Well, what is there to say about me? I'm kinda like your average gamer: I like to play games, I like to talk about games, and I hope to work in the video game industry one day.
I do tend to enjoy videogames more than the average gamer would though: videogames have been my life for as long as I remember (hell, the earliest memory that I can recall personally is me waking up and hopping on my SNES to play that X-men and Spider-man crossover game) so it's as much a part of me as my personality.
Although I LOVE to play videogames, having been doing so my whole life, I am not as skilled in videogames as others so I usually play on easier difficulties. Don't get me wrong, I do find it a bit dull when a game's too easy, and I do respect games that are hard for the players who want it (Dark Souls is deliciously hard and I wouldn't want it any other way) but I'd still like it if developers catering to gamers like me who simply aren't as skilled as others.
I have a wide variety of taste when it comes to games as I try to keep an open mind about everything that comes out: just because I play mainstream games Halo and Call of Duty doesn't mean I can't enjoy the underrated ones like Anarchy Reigns, Fire Emblem, and the like.
We all probably remember Halo 1 right? It was a great game of epic proportions. So naturally, when they announced a sequel, there were a lot of debates about it: Will it be better than the first game, or should it not have been bothered at all? Well, since Halo: First Strike was to bridge the gap; I was expecting at least a pretty good story. I recall reading about everything Halo when I was younger; I read the books that were out, and then I read almost any magazine articles that I could find. Now, back then, we weren't exactly the richest family out there, and I wanted to keep up with the latest game news, so I had 3 magazines subscriptions: Nintendo Power, Gamepro, and EGM (which was thankfully revived... still not the best magazine, but it's good seeing it again). Once I heard that Halo will be getting a sequel, I was really excited.
And for good reason, the game is as good as the difficulty I can't play on; Legendary. Sure, there's tons of debate, but I wanna go through my personal experiences of Halo 2.
Only for Xbox!?.... Damn Gamecube...
Halo 2 I was hyping myself up for the game so much that it couldn't have POSSIBILY be as great as I was expecting. Now, I have a tendency to do this for a lot of games, but because I have a low threshold for what's decent, and a high mark for what's good, I couldn't believe how much better the graphics of Halo 2 looked; No more bland armor, hello scratches and details! I was disappointed as the grunts doesn't look as cute (yeah, I said that) as they did in the first game, but everything else looked amazing; Seeing Cairo Station the first time was awesome, but if I recall correctly, you couldn't skip the tutorial... dammit...
It wasn't a BAD tutorial per se, but I wanted to get into the thick of things. I wanted to pick up my Assault Rifle and go to town... but then it struck me... there WAS no Assault Rifle. I recalled buying any magazines that had an article about the weapons and vehicles of Halo 2, and I just thought that they just didn't wanna show the Assault Rifle, but no; they took it out and replaced it with the SMG. Now, this was disappointing; In video games, I always liked to carry guns that shoot bullets, and the default weapon. In Halo 1, all I used unless ABSOLUTELY necessary were the human weapons, and if I could specifically, the Assault Rifle and Pistol. That's it; I even just used it as a club if it meant keeping it.
Now, the SMG was alright, the recoil's too bouncy, but the Battle Rifle was a decent weapon; A three round burst with a 2X zoom? That's like a DMR (which Halo: Reach has), which stands for Designated Marksman Rifle, a term to describe medium range guns (M14 EBR is my favorite one). Now, I like having new guns as the next guy, but the Assault Rifle was iconic; why take it away? I mean, every ad the Chief's in is seen with the Assault Rifle; why remove what we remember fondly?
Sure, Halo 3 brought it back, but they gutted it so bad that it's like it's on life support when it came back. Still nice to have at least
Again, I won't talk about the WHOLE game (as we have things like TV Spots and action figures to talk about... by the way, this is a 3 parter, which is fitting since the Mother Halo games were a trilogy... I consider Reach o be a "standing ovation.") So I'll summarize what happened: Master Chief's back kicking ass, but somehow the Covenant has found Earth's location, and is messing things up. They could've destroyed it, but they were looking for something. Anyway, Master Chief goes into a different Halo, and does what he did before: Find the Index, and destroy Halo like in the first game. However, turns out that there's an Elite from the first game behind the scenes (and not that punk Zuka... worst Elite ever) who survived, but now he's disgraced, and now he must find the Index as well. But he's not just a side character; He's a playable one too.
Yes, there was a second playable character in Halo 2, a surprise that Bungie has duped us with. I didn't recall anything about reading about becoming an Elite; when the hell did this happen!? From what I understand, Bungie did the same thing with Halo 1; they specifically told the reviewers to not mention the Flood in the first game to surprise the players. I guess Hideo Kojima must've been in on it as well, as with MGS2, he didn't reveal until the game came out that RAIDEN was the hero, not Snake. And just like both games, they were both nagged on about the sudden switch. Now, again, don't get me wrong (and if you had read my blogs, that's something I say A LOT), I LIKED seeing things from a new perspective, but at least warn us that that's gonna happen. Granted, you did see the first cut-scene in the second game, but I just thought it was a note for anyone who didn't play the first game.
Anyway, the high ranking Elite, whose name is Thel (who's also featured in the book The Cole Protocol) is disgraced for allowing Halo to be destroyed, and he should've been executed for it had it not for his new purpose: To become the Arbiter. For anyone who didn't see the anime, this was actually a GOOD thing until a noble Elite betrayed the Prophet in the short anime episode "The Duel..." since then, Arbiters are now a sign of disrespect. Now, at first, I just thought that he would be a boss character; who knew that you're gonna be him?
Who could also be him in Halo 3, but who the hell wants to?
Now, for his first mission, he has to destroy some rebels within the Covenant, which brings me to my question: If Bungie is gonna let us be an Elite, why are we still killing Aliens? I mean, you fight grunts, jackals, and even Elites (albeit without their signature armor)... you're just teaming up with the Covenant while doing it, which can get mildly confusing (not telling which from which, since they're green, but I'm so used to shooting aliens that teaming up with one to shoot other aliens was weird). Eventually, you tackle the newest enemies of the Halo universe who in my opinion is the worst: Brutes. Yeah, it turns out that after the Chief assassinated the Prophet of Regret (which was a FUN BOSS FIGHT), the Prophets don't think that the Elites don't have what it takes to protect them, and so they hired these monkeys. At first, I thought they were cool, but they were bullet sponges: They take probably 2 clips to take down. Sure, melees are easier, but I didn't want to charge at them all the time.
Anyway, long story short, Master Chief goes to High Charity, a Covenant city, to get the Index, and after seeing the Flood take over, leaves Cortana (who went from looking like an Asian woman into something... admittedly hot, but I'll leave it at that) to stop Truth from using Halo. The Arbiter, along with Shipmaster (who's named Rtas, who's nicknamed Half-Jaw) goes to the control room of Halo to stop Tartarus, the high ranking Brute, from using Miranda, a Reclaimer, from activating Halo. They team up with Sgt. Johnson in the process, who stole a Scarab, and they worked together to kill Tartarus in an epic boss fight. After that, Miranda turns off Halo, but 343 Guilty Sparks reveals that in response, all the Halos were now going to be on standby, and they can ALL be launched in the Ark. When asked where that is, it wasn't revealed, and when Master Chief is asked what he's doing, he replies "Finishing the Fight..." then credits roll... seriously...
