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Halo through the years: A retrospective
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sek929
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Oct 11, 2010, 04:24 PM
 
Last night Dakar and I beat Reach, and barring ODST I have played, and enjoyed, the Halo franchise throughout the years as much as any game out there. I plan on this thread being a multi-part trip down one of the most maligned and loved game series of all time.

Without further ado...

Halo: Combat Evolved

CE changed the face of the modern console game, period. Whether or not this was for the best is a moot point. Almost every aspect of CE has wormed its way deep into every shooter made today.

At the time I was still quite the Mac zealot, therefore anything MS was automatically a POS in my mind and I never gave the new console any thought. That is, until I played Halo CE for the first time. The original Xbox and Halo CE were so complimentary of each-other it makes total sense why MS bought Bungie outright to showcase their new system.

The level of polish I saw in CE blew my goddamn mind. I played TimeSplitters, and we all know how huge a game Bond was, but they still lacked a uniformity across every aspect of gameplay, something I think the Halo series has always done very well.

At the time the floaty gravity was new, and I ate that shit up. The fact that jumping now had an enormous part in gameplay was entirely new to me. The closest thing in Bond was, well, nothing. The graphics, my god the graphics. Even today I like the style that Halo uses. Bright colors, simple terrains, monolithic structures, and over-the-top enemies made the game pretty to look at, but also very easy to navigate and discern friend from foe.

The Xbox hardware ran it liquid smooth, and I mean that in a very important way. For consoles there was always, even in the NES days, some part of the game that would bog the poor graphics down to a crawl. This almost never happened in CE. I think the only way to reproduce frame rate drops was to have a huge, multi-grenade explosion that contained about 15 bodies. Rockets would soar all the way into the distance and their explosions would still be visible. You could explore and climb almost anywhere you wanted without invisible barriers (something newer Halo games have woefully to much of)

Epic comes to mind in regards to everything game-play based. The musical score, the fact you are battling on a fu*king ring-world with an advanced (yet slightly silly) alien race, and the vehicle parts... which remain a high-point of Halo to this very day.

There is a part in the second-to-last level (The Two Betrayals) where you are on foot winding your way through the icy canyons. You make your way to a Ghost and start speeding ahead. In front of you lies an enormous battle between the Covenant and Flood, as you approach your checkpoints are updated and are now a thousand feet in the air. You speed through the huge battle, skirting disaster from every angle (those mindless Flood are surgical with Rocket Launchers) until you happen upon two Banshees nestled behind the Covenant forces, you battle towards them jump in and begin soaring through the air in what is now a friggin flight-battle.

All this is fluid, easy to control, and never confusing. The planes move as easy as the trucks, and as easy as you walk. It is, for lack of a better word, a perfect blend of all three into possibly the greatest moment in the whole game.

Some cons that people mention is the endless repeating corridors in some of the levels (Library, Assault on the Control Room). To me a massive alien installation might have to re-use some design aspects and this point never bothered me. People also hate on the Flood as an enemy, but I thought they were damn brilliant at times, plus using the shotgun in a Halo game has never been better.

Multiplayer, through LAN connections, was easy enough that drunken Umass lobbies were set-up in a flash. Although the Pistol was so incredibly overpowered it made for frustrating times if you didn't start with it. This game also birthed the "you drive I'll gun" aspect that still prevails to this day, and again is a hallmark of the series.

Since I'm not going to get scientific about my rating scale I'm going to give a grade to the Halo games.

I give Halo CE
A+

Call me a fanboi, say I like the taste of Master Chief's nuts, I don't care. At the time of it's release Halo: Combat Evolved simply had no equal. The Xbox hardware coupled with a fancy new shooter that had a diamond shine simply blew any other game of its kind out of the water.

Up next... Halo 2 and the birth of true console multiplayer.
     
subego
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Oct 11, 2010, 08:48 PM
 
Well done!

What really sticks with me about it is the 4-player split-screen.

Damn that was fun. Even if I had to let other people win sometimes.
     
Jawbone54
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Oct 12, 2010, 12:32 PM
 


CE was favorite game on the original XBox, and definitely in my top 3 of the past ten years. I loved the LAN parties (which remain my favorite multiplayer experience ever), but the single-player was pretty amazing for its time.

