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Review: Halo: Reach 191

Posted by Soulskill
from the arc-of-the-covenant dept.
The launch of Halo: Combat Evolved in 2001 vaulted Bungie to the top of the game development industry and helped provide a stable foundation for the success of the original Xbox. Nine years later, having completed a trilogy and a standalone expansion for the Halo universe, Bungie has returned to the IP one last time for a prequel called Halo: Reach. They clearly wanted to do right by the fans and the franchise with their final sendoff, and the effort they put into the game reflects that. Read on for the rest of my thoughts.
  • Title: Halo: Reach
  • Developer: Bungie
  • Publisher: Microsoft
  • System: Xbox 360
  • Reviewer: Soulskill
  • Score: 8/10

The game gets its title from a planet named Reach, which is under siege by the Covenant a few weeks prior to the events in the first Halo game. Your character takes the role of new member to a team of soldiers who are trying, without much hope, to keep the planet from falling into enemy hands. If you play many shooters, it will be a familiar scenario, and Bungie doesn't spend much time crafting a detailed backstory or exploring character motivation. In that way the narrative shares the perspective of the characters — they're here to fight, and so are you.

This demeanor is maintained throughout the campaign, and it provides an odd contrast to other games in the genre. Most recent games try to set you or another character up as a tragic hero, using side-plots, sub-stories, and untimely deaths to provoke an emotional reaction. Halo: Reach handles this in a more detached, military way. When a character dies, the others acknowledge it with a moment of grief, but then move on, because they have a job to do. While I found it to be an interesting mind-set, I also never particularly cared about any of the characters, and never really got engaged in the story.

But, this is Halo; gameplay is paramount. The game engine was retooled and updated for Halo: Reach, and it shows. The feel of movement and combat is the best I've experienced on the Xbox 360. It's smooth and responsive, and it handles jumping, turning and aiming very well. As someone who typically prefers to play shooters on the PC, I was pleasantly surprised. The maps are consistently excellent as well. They maintain the Halo feel of being set on enormous backdrops, filling as much of the sky as they can manage with distant mountains, towering ships and structures, planets and moons. The layout of the fighting areas manages to avoid being constrictive while keeping you moving along the path necessary for the plot. Areas in which you fight typically have several different available routes, so that the direction you feel comfortable traveling while attacking or defending will take you where you need to go without having to double back. It's one of those subtle things about level design that's very often ignored, but does wonders for immersion when it isn't.

The AI isn't particularly good or particularly bad (unless your teammate is driving you around), and you'll quickly come to recognize enemy behavior patterns. The campaign combat gets a bit repetitive because of this, but Bungie planned ahead and created ways to spice it up. In addition to four standard difficulty levels, you can turn on "Skulls," a set of minor gameplay modifications that add challenge to the campaign. For example, one makes enemies toss more grenades, and faster. Another requires you to melee enemies to recharge your shields, and one makes enemies more lucky with events based on a random roll. You can also play the campaign cooperatively with other people, which is great if you have a couple of friends also playing the game. If you're the type to play a shooter's campaign once before retiring it to the shelf, this game probably isn't for you. But Bungie built in a lot of replayability. If you enjoy going through it multiple times, challenging yourself to do it the hard way, and playing through with buddies, there's a lot of potential entertainment to be had.

The available weaponry is a mixed bag. Modern shooters tend to have "superweapons" become available only infrequently, and with restrictions; limited ammo, slow movement speed, etc. In Halo: Reach they are perhaps too restricted, often with long wind-up times and a slow recharge. I found myself switching away or simply dropping those guns because they weren't much fun to use. By contrast, I found the pistol-type weapons to be the most satisfying to use, perhaps because they didn't inconveniently need a reload just as I brought down an enemy's shield. One thing Bungie definitely did right was the visual depiction of the projectiles shot out of the guns (bullets, plasma bolts, grenades, etc.). The bolts coming at you all have distinct colors and graphical effects that go along with distinct velocities and trajectories. Dodging enemy fire adds a lot of depth to the gameplay, and it's very easy to see what's being shot at you without having to focus on it.

