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Two-Panel Review

November 19, 2021 by Tim

I’ve sunk a few hours into Halo Infinite this week. It’s good. I like some Halo. And this may be the Haloiest Halo we’ve ever Haloed. But ultimately it’s still just… more Halo. Which is simultaneously my highest praise and biggest criticism.

I have a lot of fond Halo memories. Dragging my massive Xbox over to a friend’s house for some system-link Blood Gulch until 3am, a big 4-Xbox-4-TV Lan party I threw for the launch of Halo 2… my interest in the franchise did wane some after Halo 3, (I touristed around OSDT and Reach a bit) but it’s always been a franchise I enjoyed the feel of.

And I find Halo definitely does have a feel. The pace, the shoot-grenade-punch trifecta, the announcer… Halo is a whole vibe. While a lot of people out there can probably name a few dozen mechanics tweaks from game to game leading to what makes “good Halo” or “bad Halo”, I still feel like the overall feel of the game remains consistent from game to game. Halo evolves laterally, not forward. It refines, it does not reinvent.

For instance, I’ve fired up some games and thought “this is trying to be Halo,” but I’ve never fired up a Halo game and thought “this feels like Call of Duty.”

There’s a comfort in that, for sure. After all, if you order a pizza, you kind of want a pizza to show up at your door. Tacos are good, too, but… if I order pizza, give me pizza dammit. In a sort of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” way, Halo stays in its lane and you can tend to count on that to a degree.

Halo Infinite feels like good Halo. All of the mechanics and weight of the movement and weapons vibrate together in perfect Halo harmony. The match and menu options are robust, the cosmetic unlocks (though currently barred behind an atrociously stingy battlepass or real money) look cool as hell, and the matches are quick, and tight and balanced. It’s great fun. And yet…

It’s still just more Halo. In that as much as I enjoy playing it, it definitely feels like I’ve done it before. And by before I mean intermittently for two decades. It’s all very familiar. I’m not suggesting they reinvent the wheel here, Halo is Halo. I don’t necessarily want it turned into something else. But neither can I ignore that I’ve eaten a lot of this pizza over the years, and while delicious, it’s certainly reminding me why I like tacos.


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R77
R77
9 days ago

While not a Halo connoisseur, I can’t stop but marvel at how the art of this simple comic is not simple at all. Panel 2 and 3 could have been a copy paste with other text. Which is about what you would expect for a comic.
The guy clearly has a different body posture, from enthused to slummed. Even the shadows on the couch changed to show he changed position.

Love it.

Chris
Chris
9 days ago
Reply to  R77

Absolutely agree, Tim’s work is really, really good and you can always see how much care he takes in each panel. It’s insane how much he grew over the years in terms of visual quality. His current stuff is absolutely top-notch. Not only do I really like his overall style, but the consistency in terms of quality is just awesome.

: Keep up the great work!

Rolan7
Rolan7
9 days ago
Reply to  R77

Tim used to get a lot of criticism for doing jokes like this where panels were “copy-pasted”. It’s kinda funny to see him do it here- and meticulously drawing both panels. Not for the first time!

I never saw the problem, but it’s cool to see him flex his artistic ability.

TheAyanamiRei
TheAyanamiRei
8 days ago
Reply to  Rolan7

What I find interesting, are the subtle differences that let you know he created two individual panels. He COULD have copy pasted and then changed the expression, but he didn’t. You can see this with:

The shadows on the legs, the expression, the ears, shadows on t-shirt, and probably even more.

Wesley Riot
Wesley Riot
6 days ago
Reply to  R77

I hate to break it to you, but the drawings in panel 2 and 3 are literally copy pasted, with just the head and t shirt neckline being different. As you say though, the shading is different, which goes a long way to making it look different. Not that it matters one bit, there’s nothing wrong with reusing your own drawings to make the comic the way you want.

Pal87
Pal87
9 days ago

You could try battlefield 2042, which has decided that despite liking pizza, you should try eating dirt. The still call it pizza, but it’s clearly dirt, but hey, it’s new right?

TheAyanamiRei
TheAyanamiRei
9 days ago

Honestly, I feel like games can still be similar, but change and/or evolve. Heck look at what Street Fighter has done for instance. I think another issue is that, Halo when you get down to it, is still a more simple shooter. One that is very straight forward. Not only that, but there’s a MUCH more diverse set of games to be playing now, then there used to be. Including FPS games. I mean now we have Hero Shoots like Overwatch, Titanfall 2, and Apex Legends. Halo has never truly tried to Evolve into something new and great, not even… Read more »

Mallengar
7 days ago
Reply to  TheAyanamiRei

The Halo side series was Halo Wars. Make whatever opinions of that you wish, but I do wish Infinite at least included a Battle Royale option in multiplayer. But… This is the beta, right? Hopefully, there’s more to come than just slayer, oddball, ctf, domination, and big team. It’s such a small selection with none of my personal favorites. My fondest Halo memories are playing juggernaut in forged maze maps with my college roommates on Halo 3 and mongoose races with my ex-girlfriend on Reach. Halo Infinite is going to die fast for me if they don’t get more game… Read more »

Rolan7
Rolan7
9 days ago

I’ve really enjoyed the collection of Halo campaigns for a year or two now – I even sorta enjoyed 5, as… unfaithful as it was. And it was good to finally be able to play Halo 1 co-op on the PC, something they infamously didn’t allow with the original release.

