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First Review of Halo 369

The Halo Guy writes: "Voodoo Extreme has posted the first review of Halo, the new first person shooter from Bungie Software that's an Xbox launch title and will be ported to the Mac and PC later next year. Included are some very cool high resolution Xbox game captures too." I guess buying the bundle will be a little less painful if you get good games with the system.
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First Review of Halo

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  • Porting? (Score:2, Informative)

    by dezwart ( 113598 ) <> on Friday November 09, 2001 @10:48AM (#2543047) Homepage
    The game was originally designed to run on a Mac.
  • by dave-fu ( 86011 ) on Friday November 09, 2001 @10:57AM (#2543089) Homepage Journal
    ...I dunno. I thought the controls for the game were pretty painful, but then again I have yet to play a console-based FPS whose controls I find as intuitive as keyboard+mouse.
    Granted, I didn't get to take the XBox home and hook it up to my Wega, but graphics didn't even come close to blowing me away.
    MS is supposed to be spending half a billion promoting the XBox, right? Ads and demo machines are pretty sparsely dropped, so I guess we know where that money earmarked for advertising found its way to, hmm? Not saying that there's payola going on here, but "better single-player than Half-Life" has more than a tinge of that bought-and-paid-for hyperbole.
  • Better Review (Score:2, Informative)

    by Red Avenger ( 197064 ) on Friday November 09, 2001 @11:05AM (#2543133)
    I think there is a better review over at TeamXbox check out their review [].
  • by turd191 ( 531441 ) on Friday November 09, 2001 @11:08AM (#2543147)
    They are releasing it for PC and MAC. Check out read=76648
  • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Friday November 09, 2001 @11:09AM (#2543156)
    No, that was Microsoft []
  • by Red Avenger ( 197064 ) on Friday November 09, 2001 @11:12AM (#2543170)
    Actually the Xbox supports HDTV out of box. There is also an adapter you can use to hook it up to your monitor.
  • by acomj ( 20611 ) on Friday November 09, 2001 @11:17AM (#2543209) Homepage
    I don't think the screenshots are real.. If the gateway tv/computer taught me anything is that the resolutions of tv's is not high
  • by instinctdesign ( 534196 ) on Friday November 09, 2001 @11:38AM (#2543297) Homepage
    I actually got to play the full game (not the demo) for about 30 minutes at a local software store. I issue this as a disclaimer, I have not had the opportunity to complete the game so this is going on less of an exposure than the mentioned reviewer. However, I think that I have played enough to make some pretty solid judgments. Although the graphics were good I was not as impressed with them as I would have hoped. There was little visual flair for the majority of the beginning levels both in the level architecture and the texturing. Much like UT, everything had an unusual sheen to it that I found to be unrealistic. In my opinion, look at what is coming out of the Half-Life, UT, and Q3 mod communities for the best, most innovative, and unique level design. Then to get into the story which is pretty much told thought the mentioned in-game cut scenes. Frankly I would have been much more impressed with pre-rendered sequences a la Final Fantasy or Red Alert. As good as the game engine might be, its hard to beat prerendered graphics and Halo doesn't change this. The controls are also not a highpoint in the game. I am very used to playing FPS games on my PC so the transition would obviously have a few challenges. Yet even after some time playing I was not able to get into sync with the gameplay due to the button mapping. Beyond this, Halo stuck me as little more than your standard first person shooter, perhaps on par with Unreal Tournament or Quake 3 but definitely not surpassing them and absolutely not enough reason for me to buy and X-Box.
  • Re:Promises (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doktor Memory ( 237313 ) on Friday November 09, 2001 @12:21PM (#2543689) Journal
    And how many people remember Bungie promising over and over that Halo would not become a console game?

    Zero. Because they never said that.

    Or, later, that it would be released for the XBox and (PC or Mac) simultaneously?

    Zero, because they never said that either. (They've consistantly promised that it would eventually ship for all platforms, but the word "simultaneously" was never, ever used.)

    And frankly, even if they had promised to deliver it directly to your doorstep in a shiny box with a nice pink ribbon on it... so what? For all of the amateur theatrics that have grown up around it, making games is a business. Building a game as large as Halo requires an investment of millions of dollars, not to mention uncountable man-hours. In the end, the decision about what to release, and when, gets made on the basis of what will maximize the return on that investment, and for no other reason. Ever. Some developer mentioned in an interview three years ago that they'd ship a BeOS version? Irrelevant. Show me the money.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday November 09, 2001 @12:31PM (#2543767)
    The PS2 A/V outputs are better than "Just Enough". It supports DTS, has an optical out (though really all DVD players have that, so it's not saying much) but also component output (and I think progressive scan at that).

