It's nice to start the week with a genuinely good deal. Halo Wars is a solid RTS that manages to translate the complex layout of a predominantly keyboard-centric genre onto a console controller. If you're a fan of Halo or the RTS genre, or simply fancy something new, then why not pick up Halo Wars from ShopTo? It's only £7.85!
Averaging a respectable 82 on MetaCritic, Halo Wars didn't share the same commercial or critic success as its FPS siblings, but did impress fans of both the series and the genre with its ability to map complex tasks to a single button-prompt. This is the cheapest deal around at the moment, and at under a tenner with free delivery, it's a nice piece of filler before the summer, and gives you time to brush up on Halo lore before Reach drops.
Set before Master Chief or the Halo rings had been discovered, Halo Wars puts you in control of an entire UNSC army as they face off against the nascent threat of the Covenant. In order to fit the complex genre on a home console, developers Ensemble Studios, of Age of Empires fame, have streamlines the RTS approach, with minimal resource gathering and order stacking. You'll push forward into new territory, as the clock steadily clicks towards your next reload of troops, ammo, vehicles and base upgrades.
Halo Wars succeeds on a number of fronts. One, it perfectly translates the Halo aesthetic to a different perspective, such as the trademark colour-palette, the Grunt squeals and Elite roars, and, of course, the shuddering chassis of the Warthog as it bounds across the terrain. It also manages to make the usually complex task of managing multiple squads and keeping an eye on resources extremely simple and accessible, with one button able to swiftly switch from base to base, squad to squad, and another single button able to perform numerous tasks. Tap A to select an individual unit, or hold it to expand a larger cursor across a group. Tap A again on a nearby enemy, and the selected troop(s) will attack. Simple, and yet intuitive.