Throughout the game you can ride in a variety of vehicles, and even perform multiple roles within the vehicles themselves. This suits co-op play very well, and solo play somewhat less. The guns on a tank or Warthog are big and satisfying to use. Driving takes some getting used to, using one analog stick for the throttle and the other for steering. If you're used to a game that uses one stick for both, it will feel awkward. There are a set of helicopter missions that fare better — once you're at an altitude you like, you can press a button to hold there, leaving you only 2-D movement to worry about while you aim, which isn't so different from ground fighting.

There are also a set of space missions, where you grab a fighter and fly around, trying to out-Star-Wars Covenant spacecraft. I was skeptical of their ability to pull this off, but the missions are a lot of fun. It's not tremendously complex; you've got lasers, which can knock down shields, and rockets to finish things off. The targeting system is generous, and you can evade enemy fire with rolls and flips. But the engine is just as smooth and responsive as it is for other forms of combat. It reminded me of playing old arcade space shooters. These missions are followed by the boarding of a ship that's had its atmosphere vented to space. As you trudge through hangars and corridors, shooting wildly at the waves of Covenant trying to block your progress, the familiar sound of gunfire is conspicuously absent, while your controller shakes softly in your hands. Its a nice touch.

If you played Halo 3 or ODST, you're probably familiar with Forge. It's the built-in map editor (or at least, map customizer) that lets you tweak items, vehicles, and objects while leaving the geography unchanged. You can't remove a cliff or make a hole in the ground, but you can move, add, and delete weapons, spawn points, buildings, ramps, giant rocks, Warthogs, and more. It's very simple to use; it'll be nice for groups who play on a regular basis to be able to easily change things about their typical maps, and there will certainly be a dedicated few (in fact, there already are) who create some really impressive levels in spite of the limitations. Spacious, mostly empty "Forge World" maps provide a relatively blank canvas for building something new or remaking something old. At the time of writing, one of the most popular maps has you jump your four-wheeler pointlessly but entertainingly through the air, and another is a pseudo-platformer.

The multiplayer experience is integral to the Halo games, and this one is no exception. There are about 40 different ways you can play this game with other people. We've come a long way from the days of "Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and CTF" being the multiplayer standard. You get about a dozen game archetypes to choose from, and each of those may have several different variations. For example, there are four kinds of CTF, a couple different racing modes, three "bomb your opponent's base" modes, and even two different ways to play King of the Hill. It would be really tough not to find a few gameplay modes you enjoy from this huge list, and the name on the box guarantees there will be enough players to keep finding matches. Halo: Reach also brings back Firefight, Bungie's version of the industry standard "get-swarmed-until-you-die" game. Even here there are seven different versions, including one in which you attack or defend particular objects, and another that gives you a rocket launcher and unlimited ammo.

Of course, with all these options, the matchmaking system needs to be up to the task of putting players in games they want to play. Like Halo 3, the system uses "playlists." You select from several groups of game types, and once enough players are found for a match, they vote on which particular map and mode they want to play. While this has the benefit of finding games very quickly, the downside is that if you really want to play a particular map or mode, you may get voted down and stuck with something else. A simple browser would have been great, if not particularly elegant. In addition to the skill-based matching, you can also tweak a few options that narrow down whom you want to play against: chatty vs. quiet, competitive vs. casual, prioritizing skill, or a good connection, and so on. It remains to be seen how many players will use this as intended, but it's a step in the right direction toward filtering out some of the players who rub you the wrong way.

Bungie has built a huge fan base over the past nine years. For many, Halo: Reach will be the last true Halo game, now that Microsoft is taking over development of the series. Knowing this, Bungie really went all out to make this a game that gave players everything they could ask for. It stumbled a bit in the storytelling and the weapon design, but the heart of the game is in the multiplayer, and there they provided such a wealth of game modes, preferences, customizations and settings that even the most hardcore players will have difficulty running out of new ways to play. It'll certainly be a tough act to follow for whoever Microsoft puts in charge of the next Halo game, and Bungie knows it.