Don't worry Cortana, I'll be back... in the sequel.
Now, don't get me wrong, it was a pretty good story, but that was a BS ending if I ever saw one. I mean, this game suffers on what all the trilogy's do: It ends on a cliffhanger. I mean, in Modern Warfare they ended it horribly... in Star Wars, Han Solo is captured... and in Back to the Future, they ended it with Marty reading that Doc's in the Wild West in 1885 (I was born before that movie, but thanks to Nick at Nite, it's one of my all time favorites). Why did it had to end like that when it had one of the only few boss fights in the whole series!? I mean, Regret was admittedly easy, and 343 Guilty Sparks in 3 was seriously lame (I'll get to that later), but Tartarus was awesome; He can one shot you with the Fist of Rukt, he can't be hurt unless Sgt. Johnson (or you if you had the Beam Rifle) took down his shields, and best of all, you had Elites jumping in into the fray as well! I was all amazed that this was all happening; Killing Tartarus with a sword is just epic.
Frag Fests I pretty missed this. All the time we had an Xbox, we never had the internet required to play Xbox Live, so I only played Halo 2 online for just a tiny bit (but it was oh so sweet...). Hell, even when Halo 3 came out, I still didn't have Live until 2 years later (then again, I didn't even have an Xbox 360 when I bought Halo 3). But that doesn't mean I missed out on the multiplayer though; we always threw Halo 2 parties where me and my friends would take turns killing each other and passing the controller around. I myself had my own controller that I didn't let anyone touch (you know how that feels) and after one round of death match (to 50), we cut the last 2 people off and play again. It was all in good fun; we laughed at awesome kills, claimed that the controller was busted or that they were screen watching... It was a good time.
Not shown, but do you remember when you could just swing the sword like a madman? Or the double melee hit BYB? Rocket Jump? Rocket Lunge?
I also loved the levels in Halo 2 and I wanted it to be revived in Halo 3 so bad... Ascension and Burial Mounds were a few of them. I mean, I'm grateful that Zanzibar and Lock Out were remade, but I really loved a lot of the levels in Halo 2 better. And I think everybody else agrees as well; It was until this year that they finally been cut off from playing the original Xbox Live since its release (R.I.P. OG Xbox Live), and many of people took part in its final hurrah (I didn't, but that's cause I didn't own an Xbox, much less the game).
I also recalled that there was the Bonus Map Pack released for the Xbox for non-live owners, and it was pretty cool to be introduced to this; Remember, DLC (downloadable content, but you knew that) was exclusive to PCs until the consoles finally went online, and even then, there wasn't much of it (unlike now where it's all there is to think about). Turf became one of my favorite levels because, oh my God, it was in a city: If you recall from my Looking Back at Halo 3: ODST (I should make a video series outta this), I mentioned that I love city based levels, and seeing as how Turf was essentially alleyways and one long street, it was pretty cool to fight in. I also loved seeing the gate that can be jumped over or opened with a vehicle; I recalled walking towards in and using grenades to open it only for a Warthog to be driving at that same time; It flipped from my grenade and smacked the hell outta me... Good times.
Halo also spawned some really cool fan-made Halo games
I also wanna mention one of the things about Halo 2; If you bought Halo 1 when Halo 2 was coming out, you got a special section of the game where you can access all kinds of goodies, from footage of the original Halo 1 (the third person shooter... yeah.... it existed at one point) to trailers of Halo 2, but the thing that stood out to me the most was the Halo 2 tech demo (unplayable in other words), btu I'll never forget it: It starts off with Master Chief walking out of a hospital seeing his men wounded. After someone gives him a SMG to dual wield, he goes to kick ass. Eventually, a Gauss Warthog pulls up to him and offers him a ride, and we see him drive through the city level, shooting down Banshees and Ghosts until finally reaching his destination. It was really cool, and at the time, I thought "Hey, if the tech demo from Halo 1 became a real level (the Silent Cartographer), then this probably will be too!" Sadly... it didn't... and I'm still disappointed.
Ending notes while I prep for Halo 3 That's all I have to say about Halo 2; It was a hate it or love it game, but make no mistake; It's definitely the most memorable of the bunch. However, we knew that Bungie was committed to finishing the trilogy, and we all knew that it was coming.... It was just a matter of what and when. While Halo 3 will be mentioned in the final wrapping up tomorrow, I just wanna get everything pre-Halo 3 outta the way. I recall that many stores were selling Halo action figures as Halo 2 hit the stores, and I remember them all being sold out within the first few days. I only got one of the figures myself; It was a red Elite with a rubber hand that can be twisted to hold items like the Beam Rifle and the Energy Sword. While the Sword looked cool, the Elite itself wasn't as hot; I don't miss it.
Best... season... EVER
Speaking of missing, I didn't want to miss talking about the line of machinima the Halo series spawned. The Halo series kinda started the mass production of machinima ever seen Red vs. Blue was conceived. Red vs. Blue was essentially about a fight between Red Team and Blue Team, but it wasn't by any means an action romp: It was strictly a humorous story with idiots, stereotypical sergeants, and retarded idiots. I personally liked the second season because it was the funniest one of the bunch, and the least plot involved (which was good in my opinion). Although this was created sometime after Halo 1, but before Halo 2, it is actually still going on today, which is way longer than any of the other machinimas.
There were other series like Fire Team Charlie, The Codex (which was just as popular as Red vs. Blue), and even a talk show called This Spartan Life, which a guy treats the game as a talk show with entertaining dancing Elites. He even got Marty O'Donnell from Bungie and Burnie Burns from Red vs. Blue to appear on his show! However, there were a lot of uninteresting ones, but I do recall my personal favorite: Master Chief Sucks at Halo. It was a short lived series about an action figure of Master Chief who plays Halo when no one's home. It started with him playing Halo 3 beta, then Halo 2 before finally concluding at Halo 3. While there was a series involving him and the Arbiter later, named Arby 'n' the Chief, I only liked the first season; everything after that lost what I liked about the series, but that's just me.
Yes, this was a real series. It's mostly just commentary of game play though.
Speaking about series, after Halo ruled the video game store and libraries, it went on to invade a new type of stores: comic books. Halo went on to make comics, and the first one that came out was The Halo Graphic Novel. It was a pretty interesting read; It explained how Rtas lost half his jaw, who tested the MJOLNIR armor before they gave the upgrade to the Chief, how Sgt. Johnson survived against the Flood, and how the civilians reacted to when the Covenant attacked Earth. There was a couple of other ones such as Uprising, which sucked, Hell jumpers and Blood Lines, which I haven't read, but from the previews, it looks better than Uprising, so I'm just assume it is until I read it. From what I heard, there's going to be a new comic when Halo: Reach hits stores called "Boot Camp," which is essentially the comic book version of Fall of Reach. It it's anything like the book, it's sure to be awesome.
Well, that's all there is to say for now, so tune in next time for the final part: Halo 3, the TV Spots and swag (dog tags and drinks), Halo Waypoint and Halo Legends. Remember Reach... remember it!
Seeing as how Halo Reach is coming up, I like to talk about Halo games. While I am a huge fan (I played the games, read the books, read the comics...) I feel like Halo's going to pass us by. Remember your favorite games as a kid? How do you feel knowing that the kids today don't get to experience those games that you love so much? Well, I feel that way about Halo because, hate it or love it, it is a respectable franchise, from having million dollar TV Spots (Super Bowl ain't cheap) to its own soft drink (Game Fuel anyone?). While I can't change what's going to happen, I just wanna let it be known that Halo has made a lasting impression on me: This is a blog about the many things of Halo.
