Shippin' Out March 1-7: Halo Wars

Ensemble's swan song leads a murderer's row of new releases including multiple MLB games, Empire: Total War, HAWX, and Sonic and the Black Knight.

The first-quarter siege on gamers' wallets continues this week with an array of high-profile releases, but none is bigger than Halo Wars for the Xbox 360. Set for a March 3 release, the real-time strategy take on Microsoft's sci-fi first-person shooter franchise marks a bittersweet milestone for developer Ensemble. Halo Wars will be the Texas-based studio's first foray onto consoles, but also its final finished game, given that Microsoft shut down the developer in January.

Although that sad news could assure Halo Wars a place in gaming history, Sega's new real-time and turn-based hybrid strategy game is guaranteed to be historic. Developed by The Creative Assembly and set for release on the same day as Halo Wars, Empire: Total War for the PC is set in the 18th century. Beyond allowing would-be world conquerors to muck around with the history books, Empire also introduces naval combat to the studio's trademark Total War franchise.

Empire: Total War isn't the only game that Sega has up its sleeve this week. The publisher is also shipping Phantasy Star Portable for the PSP and Sonic and the Black Knight for the Wii, both with a March 3 release. The latter game adds sword-based combat to the Sonic franchise, whereas the former tells a new story in the Phantasy Star Universe series, nestled between the events of the original and the Ambition of the Illuminus expansion.

Those aren't the only games on deck this week; Major League Baseball releases are stepping to the plate on every major system. 2K Sports has MLB 2K9 headed for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PC, and PlayStation 2, and DS owners are getting a swing at MLB 2K9 Fantasy All-Stars. Sony is also swinging for the fences with MLB 09: The Show on the PS3, PS2, and PSP. All of the baseball games are set to charge the retail mound on March 3.

Also taking off on that packed launch day is Tom Clancy's HAWX for the Xbox 360 and PS3, the first installment of the author's Ubisoft games to take on air combat. Set in the near future, HAWX lets players fly the unfriendly skies in a variety of high-tech jet fighters. The PC edition of the game is expected next week.

For a full list of the week's game debuts, check out GameSpot's New Releases page.

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Discussion

131 comments
King_Chozo
King_Chozo

I don't understand the people who think that Killzone 2 is like COD... THEY'RE NOTHING ALIKE (other than being shooters)! Halo Wars is ok, I'll get it when it gets cheaper, but it's def not worth $60.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

This will be the first year that I get The Show on the cheap, rather than at launch. Great series, but unless it evolves dramatically, I'm not paying $60 for a roster update.

aura_enchanted
aura_enchanted

would be 100x worse on a pc ya scaredy cats and ya know it, it would get shot down as a DoW2, CoH, and C&C clone XD

Ton77
Ton77

halo wars and HAWX for me :)

holenjd
holenjd

I loved the Halo Wars Demo. I thought it was fun and easy to get into. I play RTS games every week almost and this game has a great feel to it. I can't wait to pick it up!

dkpunk
dkpunk

Picking up Halo Wars day one. Screw GS UK "review". Sorry PC fanboys this is console only ;)

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

I agree "fourthgeartappe, unfortunately PC elitist don't share your point of view. They rather complain of the shortcomings of a console version compared to the experience on PC.

fourthgeartappe
fourthgeartappe

I'll play RTS on my PC when I feel like it, and on my console when I feel like it. End of story.

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

I agree aura enchanted- Halo Wars is just as good and even better in some than other console RTS games I've played. By the way, ignore the PC elitist who can't see why console RTS games are NOT going to be the same type of game that it's PC brethren puts out. Ensemble was very wise not to implement traditional RTS interface for mouse and keyboard on a console controller. Atlas, a RTS dev. who realizes that a console is NOT a PC. If us consoles gamers really wanted that, we'd simply play the RTS games already out on PC.

gnbfd
gnbfd

MLB 09 The SHOW! Yes!

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

Well, the release of Halo Wars seems a little anti-climatic now. GameSpot's review may have been a bit harsh, but even the overall reviews point to it being pretty average. I'm sure it'll still sell well, but that can't be good for the potential sales and long-term playability (like Halo 3 had/has). Meanwhile, I'll be plenty satisfied with Killzone 2 for a long time. Played it a lot this weekend. Holy crap. Unbelievable graphics and sound. Still has that annoying controller delay thing but getting used to it. The squad feature is awesome (especially with friends and if you have different classes unlocked)!! The possibilities are amazing (such as stealth in the enemy's base, call in an air support bot, and have your teammates respawn for a total ambush). I'm surprised that feature hasn't gotten more attention. But I'm getting sidetracked here. KZ 2: awesome. MAG and StarCraft 2 will probably be the next games I buy.

taylormadederek
taylormadederek

Agreed Gamespot...put the list back on this page. All that you have done is make me go to IGN. Everyone go to IGN. Actually don't Gamespot is still the best. But really put the list back.