I'll keep returning to the thread.
( Last edited by Jawbone54; Oct 14, 2010 at 04:48 PM. Reason: misspelling)
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 12, 2010, 12:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
I played TimeSplitters, and we all know how huge a game Bond was, but they still lacked a uniformity across every aspect of gameplay
Elaborate
     
Kevin Bogues
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Oct 14, 2010, 01:15 PM
 
Halo CE was a extreme high point in my early XBOX career, and without it, i think i may have stayed on the PS train and eventually purchased a PS3... NOOOOOOOOO!


EDIT: i am anxiously awaiting the H2 retrospective
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 14, 2010, 01:16 PM
 
You wouldn't have been able to afford it.
     
Kevin Bogues
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Oct 14, 2010, 01:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
You wouldn't have been able to afford it.
actually at that time, your probably right, i would of had to buy a Wii....
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 14, 2010, 01:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Kevin Bogues View Post
actually at that time, your probably right,
It's a lot of beer money.
     
sek929  (op)
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Oct 14, 2010, 03:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Elaborate
I guess what I am trying to say is that a grenade bouncing and a Warthog flipping over obey the same rules, and therefore are predictable and controllable. An example of really inconsistent physics are in Doom 3. For the most part the scenery is static but the objects you can interact with are fairly smooth and predictable, however, the grenades bounce around like flubber and seem to have an entirely different set of physics applied to them. Half Life 2's ambitious physics engine can sometimes have items act amazing (like a stack of empty cardboard boxes slumping in unison) but sometimes simply walking over a wooden pallet can send you skyrocketing to death for no reason.

There is a level of 'things don't actually touch eachother' in Halo that keeps objects from acting really whacky. Your backpack will stick through a wall in MW2, but in Halo the Spartan is (more or less) not able to pass through or into the scenery, which means that the walking animation is a bit floaty but I feel it keeps everyone in place.

It's hard to fully substantiate, but I've always felt a very rigid uniformity over the entire game experience. Bungie made a unique set of game characteristics and then applied them across the board. Like i said in my CE review the act of switching between First Person running, to third person driving, to third person flying is so effortless in-game you never notice it. I stand by my comment than any game that mixes First Person, jumping and vehicle sections has yet to lick the boots of Halo in this regard.
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 14, 2010, 04:03 PM
 
I was more curious about your allusion to TimeSplitters. I played 2 extensively (though sparingly with other people) andI thought it was the best multiplayer FPS on the PS2 (that i remember at the moment).
     
sek929  (op)
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Oct 14, 2010, 04:09 PM
 
I didn't play it more than 10 hours, and to be honest, I just had to watch some youtube videos to make sure I was thinking of the right game.

Any comparison I would make would be very ill-informed, I probably shouldn't have mentioned it.

From what I've heard throughout the tubes, TS2 is vehemently defended as being a better game than Halo at the time. I'd actually like to hear how you think it stacks up. I know you started at H3, but the idea is more or less the same as its always been.
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 14, 2010, 04:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
I didn't play it more than 10 hours, and to be honest, I just had to watch some youtube videos to make sure I was thinking of the right game.

Any comparison I would make would be very ill-informed, I probably shouldn't have mentioned it.

From what I've heard throughout the tubes, TS2 is vehemently defended as being a better game than Halo at the time. I'd actually like to hear how you think it stacks up. I know you started at H3, but the idea is more or less the same as its always been.
That's really tough. The big difference is the online play.

TS was arcadey and silly. The included map maker was really good, and the inclusion of bots was clutch.

Honestly the multiplayer game I enjoyed most last gen was Star Wars: Battlefront. I really can't fathom why even some piece of horseshit with the name III hasn't shipped this gen. 1 & 2 were still on the Top 10 for the original XBOX up until the plug was pulled.
     
sek929  (op)
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Oct 14, 2010, 05:51 PM
 
Agreed on battlefront, I was going to say that TS was very arcade shooter to me (like Q3 or UT) but I didn't feel like making that judgement without knowing what I was talking about.

Edit: Massive post incoming
     
sek929  (op)
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Oct 14, 2010, 06:08 PM
 
I am going to split H2 into two posts, because there is honestly far to much ground to cover at once.

Halo 2 (campaign)

First off let's run down the changes in overall game-play that Halo 2 brought to the table...

