Halo thoughts (some spoilers)

I apologise if this has been said already - i remember some halo threads, but wasn’t able to find them using the search function (think they’re pretty old).

First time i used the xbox, and first time in 6 months i’ve played on a console (do not own a console, rarely able to use one, more a pc person anyway)

  1. Controls are very intuitive. Picked up the basics in minutes, by the end was waxing baddies right and left. xbox controller could have been slightly larger (it was large, and the other guy was using a smaller controlller. don’t know which one was the original)

  2. Coop (only mode i played) was a blast. Took over from a friend playing the second player on the HaloJump level (the one with the island and a beach). Started approx 10:00pm, finished around 10:30am next morning, with a three quarters hour break for a 7 player game of deathtank (Go Blitz round!! :))

  3. Absolutely loved it. Positively.

  4. Baddies rocked and made sense. hated the exploding-heads-on-tiny-legs.

  5. Can’t drive the warthog to save my life. Other player drove the last bit of the last mission. Thought at first it was insane timing, but on reflection it was well done.

  6. I want to at some point get a friend and see how fast coop can be played through, and then record/digitise the experience :)

  7. Physics is very well done, the maps/levels are pretty good (with one exception).

  8. Keeping the two players together is done well

  9. The two-weapons-only thing works very well. Keeps the realism high. Went for a assualt/shotgun or assualt/rocket launcher combo. There’s ammo/weapons around in the right proportions.

The bad:

  1. Stuffed up driving to the first pickup point (coop guy left me behind, the bastard! :)), and wanted to redo just that bit. Thought “redo level” was the one we wanted. Had to redo entire level. Perhaps a “redo from last checkpoint” option would have been better?

  2. Going from the first pickup to the second (and final pickup) wasn’t done right - in the end, we burned through the first pickup point and were well on our way to the final pickup while the first transport was being blown to bits. This is because you don’t get any extra time. First time around, we sat around at the first pickup point, then couldn’t believe we had to make it to the second pickup point with only the time we had spare over from the first time.

  3. Far as we could tell, there is no way to save coop to disk, so other games can be played in the meantime. wtf? Isn’t this what having a hard disk would be good for???

  4. There’s a bit where you’re supposed to jump up on a box and then jump up onto the second level. Apparently, many players give up at this point - jumping games is the main reason i gave up on half-life. It’s not obvious what to do, cos you’re going through all these doors that become unlocked, or there’s an unlocked one you have tried yet. Very unintuitive. And all the rooms look alike.

  5. No maps - eww. Especially with #4 in mind. eww again.

  6. In coop mode, some points require both to be in the same room at the same time, and the check points keep both together well. When, having destroyed the four fusion engines you have to escape on the elevator, you have to do so together. The level works very well if you split up. It took over half an hour of wandering around having destroyed the 4 fusion engines before we were both coincidentally in the elevator at the same time. Second time around, there was a beacon as well. Does Halo hint more/have less baddies second time a level is tried?

  7. Thumb hurts like heck after being glued to the controller for 8 hours continuously. I’m putting this down to Halo, cos it’s so damn good. Hurts too bad to be a good thing tho :)

Overall, damned good game, that has some slight flaws.

Questions: can you actually destory the convenant transports? It wouldn’t be unilikely, the way they’ve done things.

Some highlights:

We (me and the friend) became the “thing most people remember about the console night” :)

At times, shot marines for their ammo. Yeah, bad. still did it :)

Lachlan had much fun driving the marine tank, and was annoyed he couldn’t have one for most of the outdoor levels later on.

Story seems well done. And well set up for the sequel.

Graphics good, but still don’t like split screen. Were going to do the 2 xbox/2 monitor/crossover cable deal, but this was halfway through, and couldn’t work out how to save for later reloading of the coop play.

I am definitely looking forward to Halo PC. Even by summertime-- and a year and a half old-- it’ll still be relevant for vehicular multiplayer.

If Halo PC is delayed until xmas, though, all bets are off.

Ohh yea like its going to make all the diffrence in the world if the game comes to the PC 1 1/2 years as opposed to 2 years after its intial release.

I think between summer and xmas, some other FPS games might be released which also feature vehicles and a similar level of quality as Halo. Who knows, I could be wrong.

If Halo PC doesn’t make it out till Christmas and release dates are to be believed, it’ll have to deal with all the attention for Halo 2 on Xbox. That’s the big difference between a summer and Christmas release, not the extra few months.

Grrrr… I can’t imagine what E3 could be like this year. MS could make it a Halo-Rama! Halo for PC! Halo2 for Xbox! A big statue of the Master Chief at the entrance to the LA Convention Center. Bow down!

Mmmmmmm…Halo2 Live.

