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‘Halo Wars: Definitive Edition’ will get a stand-alone release later this week

Why it matters to you

The original Halo Wars is worth a look for Halo fans and strategy gamers, and with a stand-alone release scheduled, there's never been a better time to get your hands on it.

Halo Wars: Definitive Edition, a remastered version of the 2009 original that was previously only available as a bonus for fans who ponied up for the “Ultimate Edition” of this year’s Halo Wars 2, will get its own stand-alone release this week, Microsoft announced Monday. It hits the Xbox Store, Windows Store, and Steam on Thursday for $19.99.

Microsoft calls Halo Wars: Definitive Edition “an enhanced version of the original Halo Wars … featuring improved graphics, additional achievements, and includes all of the DLC created for the classic real-time strategy game.” It also “runs natively on Xbox One and Windows,” meaning the game has been fully redone for the newer platforms, not simply ported over in its Xbox 360 form.

Halo Wars: Definitive Edition also gets the benefits of the Xbox Play Anywhere program, where buying the Windows or Xbox versions gets you the game on all available platforms. And on Steam, the game has full support for Steam achievements and a server browser where players can create and host games, as well as search and browse other players’ games.

In a preview in February, Digital Trends reminisced about the original Halo Wars’ release being overlooked by Halo fans at the time: “In the wake of the impeccable Halo 3, a Halo without gunplay felt like blasphemy. And if you wanted more, the next mainline entry in the series, Halo 3: ODST, was only a few months away and would undoubtedly satisfy that craving.” With the remastered release, Halo Wars is “an exemplary addition to Microsoft’s cross-buy catalog,” we wrote.

Halo Wars 2, the sequel released this year, was a worthy follow-up. In our review, we noted some control issues and microtransaction worries, but judged it overall to be “a decent real-time strategy game and great fun for Halo fans.”