    I seem to remember a number of reviews when it came out saying that the video quality output from DVD's was equal to some higher end players.
    Now the DVD control features, there I'd have to say the system is lacking big time. They could have had an amazing array of control features but instead really do have an almost less-than-minimal set. It will be interesting to see if the XBox improves on that or has the same lame set.

    I use the PS2 as my only DVD player for the moment (having given away the other ones to family), and at no point has the A/V quality been an issue. It't certainly better than an Apex DVD player I bought a bit ago with a bad tendancy to stutter at times. Now THAT is annoying.

    As for MS selling a million units (you didn't specify a timeframe, but I assume you meant "before CHristmas" and not "ever"!), it could be possible but they have some brutal competition. I'm preordering a Gamecube just for Rogue Squadron, and some of the other Gamecube games look equally amazing. The PS2 has come into its prime with multiple fantastic games, and will probably dominate THIS Christmas. Now next Christmas, that's anyone's guess but it will probably come down to the best set of unique games are around for each platform. So many games now are developed for all the machines there are only a small set of games that make each platform unique.

    One last note - have you forgotten that Panasonic (at least I think it was Panasonic) is coming out with a DVD playing version of the Gamecube? If I knew the feature set was better I'd get that instead of the base gamecube.
  • by Doktor Memory ( 237313 ) on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:00PM (#2543986) Journal
    HALO was planned to be an amazingly, impressive, multiplayer game set inside a virtual online war.

    You know, I've followed this game's development pretty rabidly since the first rumors of "Project Blam" started surfacing in 1998. I think you're remembering selectively: Halo was never pitched as a persistant multiplayer-only game. It was always going to have a primary single-player component.

    I suspect you're confused because all of the initial demos were of the multiplayer side. At the time, Bungie took pains to explain that this was a result of their internal development schedule, which slotted the engine and multiplayer sections for completion long before the single-player campaign was even demoable, much less finished. (The reasons for this kind of schedule should be pretty self-evident: artists, writers and voice-actors work on different time scales than engineers.)

    The big change that did occur around the time of the MS buyout was a shift from third-person to first-person perspective, but I don't see any reason to not take their word that that was a gameplay and control issue brought out by playtesting.

    Suck it up, Bungie. MS stole your soul and your ability to innovate.

    Christ, grow up, will you?

    First of all, in all likelihood, Microsoft saved Bungie from bankruptcy. If you cast your mind back to 1998, Bungie was on the tail end of a very ambitious expansion program that had produced mixed results at best. Myth and Myth II had gotten uniformly excellent reviews, but were far from best-sellers. They were having amply-documented (by themselves, at length, on their website) problems getting their boxes onto store shelves. They had sunk an unknown but presumably significant amount of money into opening up a California office to produce a game (Oni) that at the time of the MS buyout was over a year behind schedule and still slipping, and they had just started development on an insanely ambitious title (Halo) that was, at best, not going to ship for another two years. Add it all up, and you get a company in desperate need of funding, not to mention some marketing muscle.

    Second, pissing and moaning about how a finished game diverges, a little or a lot, from whatever rabid speculation some of the designers indulged in while it was still in pre-alpha form only shows how little you understand about the development process. Here's the nutshell version: Shit happens. You start out with a design doc that says the game will have perfect realtime raytraced voxels and will also make you coffee and fetch your slippers. A year later all of your hair is missing because BigHardwareCo's graphics APIs are an undocumented mess, the playtesters insist that they want tea, not coffee, and half of the company's monitors explode during a cutscene in level 10 for no reason that you can determine. You have a finite amount of money to spend, a finite amount of time you can take before the online game sites lose interest in your screenshots, and a finite amount of prozac you can dispense to your engineers. All of those airy promises you made a year ago are now completely irrelevant. You fix the problems that are fixable, remove the parts that can't be done, polish what does work until it shines, and save the fifty great ideas you had to abandon for the sequel. Assuming there is s sequel. Assuming, of course, you ship at all.

    Companies do not run on good intentions alone, and designers don't make games for their own amusement: they make them so that other people can see them. (And so they can get paid.) Given a choice between slowly slipping under the waves and suddenly getting a very, very large wad of cash from a company that was also going to market my product like nobody's business, I know what I, and any other adult, would choose in a heartbeat.
  • Re:Promises (Score:2, Informative)

    by jacoplane ( 78110 ) on Friday November 09, 2001 @03:47PM (#2545144) Homepage Journal
    From what I've heard a lot of console gamers actually like the Xbox features. It is the only console which has ethernet built in. The Ps2 has ethernet as an extention, but it's unlikely that every ps2 owner will buy one.

    The graphics and sound are very good, and the hard-drive really helps a lot acording to most developers.

    I personally won't buy one, because I'd rather get a gamecube which i can easily carry around. But the Xbox's features won't decide whether or not it fails. Having quality games will.

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