The start of it all Back a few years ago (when I was in elementary school I think?) I recalled the first time I ever HEARD of Halo... except... not exactly. I remember flipping through a magazine because back then (I was either 9 or 10) I only looked at the pictures to find the coolest game, and only read about that. However, there was an ad, and I vaguely remember what it was: It had Master Chief on the third level (Truth and Reconciliation) holding his gun with a sentence about the Covenant. That's it... there wasn't even the title of the game! I didn't even know that it was Halo at the time!
Eventually however, I got a chance to play it at a friend's house. I played the fifth level with my friend in split-screen co-op (what happened to those!?) for the first time ever, and I couldn't believe how epic it was: You start in a Pelican going to a beach and as soon as you touch down, things were blowing up, bullets were flying, and insults were given. I didn't know how to play at first, but with my experience with 007 Goldeneye on the N64, I learned quickly.
While I'll get back to Halo 1, I just wanna note that the control scheme of Halo was amazing. At the time, the only FPS games I've played were Doom on the SNES, and Goldeneye on the N64. I only played the first level of Doom over and over again (because I was afraid to play it further) and I always complained that you can't look up. I mean, if I'm on the stairs, and the enemy was on top, why did I need to GO UP and shoot him when in real life (I'd pee my pants if that actually happened though) I would've just aimed up? Goldeneye kinda remedied this by allowing free aim, but the fact that you had to stand still was also pretty stupid. I mean I'd rather get close and strafe than to stand still and aim. These problems are the reason why Halo appealed to me so much. I mean one control stick for walking and one control stick for looking was awesome because in real life, we don't stand in one spot to look around... well, we can, but we can also walk AND look.
While I was scared to play it, this game is the reason I liked FPSs... And why I checked under my bed every night
Going back to Halo, I have to admit that it was a great game. The only problem was, back then, I was young and naive; I didn't know anything that I do now, and I foolishly kept wishing that Halo would appear on the Nintendo GameCube. At that time, my parents didn't have too much money, but we did have enough for each kid (I have two brothers) to have their own system. While my parents wouldn't let us buy two of the same system, at the time, I didn't mind; I mean, back then my brother had a PS1 when I had a N64 (my other brother was too young for anything). Last generation, I had the GameCube, my brother had a PS2, and my little brother had an Xbox. Hell, even to this day, my brother has a PS3, my little brother has a 360, and I have both a 360 and a Wii (I bought the 360 with job money). But back then, I didn't have an Xbox, so it kinda killed me inside that I couldn't play Halo as much as I wanted.
However, when my little brother was away, I played Halo on his Xbox, and I can't forget how awesome it was.
Pillar of autumn Starting up at the first level, I was pretty much bored out of my mind doing the tutorial. I mean, don't get me wrong, knowing how to play is crucial, but the fact is that I already knew, and you couldn't skip it. But once the crud hits the fan, the wait was worth it; you see explosions everywhere, soldiers reporting for duty, and aliens boarding the ship. However, you yourself couldn't do much except make your way to the captain, but the trip there was wicked... I don't think I'll forget it.
It was more amazing than this; trust me
I did have a complain though... why don't I have a gun, and why couldn't I punch aliens? I can kinda see about the gun issue... I mean after all, what scientist would have two guns on him, but the punching was odd because when I played the first time, I grabbed a Plasma Pistol once and punched aliens with my fist. Did I seriously need to have a GUN to punch aliens in the face? Anyway, I was thinking too much about it, but at the time, I wanted to kill these aliens with my squad so bad that it was eating me alive.
Eventually, I got the gun from Captain Keyes, and how great was it that it'd be a Pistol. While I didn't know it at the time, this gun turned out to be one of my favorite guns of all time: The M6D pistol was a Godsend: It can drop Elite in just a few bullets, and can actually take out a HUNTER with ONE bullet (if you shoot his exposed back), With up to 120 rounds and a 2X zoom, it was amazing.
Moving on with the level, it was pretty good, and it definitely kept me interested. I loved explosions and being with allies, and the final cut-scene made the Chief look badass (and the intro made Sgt. Johnson my favorite character).
Story Now, I'm not going to go into every single level in the game (and you don't want it either) so I'll just go with a summary. The story was pretty simple, but sometimes you don't need a complicated tale to be a good story; you just gotta hit the right notes. The game is about a lone SPARTAN nicknamed Master Chief (which in the book Fall of Reach is his rank) who goes into the mysterious ring world. He's that overrated, gruff badass space marine that we saw a few times (and a lot more now), but for some reason, he has that air of badassery around him. Either way, he fights through aliens, a parasitic life form dubbed "The Flood," learns that Halo is meant to kill everything to starve the said Flood, and then he blows Halo up. Now, that's a very simple story, but the books that came out expanded on it, making it one of the most in-depth franchises today, possibility rivaling Star Wars. I mean, each book has its own charm to it.
The best book of the bunch... not the best bundle
Fall of Reach was all about how the SPARTAN program came to be and about John's experience in training. He was 6 when he was kidnapped and forced to train HARDER than the Marines (If that's not child abuse, I dunno what is) and had to do some difficult training, but we all appreciated the outcome. However, I also liked how John wasn't the strongest (Sam), fastest (Kelly), or even the most badass (Sgt. Johnson.. who's actually a SPARTAN 1), but the luckiest; The first chapter when Halsey, their "mother" if you wanna call her that, first met John was the best thing I've ever read; He's playing King of the Hill, and when asked what he was doing, he said, "Winning." So badass even as a kid, when Halsey asked him to call heads or tails on a coin flip, John GRABBED the coin in midair and called it right; That made me wanna read the whole book, and knowing me, I don't take to lots of books... I did like the books that I had to read for school like The Great Gatsby or Tom Sawyer, but this was the best book I ever read period.
They spawned many books though, like the sucky Halo: The Flood (which was a rehash of Halo 1), the ho-hum First Strike (I only recall some cool parts like about Sgt. Johnson's 'conditions' and Blue Team's ESCAPE FROM REACH... they better be referenced...), the epic Ghosts of Onyx (where they created the SPARTAN 3's, which were the mass produced knock offs), Contact Harvest (where they explained how Tartarus got the Fist of Rukt, how Sgt. Johnson was back then, and even how Humans first met aliens), and the Cole Protocol.
The Cole Protocol was interesting to me because it was essentially 3 stories in one instead of 1 story with 2 sides: Cole Protocol was about a man named Ignacio Delgado, Grey Team (who were referenced in the first book as the 'three SPARTANS who didn't go to Reach...' which means that Master Chief isn't the only one left) and Thel (an Elite who blindly follows the Prophets). It was cool because it had a little of everything: SPARTANS kicking ass, ODSTs, and there was even a scene when an Elite turned on the Prophets; It was all amazing. While nowhere near as epic as Fall of Reach, this is my third favorite book.
Did we really need a close up? We know what it looks like.
My second favorite book has to be Halo: Evolutions, which was a collection of short stories, but they mostly kicked ass.