Dual Wielding Weapons - Arguably the most touted change for the entire game, so much so that the cover art shows Master Chief holding two SMGs. Halo 2 is the only game that features this ability. I found that this gave an immense flexibility to battle. In a game where nearly every encounter can play out essentially the same, it added a much needed level of customization to your arsenal. Now, when fighting shielded opponents, you could opt for SMG / Plasma Pistol combo to remove shields and deal damage without switching weapons. A pull on the L trigger for grenade immediately drops your left weapon and lets a grenade fly in the same space of time as a single-weaponed opponent. Looking back I think it would have been more fair to have a slight delay in grenade throws when a second weapon is equipped.

Destructable Vehicles - CE was a fairly broken game in this regard. You can take damage personally when driving, but the vehicle itself can withstand any amount of damage thrown upon it. This mean that in a sticky situation you can dismount your ride and hide behind it while you recharge. Halo 2 added a much needed progression of damage in the vehicles. Now the tank would still take huge abuse, but once the armor was blown away and it was starting to catch fire you knew you needed to leave. Instead of being able to approach vehicular combat with a sense of impunity, you have to make your shots count, find enemies quickly and make sure you didn't stand still for to long near grenade-happy grunts. Ghosts would explode twice and their littered carcasses could pose a real threat to any walking, or driving friendly.

Changes to health/shield - This point can be debated, and I'd like to know where you guys stand. First off the health bar is removed. Personally I dislike the addition of health in Reach since I was glad to see it go in H2. I find it improves the flow of game-play and allows you to sustain one near-death experience after another without having to find a pesky healthpack. Secondly the shield has been toned down slightly, but recharges much faster than before. You also have a set amount of health that comes into play once your shields are done. You never know just how much you have but it's usually a very bad sign when you are still taking damage with a downed shield. This health also recharges slowly after the shield begins to restore. Damage carries over from downing the shield too. So lets say Master Chief has 100 health. It takes two body sniper shots to kill so let's also say the sniper deals 50 damage per bullet. If Master Chief is down to 45 overall health and gets hit with a sniper bullet it is game over. Not so in Reach, where a sliver of shield will absorb all the damage of any given shot, besides the power weapons like Laser and Rockets I believe. Falling damage has been entirely removed, and that was another aspect I am sad to see return in Reach. Yes at a given height I agree you should die, but otherwise If I fall 30 feet as a super-soldier 8-foor tall robot that can fly through space I can take the impact.

Minor changes - Let's list 'em. Scoped weapons have recoil now, whereas before you could snipe without any recoil whatsoever. Addition of super-weapon Battle Rifle; fires three-round bursts, deadly accurate, and a major pain if you can't get headshots in your sleep. For campaign it was greatly needed though, as before your ranged weapon was a goddamn pistol. Lock-on Rocket Launcher was another addition that was sorely needed. Energy Sword is now player-usable. Gauss Hog makes its debut. Grenade throwing distance re-tooled to non-retarded levels, no longer can you huck a nade across the whole map. Grenades on the ground no longer add to explosions, which were something to behold but quite annoying in SP when a large chain reaction would kill you when you thought you were at a safe distance. You can now swap weapons with friendly NPCs, instead of murdering them for a rifle. I'm sure there are dozens more but these are the ones that stick out in my mind. Of course there were a decent amount of new weapons but I'll get more into that during my Multi review.

The game.

When it comes to campaign the biggest new thing was the addition of levels played as an Elite, the Arbiter. On paper this sounds interesting, and the ability to cloak on command for a certain period has its advantages, especially since plasma nades are always handy. However, the levels you play as an Elite are pitiful and repetitive. The problem we still have of playing as Elites, using their skills and their weapons started here. The game actually begins with the Arbiter in a cut-scene, why they thought this was such a crucial part of the game and story confuses me since I was excited to be fighting on Earth for a change, not learning the backstory of the freaking Covenant council. One mission you are sent to kill the Heretic leader, but its not explained why you should care, or what it means to the overall story arc. Just now you are back as the Elite (groan) and back to cloaking and sticking.

The single-player is decidedly split 50/50 between amazing series-highs and terrible grinding series-lows. The missions taking place on Earth in the city of New Mombassa are the absolute high point of this game, and possibly the entire quadrilogy. Once level has you traversing a massive bridge in a Scorpion, while you are pelted by Banshees, Ghosts, and encamped Covenant forces. Culminating in the first appearance of the Scarab, which you follow alongside until you make your daring jump to board and ultimately destroy it. Before this part you are snaking your way through the humongous city, fighting large set-battles in outdoor parks, building tops, and streets. A new enemy is the Jackal sniper who, on Legendary difficulty, will *** yo shit up with great haste. Finally the Covenant figured out that ranged combat was the way to go, as they also have the Carbine Rifle, which is supposed to match the BR but that is total BS.

