Before every fanboy that simply sees the title and simply gets ready to rant in the comments does so, I implore you, please read this first. Halo is a much drooled over title and for (allegedly) good reason. At least I assume so because sales for this title have been no less than insane, thus rampant fanboyism. Before I begin, I’d like to tell you a little about myself and why I SHOULD have fallen in love with this game, but couldn’t.
As many of you probably suspect by now, I’m a diehard RPGer. I don’t really see the point of multiplayer RPGs, let alone MMOs, and yes, this is even after acknowledging the success of Secret of Mana. As a result, the single player experience of ANY title is weighed pretty heavily in my book because to me, that’s what a game is all about. Multiplayer is and always will come in second, even if it’s a very strong second.
Then there are games like Team Fortress 2 that are a rare exception for me. And I suppose for a few years after I initially got my 360 I’d have to say was a rare time for me because up to that point I MIGHT play a game online with other people, but for the most part it was all about playing the game by myself and determining whether I enjoyed it or not. Most people already know this side of me.
Smash Bros. X Final Fantasy. Liquid awesome.
But what a lot of people DON’T know about me is because I was a kid in the NES days and became a teenager in good ol’ 1995, I was exposed to a lot more than just RPGs back then. As a result, I was starved for RPGs and various other genres swept in to fill that void such as brawlers, adventure games, fighting games, puzzle games, various shooters, FPSs, and even a few strategy and sports titles.
So yes, in my mind, RPGs are where it’s at, but I’ve never turned down games from other genres with the rare exception of sports games and that’s probably because I find them more fun to watch than play. Or experience, if I can find the right people. That said, I grew up with games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, Quake 2, GoldenEye 007, and so on. I really do like third and first person shooters.
So it stands to reason that if I liked those, well, SURELY I would wuv all over Halo. But you’d be wrong. First, I’ll explain what makes it good.
What’s Good About It
Graphics. It may not look like it now, but this was a pretty hot title concerning graphics back in 2001. It does look a little dated, sure, but for the most part it’s still pretty good. The enemy AI was quite different from what I’d seen previously also. As you can tell, I’m really reaching here, so I’ll throw in co-op and multiplayer even though I’ve only done both of those a grand total of twice a piece.
What I Hate About It
Lots. Where to even begin? Well, I guess I’ll start with the weapons. First, I don’t like the fact you can only hold two weapons. You know, we’ve gotten used to it today, but come on…I can’t be the only one that finds this annoying. Sure, at times I would wonder if the lone space marine from Doom would die from a hernia before a fireball because he was lugging around a ridiculous arsenal seemingly from…well, his arse, I’d imagine.
ARSEnal indeed. In any event, that’s not my main beef with the weapons. Though they look interesting at first, I can’t really say any of them are truly innovative. You have a pistol, assault rifle, sniper rifle, charge gun, homing launcher thingy, and I’m probably missing one or two, but more than likely they were just as boring. Think about that, then think about games like No One Lives Forever or Perfect Dark that did have a lot of standard weapons, but also a lot of really cool gadgets, layouts, and so on.
And this is supposed to be taking place AWAY from Earth! You’d think there would at least be a few interesting weapons here and there. Next up is the level design. Now yes, the graphics are very nice and the textures are quite detailed and varied. But the level design is awful. For the most part you’re just wandering around from firefight to firefight trying to figure out where to go and what to do.
Sometimes you lose the warthog, Satan’s most prized possession, and then you’re really fucked because you have to walk the distance. So you go from a vehicle that can’t control, turn, or in general be controlled worth a shit (and don’t fucking tell me I’m doing it wrong, it has shit controls and you know it), to walking, which is only undesirable because it takes for-fucking-ever.
Giant vast landscapes for you to explore (and find nothing) for hours! Woo. Look, this isn’t Oblivion we’re talking about here, nor is it Fallout. This is Halo, allegedly the next BIG THING in the world of FPSs. So why am I wandering around bored? Why is it when I finally get to a firefight the rest of the squad dispatches them with little effort on my part? What’s the point? Why am I even here or needed, then?
Look, in Gears of War, another game that I only mildly enjoyed, yes, you have a squad, but they can’t do everything themselves. Environments are also kept nice and tight, so you don’t really get lost or bored either. In fact, the level design is one of the strongest aspects of Gears of War. This is also one of the first games I’d played that decided “Music? Fuck music.”
Yes, it had been done in games before and since, but I really hate that and as a result, it too detracted from the overall game for me. A lot of developers claim they do it for realism. Uh, listen…HALO IS NOT REALISTIC. Nor is Quake. Nor is Doom. They’re scifi at best. Why can’t we have music?
“Oh, it adds a sense of atmosphere and isolation.” In Halo? Uhhhh…nope! 90% of the time you have a squad of people. It’s not a scary game, either. For example, it makes sense in a game like Doom 3. We’d probably end up turning off the music anyway to enhance the ambience. I get that. But Halo? Yeah right. But even about this, I get the sense I’m just beating a dead horse here.
In fact, you’ll notice I’m really not saying a whole lot else here. That’s because there isn’t much to say. Halo didn’t really leave much of an impression on me other than it was boring. I often didn’t know where I was going, the squad cleaned up the bad guys too quickly for me to really have any fun, it was too open so there were no tight corners or whatever to contend with for strategy, the vehicle controls sucked, and the story, what I remember of it, was pretty lame.
Sure, the story starts out interesting enough, but I never felt like it went anywhere. “OH NO THE SHIP IS UNDER ATTACK, LET’S LEAVE. OH NO THE ESCAPE POD IS FUCKED, LET’S DERP AROUND ON THE PLANET. DERP DERP DERP. HEY LOOK SURVIVORS AND ALSO BAD GUYS. DERP DERP DERP. MORE BAD GUYS. DERP DERP DERP.”
There. That’s the story of Halo. What a masterpiece.
WHY HASN’T THIS BEEN MADE YET.
When I got my original X Box, I got Halo, Shenmue 2, Ninja Gaiden, and Dead or Alive 3. Halo got shoved to the back pretty quickly after only a few missions. I picked it up later and played with my brother on co-op and multiplayer a few times as he’d been champion of his dorm back home and shared all kinds of Halo fun facts. I still hate it. And Halo 2. And you won’t be tricking me into playing anymore into the series.