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Review: Halo: Reach

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  • Advice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @11:03AM (#33599818) Homepage

    Read the books. Seriously. The Halo series is decent and fun, and certainly has its moments...but it's hardly deserving of the legendary status people have applied to it. The books, however...the books are amazing. The storyline makes for a great series of sci-fi novels, and are all page-turners.

    The best Halo experience isn't on a TV screen, but in a book. Just a bit of advice.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, because squeakers totally want to sit down in front of a book and read about Halo, not pwn n00bs and insult the fuck out of people 20 years older than them when they make a kill.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by iainl (136759)

      If you want to read an SF novel with an Orbital in it, you _really_ should be heading straight for Consider Phlebas...

      • Re:Advice (Score:4, Informative)

        by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @11:17AM (#33599978) Homepage

        Or Ringworld [amazon.com].

        The thing is, most of the Halo novels don't focus on the titualar "Halo" orbital.

        • Re:Advice (Score:5, Interesting)

          by HaZardman27 (1521119) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @11:22AM (#33600024)
          I always considered Halo to be a mash up of Ringworld, Aliens, Ender's Game, and Starship Troopers. As far as an homage to these sci-fi heavyweights goes, I think they did a pretty good job.
          • Re:Advice (Score:4, Informative)

            by tophermeyer (1573841) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @11:40AM (#33600224)
            Bungie's people talked about some of their inspirations during the press around the release of the first Halo. As far as I remember Starship Troopers, Ender's Game, and Ringworld were big sources of inspiration (Ringworld for obvious reasons).
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            You forgot to add Sentai show. This applies both to the Covenant forces in single player, and the general livery seen in multiplayer.

            Personally I think this is the secret sauce. Disparage it all you like, but Halo is one of the few major shooter titles to really flood the screen with a striking spectrum of colour. It's an under-appreciated design choice; Colour is visually interesting element and most modern games are disgracefully desaturated.

            • You know I never really consciously noticed it before, but you're absolutely right. The diversity of color that the environments and players display really allow battles to stand out in your memory. This may even add a sense of pleasantness when recalling past battles, which may in turn add something to the "addictiveness" of the games.
        • by AndrewNeo (979708)

          They shouldn't, either, because all three times a Halo has been visited.. guess when it was? While you were playing Master Chief in the Halo games. You were never on the structures for a long period of time (no more than a couple of days) and were the only Spartan alive, so I assume stories about being on Halo (unless from the Covenant side) wouldn't be very interesting (See the second book, Halo: The Flood.)

          I'm happy with the time spent on the Halos being explored inside the games. There is so much else ou

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Requiem18th (742389)

        And Consider Phlebas isn't really much more than a Tresure Island/Pirates of the Caribean IN SPACE!

        It is just an excuse to introduce The Culture, the most interesting details are in the addendums. Remarkably, in that the titular Culture is introduced as the antagonists.

    • Re:Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by snakegriffin (1597867) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @11:21AM (#33600006)
      It's not legendary because people have applied that status to it, it's legendary because of its success it's had in the market. I don't think anyone has ever claimed that the Halo games are a technical marvel, but as far as I'm concerned, Bungie's work with multiplayer and matchmaking is unparalleled on a console. The overall experience is fluid and the evolution from Halo CE to Reach has adapted very well to the rapidly-changing gaming world. IMHO, the best Halo experience is with all the media - games/books/graphic novels/movies. A couple of the novels are pretty pedestrian and are essentially recaps of Halo CE and Halo 2, but The Fall of Reach and some of the other supporting canon is great. I really hope someone can get fully behind a movie and that Nylund is the screenwriter, or at least the main consultant.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by HungryHobo (1314109)

        "Halo: The Fall of Reach" was a fantastic book, it would have stood perfectly well on it's own as a sci fi book without any games.
        Similarly First Strike Was a great read.
        Eric Nylund brought those two books to life.
        Ghosts of Onyx was pretty good but not quite as memorable.