You destroy the Scarab, the Covenant ship jumps to hyperspace, and you are whisked away on a UNSC ship hot on their trail. Arrival at a new ring-world thrusts you right back into the action, and this first part of the new 'halo' section features interesting mayan-esque ruins and plenty of vehicular combat. Unfortunately this map is followed by, what I consider, to be the worst goddamn part of any Halo game made ever. You are the Arbiter (duh) and you start out on a decidedly cliché elevator that stops every few feet to allow enemies to attack you. You make your way through uninspired corridors, grinding out destroying all the wall mounted units that spawn robot enemies...and you keep doing that until you feel as if your eyes want to bleed.

After this atrocity the game really peters out. You are still on 'halo' fighting through this game's version of The Two Betrayals, but everything feels boring and regurgitated. What is actually one of the largest outdoor battles during 'Quarantine" it feels like all you want is to get to the next cutscene, unfortunately each map gets slightly less fun as the game progresses. Now you are aboard a huge floating Covenant city, that is apparently as cramped as their ships. High point here is seeing a Flood-controlled UNSC battleship kamikaze it's ass into the floating city you are currently aboard (they must have went to the same flight school as Reavers from Serenity) but what follows are more corridors, easier-than-Elites-to-kill Brutes, and those annoying ass flying creatures.

What is, in my opinion, the last real map to conquer is an all-out battle as the Arbiter again, and its actually the best level featuring that character in the game. Ghosts, Wraiths, and a hi-jacked Scarab lead you to the first (and only?) Boss battle in the series. Tartarus the chief of brutes. This ending was among the weakest of any game I had played at the time. You run around a three-level floating platform as Johnson snipes Tartarus from afar to drop his shield, hit him with one shot, his shield comes up, repeat. Weak. I know it is the middle game of what was a three part series, but something doesn't sit well with me. In a game where you kill nearly all the leaders of the Covenant it feels really blasé. The Flood are at their same tricks again (who released them again? I don't even remember) you are once again fighting through the Library for the key that starts halo, you still keep thinking Grunts are a near pointless soldier for what is supposed to be the overwhelming army of the aliens. It all feels worn and uninspiring come the last half of the game, which is a shame because I think Halo 2 starts off really well, in fact let's rate each level.

1 and 2 are basically both cutscenes.

Cairo Station - Has some neat vacuum-of-space parts. B
Outskirts - Landing on Earth and fighting through the streets. A
Metropolis - Best part of the game. A+
The Arbiter - First time playing as Arbiter, overall enjoyable. B
The Oracle - Continuation of Arbiter, starts to wear thin. B-
Delta Halo - Landing on new halo with ODST troops, very fun. A
Regret - Still same level design as previous map, hard but fun. B+
Sacred Icon - Worst level, repetitive to the Nth degree. F
Quarantine Zone - The Two Betrayals copy, boring. C-
Gravemind - Indoor cramped battles. C-
Uprising - Outdoor Arbiter level, mostly enjoyable. B-
High Charity - Shortest mission, nothing special or interesting. C-
The Great Journey - End of the game with a whimper. D

Edit: I almost forgot! The music in this game is really A++ material, even in the bad levels. Everything else is a simple evolution of the first game but they really went full-bore on the musical score.
( Last edited by sek929; Oct 14, 2010 at 06:18 PM. )
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 15, 2010, 10:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
Dual Wielding Weapons - Arguably the most touted change for the entire game, so much so that the cover art shows Master Chief holding two SMGs. Halo 2 is the only game that features this ability.
Um, what about Halo 3?

I found it to be worthless because they had to nerf it for balancing issues.


Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
Agreed on battlefront, I was going to say that TS was very arcade shooter to me (like Q3 or UT) but I didn't feel like making that judgement without knowing what I was talking about.
I wouldn't compare it to UT anymore than I'd compare GoldenEye to Doom. TimeSplitters was just the continued evolution/polish from PerfectDark. However it suffers from incremental gains in much the same way Reach does.
     
sek929  (op)
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Oct 15, 2010, 10:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Um, what about Halo 3?

