Microsoft, Creative Assembly and 343 Industries have finally delivered the sequel to Halo Wars. With Halo Wars 2 for Xbox One and PC, the game offers players plenty of answers in terms of what happened to the crew at the end of the first game when they exited from the Shield World, but it also leaves plenty of questions in terms of where they’re going next, and sets up Halo fans on what to expect from Halo 6.
Halo Wars 2 starts with the Spirit of Fire’s crew coming out of cryosleep after 28 years. They were pulled through a slipstream portal toward a giant space structure known as the Ark, which is controlled by a Covenant outcast named Atriox. The Spirit of Fire crew they find themselves out-teched and out-gunned by the Brute Atriox, which becomes readily apparent after they send a small Spartan team to investigate the surface of the Ark where Atriox personally attacks the Spartans, wounding them in the process.
Despite being overwhelmed by Atriox’s forces, the Spartans manage to escape the bunker after retrieving an AI named Isabel, who explains to them that Atriox is a fierce warrior who has been through countless battles. He and his men were originally meant to be expendable under Covenant command, but instead Atriox rebelled and recruited mercenaries, criminals and other disillusioned Covenant forces to join him, they became known as the Banished. He plans on using the Ark to not only take out the humans, but also destroy the remains of the Covenant forces as well.
Captain James Cutter from the Spirit of Fire is warned by Isabel that his carrier and crew are no match for Atriox and his army, but Cutter decides to use hit-and-run tactics against Atriox’s second-in-command, Decimus, eventually weakening them with small skirmishes. Eventually they manage to take out the controls for the Ark’s inter-system portal mechanisms while also defeating Decimus and his troops. Atriox had been using the portals to quickly send his troops around the Ark, and without it his forces can no longer quickly get to the Spirit of Fire’s ground forces.
Atriox retaliates by sending a carrier to attack the Spirit of Fire, destroying their weapon systems in the process. While Cutter and the rest of the crew still don’t know exactly what he’s up to, they hatch a plan to have Isabel and the Spartan team infiltrate the carrier. But first they plan on wiping out the Banished operating base underneath the carrier and then use Isabel to take command of the carrier after being carried on board by the leader of Red Team, Spartan Jerome.
The plan is successful, and Cutter’s forces manage to cut through the Banished’s outpost, securing a teleporter into the carrier where Jerome allows Isabel to take command of the carrier’s weapon systems. She uses the Banished’s carrier to attack an old Forerunner station on the Ark. The plan works and the Forerunner Sentinels emerge from within the Ark to attack the carrier. Isabel goads the Sentinels to cut through the ship, splitting it in half while Spartan Jerome and Isabel make an escape.
This move infuriates Atriox, who quickly diverts his attention to a Halo ring that Isabel and professor Anders pulled up from the Ark, doing so in hopes of using it to teleport back into UNSC space.
Atriox, however, plans on using the Halo ring as a weapon; Cutter plans on using the Halo as a way to warn the rest of the UNSC about Atriox. A battle ensues for control of the Halo, with Spartans Alice, Jerome and Douglas helping lead the charge to take the control room at all costs.
While a massive fight ensues, professor Anders is escorted to the control room of the Halo ring where she manages to open a worm hole but she doesn’t have time to leave the ring, and she ends up teleporting with the ring within range of UNSC forces. Before the Halo ring teleports, Anders promises to return for the Spirit of Fire and the rest of the crew.
Captain Cutter, Red Team and the rest of the Spirit of Fire make plans to hold out for a few more weeks while waiting for Anders and additional help to return. Meanwhile Atriox is angered that Isabel and Anders managed to steal a Halo ring from the Ark, and gathers his massive army for an attack. The game fades out as the credits roll.
In a post credits scene professor Anders is seen exiting the Halo’s control room and walking through the forest on the Halo’s surface, only to see one of the massive Guardians in the sky that Cortana unleashed at the end of Halo 5: Guardians.
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