        Halo: Contact Harvest while it didn't have quite the same flair and consistency of the above was a solid book and I enjoyed it.
        For me Joseph Staten focuses a bit much on the feelings of the characters but it's still a good read.

        The Flood is

      • by AdamThor (995520)

        I don't think anyone has ever claimed that the Halo games are a technical marvel, but as far as I'm concerned, Bungie's work with multiplayer and matchmaking is unparalleled on a console.

        The limitation of 4 player / console games supporting system link ensures that the Halo franchise will be the most popular of relatively few games available on XBOX.

        Assuming that even HALO itself continues to support this mode...

      • I always found I enjoyed the novels and stories written by Eric Nylund the most. Many of the other novels were pretty shallow and unoriginal in my opinion. That's just me though.
    • I was surprised. I borrowed "The Fall of Reach" from a friend expecting it to be barely readable garbage. It was really well written, and happened to also tell a pretty cool story.
    • Back in bungies marathon days, the terminals kind of represent what you get in the halo books. However this game seems to go against what was written in Halo: Fall of reach (what other spartans?) and Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, which features...

      SPOILER

      Spartan 3s launching a more or less suicide attack against a covernant world in which 2 spartan 3s survive. These spartan 3s were, again, recruited from kidnapped children with promising DNA, not elite soldiers (which were the spartan 1s).

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Read the books. Seriously. The Halo series is decent and fun, and certainly has its moments...but it's hardly deserving of the legendary status people have applied to it. The books, however...the books are amazing. The storyline makes for a great series of sci-fi novels, and are all page-turners.

      The best Halo experience isn't on a TV screen, but in a book. Just a bit of advice.

      I will agree with this. The books are quite good, especially the ones by Nylund.

      Halo Reach itself is in an interesting spot because

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        I did a little happy dance when I found out Greg Bear was handling the Forerunner stories. He's easily one of the best Sci-Fi writers out there today.

      • While you're correct about the rereleses of the three novels originally released by Del Rey, the Evolutions rerelease shouldn't be expanded; it'll just be the same content as before, but in two mass-market paperbacks instead of one hardcover or trade paperback.
        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          While you're correct about the rereleses of the three novels originally released by Del Rey, the Evolutions rerelease shouldn't be expanded; it'll just be the same content as before, but in two mass-market paperbacks instead of one hardcover or trade paperback.

          They're actually expanded.

          In an interview with Frank O'Connor (head honcho at Microsoft's 343 Industries (MS's Halo IP division, essentially)), he mentioned the books were split to make them more affordable and there were two new short stories in them

    • Halo is an FPS. It has a "story," meaning we tell you something for 5 minutes and say "GO KILLING. BY THE WAY, GRAPHICS!!!" The story explains why the pretty pictures involve glowing shit and space ships, that's all; most of the story is imaginary, and the game really has just about no plot (in the same way a Megaman game has just about no plot... try the whole Megaman X series, yeah the characters talk and there's a situation but it's so god damn thin... it's not a page-turner, it's a "get the fuck out

    • Sorta, but you have to admit that "Highly Advanced Ancient Human Civilization" is a) Totally cliché at this point, b) In dire need of some serious explaining why there isn't any evidence on the fossil registry that any of this happened. Any story with this template is relegated to Sci-Fantasy genre.

    • by AmigaMMC (1103025)
      I second that, I read all the book and they add a lot to the series, especially those written by Eric Nylund which includes the Fall of Reach (my favorite). "The Flood" is the weakest one as it mimics the game step by step, written by William C. Dietz, at times it can even be boring because of the writing style. Anyway, any fan of the game Halo would appreciate the books because they expand on the Halo universe and John's (master chief) past and how it all came to be.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lattyware (934246)
      I agree, I think the Halo books are the best adaptations I have ever come across - normally book->film, film->book, game->book, film->game, etc... they just all fail miserably, not the case with the Halo novels. As to not deserving of it's legendary status, I think that's a matter of dispute. A lot of people love to hate Halo because it's so popular, but it did some great things. I think it's greatest feat is unfortunately missed so often due to matchmaking - Halo, since the original, and now w
  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @11:11AM (#33599910)

    Like it or not, judging any title in the franchise around it's single-player "campaign" is like passing judgment on a car based upon the music system and seat comfort.