-In Pariah, they talked about a SPARTAN who was disfigured in the SPARTAN process, which gave an unique take on the universe. (8/10)
-Stomping on the Heels of a Fuss was alright; It was a dual story about a man who was captured by brutes and the brutes who captured the humans. It ended with the man escaping only to be killed by his ally, who didn't want people to know he existed because he was a martyr. (7/10)
-Headhunters was about 2 SPARTAN 3s who just went on a special op. Long story short, they talked and argued, one of them gets killed, and the other sacrificed himself to kill the Elites who killed it. It was amusing. (8/10)
-Blunt Instruments was a action story about SPARTANS who teamed up with drones to get a job done. Things go wrong, they killed the Covenant and the drones, and all goes home happy. (8/10)
While I don't wanna say all the story (as I want you to buy the book... plus, the blog is gonna have a part 2), I will say that my favorite story was 'Dirt', which was a story about The Rookie (hero of Halo 3: ODST) meeting a man named Gage, who begins to tell him his story: He grew up on a farm on Harvest. He wanted to get away, claiming the planet was just dirt, so one day he joins the USMC to fight. However, he gets boned and stuck on guard duty, but at least he was with friends, notably Felicia. After a bombing by the rebels, he and Felicia transfers to the ODST, and when they learned that aliens are not only attacking, but they glassed their home planet Harvest, Felicia gets mad at him for calling it "just dirt."
I dunno what he's talking about; I see wheat, but not dirt... DIRTBAG maybe?
Eventually, they meet again and they are friendly. They even talked about a job to steal a Pelican to loot gold from the ruined city. They got the team ready, and they went to get the gold, but then something unexpected happens: There are civilians. Gage wants to forget about the gold and get the civilians out, but the team wants to forget about them and get the gold. Felicia tries to get a different Pelican but after a brief firefight, everyone but Gage dies. Gage then steals the Pelican, calls for a pickup of the civilians, and drew the aliens, as well as the ODSTs, away. Eventually, his ODST teammates shot him down, and this is when the Rookie meets him. He told the Rookie that he's going to blow up anyone who's coming for him, and for him to get away. The Rookie leaves, agreeing that he will remember Gage, and escapes the nuke.
That was honestly the best short story I've read either. Again, it might be because it was Halo, but I like how the story turned out: It wasn't just a story; it was actually a story about Gage telling his story (commentary and all). It had influences from the movies Three Kings and The Rock. Plus, it fleshed out the Rookie a little bit (said by Tobias Buckell himself).
Now, I'm going to make a part two to talk about the other things Halo, like the animes, the TV spots, comics, and more, so stay tuned.
Star light, star bright, who's ass is kicked tonight?
With a game like Halo: Reach coming out, I was getting pretty hyped. However, it recently just hit me; this will be the last Halo game ever. Now, with it coming up, I feel like Halo will fade in obscurity a while after it comes out. After all, how many people dropped when Modern Warfare 2 came out? The community went from 500,000 people into 200,000, or probably even less. While I would like to go into all the Halo games (and books even, I'm a HUGE fan... well, a huge of a fan I can be with a small part-time job), I have a feeling that this may be a one shot, and if that's the case, I definitely want to talk about my favorite Halo game... which is also one of the most controversial ones. Ladies and Gentlemen (but mostly gentlemen... I know there are mostly guys anyway): My favorite Halo game is Halo 3: ODST.
Honestly, RECON sounded cooler
Yeah, that's right, I went there: My favorite Halo game isn't the original 1, the controversial 2, or the hate-it-or-love-it 3, but Halo 3: ODST. Now, I can see why people would hate it; It originated as a piece of DLC, but don't forget that they expanded on it after they decided to commit to a full-time game. It also included a small bit of "free roam," which at the time sounded like a great idea. With an awesome atmosphere, great score, and new game mechanics, I was in love with this game when it came out.
However, after looking back, I realized that even though I loved the game, I did have my fair share of problems with it. Here's the good:
The Story Now, you can say what you want about Halo's story; That it's unneeded, it's taking itself too seriously, whatever... Bu to me, Halo's story is what got me into the series. I fondly remember playing the original Halo: Sure, the levels were great, but there was just something about being betrayed by 343 Guilty Spark that rang out to me more than the game play, or when Master Chief discovers that Captain Keyes is dead. It's the little moments like that that made me wanna pick up the books, and Fall of Reach was the best book I've EVER read, period. Sure, it had the Halo brand, but hearing about how John grew up, and how his special ability is actually LUCK, it really had me intrigued the whole time. Yes, it seems like I'm nerding out about the story, but that's why ODST appealed to me a lot: The story was the best.
Whole crew by my side, cars beep beep as they pass us by...
Sure, you had to have played Halo 2 to understand the what and whys (which made me question why this game was called Halo 3: ODST in the first place), but deep down, this game had a good story. You start of as a VERY generic character, "The Rookie," but you jump back and forth between the present, when the Rookie was stranded by himself, to the past, which shows what happens to the squad after they separated. The fact that the game doesn't even give you all the facts (like why the Brutes were fighting the Elites, or what kind of relationship did Buck and Dare had) makes it even more enjoyable; It makes the game feel cryptic.
Game play Now, I will jump back and forth between story and Game play (because one affects the other), but I will say that what isn't cryptic about this game is how to kill the Covenant: You gotta shoot them in the head. You may care less about the story, but people remember Halo for two things: Frag-fests and Blue blood (and ever since Halo 2, you can combine the two!). Yeah, the game play was where it's at, and this has one of the best levels I recall in a Halo game. Sure, levels like Halo 1's "Truth and Reconciliation" and "343 Guilty Spark" holds a special place in my heart, but playing the first true level in Halo 3: ODST (yeah, it's like Stephen Stills; You say the whole damn name) was amazing: Seeing Buck make his way to Tayari Plaza was a sight to behold: You move through the city, and kill everything. Maybe it was because I haven't played a Halo game in so long, but it was definitely memorable hearing Buck and Dare.
And that was only the first level. Once I played the missions like ONI Alpha Site and NMPD HQ, I thought this was the best game ever. Granted, it was not the best game ever, as the later levels were lacking (and the Rookie's sessions were wearing out its welcome), but at the time, I kept saying how awesome it was to retreat into the building (something that you usually NEVER do in a Halo game... as an objective at least) or when the whole squad (sans the Rookie) were defending their position as Phantoms and Banshees bombed the area.
Speaking of patrols, I recalled the trailer... remember this?
Sadie's Story Going back into the story, I definitely loved the short story "Sadie's story." For those who didn't care, as the Rookie, you could run around the city and collect hidden audio tapes that records what happened to a girl named Sadie. Now, as big as a Halo nut I am, and how much of an Achievement whore I'm NOT, I initially didn't even care. I wasn't going to waste my time collecting something that I possibly was never going to read... that is, until I heard that a special scene plays out with the Rookie if you collected all 29 of them. And seeing as how I recall how LITTLE the Rookie contributed, I was like a rabid dog trying to find these tapes; I even played on Easy and scanned through the whole level for 2 hours to get them all. Sure, it didn't help that I missed 1 and actually had to GO TO EVERY SINGLE LOCATION again, but the story, and special scene, was worth it (to ME).
Now, I, again, didn't want to listen to the story, but I was a little bit curious, so I put it on and just did different things while it was playing. However, I eventually did started paying attention after a while, and man, I was glad I did: Sadie's Story was pretty damn good; Not as good as other short stories I read, but this in itself was amusing: The story is essentially about a girl named Sadie who's trying to find her father to escape the city. However, some perverted, corrupted officer by the name of Kinsler wants to stop her, and the only help she has is Mike, an officer who doesn't want to help Kinsler rape the girl, and Vergil, a very smart AI who runs the city.