Damn micro$oft. I am beginning to doubt that the PC version will even be worth it. By the time it comes out (if ms even cares if it ever comes out) everything that would have been fun and revolutionary will have been done before. Yet another thing micro$oft has fucked up.

Excuse my ignorance but was there anything special about Halo to begin with? I heard you can drive vehicles… that’s nice, but so what? Shooters are one genre that the PC certainly doesn’t have a shortage of. I doubt that many PC gamers are waiting with bated breath for Halo.

“By the time it comes out (if ms even cares if it ever comes out) everything that would have been fun and revolutionary will have been done before.”

Which is why I don’t see any diffrence between next summer or Xmas or whenever. IMO Halo is a very good game but hardly the “Best. Game. Ever.” Its just gotten allot of coverage since its the only really big title the Xbox has had yet.

Its just gotten allot of coverage since its the only really big title the Xbox has had yet.

Can I quote you on that? There’s this group of nutballs on some web forum somewhere that don’t believe me when I say this.

–Dave

Okay, what’s special about Halo:

Halo’s got immense, enormous levels that combine indoors and outdoor terrain. It’s got a fairly good plot, as shooters go. Easily the most sophisticated sound and music system for a game, like, ever. Fantastic enemy and friendly AI, so that re-fighting the same battle over and over yeilds different results each time.

The weapon “rules” are interesting, in that you can only carry the weapon you’re using and one backup. This, combined with the wonderfully limited weapon variety (each is good at a very particular thing), creates some nice interesting decisions and tactics. You killed a guy with a plasma rifle - do you take it, because you’ll be fighting lots of shielded guys? Do you ditch that sniper rifle, even though you’re outdoors, because it’s low on ammo and the plasma rifle’s stocked? It changes how you approach each battle, too. If you go into a room with the assault rifle and plasma rifle, you’re going to have to fight differently than if you’ve got the pistol (which is underrated) and shotgun. Plus, you can throw grenades with your left hand at any time, which is also a pretty interesting twist.

Adding to the tactics you have to employ in combat, and the skill necessary, is the shield system. You’ve got limited armor and health packs are almost non-existant. But you’ve also got an energy shield that fully repleneshes if you can avoid being hit for like 10 seconds. So you’ve got to take cover sometimes, you can’t just load up on medkits or something and Rambo the whole room of bad guys.

More than anything else, Halo has satisfying combat. It just hits the nail on the head from both a “tactics matter” and “skill matters” perspective. Some fantastic combat AI, a variety of vehicles, and good physics layer on top of this to make every battle different and exciting.

Oh, and as was noted, co-op through the single-player campaign, which is rare among PC shooters. If they have that over the 'net in PC Halo, that’ll be worth the price of admission right there.

For me, the only downside to Halo at all is that several of the levels get WAY too repetitive. Following Guilty Spark to get the key was an exercise in “every hallway, every floor looks the same.” It’s like they determined the game was too short and just repeated entire areas to make it longer. Not in every level, mind you, just about 3 or 4 of the 10. If each combat situation didn’t feel so unique and interesting it would have hurt the game a whole lot more. I’d have rather played a game that was 2 hours shorter but cut out some of that level repetition. I also wanted to fight alongside some marine buddies a lot more often, too, because that’s just fun as hell. I’m glad they’re going to have a lot more of that in Halo 2.

Yes, I got Halo a few weeks ago… or rather got an xbox+halo+jetset radio future+gt2000 + dvd kit for $US250 (great deal) then had to wait another two weeks before we got a tv… delayed gratification, yes indeed it was.

These are some observations i made when I was about halfway through…

o Almost perfect control scheme
o Brutal screaming firefights,
o Vicious AI (incl chittering cannon fodder that run screaming and waving their little cannon fodder arms but (and this is important) Still Have Very Big Guns)
o Gloriously tuned difficulty curve to be hard but not frustrating (yet, anyway)
o Byoootiful world with loads of graphical glitz and tactically interesting layout w/lots of cover,
o Seamless console save scheme (automatic frequent waypoint saves, respawn at last waypoint, or can restart level)
o Hard but fair two weapon limit (since every weapon does some things really well, you’re constantly making hard choices… the assault rifle for chattering ammo spewing goodness? the plasma rifle for efficiency against the religious maniac aliens (their own weapons are the most effective against them) and beauty, although it tends to overheat with prolonged use? the plasma pistol which has a charged homing shot that wipes out alien shields? the marine pistol with it indefinable aura of icy he-man cool (and handy 2x scope for those snap headshots)? or the needler, which spits out purple homing darts that explode their target in a horrible glorious fireball when you hit with enough of them? Oh, and the perfectly implemented sniper rifle, mustn’t forget that. So many choices, so much pain.

