Halo sucks. What's wrong with me?

So yeah, no matter what I do, I just can’t get into any of the Halo games. I played the first one maybe half way through and got bored, and all the others haven’t managed to hold my interest for very long at all. I just don’t get what people find fun about Halo games. They’re financially successful and generally get good scores with other critics, so why do I hate them so much? Is it just me?

I’ve wondered this for a long time, but I just rage quit from the ODST single player campaign after getting fed up with the million little annoyances in that game. Everything from the controls feeling as if they’ve seen little to no refinement from the first game, to the graphics being mediocre, average voice acting, a lifeless and boring game world filled with debris that serves no purpose other than tripping up you or the vehicle you’re in, weapons that aren’t that much fun to use, enemies that are goofy looking and boring, and a story that isn’t really any better than something you’d find on Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

I feel like I’m a guy who has enough experience with games to have a pretty good grasp on what’s good and what’s not. I’ve been playing games since the 80’s, and even if I don’t like one of the “big name” games I can at least see what other people find fun about it. With Halo, I’m just completely lost here. Why is it regarded as this big revolutionary thing when it’s not even on the level many games were at years ago? Is it just because of the marketing?

I’ve got to write my review for ODST sometime this weekend, and I’m really struggling with finding my true feelings for the game. I feel like I should be enjoying it a lot more than I really am, but that’s based entirely on the experiences of other people. Half of my friends list is playing ODST at any given time, yet I’m pretty much hating it so far.

What’s wrong with me? :(

The best thing about Halo is Red vs. Blue.

(i.e. I don’t care for it either.)

Nothing’s wrong with you! I got bored with it pretty quickly too.

You hate fun.

That, or it just doesn’t work with you. I can understand why some people don’t like it; its sluggish compared to some shooters, its got different mechanics than some other shooters, and the story is pretty vapid in the games.

All about personal preference, and your journalistic integrity will be a lot stronger if you write how you truly feel.

Eh, I’ve never liked the Halo games either.

Let me whisper a little secret in your ear:

You’re allowed not to like stuff other people like.

It sounds like you’re genuinely curious about why people find Halo appealing, and aren’t just ranting, so I’ll try to articulate it for you.

Most of the appeal I’ve already tried to address in this post where I argued that repetitive environments in the first Halo are completely besides the point, since the game is all about enjoying the combat. Sometimes that’s enjoying the combat against a few grunts and Elites in an open area with a few rocks for cover, sometimes it’s driving through an open field in a Warthog with the gunner pounding away at enemy troops and vehicles.

The combat in Halo 1 in particular is all about setting up little tiny sandboxes, where the player has to eliminate enemy forces. You have to play it on a higher difficulty setting to enjoy it because the whole point is for the combat to the creme filling of the gameplay. The combat is what comprises the essential element that makes Halo so appealing. If you play on Easy or Normal, or even if you play on Harder difficulties and find it too tough, you can end up not enjoying the combat. And if you don’t enjoy the combat, there really is no point on going any further.

Not all games are for everyone. Just because Halo is enjoyed by a lot of people doesn’t mean it’s designed to appeal to everyone. It’s designed around the combat, and if you enjoy the combat, it’s a very appealing game. If you don’t enjoy the combat, the game is not for you. There’s no need to fret over it and try to understand it any further than that and wonder if there’s something wrong with you.

Not to be argumentative, but in the other thread the combat was described as (roughly) : pop out, take a few shots, hide and heal, pop out, take a few shots, hide and heal, etc.

I’m not sure we share a definition on what creme filled combat is.

That’s the way some people chose to play it, sure. That’s not the way I’m playing it though. And I’m having a blast. Plus, I’m mostly talking about Halo 1. I’m not far enough into ODST to comment on its combat yet.

Your problem is experience and the conditioning that comes from a learned set of FPS behaviors, and how most of it doesn’t really apply to Halo outside of very short bursts of action guided by the most skeletal of tactical decisions. If you are one shot away from death, you chill out and recharge, if not you keep attacking. That’s about as deep as it gets.

They couple these action bursts with oppressively linear level design that you usually have to traverse multiple times, always after scripted “events” that happen as you get to one end of the hallway before being sent back. They tried to work around this with the “hub” level in ODST, but it’s just an excuse to say they did something different while chaining you between the big set pieces, which in true Bungie fashion double as the Firefight levels.