Now, while the story it had was amusing in itself, it was kinda like a comic book in both terms of visual and depth: While it is an audio tape, you are given still images to see what's going on. But when I mention depth, that's actually an allusion that comic books show. If you pick up a comic book and give it to a kid, he'll tell you how much he loves superheroes doing cool things. Give the comic book to someone who's insightful and he'll tell ya how in-depth the story really is. Sadie's Story is a good side story, but it also has plenty of allusions to the Divine Comedy (better known as Dante's Inferno... the book).
Hunters can send you to Hell faster than (insert cliché here)
For example, Kinsler represents lust, this one fat guy represents gluttony, and this officer who killed somebody over a snack represents wrath. But it isn't just cosmetic: Remember when Dante needed to get past someone, and Vergil the angel came to help him? Well, in one scene, it looked like Mike was gonna get shot, leaving Sadie alone with Kinsler. However, Vergil came to help by having a truck dump garbage all over him. There are tons of that stuff, like when Sadie "held up" someone with a stapler (guess which circle was that?) or when Mike lied about being a soldier winning the fight to boost morale (same circle).
However, the best part of Sadie's Story is that it actually ties back into Halo 3: ODST's story: If you wanted to know who the Superintendent is, how, or why, then you just gotta collect the audio logs. Like I said though, the main part of me doing this is to get an extra scene: Do you remember in the level "Data Hive?" You met this one NMPD officer who Vergil kills halfway through the level, giving the cryptic message "Crime doesn't pay; Good citizens do their part." Well, if you got all the audio logs, Vergil doesn't kill him, and when you continue through the level, the "Sealed" door you saw before is now opened by him, and if you go inside, you will see the dead body of someone important.
And then you fight the officer, marking this the ONLY time in the mother Halo game (that means no Halo Wars) where you are forced to KILL a HUMAN. Sure, you could've done that before, and if you do it enough they turn against you, but you never been FORCED to do it. Again, a reason why I loved this game. I also love that the scene where Dare and the Rookie meets Vergil because it plays out just a tiny bit differently: Most recall that when you first meet the Engineer, the Rookie raises his gun to shoot, but Dare tells him to stand down. However, if you got the last audio log (in the sealed room), then the Rookie is the one who notion (no voice) Dare to stand down, and whistles the Engineer. Small stuff like that is appreciated.
Like this pistol... not as good as the first game's, but still appreciated
Ending notes Overall, I loved this game. Sure, I disliked some parts of this game: I loved exploring the city at first with the Rookie, but then it turned into a tedious trek, and then into a desperate struggle as you run low on ammo. They say you can avoid enemies, but from what I've seen, that's not possible. Plus, the map makes it difficult to know where exactly you should be going, and despite being able to tackle the first few missions in order, there is a defined order, which makes it pointless to even have the free roam.
I loved the score in this game as the smooth jazz fits in with the tone nicely: I even bought the CD for those moments where I sit alone in my room (don't hate). The game play was awesome, and I love the cinematic. I do complain about it being short: Now that I got access to the Halo Reach beta, I feel like the money's well worth it, but back then, 60 dollars was 20 bucks too many. Sure, it had all the maps, but you have to realize that the people who buy this game are fans of Halo, and probably have the maps already (which I did). And despite how awesome this game is, it's not really replayable: I felt fine just playing it once. And with a tedious free roam section, and short levels, there wasn't a point to restart. But all in all, the game is still my favorite because the game throws in different things.
Like Grunts, Jackals, and brutes (oh my!)
I mean for one thing, and this is something I've wanted since Halo 2, that this game mostly takes place in a city. If you recall, only two levels in the entire mother series was featured in a level and both of them were in Halo 2. When I first played Outskirts and Metropolis, I couldn't believe how great it was (and how awesome the Scarab gun is on a later play through), so it always disappointed me on how you never did it again, even in Halo 3. This game just got props just for being in a city, and not even that cop-out where it's "in a city, but not really" (read: in a sewer, in one building for about 3 minutes, etc.)
Now, with Reach coming up, I feel like this game needed one more play through. I'm keeping it in my library, but heaven knows when I'll probably play this game again. Hell, I don't even play it now; I don't have many Firefight stories because no one plays it with me since it didn't have matchmaking (although when I did get recruited, people were amazed on how good I was... on normal, but it says a lot when you keeping getting Hero medals).
That's why I wrote this: I needed to make a tribute of this game because I felt that it deserved it. And hopefully, I gave it a decent send off.
Well, it's been a while since I've done a review, but come on, I kinda wanna blog about something... That being said, after looking around on the internet, I found some of the shadow of the colossus moe girls. I know I know, that was a LONG time ago, but because it's
A) Cute girls
B) Shadow of the Colossus and
C) Really big breasts
I decided why not; might as well build some nostalgia or whatever those old people say. Besides, they were new to me.
First off, let's start with the key so you know which girls are which (note, incomplete gallery, and you may have seen these pictures before)
Warning: Photos may be NSFW, so proceed with caution, especially if your mother's awake. Dad won't mind.
Of course, any Shadow of the Colossus fan worth his salt would've already known who's whojust by looking at the pictures.
Now, here's the two that most people have seen on websites such as kotaku and destructoid.
But after searching around on the internet, I found some of the other girls. Like I said, you probably seen it before since I didn't look TOO hard on google, but here's some of the other girls:
The first girl in a different perspective. Depending on the type of person you are, this might be better.
Damn frickin' horse boss... It actually took me like 20 minutes to get him to look inside the damn hole...
I dunno who this is, but I'm really hoping that it was the bearded boss. I loved that boss solely for that reason. I mean, the minute he came out, I just knew that I HAD to climb his beard.
Too bad this boss was on water... I ain't the water type of guy.
Aw, the imfamous crotch shot of a typical anime girl. Yep, gotta love the Japanese.
I know you're probably staring at her, but the first thing I noticed was the horse... I mean, he's the size of her eyeball! I can't imagine how big her... shoe... must be.
Honestly, they needed to moe-fied this boss. I mean, I almost had a heart attack when this little beast chased after me. But now... hell, I'm still getting a heart attack (but for different reasons... shoot, put me down on 1000 ways to die)
I dunno about you, but this boss was easily the worst in my opinion. I mean, the scale was nice (and her figures) but I'm not into the standing still boss. Plus, I fell off a few times, so that made it more annoying than not.
And I saved this for last because I know that it's many of you guy's favorite (myself included):
Damn, just one more reason to love this boss! (or should I say two more...?) Honestly, one of the best bosses not only in this game, but in the entire frickin' history of video gaming! Who didn't love using Argo to charge at this beast (doing that now would be creepy) to climb at her wings while the dust tornado pushed you back? And when you finally killed this beast... oh man, a sight to behold...
Now then, I think this was a pretty decent blog. I mean, it had girls, it involved games... that's two for two!