    And, sorry, call me old school or just plain old, but whenever I read a review that disparages a videogame's "story" I chuckle. That said, there is a whole series of "Halo" books for people who confuse space marines with Hamlet, or just want their science fiction literature in BFG-sized bits.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @11:22AM (#33600012)
      The full benefits of multiplayer don't last forever on console games. Yeah, it might be fun for a few years but then either the servers get shut off or the matchmaking system doesn't work well and you are waiting 15 mins to get into a game.

      Yeah, there always is system-link or physical multiplayer but most games now for multiplayer focus it online.

      25 years from now, the single player mode will still be available along with local multiplayer but Xbox live will not. If you want a game you can enjoy 25 years from now, the single player mode is important.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by natehoy (1608657)

        If you want a game you can enjoy 25 years from now, the single player mode is important.

        Yes, but also if you want a game you can enjoy 25 years from now, you'd better buy 10 of whatever runs it and hope to hell that one of them lasts 25 years. Most video games released in 1985 years ago were arcade games. Sure, you could have bought "Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?" for DOS on an 80286 that year, but only on 5 1/4" floppy, and I'm not sure if you could successfully emulate DOS 3.1 on an 80286 using modern hardware very well. I don't know about you, but my last 80286 didn't make it to

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Darkness404 (1287218)
          Um, I've got a ton of NES games from 25 years ago and they still run perfectly fine. I even have a working NES, it might be a bit temperamental at times, but it works. I also have one of the remake top-loading NES/Famicom systems and all my games play just fine there. Heck, I've got a working 2600 system and games from the 70s!

          Yeah, cartridges are going to be more reliable than CDs/DVDs but DVDs/CDs are easier to rip. But I still have some CDs from the late 80s that still work just fine after 20 some od
        • I take it you've not heard of DOSBox. I can still happily run pretty much all of the games from before 1995 that I own using it. Slightly newer ones that didn't include DRM also work nicely with WINE. I don't have a 5.25" floppy drive anymore, but I copied my old games onto my 8086 PC's 40MB hard drive, then to my 386's 60MB drive (via LapLink) and then on to subsequent machines.

          My 8086 ran at 8MHz (it was actually a NEC V30H, not an Intel chip). My current machine has a dual-core 2.16GHz chip, and e

      • by Fwipp (1473271)

        Maybe that's true. But when I put down $60 for a game, it's not for the enjoyment that I'll get 25 years from now.

        • But if you are going to pay $60 for a game, wouldn't you want to be able to pick up and play it, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 years from now and it be just as fun as it was the day it was released? Quite honestly, I think that is the mark of a really great game, if you can't do that, its not that great. For example, Super Mario Bros. is a great example, its just as much fun today as it was when it was released. Final Fantasy VII is also another great game that stood the test of time, barring the load times, its a very
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Bemopolis (698691)
        Luckily Microsoft has solved this problem, by making a console that self-destructs after a few months of heavy use.
    • by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @11:22AM (#33600016) Homepage

      whenever I read a review that disparages a videogame's "story" I chuckle

      Sometimes, a story is integral to a video game [livingwithanerd.com]. Video games provide a medium that enables stories to be told in a way that would otherwise not be possible.

      Other times, a story doesn't matter at all [livingwithanerd.com]. Some games are hugely successful with literally no story.

      Dragon Age and Tetris will both suck up hours upon hours of your time, but for entirely different reasons. One keeps you coming back for the depth of its narrative, and the other keeps you coming back for sheer simplicity. Each type of game has its place in the culture, and both of them are equally important.