Epic not only beat them to the punch, but they designed their Firefight levels to work within their multiplayer system as well as the comp stomp mode. You cannot play Halo 3 multiplayer on Firefight maps, which creates a pointless distinction and frankly a wasted opportunity.

It’s also true that the enemies are nearly generic beyond belief. It’s a space based menagerie of anthropomorphic beasts that look like strikingly similar to earth based counterparts, covered in plates of tribally significant color coded power armor. They all fire with projectile weapons and melee at close range. Durrrr. Sorry, but I just love to hate on Halo, they make it so incredibly easy.

The sad truth is the vast majority of the Halo fanbase seriously thinks Bungie invented the concept of a Space Marine fighting an alien race. In the hallways of space or earth, whichever.

The one thing Halo has going for it is the vehicle integration in the multiplayer sandbox and how seamlessly they relate to the infantry gameplay and the terrain. But then they go and fuck it up with terribly unbalanced weapon loadouts on maps, so as long as one team always performs two objectives (Rush & secure Laser in middle of map, destroy enemy Warthog) they gain the ability to spawnrape your team with their Warthog over and over and over driving figure 8’s on the backside of your base as you respawn and get gunned down. Most of your team will go -20, and they will have one guy who went +50.

Even when you’re on the other end of the chaingun you can’t help but feel retarded exploiting a spawn system in a CTF game design that is basically Quake 2 all over again, but without a grappling hook or health packs. Rush the power weapons & items and spawnrape. That is the essence of Halo 3 multiplayer, FFA or team games.

I realize that I don’t have to like something just because a lot of other people do. Duh! ;)

It’s just that I honestly can’t think of any other game franchise that’s held in such high regard by so many people, but that I dislike this much. It just feels weird. It’s like everyone is tasting the Koolaid and says it’s cherry, but it tastes like lime to me.

And yeah, don’t worry, I’m not going to write some flowery review just because I feel weird about it. I’ll be honest, like I always am in my column.

Wondering how I’m ever going to finish this :(

Almost everyone on this thread is talking about the single player campaign which is really not the reason it’s so popular. The game gets so much love based off it’s excellent competitive multiplayer implementations.

The single player stuff is at best middling - polished but reptitive, with a story line that’s hardly mentioned in the actual game but is incredibly fleshed out in out of game resources. That said, I still love doing the single player campaign, finding skulls and audio logs, and generally stomping Brutes.

Actually you just described Gears of War =)

But other than to just take potshots, remember Halo is also a multiplayer experience, all the previous Halo games the campaign was co-op, so on top of combat sandboxes, it was combat sandboxes with one of your friends, or three of your friends for Halo3. Does ODST not have a multiplayer component for the campaign? That feels like a bit of a rip, thats what I always enjoyed, I guess firefight is supposed to replace it?

I thought it was good brainless fun while playing co-op, but I was bored of it playing Solo (Halo 1 and 2, I haven’t played 3 or the newer one). I dislike console thumb stick controls, so that’s another reason I couldn’t really get into it, but that isn’t really a Halo problem.

At the time I was playing Halo 1 I kinda wished it had boss fights. That was really my only complaint besides everything feeling too samey from beginning to end.

The thing I like the most about Halo games are their soundtracks.

But are you allowed to like stuff other people dislike?

The Halos have relatively deep, solid-feeling combat mechanics, and popularized some good features like the separate grenade button, useful melee, a checkpoint system with carefully-placed checkpoints, and some other small but solid enhancements. They’re very average or below-average aside from those things, and were beneficiaries of the overhype so common to Xbox exclusives (see: Fable 1/2, Brute Force, Perfect Dark Zero, and a host of other examples) so there’s nothing wrong with you. Be honest in your review.

The only time I’ve ever really enjoyed a Halo was playing the original with split screen co-op, and I think that had fairly little to do with Halo and a lot to do with co-op. I made a brief stab at getting into multiplayer with Halo 3 and hated pretty much every aspect of it, though that had a lot to do with the Live experience as a whole.

I enjoyed the first Halo because I was able to play it coop with my friend, it was more a social thing than anything.

Halos after that? Meh.

Well if you’re reviewing it, you could just stay true to your principles and write up how you feel about it, rather than striving to change your opinion for a fan-appeasing wishy-washy middle ground. I mean, you might get savaged, but if you’re just going to make yourself like it, why bother? You could apply the same logic to anything. You’re the reviewer though, so you know best I guess. No snark intended here in any way shape or form, just a bit curious as to why you feel you ought to like it.