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  • RedSwirl 5:18 pm on September 4, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , Halo   

    @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.

  • unmanneddrone 2:43 pm on September 4, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Halo,   

    @bowlisimo *manly hug* I concur. And I like Halo’s level of ‘bounce’, for lack of a better word. The physics, the lean military utilitarianism matched by this ornate palette of incandescent pinks, aquas and shimmering purples. Oh, and the grass textures and skyboxes went a long way. Whoo boy. Incidentally, I actually thought the USMC contingent was relatively restrained. They could have gone painfully overboard on lifting the Colonial Marines formula, but it was fairly tasteful.

    @asatiir It’s an interesting experiment that falls flatter than a crêpe. A strange piece of work, especially given the developer.

  • bowlisimo 2:36 pm on September 4, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Halo   

    I’m with @unmanneddrone‘s sentiment on the universe, design and aesthetics. I may be more of a quiet fan of Halo’s universe and story than the actual games themselves, but I enjoyed both Halo 1 & 2 and read the original Fall of Reach book, so I got a pretty good dose of lore.

    I personally always love the sci-fi premise of a fledgling deep spacefaring human race that spreads and prospers until it inevitably incurs the wrath of some ancient race, whether by misunderstanding, sheer malevolence, or reasons unknown, that systematically wipes the human race from the universe. I’m a sucker for last stands, long odds (UNSC needed 3:1 odds to even come close to victory), and sacrifice, sometimes for very little gain or just to be able to fight another day and be defiant until the bitter end. Halo has this in spades. See also: Mass Effect (Reapers/First Contact War), Babylon 5 (Battle of the Line), Space: Above & Beyond, Freespace 1 & 2.

    You’ve seen it a million times in sci-fi, but I’ve come to love Bungie’s take on the chunky, utilitarian space marine tech and ships (with awesome, pretentious names), their glossy and sleek Covenant armada, the exotic alien locales and Forerunner architecture they’ve crafted, including the Halo(s). As much as Master Chief has become the unintentional mascot of a younger generation of gamers that only play FPSes and “dudebros” who only care about Halo, Call of Duty, and Madden, I still think the Spartan II’s look and are fucking cool.

    Also, Marty O’Donnell brings it all together.

  • unmanneddrone 1:13 pm on September 4, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Halo   

    I still am fond of Halo and the universe. It’s the antithesis of what shooters have become these days – i.e., Middle-Eastern manshoots. And that’s coming from someone with a perverse hard-on for hardware. Halo has an ambience…I recall that incredible atmosphere, moving up through the canyons in the Flawless Cowboy chapter of Combat Evolved, completely in awe of the sound design – which I still reckon is second-to-none when it comes to the use of subtle droning synth-strings – and being intrigued by this…well…bright, clean aesthetic. It also had the right kind of pacing for a shooter, with superb use of down-time.

    The visual design of Halo, the simple-yet-exotic architecture, is personally captivating. Those big flat monolithic structures of the Halo really caught my imagination, coupled with those iconic hums and bleeps. I dunno…perhaps its more a case of that time and my group of friends doing the co-op, or the four-player split-screen on Blood Gulch or Hang ‘Em High, or just kicking off the new millennium with an admittedly cheesy-yet-heroic and technologically-astounding experience…

    Few have managed to capture that same sense of adventure with exploration-lite that Bungie did.

  • Pete Davison 9:13 am on September 4, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Halo,   

    I have tried numerous times to get into Halo, mostly prompted by our friend George’s love of the series’ lore, but have failed to be excited by it, ever. The fact that most of the interesting lore is nowhere to be seen in the game is — to me, anyway — to the games’ detriment, as it leaves the games themselves as rather hollow-feeling experiences where you’re just another dude in heavy armour with a gun. Master Chief isn’t interesting as a character, I still have literally no idea why the Covenant and humanity are fighting and I don’t think I could name a single supporting character other than Cortana.