I found it to be worthless because they had to nerf it for balancing issues.
D'oh, good point. I don't even consider Dual Wielding to be a factor in H3 since, as you said, they completely neutered the whole system. Granted, in H2 multi, dual Needlers were just about the most broken combo, but I never found dual wielding to hold a huge advantage over regular weapons like the BR.
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 15, 2010, 11:02 AM
 
The system could have been corrected by weapon placement. If two Spikers would be completely broken (though I think the correct way to look at them is two = power weapon) don't place them in pairs. If both teams have access to one spiker, then your new strategy becomes getting to or killing the person with the spiker to become more powerful (not unlike killing the guy with the rockets and taking them).

I'm not sure how the Spiker stacks up against the AR, but making it slightly less powerful and slightly more accurate (i.e., viable at short-mid to mid range) and voila, the BR (or Needler, technically) isn't the only god damn game in town.
     
sek929  (op)
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Oct 15, 2010, 11:09 AM
 
Well, at any rate, we all know the BR eventually became the only weapon anyone could use to get kills, since your opponent was definitely going to have it.
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 15, 2010, 11:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
Well, at any rate, we all know the BR eventually became the only weapon anyone could use to get kills, since your opponent was definitely going to have it.
I'm bored, it's Friday and I've been wanting to do this: I'm going to don a flame suit and question the DMR gameplay on the
bungie forums.
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 15, 2010, 11:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
Well, at any rate, we all know the BR eventually became the only weapon anyone could use to get kills, since your opponent was definitely going to have it.
BTW, I thought it was merely perception, but I checked my H3 profile. In H3, the BR accounted for 10 - 16% of my deaths. In Reach? 30%. That is bad.
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 15, 2010, 02:01 PM
 
     
olePigeon
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Oct 15, 2010, 02:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
Dual Wielding Weapons - Arguably the most touted change for the entire game, so much so that the cover art shows Master Chief holding two SMGs. Halo 2 is the only game that features this ability.
Except it's not. SiN, published in 1998, had dual wielding weapons. Depending on the mod, Counter Strike had dual weapons (or weapon + shield.)
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sek929  (op)
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Oct 15, 2010, 02:31 PM
 
Fair enough, but everything discussed here is in relation to the Halo-verse, no other games need apply.

At any rate, and even within my own rubrik, I already messed up because Halo 3 had dualies too, except nobody cared.
     
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Oct 16, 2010, 07:13 AM
 
If you want to include other games, Marathon (at least Marathon 2) also had dual wielding.

BTW, the weapons in Halo: CE are an almost exact replica of the ones in the Marathon series. The only ones that are completely new are the sniper rifle and the needler - plus that Halo doesn't have a flamethrower. The grenades are sort of new, but only in interface (the rifle in Marathon shot grenades, but you couldn't access them when using any other weapon).
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Oct 16, 2010, 10:03 AM
 
Marathon was harder than Halo. Still is. Try beat this - it's cross platform
     
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Oct 16, 2010, 03:36 PM
 
Good thread. Now I want to get a copy of CE, and Halo 2. Don't know what happen to my old copies.
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The Final Dakar
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Oct 16, 2010, 04:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
Except it's not. SiN, published in 1998, had dual wielding weapons.
So did GoldenEye, in 1996. But that doesn't matter, either.
     
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Oct 18, 2010, 09:35 AM
 
I bet there was some text adventure game back in the '80s that let you dual-wield, too.

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sek929  (op)
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Nov 2, 2010, 04:15 PM
 
it's been a while, but I am not going to abandon this thread like my STALKER one so here goes.

Halo 2: Multiplayer and the Birth of Xbox Live.

Let me just start off with the big statement. Halo 2 is the best Halo in the series, hands-down. Unless you were in a dorm with a large LAN to draw from this was most people's first experience with any sort of matchmaking. On another forum I said Halo was the definitive console game for multiplayer, and some asshole said "What about Counter-Strike?" Upon further investigation a flavor of CS was released for Xbox in 2004, but since I never heard of it I doubt many people played it. CS was a PC game, let's move on.

Halo 2 marked a level of excitement for a release that had not existed since Ocarina of Time on the N64. The idea that I could play, online, with all sorts of people competitively was so mouth-watering I had actually signed up for Xbox Live before H2's release. In fact, after a year of play I had TWO Xbox Live accounts just...well for the shit of it I suppose.

