star Wars Games

A new Humble Bundle collects a handful of great Star Wars games (and throws a few not-so-great ones in for good measure).

The pay what you want tier includes Knights of the Old Republic, X-Wing Alliance, X-Wing vs TIE Fighter – Balance of the Power Campaigns, and Galactic Battlegrounds Saga. The pay above the average tier (currently $ 10.06) includes Battlefront II, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, Starfighter, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, and Rebel Assault I & II. Finally, in the pay $ 14 or more tier, is The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition, The Force Unleashed II, Rogue Squadron 3D, Shadows of the Empire, and Empire at War: Gold Pack. If you go up to $ 35, there is also a Star Wars shirt you can grab as well. As is the case with nearly all Humble Bundles, these are the PC versions of the game.

For our ranking of the 30 best Star Wars games, head here.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Microsoft Commissions Stunning Halo Wars 2 Posters

To celebrate the launch of Halo Wars 2, 343 Industries partnered with three artists to create a series of stunning character posters. Even if you just a fan of the original Halo series, you might still be interested in some of these art pieces.

Halo Wars releases on February 21 for Xbox One and PC, but if you're interested in snagging a few of these neat posters, keep your eye on the Xbox and Halo Twitter channels over the next few weeks to learn how to get your own limited-edition print. Below is a look at the posters as well as a short bio from each artist.

Grzegorz 'Gabz' Domaradzki: who started his career as an illustrator and graphic designer, has evolved his art over the years with a focus on keeping his work intriguing and captivating. Putting pen to paper, Gabz designs by hand before perfecting his work digitally. Gabz has lent his artistic style to several iconic franchises including Star Wars, Batman, Iron Man, and many more.    

Kevin Tong: U.S. based artist Kevin Tong has built a name for himself over the past decade through his intricate portrayal of mainstream entertainment. His portfolio includes work throughout the film, music, and book universe including work for The Black Keys, Mulholland Drive, Aliens, and most recently Akira Kurosawa's RAN.    

Craig Drake: began his career in animation and freelance design, channels classic movie posters and modern pop-culture to bring his art deco inspired visions to life. You can see Craig’s use of sleek, sharp lines in his work for Pulp Fiction, Mad Max, Back to the Future, and most recently Disney’s Mulan.

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 Will Feature A Single-Player Campaign, Multiple Eras

One of the most requested features for DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront was a single player campaign – something the sequel looks to deliver.

During an earnings call today, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson confirmed that the Star Wars Battlefront sequel will release this holiday season. DICE, Motive Studios, and Criterion are all working on the title, which will feature new locations, heroes, and a single-player campaign. EA also plans to include content from multiple Star Wars eras such as the The Force Awakens and Rogue One.

 

Our Take
The more I hear about the Battlefront sequel the more it sounds like a real crowd-pleaser. I skipped the last game because if sounded a little light on content. I probably won't skip this entry.

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Star Wars Rogue One Makes An Adorable 8-Bit Game

The NES had its fair share of Star Wars games, but it hasn’t seen a version of Rogue One…yet. Here’s what that adaptation might look like.

CineFix put together this 8-bit take on Disney recent blockbuster. For more of the same, check out this 8-bit version of the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer or this 8-bit rendition of Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

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www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Star Wars Rogue One Makes An Adorable 8-Bit Game

The NES had its fair share of Star Wars games, but it hasn’t seen a version of Rogue One…yet. Here’s what that adaptation might look like.

CineFix put together this 8-bit take on Disney recent blockbuster. For more of the same, check out this 8-bit version of the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer or this 8-bit rendition of Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

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