    In short, I couldn’t care less about Halo 4, but given my general attitude towards triple-A now, that will probably come as no surprise. And I’m cool with that; I know the “mainstream” has absolutely no interest in School Days HQ and My Girlfriend is the President, both of which I’m playing at the moment. Makes them all the more special for those of us who do enjoy them. 🙂

  • RedSwirl 11:06 pm on September 3, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Halo,   

    My relationship with Halo is adverse, mainly because I didn’t get to play any of the games until 2010. I played through all four previous Halo games right before Reach came out. Right now the only ones I own are Reach and Anniversary and I honestly think that’s enough. I’m not really interested in Halo 4 at all.

    I’m even less interested in the mythos. I really like certain parts of the setting – the way humanity’s futuristic military is depicted, and the feeling of fighting a war of attrition between entire advanced civilizations. I could give a damn about the halos, forerunners, and especially the flood. Plot-wise I like Reach the most because it cuts everything down to just “us versus the covenant”. I even like how in Reach you can’t understand covenant communication yet. The whole ting feels like “Black Hawk Down in Space.”

    I’ve read bits at what Halo 4 does to the canon, and I just don’t care anymore. I personally don’t think any Halo campaign has been able to live up to Combat Evolved.

  • Pete Davison 12:07 pm on September 30, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: Halo, , , ,   


    Hah. No, seriously. I think you’d enjoy it a lot more. Campaign is infuriating, particularly on Heroic or Legendary. It just stops being fun when you die over and over and over, which is what put me off the series in the first place. Same for Gears. But I persevered and completed it on Heroic, and I’m glad I did. I ended up enjoying it. Now I feel I can go back and help other people out with co-op, which is infinitely more fun than single-player, incidentally, for the simple reason that one person dying doesn’t mean restarting the whole section again.

    Firefight, though, is super-fun. It keeps the good bits of the Halo shooting experience, strips out the indecipherable plot and gives you a good excuse to go wild with a variety of weapons. It’s also one of the most hugely customisable modes there is in the whole game, so you can make it as easy or as hard as you want. You can even make yourself invincible and provide yourselves with infinite-ammo fast-firing rocket launchers that you never have to reload, for example. So if you just want to blow shit up in a fit of rage… you can.

    @Tolkoto: I was exactly the same. I actually beat Halo: CE in split-screen co-op and really enjoyed it. I tired of Halo 2 well before the ending and same with Halo 3. I never even tried ODST. Actually, though, I’ve found that with Reach, I’m now more inclined to go back and play the old ones. Perhaps I’ll still hate them. But I certainly like Reach a whole lot more than any previous Halo title.

    @Beige: You’re quite right, we don’t need a Halo game every 2 years. As far as I’m concerned, the series is done. Bungie are setting it aside, the story is complete… I don’t need to play another Halo game unless they do something really significant with it, like make it into System Shock 2 or something. Which is never going to happen.

    Hope everyone enjoyed/is enjoying/is about to enjoy the new SquadCast. Thanks for the props, Beige. I figured a musical episode should have at least a little music throughout it. For those who didn’t like the background music in past episodes, it’s at a much quieter level than before. Should be very subtle. The musical interludes are a little longer than usual, too, to celebrate its musical episode-ness. (Sorry, Feen. :))

  • scribl 9:14 am on September 30, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: Halo,   

    @tolkoto You should try to finish Halo: CE (if you ever started it). Great ending that really brings the whole thing together—kinda like Half-Life 2.

    I think CE’s plot is far more coherent than Reach’s. I actually have a sense of where you’re going and why I’m going there most of the time (though, that might just be because I’ve played it so many times). In Reach, there’s a wholllle lot of “We gotta help these guys over here! Now we gotta go to this place and help those guys! Now we have to go back and help the others again!” I found it a little hard to follow since it didn’t feel like there was much continuity between some missions.

    Plus, CE has my favorite final level of any game ever.

    George would back me up if he posted here. 😉

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