Halo Wars 2 was a weird game. I mentioned my thoughts on the story in a separate article because it warranted its own discussion. Here, I will break the game down and offer my opinions on what I liked and didn't like.http://www.gamingwithdepression.com/halo-wars-2-review/
First, the campaign was a disappointment compared to Halo Wars 1. There are a ton of plot holes that aren't even addressed during the game, but 343 has stated there will be campaign DLC which will hopefully address these issues. I'm glad that there will be additional content, but why wasn't it included in the game in the first place? Today's games seem to launch with the bare minimum. This could be due to pressure by publishers to just get the game out. But it hurts games that need the extra polishing, such as Halo Wars 2.
The campaign doesn't really open up until half way through the game. I don't remember how long Halo Wars 1 held my hand, but it seemed like Halo Wars 2 was a tutorial until mission seven or eight. I understand that players need to learn how to learn the new mechanics, but there are two dedicated tutorial systems in the game. I feel that RTS games work best when all of the units are available. That way, players can try out different strategies and see what works. Halo Wars 2 restricts the choices you can make until later on in the game.
The missions that were offered weren't anything special. There was a mission where you started off with one of the Spartans and had to rescue other UNSC forces. Another mission had me holding off all Banished units for as long as I could. And one mission was basically a multiplayer mode where I had to hold as many domination points until I reached a certain number. No missions really stood out to me as something that hasn't been done before. I really disliked how 343 put a multiplayer mode into the single player campaign. If I wanted to play domination, then I would play domination. I wanted something unique, but nothing was there.
The Blitz multiplayer mode wasn't my cup of tea either. It's an interesting concept, but I'm tired of games making me unlock cards to unlock units. Halo 5 did something similar with its Warzone Firefight mode.
Speaking of Firefight, I only played a little of it because it is invite only. There is no matchmaking for Firefight, which I think is a shame. I've never been a fan of removing matchmaking from multiplayer modes because not everyone can get their friends to play together at a certain time. Players should always have another option.
I think Halo Wars 2 shines with its multiplayer, specifically Team War. I enjoyed building my bases up and having massive battles. Unfortunately there are some balance issues. The UNSC units seem to be overpowered compared to the Banished units. As of now, marine rushes are incredibly hard to defend against.
Forge and Anders seem to be the best leaders in the game because of their abilities to improve their economies quickly. I hardly ever see Isabel used. Sometimes I see Shipmaster used, but it's usually a high level player who can cloak and transport their units effectively.
I hope that the leaders and units get nerfed or buffed because I don't want to play as Forge every game just so that I can have a chance to win. I'd also like to see the Banished get a complete overhaul because I enjoyed playing as the Covenant in Halo Wars 1.
Overall, Halo Wars 2 is an average game. There are a lot of issues with the single player and the plot. Leaders and units aren't balanced. And Blitz mode isn't that fun for me. But the regular Team War is fun. If I wasn't a Halo fan, I may have rated this game lower, but I keep on coming back to play a multiplayer match every night. Hopefully 343 can make some balance changes and deliver with the campaign DLC.