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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Some thoughts on the Halo series.

Oh Halo the only reason the original Xbox had any success at all despite the fact it had other games on it that were way better and I don't mean Halo 2. Halo was the title that had so much potential until Microsoft in their infinite wisdom snatched up the developer Bungie and had them put out a castrated version of the game on the Xbox console. I've played all the Halo's up to Reach which I will probably never play because I no longer own a 360 and I don't plan on buying another one.

I like many other people bought Halo with my Xbox console. It was the game to own the "killer app" if you will. I got my machine home hooked it up and slapped Halo in the drive. A few hours later I turned the game off and I don't think I ever put it back in the machine. Having already played most of the game at a friends house before having my own I had seen most of what the game had to offer but what it offered wasn't enough to keep my attention for a real playthrough and me actually beating the game. To me Halo 1 was just a generic sci-fi fps game with uninspired locations and the same 5 enemies through out the whole game. From the beginning I had little hope for the console Halo after all the promise the PC version was showing to see all the stuff Bungie cut out to make it work on the Xbox it was a shell of what it would of been. It's like FPS lite, huge redicule, big ass hit boxes bland visuals and a cookie cutter story. Now with Halo 1 it did have the multiplayer going for it, with some fun maps and it was just basically fun, for what it was. It lacked online but you could still have a blast shooting at friends on splitscreen, in the end it lacked the long term staying power because of the lack of online. When I look back at Halo 1 all I see is a failure due to the move to console and the dumbing down of the whole FPS idea.

Halo 2 came out and it was considered the greatest gaming gift by many people. I remember going to pick up my copy and rushing home to play it. I was thinking the addition of Xbox Live support would make the series what it could of been on the PC and make the multiplayer a lasting experience. I've written an article about Halo 2 already earlier on this very blog so I won't go into super detail here but I'll share some thoughts. We all know the campaign in Halo 2 was garbage, a piss poor story that was worse than the first game plus who liked playing as the Arbiter? I'll tell you who, no one! Even with the great Keith David doing his voice no one wanted to play as someone besides Master Chief. It was like Metal Gear Solid 2 when we had to play as Raiden, nonsense! Bungie introduced the new revolutionary ability to duel wield weapons and the console FPS fans were beside themselves with love but it wasn't a new feature to the FPS genre. The first game I remember playing with duel wielding was Rise of the Triad on the PC back when I was in high school so that's sometime in the 90's (94 to be exact). So then we had Halo 2 online yeah it was interesting and I had some fun with it but the maps were garbage. Bungie should of just put all the Halo 1 maps in part two so people could finally play them online but nope, they know what the fans want so we get garbage maps even though the fans were crying out for the Halo 1 maps. I know that Halo 2 was the most popular Xbox Live game for a long time but I have no idea why bland broken online and you had way better options out there.

So now we have Halo 3 the next gen Halo on the new shiny 360! The first thing that grabbed me on Halo 3 were the graphics. I know that graphics do not make the game but this game looked bad it looked like an Xbox 1 game. Halo 3 should of been the best looking game on that system blowing away everything out there but nope it wasn't even in true HD, it ran at something like 640p. This was suppose to be the end of the grand Halo trilogy and it did a decent job of wrapping up the story and out of the three games it did have the best story and it's really the best Halo game but that's not saying much. It added the ability to use items which you can pick up and it was the big new feature, the new feature back in the 90's with games like Hexen again something not new being lauded as the new hotness in FPS games. I can't rag on Halo 3 to much because I played through the game 5 times and it's the first Halo game I finished and this game on Legendary is actually really fun. Now the multiplayer, argh. Again it's a game full of crap maps that just weren't that much fun. It had reimagining of some Halo 1 and 2 maps but I didn't want to see reimagined Halo maps I wanted the original maps not this crap. But Halo's online overall just has an unbalanced feel to it. I can't even count high enough to keep track of the number of times I was one shotted by someone after I've unloaded a whole magazine into them and they didn't die. I'm not the only one who I know whom had this issue but it's been the defining Halo online thing for me. When ever it happens in another game I always describe it being like Halo online. It's just a bad online experience I know it's popular but I think Halo is the online game for people who aren't really good at FPS and if you try to play the game like a FPS that needs precision to play you will fail.

Halo ODST the 60 dollar expansion pack. Campaign was intersting, the fact it took a more stealthy approach was interesting and going back to a health bar made the game more of a challenge but in the end it was another crap Halo story with a to short overpriced campaign. Firefight which was a mode that teamed you up with 3 other people and put you against waves of Covenant much like Horde mode from Gears of War 2 could of been awesome but it lacked online matchmaking. Why make an online mode without matchmaking? It's a poor choice and I spent maybe 30 minutes playing it but with matchmaking I would of spent a lot more time playing that mode. I had some fun with ODST but it should of been a 20-30 dollar downloadable title, maybe in one of those summer of arcade thing they have on Xbox Live.

Now we have Halo Reach the last Halo game Bungie will be making. It's Halo with Jetpacks and for that I have one word... Tribes.

Overall I feel Halo is overrated and personally I don't think it's a very good series. I give Bungie their props for coming up with a decent console FPS control scheme but that's about the only revolution to the genre they've done. Lots of people love Halo but I don't get it you have way better games out there to play but to each their own.

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