The reason that the Halo games are fun is because when you push a button, what you want to happen, happens. You want to shoot someone, pull the trigger. You want to change weapons, hit the “Y” button. The Halo games work. Ask any one who plays Gears of War 2 on the regular and they will tell you: the Halo games do everything that they do correctly. The only reason you get mad when you play Halo games is because the other player is better than you or its laggy. Most gamers use lag as and excuse, anyway.
That is the same exact feeling I got when I played Halo Wars. The game works. There isn’t any weird bullshit that seems chingy. There aren’t any impossible situations or silly gimmicks that contradict the game. There is only you, your controls, and the situations. Like all Real Time Strategy games, Halo Wars is a complicated war-sim that is really a puzzle game. You have these slots and this time with your enemy with the same resources. How can I build an army fast enough? And how can I maximize their potential? Your decisions matter. In the demo, I played the skirmish playlist on the harder setting. I thought the AI would give me time to build up my forces. Nope. While I was building Warthogs, the AI was pulling together troops. While I tried to take over a supply elevator, it was building a ton of Wraiths. The opposing army that came knocking at my base was twice the size as mine and three times as powerful. My base was scrap in minutes because I underestimated the computer, not because the game is broken. Results that should happen did happen, just like it should be. That’s what makes a good game.
Are the controls the answer to the RTS/Console question? I have no idea, because I’ve never played that much RTS games. I will tell you that Halo Wars is completely accessible and easily addictive. Next month when it comes out, the problem won’t be whether the controls are good or not. The problem will be how you’ll play the game and keep your job. But for those getting laid off left and right, it looks like this might be the answer to all that idle time.