AATG VS. #1 - Halo.


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HairyArse
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Fuck it, let's get the ball rolling otherwise we'll never get anywhere.

Questions to answer:

Was Halo really the multiplayer revelation that the fanboys say it was?

Why is the Halo universe held in such high regard?

Should we be excited about Halo Reach?

Etc..

This feature will evolve over time.

Let the cluster-fuck begin.
#1 at 17:48:01 - 27/05/2010
peej
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Master Chief wears an old motocross helmet, and Halo was great right up till the end of Macworld 2001 :)
#2 at 17:50:44 - 27/05/2010
repairmanjack
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I've tried, with every game, to buy into the Halo universe. It brought some good ideas to the genre, but for me it was alwasy hamstrung by the absolute embarrassment of shooting those little grunts with the silly voices.

I'll take Killzone (one or two) over any of the Halos any day.

And if anyone wants to defend Halo3 to me... you can start with that fucking Cortana level. I think it ranks as the worst designed FPS level in history.

Counter argument?
#3 at 18:00:16 - 27/05/2010
boabg
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Halo 2 probably was given it was an early-ish online console FPS that had shitloads of time, effort and resource put into the MP - far more than any other at the time.
#4 at 18:01:19 - 27/05/2010
HairyArse
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Twice I've bought into the hype and been stung. I bought Halo 2 and Halo 3. Never played more than 20 minutes before getting bored and completely underwhelmed by the clichťd man vs aliens hotch-potch of a plot.
#5 at 18:02:33 - 27/05/2010
HairyArse
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What did the Halo series bring to the multiplayer gaming-space that was new, innovative and fresh?
#6 at 18:04:03 - 27/05/2010
JimJam
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I played Halo 1 & 3, and they both included infuriating levels. That one in Halo 1, The Library was it ? The same bloody graphics over and over again.

And I hate The Flood. Bastards.

But system link was an interesting feature of the first one, and I liked the online co-op in Halo 3.
#7 at 18:06:26 - 27/05/2010
Furbs
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Oi! I'm halfway through writing this you bast!
#8 at 18:10:22 - 27/05/2010
peej
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I originally remember getting very excited about Halo after Macworld - it really looked like nothing else around at the time. Of course, in the interrim a lot of great FPS series have come and gone, and the whole reason I got excited (being able to drive a warthog with a gunner in the rear seat and one on the side) has been superceded by brilliant games like the Battlefield series.

Halo feels like one of those bizarre long-in-the-tooth arena shooters in Multiplayer. No tactics really required other than grabbing a bigger gun or being quicker on the draw than your opponents.

Single player jumped the shark after the first game, Halo 2's character switching was utter shite, Halo 3 promised much but delivered a very short and very dull chunk of single player gaming. Reach looks like it'll do exactly the same as previous games.

Ironically, the best title in the Halo universe is probably Halo Wars.
#9 at 18:15:59 - 27/05/2010
HairyArse
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Don't worry mate, it'll be allaboutthefurbs by the time we've finished.
#10 at 18:17:46 - 27/05/2010
Stevas
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HairyArse said:What did the Halo series bring to the multiplayer gaming-space that was new, innovative and fresh?


As far as I can make out from the odd time I've tried it, jumping. Jumping around like a big gay clown.

Whatabagofwank.
#11 at 18:33:05 - 27/05/2010
Stevas
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In fact (shamelessly grabbed from my very own Modern Warfare "review"):

Halo online grew immediately old upon having my worst fears realised within all of one (count it) deathmatch game. (The campaign, I'm assuming, takes a while to get going, as judging from the first hour or so they'd have had to TRY to make it less inspiring.) The constant jumping around in deathmatches just completely spoils it for me. Is it just me? Really? It's a laugh - don't get me wrong - but watching supposed super marines jumping around non-stop in an effort to make themselves harder targets is never going to be anything but lame, gay (like, several shades of pink, man), and quite hilarious (in the not-actually-that-funny way) - especially considering most of those doing the jumping probably despise Mario for the very same reasons, and post regular comments on just how much they hate Mario for the very same reasons on this here internets. When we eventually DO have to repel the evil alien hordes - and we WILL - will we all be doing this from three feet in the air approx 75% of the time? No. We won't. I'll stake my online reputation (all three Live stars of it) on this RIGHT NOW, and state that, in all probability, the likelihood of surviving extra-terrestrial invasion through gambolling around like a lamb on fucking speed is near enough "DIE YOU ANNOYING TWAT" (though expressed as a percentage, obviously).