      • by Haffner (1349071)
        What about, say, Starcraft 2 - a compelling single player story, with totally unrelated excellent multiplayer game? The two are not mutually exclusive. It's just that all too frequently the way the devs go about writing it is either "Let's get this multiplayer thing down and then add some story" or "Let's take our single player stuff and make it online."
        • by Pojut (1027544)

          Starcraft 2 is an excellent example of a compelling narrative combined with compelling gameplay...practically the epitome of an amalgamation of the two. However, Blizzard also spent lord knows how many years and how much money producing it...not many developers have the money or the talent to do both in the same game. Most have to choose one or the other and go with it.

          Still, I agree...sometimes, a game can have both. Ikaruga is a great example of a game that has immensely fun gameplay, [wikipedia.org] with a deep yet w [wikipedia.org]

          • by karnal (22275)

            Yeah, but the storyline in Ikaruga isn't at all in your face during the game. If you want to read about it, you have to pick up the instruction manual for the game or read wikipedia.

            • by Pojut (1027544)

              That's what I was getting at. Knowing the story behind Ikaruga is completely unecessary, and has nothing to do with why Ikaruga is such an awesome game...but the story itself is still really interesting.

    • by ductonius (705942) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @11:27AM (#33600076) Homepage

      "Halo is About Multi-Player or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Car Analogy"

      With that attitude the last thing I would call you is "oldschool" or "old". Videogames have always had to stand on something other than multiplayer and graphics, and anyone who was actually "old school" will run out of fingers and toes counting videogames that had mind blowing stories. Story can be done as competently in videogames as anywhere else, the designers just have to care.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by timeOday (582209)
        I've played the Halo 3 campaign a couple times now and don't understand the narrative at all. The Princess Leah hologram quietly muttering unintelligible things, the "hungry belly" voice grumbling unintelligible things that shake the screen, the little flying robot that turns from good to bad over and over (as do the zombies at some point)... it needs subtitles at the very least.
        • Be thankful you didn't have to play the Halo 2 campaign. Only single-player game I never finished. It was brutal in its asinine gameplay and completely disjointed story (or lack of it, rather).

          • My favourite was the Halo 2 "cut-scene commentary" that was included on the DVD accompanying the upper editions of Halo 3 - where essentially the Developers were like "So the jump here in the plot doesn't make much sense... to be fair, that's where sections 7 through 11 were supposed to go..."
        • The Halo 3 story line was a poached piece of shit. In order to understand 90% of what is going on in Halo 3, you need to read the short story in Halo: Evolutions by Karen Traviss, which, incidentally, is one of the better sci-fi short stories in that book. It touches on and develops some of the interesting bits of science that may go into developing and sustaining a smart AI, such as clock cycle length, and sensory input.

          But yeah, Halo 3 was a rush release by Microsoft to milk the last $$'s from it's fla
      • Xenosaga.
      • Videogames have always had to stand on something other than multiplayer and graphics

        On the contrary, it was the realization that games can be focused primarily or even solely on MP (remember UO, Q3 and UT?) that brought the revolution of MP gameplay that was so sorely needed. This isn't to say that SP games are worse - I still enjoy Fallout 2 more than any MP game I play these days - but the point is that SP and MP are simply two vastly different worlds, and drawing comparisons between games from each is just pointless

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by NoZart (961808)

      I guess that depends on taste. I played through H2 and H3 Campaign and really liked the pacing and soundtrack and how it flows and climaxes like an action movie (especially H3 with the last "driving away from destruction" - level).
      Then you go online to meet Killer marines with childs voices (that often have necrophilia for my dead mom) and pretty repetitive twitch shooting - which is not such a fine thing when playing with a joypad; Gears handled this part a lot better with its deliberately slow flow.

      Coop C

    • by Hatta (162192)

      judging any title in the franchise around it's single-player "campaign" is like passing judgment on a car based upon the music system and seat comfort.