(Written after I beaten the game)
I'm a huge Metal Gear Solid fan. I haven't played the Metal Gear games, but I did read up on what happened. I played MGS1, a little of 2, 3, 4, and a little of Portable Ops (to be fair, I hated the controls so much that I ended up youtubeing what happened). On my spare time, I love to wikia game series, and while I wikia things like Silent Hill, Final Fantasy, etc., I'm usually always reading up Metal Gear Solid. That being said, I couldn't believe that not only was the PSP was getting 1 MGS game, but 2 (!), AND the fact that Kojima himself calls it "The MGS5 at heart," I knew that it was going to be awesome. Sure, Portable Ops left a bad taste in my mouth, but I can't deny that it was a good game. I mean, some of my favorite MGS moments were in that game, like when Elisa told Big Boss that "one of his children will bring the world to ruin and that another would save it," foreshadowing the events of Metal Gear Solid 4. However, Portable Ops is kinda like a spin off, and Peace Walker was meant to blow us away. Does Peace Walker walk with peace, or will it bring destruction?
Story and presentation 4 years after the events in Portable Ops (and 10 years after Snake Eater), Naked Snake, still refusing to be called Big Boss, is running the Militaires Sans Frontieres (Solider Without Borders) with Kazuhira Miller when a man known as Professor Galvez walks in with a little girl named Paz and an offer: Paz's country, Costa Rica, is being invaded by strange men, and they are suspicious of their activities. He offers Snake a base in return for his help, but he refused, seeing as he doesn't want to be mercenaries. His mind doesn't change even when he finds out that Paz has been tortured because she caught something on tape that she shouldn't have. However, when he finds out that the thing that Paz caught on tape (recording) was evidence that The Boss was still alive, Snake quickly agrees to the mission.
Now, I know what the diehard fans of MGS3 are thinking: "What!? The Boss is still alive!? That's so much bull! It completely ruins the MGS3 ending!" Yes, I know they thought that because I was one of them. Still, I was intrigued, so I decided to keep going, and boy, was I happy that I did, as to me, this was one of the best storylines I've ever played, Metal Gear Solid or not. While I'll try not to spoil too much, this game deals with things like nuclear deterrence, the Cold War, human rationalities, and the true meaning of peace. I mean, even though this game is rated T for Teens, the story really needs to be experienced by mature gamers. The fact that Peace Walker's true objective to spread peace by becoming to most powerful nuclear weapon is a little ironic, but thought provoking... Would people really not use nukes if they are threatened with a nuclear strike themselves?
And don't get me started with the whole deal about The Boss: If and how she's still alive, I'm not going to reveal, but I will say that this is the kind of conclusion that Naked Snake needed. As players remember, Naked Snake is STILL wearing The Boss's bandana, and he even now sports to same exact scar as hers (although in that game it was a snake, in this game... it's a spoiler), so it's important to not only Kojima to finally conclude that story, but to us as a gamer to find out the final resolution between Naked Snake and The Boss, as well as his acceptance to the name Big Boss. There are two endings in the game however, and it fills in the holes of Big Boss pretty well; you’ll find out why he went from a good person in MGS3, to a poor misguided soul in Metal Gear.
He sure as changed, hasn't he? They grow up so fast...
Yeah, as you can tell, the story is pretty damn deep, as well as engaging, but not everything is entertaining however; Rather than have long conversations by Codec, most of the conversations will take place in the form of recording sessions. That means that from anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 for a single session, you'll stare at a single picture hearing either an important conversation, or a really boring, unnecessary one. Being the kind of person I am, I took the liberty to not only play, but to actually pay attention to every single cassette tape... I got to say that while you'll learn about the plenty of characters in the game, you'll be bored about 75 percent of the time (and note, this is with voice acting... better install that game unless you want to read through it). I personally didn't mind listening to it, but only for a few select tapes did I actually care about what they were saying. Still, the storyline in the game is still as great as all the other MGS games, no matter what the haters say.
Game play, controls, and modes While the series has a good rep for having an awesome story, let's not forget one of the real reasons people play video games... the game play. Well, instead of a control scheme akin to MGS1, 2, or 3, this game's default controls is similar to the control scheme of MGS4, which is an over the shoulder view much like Resident Evil. The analog stick is used for character movement, the face buttons are used for aiming, the shoulder buttons are used to shoot, and the D-pad is used for everything else like switching weapons to proning. From my experience, this is definitely a step up from Portable Ops, but I still had some minor problems with it. For example, the analog stick is NOT sensitive at all, so trying to sneak up on people is much harder than previous games without the sneaking suit. While the face buttons makes combat easier, it doesn't have the right feel that you get from a console game. When you shoot up close, the aiming reticule tends to go for the head (with auto aim it goes for chest), but when you're trying to snipe, you'll have to move the reticule yourself, and that can be hard to accurately get a headshot when the person's moving. Plus, you can't even prone and move at the same time! Instead, you get a realistic "crouch and walk" feature, but not being able to prone isn't helpful.
Still though, the controls are a definite step up from Portable Ops, so I at least finished the game, but the controls aren’t what deserve the credit. For most games, I can appreciate a user friendly experience, so when this game is that, PLUS time friendly; I knew that this game is widely accessible. In previous MGS games, you always had to procure weapons and items on sight, which allows for slight item management, like when to use a ration or when to shoot. In this game however, the game is divided into missions with Snake returning to base after each one. This allows for a much easier experience as you can save after each mission, and get your supplies back. Even better is that weight and camo plays a role in this game, so carrying too much or too heavy supplies will make you louder and more visible. Sure, while you can't carry like 10 weapons anymore, it's definitely nice to be able to judge a mission and to bring only the things you'll actually need for it, and it's really appreciated to be able heal and get more healing supplies after a mission.
Those fools will NEVER suspect a battle hardened soldier in a pink box...
How are you able to get supplies at base? Well, the recruiting system in this game is back, and it's better, albeit totally different than before. In Portable Ops, you had to knock out a person and, in a best case scenario, drag him to a nearby teammate and let him do all the work. In this game however, while you'll fight the mission solo (offline), you can easily recruit teammates with the Fulton system: Just knock out the person you want, equip the Fulton system, and then press the action button next to them to instantly (and strangely, quietly) evacuate them. It's pretty cool to use because you're graded for each mission and to get a high score, you can't kill people, so rather than knocking them out and rushing to the nearest area exit (as each "region" is divided into several "areas"), you can just take them off the field, no dragging involved. The bad side is there later on, you'll rarely have enough of these things to successfully take out every single enemy, but at least you can be smart about who you take out and who to leave.
Anyway, while Snake is off fighting his own fights this time, the soldiers (and prisoners) he recruits are taken to the MSF base where you can assign them a job to the Mother Base. Every soldier and prisoner has different skills such as Combat experience or Research skills that you can use to produce weapons, items, and more. It's an interesting concept as it feels like you have support, and later on in the game, it's nice to see how big Mother Base has grown (visually by a 3D model). The best part of this though has to be what's called the "Outer Ops," which is a "simulation" of sorts where you can assign your soldiers in the Combat Unit to battle with the enemy a la Pokémon (you recruit soldiers, select 8 of them, and then send them off to fight in a Pokémon styled fight). While it's exciting at first, you'll eventually realize how shallow this mode actually is; For one thing, attacking is nothing more than just sending out the troops; That means that whatever happens in an actual battle is out of your control, and when you can lose units and vehicles due to poor A.I., it's irritating. I mean, what kind of a soldier would use a M1911 against a tank, but a Carl Gustav against a normal enemy grunt with only like 1000 HP? Still, it's a nice addition since you can at least feel that there are other people fighting other than you.