Luckily there are always the grenades. You start with a bunch of frag grenades and most aliens drop plasma grenades which you chuck WITHOUT EQUIPPING pay attention FPS makers, THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD GO. pull trigger, throw grenade, WHILE DOING OTHER STUFF. In a nicely sadistic turn of design, the plasma grenades stick to targets (which normally commence running around screaming with all their mates running the fuck away before exploding messily, sending bodies flying - YES! BODIES FLYING! THIS IS WHAT WE WANT TO SEE!!) and there is no benefit from hoarding them, since you can only carry four. Different aliens react differently, one of the tough alien soldier guys, the Elites, will tend to do a flash dive roll into cover. Should he be on a bridge above a bottomless ravine at the time, this will inevitably lead to a sad postcard being sent home to Mrs Elite and all the little Elites, but this is war soldier. Actually, my favourite grenade moment was fighting my way down a long ravine, ducking from rock to rock to avoid withering plasma turret fire, getting to the end having waxed a metric fuckload of septic xenomorphic slime and flipping a grenade to take out the final turret then watching the turret fly lazily through the air and squash me like a bug. War is hell.

Have I mentioned halo is really good?

Now the vehicles. The Jeep is genius, third person control scheme, indestructible ( v important coz oh my do you sling those fuckers around) but the same cannot be said of the fragile packets of bodily fluids that jump in with you so eagerly. In a lovely touch the marines (think halflife, but on your side) will man the mega AA cannon and ride shotgun as you careen off rocks and slam broadside into hulking alien behemoths. there is an alien hover jet thing that comes along later and a tank and a alien hovertank also which i am guessing will also be JUST ABOUT OKAY.

So, what else? Sound good, story standard well executed FPS fodder (i thikn there are a few plot twists coming a ways down the pike) design aesthetic excellent even the voice acting is pretty good (some of the soldiers are actual australian, rather than the usual who-isn’t-busy-in-the-dev-team-today roundup)

so yep.

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nearly at the end

i’ve decided late stage halo has interesting similarities to diablo
o same burnished perfection of gameplay,
o same essentially simple gameplay dynamic (advance towards your enemy and cut him down)
o forgivable repetition (some of the later levels are literally just the early levels, either backwards (fighting your way out of the installation) altered (the starship you start in, but crashed and fucked up) or just identical (the library, which is four floors of xeroxed zombie splattering goodness).
o Doesn’t have the RPG stat climb, but instead you feel your skills climbing. Instead of only just surviving you begin finessing, tossing a sticky grenade onto a Black Elite warrior, say, then ducking round the corner and nailing two zombies with a single shotgun blast, hearing the grenade go off (and seeing a few bodies fly past) then swapping to assault rifle, punching out a grunt, shooting him in the face and jumping over his head while nailing his surviving buddies one-two-three before landing catlike (and we’re talking an eight-foot tall cat with green armour, so not unimpressive) amidst the carnage.

you get da idea. Jedi Knight has some of that too, once you get past the initial boring part. (atrocious pacing, don’t know what they were thinking).

Oh and one more thing, the best shotgun/zombie combination since Doom. Bits, man, you know what i’m saying? =bits=.

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In answer to the guys who were wondering what the big deal is, I’d just say ‘Halflife’. Halo is in every way congruent in quality to Halflife… I’d welcome any disagreements, but that’s my call.

Best part of Halo, hands down:

Scorpion Tank with four maries riding the sides.

Fun Fact: Cortana is voiced by Jen Taylor, who also recently voiced Cate Archer in NOLF 2 (but not NOLF 1), Tomiko in AvP2, and Princess Peach in a few of the recent Mario titles. I’m guessing she lives in the Seattle area.

I love how this thread has a “spoiler” warning, even though Halo’s been out for more than a year and been played by a substantial amount of people on this board. Dude, you don’t need to put the plot in spoilers anymore.

Guest, [If that’s your real name…]

Well, those of us who don’t own Microsoft’s Giant Video Game Machine haven’t played Halo yet, and will first experience it on PCs. So it’s nice of him to include the spoiler warning…

What Denny said. I’m just disappointed that there probably won’t be a way to turn off auto aiming and play online versus Xbox players. It is fun to shoot fish in a barrel sometimes. :twisted:

There is no auto-aiming in HALO, at least none that I saw. There is a targetting reticule for your assault rifle, but all that does is show you how wide the bullet spread is if you hold down the trigger.

It’s spoilermode cos i talk about specific parts of the game, and there are still people here on the board who haven’t played it but one day may.

That, and it’s an instinctive reaction from my usenet days :)

It doesn’t auto-aim, per se. It just turns red when there’s an enemy in the reticle (at least for the assualt rifle. the rocket launcher doesn’t, can’t remember any of the others).