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You'll face an important choice this week when you try your first skirmish or online game of Halo Wars. Do you play the humans or the aliens?
Read the answer - even though it's spoiled in the headline - after the jump.
Halo Wars includes two races: the humans of the UNSC and the aliens of the Covenant. Following are ten reasons the Covenant are better.
10) Grunts are funny
Remember David Cross complimenting you in Halo 2? "Seriously, sir, that was awesome". Well, no more. Instead, you have to rely on the stubby waddling Covenant grunts for comic relief. You're guaranteed a steady stream of amusing grunt quips when you play the Covenant.
9) Better unique units
Although Halo Wars only has two sides, each side has three leaders. Your choice of leader gives you a unique unit. The humans get a ponderous deployable barracks, a ponderous exoskeleton for smashing bases, or a frail EMP tank that can disable vehicles. I nearly fell asleep while typing that list of unique units. The aliens, on the other hand, get cloaked elite honor guards with flashing plasma swords, powerful growling brutes with jump packs, or - my own personal favorite - swarms of suicide grunts with methane tanks strapped to their backs.
8) Easier repairs
Each side has its own repairs (to simplify matters, there's no distinction between healing an infantry unit and repairing a building or vehicle). The humans have to pay resources and manually activate an area-of-effect ability. At that point, repairs are inactive until the cooldown timer expires. Bu the aliens are much more hands-off when it comes to repairs. They simply build an engineer or two to tag along with their armies. Engineers are floating units that automatically repair damage, giving you one less thing to worry about.
7) Instant reinforcements
Bases in Halo Wars are set at predetermined places on each map. When you're fighting a battle, you have to get your new units from your base to whatever you're attacking, which is liable to be way across the map. You can manage this easily enough by double-clicking the left analog stick to set a global rally point. But your reinforcements can get tangled up passing enemy units, the Flood, or maybe even a hostile rebel bases. However, if you're playing the aliens, all your bases have a Gravity Lift that can instantly teleport new units directly to your leader. No muss, no fuss, no long waits for transit time!
6) Pretty in pink
Olive green is so ten years ago. Cheerier purples and pinks are a welcome change of scenery.
5) Leader powers
Humans can call down attacks from the Spirit of Fire, an offsite spaceship. Depending on their choice of leader, they get a MAC bombardment, an air strike, or a freeze ray. None of these is very elegant or precise, and they all have a resource cost and a cooldown time. Contrast these to each of the Covenant leader powers, which let you toggle on a powerful attack, guide it like a scalpel through enemy armies, and then switch it off when you're done. The attacks last as long as you have the resources to spend to keep them active, which means they're a great way to siphon off any late-game surplus once you've reached your unit limit.
4) Sometimes more is more
Speaking of unit limits, the default human limit is 30 (upgradeable to 40). The default Covenant unit limit is 40 (upgradeable to 50).
3) Shielded bases
Covenant bases can build shield generators. Multiple shield generators will compound the strength of the base's shields. There's even an upgrade in the temple to makes shields more powerful. The Covenant bases are ideal fortresses. The humans have no such counterpart to these defenses.
The humans and aliens each get powerful endgame units. The humans get a Vulture, which is sort of like an armed Pelican troop transport. It's an aircraft, so it's very mobile. But it's nowhere near as hard-hitting or sturdy as the Covenant Scarab, which is a crab-like juggernaut. Once the Covenant has a Scarab inching its way towards your base - sadly, Scarabs can't use Gravity Lifts - it's all over but the crying. And in case you're wondering, no, Spartans can't hijack a Scarab.
1) You're sick of the UNSC
You've played as the United Nations Space Command for three Halo games already, and now you're going to play them again for all fifteen missions in the single-player campaign. It's getting a little old, isn't it? In fact, space marines in general are getting a little old. If I never have to play another space marine, that'll be fine with me. So put me down for the Covenant.