Personally, I'd prefer they just took the fucking jump out, but allowed us to climb over stuff. Jumping in FPS is shite - there I said it. You had to fucking push me, didn't you? Why is it there anyway? ("So they can force some stupid attempt at a bit platform gaming in there as some slight nod to a little variety," he replies to himself.) Is it really needed? In your average combat situation, how often - without needing to climb over something - would you say you would need to jump in the air? FUCK THAT, THAT'S NOT WHY I'M HERE - I AM HERE TO SHOOT PEOPLE IN THE FACE, DAMMIT. Alternatively, I have an even better suggestion: allow us to create and host a match where the jump button is replaced by an animation of your so-called super marine doing a quick impromptu "I'm a little teapot" stance, with a sample of Larry Grayson saying "shut that door". I ask you: would that fucking rock, or would that fucking rock? Listen to those fuckers whine as they're forced to actually finish the fight on the floor, rather than bobbing about like thunderbird puppets on elastic fucking bands.
#12 at 18:39:52 - 27/05/2010
Furbs
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Has a game ever divided gamers like Halo? Even in its infancy it was shaping up to cause arguments, given its roots in Mac gaming (no, I didnít know it existed either).

Before I explain why I think itís nothing more than overrated, formulaic and in my opinion boring game, I should perhaps give a bit of background of where I was as a gamer around the time.

For me, 1998-2002 were my PC gaming years. Living at home, working at Game meant I got to play ALOT of FPS games on a pretty high end gaming machine (32mb TNT2 no less). FPS games were my genre of choice, probably due to getting Dark Forces with my first ever PC.

So around 1996-97, reading Voodoo Extreme, I became aware of the hype surrounding this game from some guys called Bungle or something who had apparently done a couple of good games before I got into PC's. Just because of the excitement over it, I kept an eye on it, but wasnít really that interested as it was too far away from release.

Fast forward to 2001 and I was in a line outside Toys R Us in Sonoma, California at 6am - the Xbox 1 release coinciding with a 3 month holiday over there. In the end I never actually got an Xbox, they had sold out by the time I got inside, but I did get to have a play on this game which apparently was one of the most amazing experiences ever made. Except it wasnít. It was ugly, garish colours, had counter intuitive controls (bear with me) and annoying enemies. I didnít worry about it too much as I never base judgements on an instore demo.

12 months later, with my PC starting to creak, I bought myself an Xbox with Halo. By this time of course, I was well aware of what it was all about, and the devotion of people behind it. So, first night with the new Boxen, I sat down for a good play, and was left totally disappointed.

So, why donít I get on with it, and why do I think itís something only fanboys get overexcited about?

Graphics and design

Even at the time, I thought Halo looked a bit...pants. The first level doesnít help. A boring, single levelled spaceship interior that is grey corridor after grey corridor? Doesnít grab me right away. But of course, itís not long after, where like Unreal, you get planetside into this supposedly beautiful world. Except its angular, with buildings that make no sense of seem to have a purpose, and just...flat. Compared to the Unreal opening vista, I really couldnít see what the fuss was about.

The lighting effects do nothing for me...ok itís got some nice neon-y type gun/laser effects that a NFS: Underground fan would lap up, but again, compared to the lighting I'd seen in games like Unreal or Thief, it was all very meh.

Maybe it was the jar of going back to blurry, low res gaming after playing things in 1280x1024, but I was left totally bemused by the hype Halo's graphics got. Although at the same time, Splinter Cell blew me away, so its not just a pixel-whore thing coming out.

I also had an issue with the character design. Even at the time for me, the Masterchief was all very generic and didnít stand out as "cool". Ok, neither did Gordon Freeman, but at least in Half Life I wasnít playing anyone special or "cool".

Enemies? Urgh, I've never hated an enemy design more. The little goblin things annoy me with their "comical" outbursts and bright colours. They just donít carry any menace. Itís like shooting one of those little long haired trolls kids collected in the 80's. Ok, threes the larger brutes, but they donít intimidate the player in the same way as some of the bigger enemies in Half Life did.

Ok, I will admit the horizons looked good. Great, they can make a cool skybox.

