halo Archive

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The First Halo 4 Info Dump

Color me unimpressed.

Don’t get me wrong, I still hope 343 Studios comes out with a banging new Halo game, but after the debacle that was Halo: CE Anniversary edition, I’ll need first-hand proof that Halo 4 isn’t a dud before I believe it.

I mean, look at the stuff they highlight in this video (with my commentary in bold):

  • A clever reason why there are red and blue Spartans fighting each other. (Who CARES?! Is an elaborate backstory going to make up for subpar gameplay? Because that’s the first thing I’m going to think of when you draw attention to things like that.)
  • The story being integrated into the multiplayer experience. (Competitive Halo multiplayer has never been about telling a story. If it’s there and doesn’t detract from the gameplay, sure, I’ll take it. But it’s not something anyone has been clamoring for.)
  • The sound effects have been completely redone. (Whoopty ding-dong)
  • Players will be able to customize their loadouts and unlock gameplay changing features ala Call of Duty. (This is the biggest red flag for me. To me, one of the most elegant parts of a Halo deathmatch is that it starts everyone off on equal footing equipment-wise. You start giving players who have spent the time to grind out enough XP to give themselves a discernable starting advantage, you start going down a slippery slope of game balance issues. I’d rather lose matches to people who outmatch me with skill, rather than unlocks. This is an especially big issue for a game like Halo, where people don’t die in one hit like other modern war shooters.)
Now, I know it’s still early in the information dissemination cycle for the game, but the stuff 343 Studios has decided to tout in its first public information release is curious at best. It’s as if they were running out of ideas to improve the franchise as is and are grasping at any sort of “improvement” feature checklist features they can. I just hope my intuition pans out wrong on this one because Halo truly is my favorite big budget gaming franchise.
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Review: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

Last fall, Microsoft and 343 Studios released a “remastered” version of the original Halo with online coop play, achievements, a smattering of Kinect-enabled voice commands, and a complete graphical overhaul. It’s somewhat of a transition title for the franchise as the baton of Halo development has been passed from Bungie to 343 Studios starting with the upcoming Halo 4. As a longtime Halo fan, I hope that this “Anniversary” edition of Halo isn’t any indicator of what the future of the franchise will be like because it’s an absolute turd bomb.

Why? Because the online co-op is completely broken. Here are three reasons why:

Read the rest of this entry »

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This Is The Dude That Says “Double Kill” In Halo

Jeff Steitzer is an accomplished broadway actor, but you and I probably know him best as the guy who tells you when you are winning (and losing) in Halo. Double Kill! Triple Kill! OVERKILL.

I always envisioned him as a younger man, though. He pretty much looks nothing like you would think he would. However, I guarantee that the next time you get a medal in Halo, you’ll get a mental image of the avuncular-looking Mr. Steitzer. Enjoy.

CHENEYMANIA!

via GameInformer.com.

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Complete Noble Map Pack Quick Looks

These went up a couple of weeks ago, but they’re still worth watching, especially if you’re any fan of Halo. This is how you get fans excited about an upcoming release – with honest, candid and informative developer commentary videos. I’ll take these over any bullshot movie trailer wannabe videos anyday.

Watch: Bungie.net : Complete Noble Map Pack Quick Looks : 11/23/2010 6:09 AM PST.

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E3 2010 Preview: Halo Reach

I gotta admit to poppin’ a little stiffy when Bungie revealed that the Halo Reach campaign would incorporate space combat in the vein of Wing Commander or Colony Wars. I love a good space dogfight and can only hope there’s more of it in the full campaign than the couple of minutes we were shown at the Bungie booth at E3 2010.

Bungie confirmed that up to four players playing the campaign co-op will be able to pilot a Sabre in the game. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do so in player vs player Matchmaking. Yeah, I’m disappointed too, but Microsoft’s got a hell of a spinoff game idea if they ever wanted to, you know, print some money.

Campaign Space Combat Gameplay Video:

“Firefight 2.0″:

Building on ODST’s Firefight game type, Bungie’s added a lot more customizeability to Reach’s Firefight. Some the things we’ll be able to change are the number of rounds in a game, the types of enemies we face, and the weapon/armor ability loadouts that we take into battle. From there, we can save the customizations and upload them to our Bungie File Shares for others to download.

At first I was concerned that this would fracture the player base, but Firefight’s four player focus on cooperative survival means that each game will be fairly self contained. Each player is going to be dealing with the same conditions in a given play session. I just hope there’s a better way of discovering and playing the best user generated gametypes. I always found it difficult in Halo 3 to find and play custom gametypes that weren’t available in matchmaking buckets.

In the live gameplay video below, you’ll also see the unimaginatively named new weapon, “Target Locator” in action. Frankly, they could have called it “stapler” for all I care. Nuking stuff from orbit never gets old.

Finally, for those who played the beta, “Generator Defense” actually turned out to be a test for Firefight 2.0. I’m glad it turned out to be a gametype tuned for AI enemies. As a player vs player gametype it got very one sided and frustrating at times.