Competitive multiplayer, though? No thank you.

Bookishjon
Bookishjon
9 days ago

Maybe I’m in the minority now, but I just feel like I’m too old for Halo. I feel like I COULD “get gud” at it by:
-Learning The Map
-Researching Every Weapon
-Focusing On “L33T” Strategies
However, as I think you’ve mentioned before in another comic, I’m not a college student who can just fuck around with a lot of free time. I’ve got a job and a wife and, oddly enough, both of them demand a lot of time and attention that I can’t dedicate to competing with squeaky adolescents.

Last edited 9 days ago by Bookishjon
Mallengar
7 days ago
Reply to  Bookishjon

Preach!

snark
snark
6 days ago
Reply to  Bookishjon

Man, our reaction times, our twitch reflexes are just not what they used to be way then.. I think that is the main reason why I suck at FPS nowadays…
But yeah, time is at a premium as well.

Whatever
Whatever
9 days ago

All this talk about pizza is making me want to order a pizza.

Giuliano Marques
Giuliano Marques
9 days ago
Reply to  Whatever

Same, and it’s 8am here.

Steve
Steve
9 days ago

It’s almost 6:30am here and he made me want pizza. Guess I know to where I’ll be popping out of work for lunch today, at least!

Jacob
Jacob
9 days ago
Reply to  Steve

A midwestern and southern favorite of mine has been Casey’s Breakfast Pizza

I’ve seen Seven Eleven try to copy this but it just is not as good.

TomB
TomB
9 days ago

@Tim: “And I find Halo definitely does have a feel. The pace, the shoot-grenade-punch trifecta, the announcer… Halo is a whole vibe. While a lot of people out there can probably name a few dozen mechanics tweaks from game to game leading to what makes “good Halo” or “bad Halo”, I still feel like the overall feel of the game remains consistent from game to game. Halo evolves laterally, not forward. It refines, it does not reinvent.” I think we all understand to a degree why Hollywood chooses to reboot series; Whenever a known product changes, there will be some… Read more »

Foxhood
Foxhood
9 days ago
Reply to  TomB

I’m normally one to go to detail with walls of text, but this is a bit too ridiculous even for me. Reads like a thesis rather than a comment. So some critique for future comments: Half of what you write is without concise function. Redundant examples, elaborate descriptions, repetition of the points made. You could cut down extensively without risking the argument getting deprived from clear context. It is afterall essentially just standard retoric on the concept of stagnation in innovation/creatvity. That the tried and tested are less risky, that it has become increasingly difficult to find something that is… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Foxhood
Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
9 days ago
Reply to  TomB

Innovation is huge, but then you need to keep innovating, or else it gets stagnant. It’s easy and safe to follow the tried-and-true formula; it’s expensive and risky to go out on a limb. And once you’ve done it, everyone’s out there, and it’s no longer impressive.

There’s a good balance, though, of “tried-and-true but with a twist” that keeps it interesting. A good gimmick that supports the core of the game will transform an experience.

TheAyanamiRei
TheAyanamiRei
8 days ago
Reply to  TomB

Let’s use the example of Pizza shall we? Sure while some may try to claim that Pizza is Pizza, we all know that’s NOT True. EX: Dominos tries using spices in the crust to change the taste. Costco piles on the cheese and toppings, using scales to make it exact. Some places have Anchovies, though Frozen Pizza almost never does. There’s Garlic Bread Pizza. Pizza with cheese in the crust. Deep Dish. So many new varieties on the same basic concept. An THAT is without the taste of the pizza itself, even with more Traditional styles. You could get a… Read more »

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
8 days ago
Reply to  TheAyanamiRei

The core idea of “first person shooter” doesn’t even really involve guns. It’s just, “Point at things in first person and interact from a distance.” You don’t even need violence. You don’t even need guns. So you can have something like Portal, with literally no guns, which basically calls its magic portal-creating doodad a ‘gun’ because hey, game logic, and it’s a puzzle FPS.

And “point at things in first person and interact from a distance” is so giant and vague of a description that the variations are endless.

Luc
Luc
9 days ago

Feeling like it did 20 years ago isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. I’ve become addicted to Diablo 2 again haha. But yeah, at the same time, I understand exactly what you’re saying. The original D2 feel is amazing, and the few QOL changes they made were great.
But man, online play could have been made better lol. Why does that lobby still have to suck at just showing a consistent list of games.

Leon
Leon
9 days ago

To give the Covenant back their bullshit……..

Leonick
Leonick
8 days ago

With the major exception that twenty years ago I could selected the game mode I wanted to play.