Let's get down to the skeletal system of matchmaking for a moment. First off, you could turn on the box and be in a match in well under a minute, something that not even the most hardened PC gamer can tell was as easy for him. No need to worry about servers or configs, just a few hits of the A button and you were matched with players of moderately similar skill. Lobbies were a friggin breeze to set up and your friends list was just a hit of the Y button away, then scroll to your friend and hit X to invite. To this day it has yet to be matched in quickness and ease-of use IMO. The games ran smooth and rarely lagged, if extreme lag was happening you could bet dollars to donuts that the host was using standby mode to rape you.

The maps were excellent for their day, apparent by the fact they have almost all been re-made in a game released nearly 7 years later. Fan favorites like Lockout, Ascension (which I hate), Midship, Zanzibar, Ivory Tower etc all started here and were actually quite decently balanced maps for their day and age. It only got better with the DLC maps, which was before I used the term DLC. Maps like Terminal, Warlock, Sanctuary and Turf ended up being some of the best maps in the whole game.

The action was, well, Halo-esque through and through. The addition of Dual-Wield meant that combos like the Brute Plasma Rifle and Pistol were just as deadly as the BR (mostly) and the removal of falling damage meant for aerial attacks that would have spelled death before. Of course as more and more folks got used to the BR it became apparent it was far and away the most powerful weapon in the game, sans a sniper with a good view. Most games were BR-fests, and eventually if you couldn't drop an enemy in 4 hits then you weren't going to cut it. Then people learned about BXR and BXB, allowing you to shoot faster BR bursts than ever before. This, coupled with the Plasma Pistol (or n00b combo), meant that if you started a match without the BR then your first goal was to get one, at all costs. Balance issues aside the game was like crack to play, and hearing the announcer call out Killing Spree or Triple Kill held such an enjoyment you couldn't help but keep playing. Had a bad game? Play again to redeem yourself. Had a great game? Keep the momentum going! Fatty has over 4500 games logged in H2, a number not outmatched by several big 360 multiplayer games combined even at this stage. Many a girlfriend would be relegated to sitting and watching as the boys all crowded around their new electronic messiah.

Of course the popularity of Halo 2 with my specific age demographic lead to the rise of the "Halo frat-boy" image of guys with hemp necklaces and backwards Texas U hats drinking swill beer and homo-erotically hugging after each victory. While this scene is not entirely unfounded, there were still plenty of kids hitting blunts and sipping micro-brews as well (guess which one I fit into?) I find it telling that the game was so popular with the jock crowd because it sincerely felt like a sport to play. It was difficult and unyielding to bad play. if you went a week without playing you would be entirely rusty compared to SmokeNBones420 who has been logging 6 hours each day since release. There was a feeling of competition like nothing else I had experienced at that time, besides real sports, so it's natural it attracted the jocks. There wasn't a male dorm anywhere across the country that didn't at least have one floors worth of kids tea-bagging their hearts out every night, it was an epidemic of gaming.

Cheating was fairly rampant, and is the one major drawback I can think of. Although the ranking system went to 50, anyone above a 35 was a cheater, hands-down. The ranking system was so damn brutal you could win all day and gain three ranks, and then have two bad games in a row and drop right back down. The highest Fatty ever achieved was a rank of 29, which I liken to 45 in modern Halo games. After reaching 29 there was a losing streak of epidemic proportions that dropped us down to 19 in a span of time that was absolutely embarrassing. I mean, literally, it took us months to reach 29 and one day to drop to 19....like I said BRUTAL. Have a few to many beers and you could easily ruin weeks of playing in hours. Another popular cheat was the 'super-bounce' which is apparently a backdoor left by the programmers to allow them to check the level from high vantage points. Usually a combination of crouching under a pinch point, and then leaping to certain spot, you would be catapulted hundreds of feet into the air and depending on the level (and your weapon at the times) you could suddenly be the most scorned human being on the planet. Ascension had two super jumps, on a level that already had no goddman cover and awful spawns, coupled with two easily snagged sniper rifles it pretty much made the level unplayable 75% of the time. Stanby-ing (now called lag-switching for some reason) was more rampant in H2 than I've ever seen, and it was usually used by a clan team that was afraid they were about to lose, of course half the time the host would lag himself out, and end the game due to no host migration.