Gameplay

Ah, the "legendary" Halo AI. First time I played the game I put it on normal. TOTALLY didnít understand where people were coming from. Which is why I stopped playing quite quickly. A few years later, people told me to really enjoy Halo, it has to be done on Legendary. Surely thatís a failing right there? If a game can only be at its best on its hardest difficulty, and you donít see everything it has to offer until then, you've done something wrong?

Anyway, so I went back to it, eager to see this flanking and teamwork. Nope, just didnít see it. The Ninjas and marines in Half-Life were far, far more taxing. I didnít see any great teamwork, and the flanking just seemed to me to be the AI trying one route, not getting anywhere and coming back the other way.

The single most important thing for me in an FPS is the weapons. Halo's nearly put me to sleep. The human weapons are boring, utterly formulaic and donít feel satisfying. Threes no quirky, never seen before guns, and the ones that are in there are just boring. Did I mention that yet? Ok, things get a bit more interesting with the alien ones, but they look so ugly I was actually ashamed to be wielding them.

But but but...Halo gave us recharging shields! Great. There goes the "I'm nearly dead, I canít take another hit" tension. Instead, just stand behind a rock for 20 seconds. I'm not coming at this from a realism angle...it just reduces the tension and skill.

What about using vehicles then? Starsiege Tribes? Midwinter? Battlezone? Hell even Codename Eagle had that, and it was dire.

In short, as a converted PC gamer, there was nothing here that I hadnít seen before, but done better. And I was no PC zealot at the time; Goldeneye still makes my top games of all time list.

The Story

Apparently, itís great. But I wouldnít know, because when I play a game, I want the game to give me the info I need to know. Reading fan service books, comics and watching various animated webisodes isnít what I want to do. Sure, I'll do it to expand things and find out more about why I'm fighting, but I shouldnít need to do it to really appreciate the games narrative. Look at Half Life 2 - an amazing backstory, even more so if you delve into it, but you can still totally appreciate the story without reading more.

With Halo, the story just felt like typical FPS pickings - go here, press this button, meet me back here. Seriously? That the story? Great.

Controls

Just to be a bit controversial here (since the rest of my arguments are flawless), at the time I found Halo's controls a real mess. There were just too many buttons. Admittedly, itís not fair to use this against it too much now, as I'm now more familiar with console FPS controls, but for a long time, my initial experiences with Halo put me off of ALL console shooters.

Need I go on?

I really wanted to like Halo. It has everything I should want from a game. I really wish I'd come at it straight from the Playstation One era without ever having touched a PC FPS. Had that been the case, I'm sure I'd have loved it. For me though, it was all stuff I'd seen before, done better, with nicer controls, and looking nicer.

Is Halo a bad game? No not at all, a solid 8 of 10 for me (!). No way is it the best FPS ever made though; it may not even have been the best FPS on the Xbox1 for me. Itís just a solid game which brings a few things together, for the first time on a console. I'm not sure that in itself is enough for it to get the plaudits it does.
#13 at 18:46:43 - 27/05/2010
evilashchris
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With Halo 3 you can make your own levels in the forge mode, folks have made whole bloody mariokart levels, they are stunning. One we often play on a Monday is a user created level called Halo 2.0, One person is picked to be on a really tall platform in the middle, armed with a sniper rifle and rocket launcher.

Everyone else has a little car.

The aim is to make your way along the precarious track, avoiding sniper fire, rockets and your chums, to get to the helicopter thing at the end, if you do manage it, your reward is to fly up and rinse the bloke in the middle.

It's absolutely hilarious.

I think if you have a problem with the multiplayer in Halo you have a joybone missing, and/or haven't been giving the more fruity game types much of a chance.
#14 at 18:50:49 - 27/05/2010
HairyArse
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tldr;

;)
#15 at 18:53:14 - 27/05/2010
HairyArse
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You didn't have to do all of that in one go Furbs. The idea is to run this for a few days and have a bit of to-ing and fro-ing.

I'm sure Lutzie will have some responses in due course.
#16 at 18:54:01 - 27/05/2010
Furbs
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Summary:

Halol.


Edit: Oh great, now you tell me. Thats an easy, boss out the way afternoon wasted!
#17 at 18:54:10 - 27/05/2010
evilashchris
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I love the graphics in Halo Furbs, the one thing that worries me about reach is that some of the great colour work in the previous games seems to have been toned down, I want to keep my Fisher-Price tanks Bungie!

