@unmanneddrone @bluesforbuddha Yeah I guess that described the whole appeal for Halo to me. It actually stretches back to when I saw the very first screenshots of the game back in like 1998 in PC Gamer.
From the very start the early screens of Halo looked cool because it resembled modern heavy military hardware, but with just the right tinge of sci-fi. One of the major “things” about the game from the beginning was hopping into that heavy-looking Warthog and driving around with another dude on the 50 cal. Bungie just nailed that feel down to the look and controls, which I think is the core of why Halo is popular.
Compared to other shooters Halo’s campaigns even still managed to remain more open-ended and arena-like than the scripted corridors of Call of Duty. That open battlefield structure mixed with the aforementioned “feel” results in the perfectly illustrated narrative of you hopping into a tank and turning the tide of what looks like a real AI-driven fight. To be honest I don’t even like using Covenant weaponry. Doesn’t look nearly as cool to me outside of the energy blade.
But anyway, I said earlier that Asura’s Wrath was basically an anime show rendered in Unreal Engine 3, right down to the commercial break transitions.
Oh, and I finished Arx Fatalis over labor day weekend. Looking back that actually fits the description of a “shame” game very well. It was the first game from Dishonored developer Arkane Studios and from what I can tell the last “real” first person dungeon crawler until very recently. It basically tried to revisit the Ultima Underworld motif a decade later but ended up getting overshadowed by Morrowind.
Full thoughts are on my wordpress page.