      Assuming the car gets from point A to point B, those are the next most important qualities of a car. I'll take a 15 year old buick with comfy seats and nice sound over a cramped, noisy sports car anytime.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tuidjy (321055)

        You have a point. I have two cars. One is a 2005, immaculate, 460hp Volvo S60-R. The other is a totaled 1990 Toyota Supra. Both have bucket seats, but before a cop on a cell-phone smashed the Supra, I had installed a $2500 sound system.

        Guess what, I still drive the Supra to work. I pay about 25% more for gas, and the ride is way rougher, but I enjoy the surround speakers, and there is something to be said about being able to push your right of way to the hilt (and then some) No one cuts off or rides t

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 16, 2010 @11:48AM (#33600340)

      Hahahaha. I haven't played more than 15 minutes of multiplayer in the past 5 years, and most of that was the Reach Beta. With all the griefers and racists, it's a waste of time.

      Story is the most important thing... i.e. WHY am I trying to kill that blue alien, and why is he trying to kill me? Give me something to believe in and to engage my interest. Otherwise it's just a pointless series of reaction-time tests.

      Heck, I still play the original HALO a LOT. The original has something I've not seen much of in ANY game... two sets of enemies that hate each other as much as they hate you. Some of the most fun is had mixing it up or watching them beat crap out of each other.

  • Bungie in 1996 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chebucto (992517) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @11:32AM (#33600144) Homepage

    Just for the heck of it, here is a video of the Bungie world headquarters from 1996, back when they were Mac developers, and before they moved to the dark side and joined Microsoft.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFbrfmqOtbE [youtube.com]

  • by Seakip18 (1106315) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @11:33AM (#33600152) Journal

    Anyone who bought a new 4GB slim version is screwed when it comes to co-op and multiplayer. [livingwithanerd.com]

    Having the flash drive does nothing.

    How the hell do they release a title like this without some sort of testing, even when it was known way back in expansion pack Halo:ODST?

    • by Seakip18 (1106315)

      Whoops. That should have been "co-op and firefight". Multiplayer works fine with/without a hard drive.

    • Too add to this, many of the titles and HUD elements are outside the action safe regions. I could not read the chapter titles in the cinematics for example - they were half off the screen. Putting text inside the viewable area is pretty basic stuff Bungie... not everybody plays your game on an HDTV.
  • All the latest consoles have USB ports and yet companies keep releasing games that only support the gamepad with those silly small analog sticks. Halo, being a first-person shooter, would be much better with keyboard+mouse support.

    • by AdamThor (995520)

      Someone told me something funny, I don't know if it's true:

      MS tried to make XBL a service for PC and Xbox combined, and let people from either platform play together in the same gamespace. The plan was scrapped though when all the keyboard + mousers mercilessly slaughtered the xbox joystickers.

      The two control schemes are too widely disparate in performance, they'll never exist together in the same ecosystem.

  • by Suddenly_Dead (656421) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @01:28PM (#33601772)

    By far the most annoying thing about this game's multiplayer are the playlists they chose. SWAT (no shields, one or two shots to kill, COD-style) is included in the normal deathmatch playlists now. Halo 3 had it segregated to its own playlist, so players who wanted to play can do so. Now, any time it comes up as a voting option almost everyone votes for it. It's gotten so that you practically need a sizeable party if you want to play anything else.

    It's a tad ridiculous; I don't really want to play COD if I'm playing Halo. I want to play Halo, where it takes awhile to whittle down an enemy's shields and where you're able to get right in their face while doing so. If I wanted to play "one-hit-kills from the other side of the map", I'd be playing something else.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I never understood the draw to the 'realism' in COD type games. It's annoying. If I am playing a video game, I want to pretend to be a 9 foot tall space cyborg that can jump 20 feet in the air and kick a motorcycle a half-mile at an enemy. I don't want to pretend I am in Iraq getting shit on by insurgents with RPG's. Video games, at least the way I figure, at about a certain suspension of reality. It's funner to be a fire-breathing raptor and think about why on Earth I would be so interested in hunting dow

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