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Halo Reach Beta Crash Course Guide

Sup biddies.  I dove into the Halo Reach beta for a few hours over the weekend and fumbled my way through the new gametypes, maps, powers, and weapons.  I’m here to distill what I’ve learned into a short guide on what to expect when you fire up the beta with an emphasis on what’s changed from Halo 3.  One thing to keep in mind is that the auto-aim assist has been turned way down – you’re going to have to earn those headshots now, son.

Protip: If you want to keep the controls similar to Halo 3, switch to the Recon control scheme. Otherwise, be prepared to use RB as your melee attack, X as your reload/weapon pickup, and B as your grenade type changer.

Armor Abilities:

The biggest change is the addition of special armor abilities that you can pick from each time you spawn via a loadout selection menu.  Loadout options will change based on the gametype you get in matchmaking.  These abilities are not consumable and will recharge if you do not use them for a bit.  You can see your ability status on the bottom left corner of your screen via a circular meter around the icon.  The default button to use your ability is LB and you can deactivate the power up at any time by pressing LB again to conserve energy.

Spartan(common loadouts listed):

  • Sprint – (Scout Loadout) Makes you run faster – you can use it in bursts or all at once.  Especially fun if you have the sword or hammer.
  • Active Camouflage - (Stalker Loadout) Like the old powerup, it makes you invisible.  You will also act like a mobile radar jammer, filling all radar screens around you (including your own) with red dots, so don’t rely on it to find enemies.
  • Jetpack – (Airborne Loadout) Makes you fly!  Keep in mind, the rules of physics will still apply.  If you’re falling like a rock, it’ll take more juice to keep you afloat.  Think Tribes more than Duke Nukem.
  • Armor Lock – (Guardian Loadout) As long as you hold down LB, you will be invincible and immobile.  It also acts like an EMP, draining the shields of anyone next to you.  Very useful for defending an area as you basically become an attention grabber, buying valuable time for your teammates to help. (MMO Tank!)

Covenant:

  • Evade – (Both Loadouts) As a Covenant Elite, your armor ability makes you do an evasive roll in the direction you are moving. Use it to avoid bad things.  On a fully charged meter, you will be able to evade twice before having to recharge.  Keep this in mind if you get into a skirmish with someone.

New Gametypes:

There are two new gametypes currently available, Stockpile and Headhunter.

  • Stockpile – You’ll see this in the Grab Bag playlist.  Basically there are two bases on the map, indicated by giant colored columns. Neutral flags will spawn randomly across the map.  Your goal is to bring and drop those flags into your team’s colored area.  BEWARE: the marker colors for the bases on your HUD are not necessarily the colors of the bases.  Make sure you are going to the right team’s base!  A timer at your base will count down every 60 seconds.  When it reaches zero, the game will reset the flags and give each team a point for each flag inside their base.  First team to 10 points wins.  Remember that you can screw with the other team by removing the flags from their base.  Even if the flags are a little outside the cylinder they will not count.
  • Headhunter – This one appears in FFA.  Each time someone kills someone, a flaming skull will drop.  The goal is to collect these skulls and bring them to the designated drop off area.  First one to 25 dropped off skulls wins.  Or, if you drop off 10 skulls at once, you’ll get a skullamanjaro and win instantly no matter what the score is.  You just have to run over a skull to pick it up.  If you die, you will drop all of the skulls you were carrying, Sonic The Hedgehog style.  The game will put markers on people, indicating the number of skulls they are carrying so you can prioritize your kills. Also, be mindful that the drop off areas will move periodically.
  • Covy Team Slayer – Not really a new gametype, it’s just Team Slayer with everyone playing as Covenant.

New Weapons:

  • DMR – It looks like a Battle Rifle, with the key difference being that it’s single fire action.  Use it as you would the BR, aim for the head at medium-long range.
  • Needle Rifle – The covenant version of the DMR, it looks kinda like a long Needler.  Needles will still explode dudes if you stick them with enough. Same usage scenarios as the DMR.
  • Focus Rifle – Think of it like Quake’s Lightning Gun.  It’ll fire a constant beam that you’ll have to train on an enemy.  Has surprisingly long range and you can zoom in twice.  Looks kind of like the Beam Rifle did in Halo 3.
  • Plasma Repeater – Unlike the plasma rifle in previous Halos, this one consumes ammo.  Think Covenant version of the assault rifle.
  • Grenade Launcher – It’s not as easy to use as the rocket launcher is, but just as powerful.  If you’re good with it you can bounce it places for the win.
  • Plasma Launcher – Use it like you would the Spartan Laser. When you’re ready to fire, hold down the RT to start charging it and paint your targets. Watch your crosshairs –  it will fire after 4 dots have lit up at the corners no matter what.  When you let go, plasma balls will home and seek your target, even if you die right after they fire.

This should sum up what you need to know before heading into Matchmaking.  If you want more detailed info, read Bungie’s Official Beta Guide.

(Updated on 5/3 with stuff I learned playing this more over the weekend.)