After just finishing ODST, my mind has wandered back to my beginnings with the Halo series. I've had my ups and down with the games, but one things for sure: these games have made a huge
impact on gaming and are, like it or not, forever entrenched in the gaming hall of fame.
My Halo history, if you will:
I've been a Halo fan since the beginning (not quite a fan-fiction writing überfan, but a fan regardless). Halo: Combat Evolved was such a new experience with me, from the graphics to the sublime controls to the (soon to be) iconic new villainous force. Halo showed that a great FPS was
possible on a console in the midst of all out PC frag fests like UT and Counterstrike that seemed to garner all of the attention. It was a blast to play single player, and even more fun to kill all the alien baddies with a buddy in the new-to-me co-op mode. The game was almost perfect. Well...except for that damn library level. Fuck that place.
Halo 2 is the black sheep in the series for me, which may sound odd at first. The amount of hype leading up to this game was ridiculous, which culminated with my friends and I waiting in line for over 4 hours at our local Gamestop to pick the game up at midnight. We couldn't have been happier. We rushed home as fast as we could to play this beast; this milestone in our gaming careers. I was excited at the opportunity to continue the fight back on Earth and to give the pew-pew laser beam butt-heads another ass kicking. Too make a long story short, I was rather disappointed. Now before some of you get up in arms over this, keep in mind that I did not have Xbox LIVE at the time and could not play the brand new multiplayer. It was single player or bust for me back then. I am solely talking about the single player/co-cop experience. Now at the core the game is
better than the original. Better graphics, more weapons, new enemies, and a new story. The execution of all of these separate parts works, yet the game still manages to fail. Just when you are getting into the game and getting into the story....this happens.
UGGGGgggGGGghHHHhHHHHhDhSDhsaddgfghBARFjliulefdfH.......god DAMNIT. Not at ALL what I wanted. I can understand Bungie wanting to further expand and progress the Halo universe, but I HATED
it. "Alright sweet, new level....wait....I'm not the master chief.......wait.......what?" I didn't really mind it for one level, maybe thinking it was a fluke, a one and done type of thing. But alas, it most definitely was not. I dealt with it though. I was still having an okay
time. Not nearly the same "WOW" as I felt when I played through Halo: CE. Once again, however, when the game is getting mildly interesting again towards the end.....well...yeah...we all know what happens. Let's try to forget. This is my least favorite in the series. Enough said.
Move onto Halo 3. The first hotly anticipated title for my shiny new Xbox 360. I had since calmed down after the, uhm, "events" at the end of Halo 2 and was ready to kill more Covenant and save the galaxy. I was excited for Halo 3, also, because of the fact that I now had Xbox LIVE and could bring the fight to people online. I basically never played Halo 2 online and was totally new to the whole idea of Halo multiplayer. TRIPLE KILL. So, we have an engaging and fun single player campaign (or the usual co-op, but this time with up to 4 players) and an absolute fun as hell online multiplayer (not to mention a totally badass last level. This was it. What more could I need? This was the complete Halo experience I was waiting for.
After sinking hundreds of hours into the game (essentially wearing it out) and with new games coming out (Modern Warfare FTMFW!), Halo began to fall a bit to the wayside. Oh, and Halo having one of the worst communities in gaming doesnt' help either. I would still pop it in from time to time if a friend wanted to play, but that was about it. God I had played that game a lot. Then came E3 2009 and my first glimpse of Halo 3: ODST.
What was this? Not really following the Halo universe other than playing the games, this was news to me. I thought I had heard rumors of Bungie ending Halo with Halo 3. So I started doing some research. Was this a full-fledged new game, or just an expansion? I heard plenty of talk on both sides of the argument, with Bungie saying it was an expansion at the beginning (if memory serves me correctly). After playing the game to completion, I can tell you this: While it's pretty fun, it's nothing more than an overpriced expansion. A $60 flash in the pan, only justified by the most hardcore Halo fan. The campaign is somewhat entertaining, but in the end it's horrendously short and mostly forgettable. The Gears of War 2 Horde mode-themed Firefight is the only part of the game that has any redeeming value. Team up with your friends to fight off wave after wave of increasingly hard Covenant forces. This is fun. But it's not without its faults. Part of the excitement of playing Horde mode with your friends was the fact that it ended! As far as I know, Firefight does not
end. It keeps going until you run out of lives. What's the point? It's fun for a little while, sure, but there's no real sense of accomplishment at all. Especially if you team up with some really good talent, it can go on forever and become a snooze-fest. This is just bad game design (if in fact it does end, let me know and make fun of me
). The addition of a 2nd disc containing Halo 3's multiplayer and all of the map packs is welcome, but not enough to really justify the game's price. Which is my real issue with the game in the first place. $30 makes way more sense. It comes off as an incredible disservice to Bungie's ferociously loyal fan base.
That's the long and short of it. Are you one of the 3 people on the planet who hasn't played a Halo game? By all means, please do. You'd be missing out on what could be one of the finer moments in gaming history. But be warned, in space, no one can hear you scream... read