Features and Final Notes This is arguably one of the best MGS game ever. While 1 is what most of us got into, 2 was a unique experience, but 3 and 4 really hit home for a lot of us. Still, with so many things that Peace Walker has done, it's no wonder why it's considered the 5th installment of the series; There's simply too much stuff in here. While it certainly displeases me that the product placements are out (bye bye Doritos, Mountain Dew, and Famitsu magazines), at least 90 percent of what's left is very nice to have. While there's over 100 side missions to tackle in Extra Ops, there's still so many things to do in this game that it's mind-blowing. I already mentioned the Outer Ops, which is a horrible simulation, but the real reason why you'll be going there (other to beat missions and acquire new weapons and goodies) is to test out your Metal Gear.
Yes, in case you didn't read or played Metal Gear, Big Boss does eventually makes a Metal Gear, and while I won't spoil what happens to this one (Metal Gear Zeke), you can at least use him for your own. To create him, all you have to do is replay certain key boss fights and attack only a certain spot. Of course, it's never a guarantee that you'll actually get a scrap metal (to create a part, you need 5 "scraps" of the part you want), replaying the missions is significantly easier when you acquired new weapons, but it feels like it's more of a Monster Hunter styled way to create Zeke (since you have to repeat missions, boss fights, and even then still not get a part). Oh, did I mention that there's Monster Hunter styled missions in this game?
Ah Kojima... you and your jokes
Well, you probably have heard of the Monster Hunter missions if you played any attention to the media coverage of this game, but after unlocking certain conditions, you'll be able to fight the Monster Hunter bosses Rathalos, Tigrex, and Gear Rex, all in stunning 3D glory. These boss fights are definitely a hoot to fight against, but to me, they felt like standard (albeit really hard) boss battles than an actual Monster Hunter styled game play. I mean, if you divided the regions into areas anyway, why not emulate the Monster Hunter experience by having to track and follow the monster? I mean, it would've been nice to kill the raptors for food, then to use the fire spit to cook them for additional health (although you can still use the fire spit to cook rations). Still, you have the option to kill or tranquilize the monsters, although for some odd reason, tranquilizing them is so much easier despite not having any notice, visual or otherwise, if he's about to fall or not. The first time I played these missions, I had pretty standard weapons, so it was easy to make them fall asleep, but even with air strikes, supply drops, Carl Gustavs, and the Fim-34, I still ran out of ammo before I even took him down 75 percent. These bosses are definitely challenging, but like I said, it all gets easier with better equipment such as the Battle Dress.
Still, these bosses are optional and even to get the true ending, you'll never have to play the truly hard missions, but it's still nice to have. There's the option to tackle almost every mission with an ally so co-op is a great asset for this game. While there's the competitive multiplayer, it isn't so hot, but at least the options there. If you hadn't notice, I keep saying the word "Options" a LOT; that’s because the fact that we have the option to do plenty of things that it's mind-blowing! Hell, as of right now, while I'm doing these tedious "search" missions, I usually goof off in Peace Walker by trying to screw around with the Vocaloid program. For those of you who don't know, Vocaloid is a program that people use to create music and even a voice to accompany the music. While in this game you can't use the music composition of the program, you can screw around with the voices to create a short verse from pre-set songs, or even have battle cries for when you deploy Zeke into Outer Ops (mine was "Die..." and even that took a lot of work).
So all in all, this game is actually pretty good. The story is unlike anything I've seen before, and I love it. The game play is reminiscent to of MGS4, which is a great addition for those who couldn't get used to the Portable Ops set up, and there's even those controls should you want them. The comic book styled cut-scenes (with a splash of anime) by Ashley Wood (who worked on Tank Girl) is definitely a treat to behold; I loved how interactive it is, and the flashback to the fight at Tselinoyarsk was definitely a sight to behold: The animated fighting (complete with quick time events) was fluid, the characters were nicely detailed, and the music playing in the background was beautifully haunting. While this game isn't full of those epic moments like in MGS4, what's here is great, and the fact that it finally finishes the circle of the story is a nice gesture.
The going may get tough but...
Score: Graphics ---- 9.5
-The PSP was definitely pushed to the limit for this game; there’s so much information in this game that you had to data install some of it! The character models look good, although no one's mouth every moves, It's but an annoyance seeing of how little you see in-game cut-scenes.
Sound ------- 9.0
-I was using the Walkman a lot when I played this game, but I still hear the grass rustling as you walk, the birds chirping, and even the sound of a babbling brook. The voice is as top notch as usual, and the music score is pretty damn good. I even had chills when Rathalos screamed at me.
Controls ----- 8.0
-If you hadn't noticed, I pretty much praised the controls here, and kept downplaying the Portable Op's control scheme. However, just because it's better doesn't mean that it's still as good as I'd like it. The camera is either too smooth or too jittery, and sometimes it felt unnatural to switch weapons and run around at the same time while keeping an eye on your enemy. Still, a major improvement.
Fun Factor --- 8.5
-I definitely had a fun time playing this game, but there were some times when I had to "Grind" for weapons to develop, and the game became a real drag as I replayed mission after mission to get the good stuff. Still, I never had to grind for more than an hour, so the story missions more than made up for that, although watch out, as near the endgame there's gonna be a pretty difficult mission.
Final Verdict - 9.0
-I think every MGS fan or PSP owners needs to play this game: It's amazing, it's fun, and it's one of the best PSP games out there. While games like Persona 3 and Crisis Core are good, they take up too much of your time; With a new control scheme and a better user friendly experience, this game can be played by anyone (and this is coming from someone who's "afraid" to play a Zelda game).
Modern Warfare 2 is obviously one of the most anticipated games of the year, with it selling more games than what GTA4 did in its first week as well as hit movies like Harry Potter and the Dark Knight. However, is it worth the hype, or is the fans making it much more glamorous than it needs to be?
Story and presentation To start things off, the story in this game is much stronger than it was in the first game. 5 years after the events of Modern Warfare 1, you'll be in the boots of Gary 'Roach' Sanderson, the FNG of the newest joint operations group Task Force 141, commanded by none other than Captain 'Soap' MacTavish himself. Although giving you a full list of playable characters will spoil some of the things, you will be jumping perspective of 5 different characters named Roach, Joseph Allen/ Alexei Borodin, James Ramirez, Sat 1, and Soap himself all with their own levels and objectives (except for the 4th one). However, just because there's more bodies around doesn't necessary mean a better story (for a more definite example, compare Michael Bay's Transformers 1 to 2). It does mean however that there's plenty of surprises in store.
While not necessary a spoiler, after Zakhaev's death in Modern Warfare 1, a man named Vladimir Makarov organized the biggest terrorist spree ever to hit Russia and manages to blame it all on America. How and whys would be considered a spoiler, but every scene done in this game is in first person, which means that you're not only seeing the events happen, you're in the event, and although you get minimal control over your character, watching the scene unfold in front of your eyes is definitely the highlight of the story. You'll feel every emotion from joy, anger, and even depression as you play this game simply because the story is that good.
What could've been better done is the main menu design. Instead of one menu that has everything like the first game, there are 3 menus for each of its game types: Campaign, Multiplayer, and Spec Ops. Each is represented by a picture and once you click on one, you'll be taken to a different menu, although when I say different I really just mean its own version of the same menu stuff. The design is bland compared to other games, and even worse compared to the first game, but since you'll be spending less time here, it's all for the better.
