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X16 Preview: Halo Wars 2 Multiplayer

I was pretty excited when I found out Halo Wars 2 would be playable at X16.


I mean, Halo plus a real-time strategy setting seems to be a match made in heaven. My hype was further enhanced after seeing 343 Industries’ studio head Dan Ayoub host a quick walkthrough of the campaign.


Unlike that walkthrough, which was showcased on PC, the multiplayer demo was hosted on the Xbox One.


Before I go any further, it should be noted that I never played the original Halo Wars and my experience with RTSs is basically limited to a few casual wins in StarCraft.


With that out of the way, let me set the stage. I was grouped up with two other players for a 3v3 showdown. We represented the mighty Banished, the game's antagonist, and our enemies were the United Nations Space Command.


Seven uncaptured bases were spaced out  in the middle of the map. We were told we needed to head to those locations and acquire them.


Of course this being the first time my team and myself have ever picked up the game, there was a bit of a learning curve. It was your typical run of the mill problems: learning the controls and figuring out what buildings create which units. It was really just a matter of getting used to the system.


This would have all been fine if we weren’t facing off against a team that had already played the game four times.


I could hear a member of the development team telling the other players to go easy. I’m pretty sure their response was, “ Nah, bro. Nah.”


One member of my team was able to capture one of the seven bases, while the other was eliminated in about eight minutes.


By the time I started figuring out how to build Banshees, it was too late. I couldn’t pump out units fast enough to counter their forces. The other team worked together and just simply knew the game better than we did.


My lone teammate and I lasted just over 15 minutes before we were wiped out. In that time we briefly captured a third base, and I built what would have been a decent starting army.


Had time allowed for it, I would have loved to have played another round. I still didn’t understand the controls and that really felt like my biggest enemy.

All that being said, I left wanting to get better. Halo Wars 2 carries that thrill of improving.


Hopefully the next time I play, it will go a little smoother.


Halo Wars 2 releases on Feb. 21 on Xbox One and PC.