Monday, 11 October 2010

What Bungie are doing to make me keep giving a shit about Halo (which I never really did anyway).

Halo Reach only exists because of me, and I am not alone in that, and the reason I own any games now is because of Bungie. When I was a kid my dad had a Mac and I bought all three Marathon games because they were weird and I didn’t understand them and I didn’t finish a single fucking one but, hey, computers ran on magic back then, as far as I was concerned, and the upshot is that I'm now pretty good at pretending to shoot someone in the face.

Marathon, obviously, was Bungie’s first big release and without me, and people like me, buying those games, they would never have gone on to create Halo, and its, at present, ultimate incarnation, which is, sort of, the best Halo game to date.

But would you expect anything else when the series has been steadily improving, shedding fat, tightening things up, with every release? No, I guess probably you wouldn’t, unless you’re someone who ignores causal blah blahs.

But it’s only so good because of the other Halo games. I played this game having only played most of the first Halo and all of the third, so didn’t really give a shit about the story, but I sort of half understood it. I knew there was a story and there was a big war and all that shit, and that it has something to do with this ubermensch, the Master Chief, who is also maybe the single most boring character in any game since the blocks in Tetris and while you could probably argue that the blocks aren’t even characters, I just won’t listen, and Master Chief will still be boring.

If they made a film of Halo it should have been Reach. The campaign expands on the mythos in a way that makes me want to go back and play the series. By giving a different perspective on the war, and giving this sense of struggle, victory and loss, it gives a greater meaning to the events in the games. If you made a film about the Master Chief it would just be like watching someone play a flashier version of Halo, and no one, no one, fucking needs that.

And though there are a few clich├ęs in the story it doesn’t really matter. I mean, they build all this tension to the discovery of the Covenant on Reach, and then you see these aliens and they’re all fruity multicoloured fruits shooting pink pencils at you. The game does an ok job of making you forget you’re fighting monster fruit pastels, but it gives it this sense of tongue in cheek, which is what I think is weird about the bonus dialogue.

I say bonus dialogue, and I mean optional. You can turn on the option to hear “funny” extra bits of dialogue, which appear randomly in combat, though I’ve never heard any and I always have it on. Why make this optional? Why not just make a funny game, what the fuck? YOU DON’T NEED TO BE ASHAMED IF YOU MAKE ME LAUGH, BUNGIE.

So who buys Halo for it’s single player? Haha! No one! That’s who! Fucking right, am I right? Let’s talk multiplayer.

Yeah, it’s ok. It’s ground in gimmicks though, which is sort of its strength.

It’s fucking fantastic that it is nothing like call of duty. Halo is needed in the world of games. But you can boot up Halo, go onto multiplayer, expecting to shoot a motherfucker, and end up racing around on a quadbike trying to reach checkpoints to score points. Then you’re like wtf I thought I was going to shoot someone and the game, and everyone else playing, is like fuck you.

But the reason this is good is because you can play Halo all fucking night. It’s like some kind of multiplayer computer game DJ set. You start with some huge team battle, then a small objective based game, a couple of free for alls, a race, some kind of rocket only game. You can have an evening of this shit, and it works. I can get burned out on COD or Battlefield.

The voting system, the party system, these are the best they have been in any game that has ever been made, as far as I am aware, and whoever designed and implemented that shit should be hired by every computer games company in the world that wants to have multiplayer in their game.

Now I am going to stop writing because I’ve just remembered no one is going to fucking read this.

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