LivingDeadNinja
LivingDeadNinja

To be on topic, this is *drum roll*...the very FIRST week since like August '08 where there's not a single game i have to/will buy this week. I will eventually get Halo Wars, just not right away. Say, when it's cheaper. Also i really hate how Gamespot doesn't post the list in these pages anymore and makes us open a new page loading just for the full list. This is quite dumb and annoying...

LivingDeadNinja
LivingDeadNinja

"I love how Halo War's reviews compare it to PC RTS games and give it a lower score because of that but Killzone 2 doesn't get points docked for being a COD4 rip off or having bad acting and a bad story and no online co-op etc... It's sad." @hotdork70minus1...you're the sad one here my friend. This is a topic for an exclusive 360 game and you just HAVE to try to diss the PS3 in some way. How pathetic can you get? Also, you're hating is baseless, unfounded and totally lame/false. No matter how much you want to compare games, the main judging factor for a given game is not how well it performs compared to others, it's how well it performs on it's own. -Killzone 2 is seriously awesome (played it?). -Halo Wars is a 5 hours campain with barebones multiplayer. Might be a solid game, but it's awfully lacking. And that's what the bottom line is. That's why KZ2 is rated AAA while HW does poorly. It's why KZ2 will still be massively played and praised in 2months+ and that's why Halo Wars will be a thing of the past in a couple weeks. You just know it. So please go fanboying elsehwere... By the way i have Killzone 2 and it rocks. I also DO plan to get Halo Wars, just not a hurry at all anymore. I had the LE pre-ordered it but cancelled it. It's obvious by now that the game will be easily available for $20-$30 soon enough...

hotdork70minus1
hotdork70minus1

I have played the other RTS titles on PS3 and 360 and none of them worked close to as good as Halo Wars does. IT's not even close to boring, it get's you into the action faster than any other RTS and has a very good pace. Halo Wars is more than just a name, Halo has an amazing story, memorable characters, vehicles, visuals, sounds and everything in between. Ensemble did a great job.

tiggerboy
tiggerboy

Sega's not bankrupt yet? Wow.... Halo Wars looks to be a really good console-based RTS. C&C didn't work so well. I am not to sure about End War, but the last console RTS that I thought was good was that LOTR one. Hawx, meh..... not to fond of the different flying styles (assisted, unassisted). Why does it have to change views when switching between the two?!?! I will rent this one....

aura_enchanted
aura_enchanted

actually u need to think cross platform, as theres like (off the top of my head) 4 other rts games for at least recent consoles, if u cant compare it to other platforms its cant stack up against any real competition, lets see here C&C3, endwar and battalion wars, lord of the rings BfME, and thats all i know of, to call it superior to those is very biased as the market isnt large enough to draw a good concensus. thus making your view biased. what average joe thinks: hmm 1 in 5 options and only 1 is a franchise ive heard of, lets pick that one and nuts to the rest. wow how unbiased was that, such a knowledgeable decision >.> and it has a halo feel because it has all u expect to see in the franchise visually, rename the game average joe rts, and take away all the halo refrences, what do u have a very boring RTS with good control XD.

hotdork70minus1
hotdork70minus1

aura-enchanted - No other RTS has worked as well on a console and even though it's a completely different style game, it has a complete Halo feel to it. I think it's biased to compare it to a PC game when it isn't meant for the PC. School is your friend.

aura_enchanted
aura_enchanted

dork70 you must however compare it to others in the genre and really when u do that from an unbiased point of view the halo label is what keeps it afloat and its too simplistic to be competitive against other rts games. and furthermore all games could tech. have copied from another game except for the first in each genre ya foolish child.

hotdork70minus1
hotdork70minus1

People need to stop complaining about Halo Wars not being like a PC RTS. Halo Wars was built from the ground up just for a console and it works really good on a console. It's easy to pick up and play and will bring a whole new batch of people to the genre. I love how Halo War's reviews compare it to PC RTS games and give it a lower score because of that but Killzone 2 doesn't get points docked for being a COD4 rip off or having bad acting and a bad story and no online co-op etc... It's sad.

gavk08
gavk08

get on your boots for empire total war going to be great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the_real_VIP
the_real_VIP

@ Dill-Man: I'm also a hardcore PC RTS gamer too (Dawn of War II, Company of Heroes, etc). Tried Halo Wars demo, urgh, hated how it works.

moose_knuckler
moose_knuckler

Already pre-ordered Halo Wars LE, gonna be a frenzy between Halo Wars mp and Halo mp during this weekend ;).

Phoenix534
Phoenix534

@da illest101 No interesting games!?! This week has big releases for multiple systems! Empire: Total War for PC, Halo Wars for Xbox 360, Phantasy Star Portable for PSP, HAWX for.... everything! How can you not be excited about ANY of these!?!