Despite what the trailers indicate, every "cut-scene" is in first person view of your character
What's still not changed from Modern Warfare 1 is the "briefing" loading screen/ video that you get to watch between missions.... at least some of them. Thankfully, the cut-scenes do vary just a tiny bit, and they won't show a video ALL the time, but seeing these things instead of in game interactivity like what was done in GRAW 2 (where you see the news and mission briefing on a camera on the way to a mission), you'll still be twiddling your thumbs as you wait for the next explosion to occur. At least this time you have a better reason for doing these missions instead of the half assed plot in Modern Warfare 1, but as nice the videos are, they get old.
Game play If you remember that (default controls) L1/ Trigger is aim and R1/ Trigger is shoot, then you basically got the game down pat. There's almost no new controls needed in this game despite the new goodies you got. Picking up a sentry turret is as easy as pressing X/ Square and walking, and calling in air strikes and predator missiles are just the same as hitting the D-pad. You're still basically shooting through waves of enemies, but at least they're not unlimited.
Enemies aren't much smarter than they were in MW1, so you'll still be gunning down enemy fodder, but at least with the new gadgets it'll be more fun. Using a predator missile is extremely fun: you simply activate the laptop by pressing the D-pad (note that you're vulnerable as this happens) and control the missile to hit marked enemies from a first person perspective of the missile. It's a hoot to use, but you'll rarely get them unless you're beast in multiplayer, but they're fun when you get them, provided you don't get killed before then. It's also usable in campaign during certain missions like Wolverine, which was one of my favorites.
Even though the game play hardly changed, the environments sure did: from the snow-capped mountains in 'Cliffhanger' to the detailed airport in 'No Russian' to even storming Washington D.C. in 'Of their own accord' all provide beautiful set pieces with scripted events o' plenty. From the bland 'defend this position until they get too close' objective to dodging falling helicopters, you'll always be doing something different, but even though they still consist of gunning someone down, you'll like how Infinity Ward at least attempted mission variety.
The Heart Beat sensor: THE most kick ass attachment ever
Obviously, the multiplayer is the heart of the game, regardless if you play split-screen on the couch or over the internet over Live/ PSN. The campaign is short, so much of your life will now consist of trying to rank up to level 70, and then ‘prestiging’ to do it all over again (optional). Much like the last game, you shoot guns to rank up to earn better guns to kill people with. And although attachments were included last year, there's plenty of new, creative attachments to strive for, like the mini radar that detects enemy heart beats, the full metal jacket (that gives bullets more punch), and rapid fire (I don't need to explain this).
It's worth mentioning that now the game is more balanced with the inclusion of the perks systems, which have all been revamped. If you hated the juggernaut perk before that made players in a fair fight nearly invincible or the martyrdom perk that made knife kills useless, be glad to know that they reserved it for the sucky players: A new system called the death streaks called people to get perks that'll give them a slightly better edge, but only if they died enough times in a row without a kill. Now, the painkiller perk is a death streak that's only given to one who died 3 times without dying as well as the martyrdom perk, and they both become disabled as soon as they get a kill (although not until the next enemy life).
So what if you don't suck? Then welcome to the world of 'kill streaks' which is far much better than last game's: instead of just getting a UAV, airstrike, and then a helicopter, you can get new goodies like a Harrier jet, a predator missile, and even be able to control the guns of an AC-130. And don't worry about everyone getting these as they're only really used by people who get like 8 kills without dying. In case you're like me and you're not good, but you're not bad either, then there's a goodie for you too: a 4 kill kill streak will give you a care package that will randomly any one of the goodies (except the nuke... yes, a nuke). Nothing is better than getting back at the best player in the game by getting that lucky AC-130 bonus from a care package.
Yes, you can haz rockets in the game
In case you think that it's totally unfair, there is a small reprieve: provided that you're a high enough level, you can get launchers like an ATH-4S or a Stinger to shoot down most of these kill streak bonuses. While UAVs are small enough to shoot down with an ATH-4S, bigger things like a Pave low, a low flying helicopter, will need the punch of a stinger missile. And nothing is more satisfying than shooting down a Harrier RIGHT when it comes into the field, especially when you get acknowledged for it: One of the best things in multiplayer is the call signs.
What's a call sign? Simply put, you get to pick a title that you earned and an emblem to show yourself off. While it's strictly cosmetic, and can even reveal your profession (guess what gun a player with the title 'ghillies in the mist' will use?), it's definitely nice to stand out from the crowd. Even better, whenever you do anything substantial like get a pave low or shot one down, on the top right hand corner it'll showcase your call sign and commend you for it. And if that wasn't enough, if you get the game winning kill, then the game will show a record of the last 5 seconds leading up to the kill, and it's a perfect time to show off (like this video: Modern Warfare 2 Knife Throw)
Spec Op In case you don't want to kill your players, you can team up with them in this new game mode, although be warned: there is no online play aside from inviting a friend. However, if you have a friend online or off, then this mode will provided small chunks of fun. Basically put, it's a collection of mini-mission like the 'Mile High Club' in the first game (which oddly isn't here). You run through them with a friend on a chosen difficulty and if you die, you'll have to start the whole thing over unless someone revives you. Although the missions aren't as long as the campaign, a definite downside seeing as how World at War was almost full co-op, it's still nice to run and gun enemies with a friend, provided you weren't doing that during multiplayer.
Hope you can run
Is this the greatest game ever made? No, I still find classics like Shadow of the Colossus superior, but to say that this game isn't good is a lie: This game is better in almost every way. Sure, what happens to select characters were interesting to see, but it got old after the 2nd one, not to mention the 3rd time around. The controversial airport scene was a nice treat and it was implemented nicely, but it was a one trick pony: no satisfaction comes playing this level repeatedly. And if I must nitpick one thing, it's the horrible ending that almost all sequels games have. While the fight was climatic for the characters, it paled in comparison to the last mission 'Game over' in the first game. Seriously, it even ended in a cliffhanger. What the hell? All in all though, online was still good, Spec Ops is a nice addition, albeit a small addition, and even though the ending of the campaign sucked, the ride to the end (as in the rest of the campaign) is just too epic for words RIP Ghost, Allen, Ghost.
Score: Graphics ---- 8.5
-Graphics are notable almost the same, they just bumped up textures, lighting, etc. Still, the time they saved on making a new graphic engine to work on other aspects of the game was well worth it, and MW1 was a nice looking game.
Sound ------- 9.0
-The score is nice, especially the scene mentioned in the spoiler above, and the voice acting was definitely top notch as they had famous people in it, like the dude who played Private Jackson in Saving Private Ryan (in this game, he's Cpl. Dunn) and 50 Cent (although he's seldom heard).
Controls ----- 8.0
-The same as before: decent.
Fun Factor --- 9.0
-There's just too many wow moments in this game that it'll make your head spin. Sadly, once you boil it down, that's all the campaign has going for it. Multiplayer is still nice provided that you don't suck TOO much.
Final Verdict - 9.0
-To recommend this game to you is like asking you to breathe: You just gotta do it. I mean, if you don't have online, you may wanna reconsider unless you got 3 friends and 4 controllers. And if you don't plan to spend your whole life online, then just rent it as campaign is too short to recommend as a stand along title. Still, Spec Ops definitely gives this game an edge.