Halo CE moved the Xbox, and Halo 2 moved Xbox LIve...and to a lesser extent the Xbox 360. Live is being caught up to by the other services now, and we may bitch and moan about no dedicated servers, but XBL was a magnificent system for its day and warranted the 50 dollars a year without question.

Halo 2 also started the running tradition of the single-player game doing backup vocals for multiplayer, which some reviewers lament but I could not care any less really. IMO Halo 2 was a game split right down the middle. It had an aging campaign with arguably some of the most tedious levels ever devised, but birthed an entire era of gaming with a slick, fast, and easy online matchmaking system that is still being caught up to by games of today (think of the lobby system in MW2, Halo 2s was better).

In short, it's hard to me to give H2 one score (duh) because it's a game of split personality disorder. When I think back on Halo 2 the online immediately comes to mind, in fact, during my single review I had to wiki nearly everything about the campaign just to jog my memory.

The skinny.

I give Halo 2 and Xbox Live's marriage together an A++....that's right, two pluses, deal with it
     
Brien
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Nov 2, 2010, 04:21 PM
 
I can't wait for the ODST and Halo Wars reviews.
     
The Final Dakar
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Nov 2, 2010, 04:24 PM
 
I have a feeling Halo: Reach's will be brief.
     
The Final Dakar
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Nov 2, 2010, 04:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
The maps were excellent for their day, apparent by the fact they have almost all been re-made in a game released nearly 7 years later.
Dirty, dirty lie. Reach's maps are atrocious and this is in large part attributed to the fact that they're remakes from a seven year-old game.

if you started a match without the BR then your first goal was to get one, at all costs.
I think that's still true now. The advantage a DMR wielding opponent would have on a non-DMR start match is so crippling its why I would never vote for it despite my hatred of DMR play. Even with Halo's power weapons, I don't see many situations where a DMR won't at least fight to a tie.

if you went a week without playing you would be entirely rusty compared to SmokeNBones420 who has been logging 6 hours each day since release.
I felt that way about both 3 (ranked) and MW2. Especially MW2, though probably because my skill level on that was much higher.
     
sek929  (op)
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Nov 2, 2010, 04:37 PM
 
Reach's map are atrocious because it's 2010 and they used maps designed in 04. 6 years can do a lot for the overall level of design we expect from a video game, in fact I think most of the maps in Halo 3 were much, much better than the re-makes they decided to use in Reach. Of course even H3 used the Zanzibar remake, and so did Reach...I mean do you guys really have nothing better than a wide-open map with limited movement areas and horrible spawns?

As much as I love Bond some of those maps are laughable terrible, you get killed once and you can look forward to the other player beating you to every special item on the map.

I agree with H3 having the same attitude towards casual players, but I always found CoD MM to be a little easier to actually kill people. Sure you can be just as rusty, but flailing a kill in MW2 is a lot easier to do than any Halo game.
     
The Final Dakar
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Nov 2, 2010, 04:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
Reach's map are atrocious because it's 2010 and they used maps designed in 04.
Right, but you pointed to them being reused as a badge of honor. I think it's a badge of cash grab, not unlike the GoldenEye "remake" for Wii.

Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
As much as I love Bond some of those maps are laughable terrible, you get killed once and you can look forward to the other player beating you to every special item on the map.
Which is why load-outs are (semi)-standard now. Killstreaks are the new power weapons. Evolution.

Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
I agree with H3 having the same attitude towards casual players, but I always found CoD MM to be a little easier to actually kill people. Sure you can be just as rusty, but flailing a kill in MW2 is a lot easier to do than any Halo game.
It's a matter of health, precision, and cover. It's telling that CoD manages to finish at 75 kills at roughly the same pace Halo does 50, without the horrific spawns and with much, much more cover. (It's why I can't take arguments of Halo being "faster" seriously)
     
sek929  (op)
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Nov 2, 2010, 05:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Right, but you pointed to them being reused as a badge of honor. I think it's a badge of cash grab, not unlike the GoldenEye "remake" for Wii.
It's a badge of honor for Halo 2, not Reach, that the maps were recycled. It wasn't smart, because game design has come a long long way, but it speaks to the overall positive feedback Halo 2 received.

As for Goldeneye, eh, I'll leave that for the console thread.
     
The Final Dakar
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Nov 2, 2010, 05:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
It's a badge of honor for Halo 2
It's a badge of honor for the game I agree.
     
   
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