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

Love the Halo Wars demo, very good console RTS game. I'll be picking this up soon!

da_illest101
da_illest101

no interesting games this week, that sucks

Dill-Man
Dill-Man

Empire:Total War is the only one I'm getting. The demo was increadible. I could tell just from that it is the bes Total War yet. Considering I'm a hardcore PC RTS player, Halo Wars seemed really boring and dumbed down to me. I'll give it respect for making RTS's viable on consoles, but I won't be buying it.

SR71halo
SR71halo

Like hotdork said, how the hell is Halo dying like Sonic? It's only had 4 games (5 by the end of the year) and each one has been received well by the critics (GS may have given it a 6.5 but the average is 8.2 or 8.3). Plus, Halo 3 is still hot. Halo is still going strong, saying otherwise is ignorant.

daabulls23
daabulls23

Empire Total War! The demo was sweet!

frmld
frmld

well this week im gonna buy KZ2 and empire:total war! I didn't buy end war everyone is saying its not that good besides the story. so i doubt hawx would be any better. Looks kind of boring anyway but i ill download the demo just to make sure.

hotdork70minus1
hotdork70minus1

LMAO at people who think Halo is dying. Halo 3 is still going strong on Xbox Live and now that they have new maps and playlists coming out it will get another boost. I agree that Halo 3 wasn't amazing but it's multiplayer is solid and has a huge loyal community.

Ryuketsu2043
Ryuketsu2043

Considering Halo was supposed to be an RTS game way back in the day i think this is pretty cool Plus its from Ensamble studios who are gods in the RTS industry. Very sad to see them go.

hotdork70minus1
hotdork70minus1

Halo Wars was soo much better than I thought it would be, I wasn't even going to rent it and now i'm going to buy it. I got bored with Killzone 2 already, it was fun but it was soo much like COD 4 and I'm sick of COD.

sakaiXxX
sakaiXxX

i agreed with davidalaya halo is beggining to die.....

davidayala1
davidayala1

Am I the only one who believes that Halo is beggining to die off like Sonic. What a shame. I think I'll get a PS3 once the price goes down and buy an AAA game like, Killzone 2. I bought the Xbox 360 for variety, seems like all they offer is Halo Baby Wars, Halo Dance Revolution, Halo Team Racing, and Halo Bridal Wars. Time for a switch. Anyone else feel like this. I was waiting for Alan Wake, but the PS3 has Heavy Rain, Uncharted 2, and God of War III which all look better.

berkeley0
berkeley0

Its funny how Killzone was an epic fail and Halo 3 was a success. Now we find ourselves in different times, when Halo Wars is an epic fail, and Killzone 2 is a success. Meh.. I'll wait for ODST and see if thats good.

berkeley0
berkeley0

Killzone 2 and maybe RE5 is all I'll be playing this month.

xbox4life76
xbox4life76

I got my pre-order at EB Games and can't wait. Haven't played an RTS in a while and was a huge fan of Command & Conquer on the PC so looking forward this. Demo was solid and the critics try to compare this game to FPS Halo and that's not fair. This game is a solid RTS and people need to appreciate that for what it is and I can't wait for tomorrow.

sgt-hawkins
sgt-hawkins

"some enemies will auctully shoot back" when the tutorial auctually has to say this you know you may have a "specail " audience on your hands

zaveline
zaveline

im Waiting For Resident Evil 5 but no thanks not spending my money on another crappy sonic game

Nibbles37
Nibbles37

PSdual_wielder I went into my local gamestop in a backwoods pu-dunk hick town in Texas where a video for Halo Wars came on and some kids/teenagers and a couple of adults got all excited saying the new Halo was coming out and seriously thought it was a FPS and when I told them it was an RTS they questioned me what an RTS was and I said "Ever played Age of Empires?" and only one of the adults said "oh yeah I remember that game never really played it though." What is our world coming to?

SR71halo
SR71halo

halokila: You're missing the point. It's very unfair to compare Halo Wars to other PC RTS', you gotta look at it for what it is, a console RTS (in which it works).

John-Smiths
John-Smiths

I have been looking forward to Empire for months, but not so much Halo Wars. When I first saw the gameplay videos a few months ago the combat looked old, and far too small. Another problem was when a Worthog fired on some Grunts and yet it seemed to take a long time to kill them, not like the original Halo games at all. If anybody says this is not true, I'd get it.

Spybreak
Spybreak

H,a lo Warsssss is almost here^^

insanitycheck3
insanitycheck3

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Monkeymantjg
Monkeymantjg

Empire: Totalwar I can hardly wait...... Halo wars? never got into the series but wont have time .....Empire:Totalwar is some long gameing