I do hope they have sacked the bloke that does the faces though, they have always been terrible.
#18 at 18:54:19 - 27/05/2010
Furbs
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You've name checked Mario Kart and now said you like bright colours.

People like you dont deserve a Microsoft product.

Dark and gritty should be a rule in any game.
#19 at 18:56:11 - 27/05/2010
evilashchris
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Controls: Most folks I talk to use a scheme called Bumper Jumper, apparently it's much easier to grasp and use.

I wouldn't know though, I've always got on fine with the defaults, well that and I can't be arsed changing them because I'm a lazy cunt :D
#20 at 18:56:37 - 27/05/2010
evilashchris
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Life is gritty, man.

Life is gritty.

Halo is a beautiful escape where I can shoot candy coloured aliens and jump about like a loon.
#21 at 18:57:54 - 27/05/2010
HairyArse
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Furbs said:Oh great, now you tell me. Thats an easy, boss out the way afternoon wasted!


It's cool don't worry. And knowing lutzie, he'll come back with War and Peace, only he'll have typed it one-handed, on his fucking Nokia or something. He's that intense.
#22 at 18:58:25 - 27/05/2010
evilashchris
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Out of interest, have you guys that hate the single player played much of it in co-op?
#23 at 18:59:58 - 27/05/2010
Furbs
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Admittedly no. Even a bad game is improved by real people though. Unless its Pure Football.

Had a quick go on Halo 3 MP and it still did nothing for me. Although in the interests of full disclosure, I'm not a big fan of futuristic shooters, unless it has lightsabres in it.
#24 at 19:02:30 - 27/05/2010
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In terms of singleplayer campaigns. I loved halo 1 - one of my favourites of the last decade. halo 2 was ok but a significant drop in quality for the singleplayer. Halo 3 was a return to form in terms of level design but that cortana level was absolutely awful and the storytelling was very overblown and embarrassing for a grown adult (even one that plays video games). ODST was better, if a little short. loved firefight mode.

Enjoyed the Halo Wars RTS that was ensemble's swan song but I am not sure if we are meant to include that.

Halo CE > ODST > Halo 3 > Halo Wars > Halo 2

In answer to the OP's specific questions:

The multiplayer is solid and had some real innovations but personally I find it very unforgiving if you can't spend every waking moment playing it. The hit detection against yank hosts is shocking at times (maybe just my connection but don't have the same level of problems with other games)

Halo universe is good for a typical sci-fi space marine type thing, certainly better than gears of war, but don't understand why anyone over the age of 19 would really get into the whole mythos, books, etc.

Didn't get on with the reach beta even though I thought I would. It seemed to amplify the difficulties I have playing competitive multiplayer nowadays. I liked some of the ideas but would rather play BFBC2 for multiplayer. If it was meant to sell the game to me it did not succeed.

#25 at 19:04:19 - 27/05/2010
evilashchris
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It has Plama Swords!

It's the sheer variety of the multiplayer which wins it for me, no other game even comes close. I've been playing every week since the game came out, and only discovered my favourite game type a few weeks ago.

Sumo.

Four cars on ramps, drive them onto the floating plinth as fast as possible, use Gravity Hammers to knock the other team off, if you get knocked off you have to watch the remainder of the match from a floating 'sin bin'.

It's been responsible for a few of my more choice swear words lately :D
#26 at 19:07:24 - 27/05/2010
Furbs
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evilashchris said:It has Plama Swords!

Something else thats been done before then ;)

Yeah, the variety of multiplayer modes is definitely something to applaud. Was bit of a shock when I first got into BF2 to see how few game modes there were.
#27 at 19:15:00 - 27/05/2010
HairyArse
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I've never played but have heard good things about Halol 3's Forge mode... Now if someone would like to elaborate.
#28 at 19:23:16 - 27/05/2010
evilashchris
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I've never used it myself, I just pinch the cool levels off more talented people :D
#29 at 19:56:55 - 27/05/2010
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/vents

Fucking HELL Halo is an utter bag of balls. The story is complete tripe, shitty sci-fi with a cowboy stereotype at the forefront. It has a garbage soundtrack, terrible level design, rubbish graphics and an awful framerate.
#30 at 21:41:00 - 27/05/2010

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