If they are going to force me to play their assortment of random modes I simply won’t be playing…

Mallengar
7 days ago
Reply to  Leonick

Agreed! My fondest Halo memories are playing Halo3’s SWAT and juggernaut in forged maze maps with my college roommates and ODST’s firefight & Reach’s mongoose races with my ex-girlfriend.

Cori Davis
Cori Davis
8 days ago

Yeah…it’s the same mediocre gameplay that it was 20 years ago. It was “awesome” because it was a competent shooter on a console, which didn’t really happen before. Anything before it on console was…meh…so it stood out. The TTK is way too long, the recoil is insane, it’s obvious who is using things like Cronus Max, there’s no playlist selection…even managed to run into some very obvious cheaters (aside from Cronus Max, I’m talking no clipping, flying around the map, and one shot everything not just sniper rifle headshots). I wanted to like it…especially after being banned on PS4 AND… Read more »

Last edited 8 days ago by Cori Davis
no thanks nintendo
no thanks nintendo
8 days ago

Still better that you can go back to Halo and it’s still Halo. I hate when games chase trends and whatnot. Spyro Reignited Trilogy a few years back… Spyro 1 is still great, it’s the Spyro I know and love and wanted. Spyro 3 is absolute garbage, trying to chase other popular genres/games from the time and doing incredibly poorly at it. I didn’t want to play a piss poor version of Tony Hawks, or Doom, or races, or all that other garbage. I wanted to play Spyro. I ordered a sheet pizza and Insomniac gave me half a personal… Read more »

Dom
Dom
8 days ago

I’ve played so much games in my life that I can’t have fun anymore playing them. I feel like I’m done with video games for a long time.

What is everybody’s stance on me quitting gaming entirely?

Mallengar
7 days ago
Reply to  Dom

Do what makes you happy. Gaming is a fun hobby and brings people together, but it is getting more expensive and time consuming every year.
As an adult, I constantly wonder what little time I put into gaming could be put into more productive projects. But at the same time, what difference is there between spending a few hours a week playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey or reading a classical fantasy novel about a character in ancient Greece?

Last edited 7 days ago by Mallengar
Meatballs21
Meatballs21
6 days ago
Reply to  Dom

I am a dad to two children under 3. My gaming time plummeted with the first and basically stopped altogether when the second was on their way. Before being a parent, I found it increasingly hard to find games that pushed my buttons and caught my attention in the same way as when I was younger. Now, I feel like any time I did have would be so precious that no game would be worthy of it. You can probably relate to the former. If you really want to continue it as a hobby, try expanding your horizons to stuff… Read more »

CloudHiro
CloudHiro
8 days ago

while not a fan of halo games I honestly kinda like this? I mean, too many games try to innovate and change from game to game that they innovate what I enjoyed right out of it. There is something to be said for people who stick to “if it aint broke dont fix it” instead of fixing it anyway to the point its unrecognizable

Nextgener
Nextgener
8 days ago

As somone who Hasn’t played Halo in years, I quite enjoy it. Yeah I can see the criticism if you’ve done nothing but play each title that’s launched and want something new. But you can really say that about any long running game series.

…well. Almost all of them. *cough**gta**cough**battlfield**caugh*

Urazz
Urazz
8 days ago

While I can say that that complaint/compliment about Halo: Infinite being nearly the same as it was 20 years ago is valid, I will say that it is better than COD: Vanguard, and BF: 2042 at the moment.

leduk
leduk
8 days ago

I’m also 20years older. No more pvp multiplayer games for me. Way too toxic.

Cori Davis
Cori Davis
6 days ago
Reply to  leduk

For me it’s not the “toxicity” of them as I always mute the entire team chat and just use Discord if I’m playing with friends.

What’s killing FPS games for me are the systems in play to try and force people into a 1.0 K/D and a 1.5/1.75 Elim/D ratio. These systems punish good players by increasing spread, increasing TTK, making the target hitbox smaller while making better player’s hitbox larger, decreasing damage against the target while increase damage against the better player, and “skill based” matchmaking. I’m tired of being punished for being better.

Meatballs21
Meatballs21
7 days ago

The last Halo I played was Reach, and I didn’t like it compared to 3 and ODST in terms of MP. My favourite modes from 3 (especially Rocket Race) were ruined, and the “traditional” Halo gameplay had been replaced with stupid armour abilities and an even greater focus on headshots. The silly maps you could now enjoy with the Forge (anyone play Grandma’s House?) were little consolation, it just didn’t feel right or as enjoyable as it did. I stuck with Reach for co-op and ODST for Firefight. NB: I am no MLG bro, just my opinion as an average… Read more »

william scott
william scott
6 days ago

i don’t mind halo i just CBF the PVP element.

let me do MP as a co op vs bots mod and i can live happily.
firefight is nice but i want all the modes!

Wesley Riot
Wesley Riot
6 days ago

heh, I can’t even use the comment section right

Last edited 6 days ago by Wesley Riot