Ride the machine

September 26, 2007 by Tim

So Halo 3 is finally out, and thank the almighty Robot Jesus. Hopefully now we can all shut up about it, and focus on a game that really deserves some anticipation. Like Mass Effect. Now there’s a game I could almost get excited enough over to go to some ridiculous midnight opening for… but still not.

Don’t get me wrong here, Halo 3 is a good game. All three Halo games are good. They’re solid titles with good graphics and good gameplay. I played some Halo 3, I enjoyed it. But it just seems like we’ve done this exact same dance twice before.

It has some new features, new weapons, new maps, all of which are really cool… but to me the game plays and feels exactly like the previous Halo. The graphics are okay, but they’re hardly the best the 360 has to offer. They’re obviously not ugly, the visuals are clean and attractive, with some cool effects. But coming off a weekend of straight Bioshock, a game that seemed to really push the lighting and textures and effects to a new level, it’s hard not to draw parallels, and Halo 3 comes up shorter.

I do love the new features that are there. The forge and theater options are really fun and great. The party/online system is one of the best I’ve seen so far, with regards to finding exactly the games you want to play, and avoiding the retards as best as possible. The new weapons are neat, the maps seem pretty cool, especially seeing the updated ones from Halo 2.

But that’s the point. They all seem more like… an update to Halo 2, than a whole new game. And that’s not to belittle the sheer amount of work that I know went into designing those systems. I can only imagine that the theater playbacks themselves were a herculean effort of coding and computer wizardry. And the result is a really cool feature.

But I just can’t get behind this “greatest game ever” stuff. Personally, I think a lot of the review scores were given in the reviewers heads before the game even arrived, and some of the score may be attributed more to the juggernaut franchise that Halo is, and less to the actual game itself.

That said, it is a good game. I do enjoy it. I’m hardly bashing Halo here, I enjoy playing it. I just think some people are going overboard with the hype. Though I’m laughing at the people who stood out at midnight because they just had to get their copy at 12:01 now, in a couple of months I’ll probably be the one salivating uncontrollably at the Pavlovian bell that is Mass Effect. I guess the hype hits us all for different things, for different reasons.

That said, I may be on playing Halo anytime between 9am-3pm EST (when the children are in school), so if you see me on, feel free to jump in. I usually leave my games open to my friends list. I pruned my friends list for inactives (anyone who hasn’t signed on in more than a day) last night, so I should have some spots open, if you want to send me a request. First come, first served.

Also, the demo for the new Crash Bandicoot game was pretty cool. I watched my girlfriend play it yesterday afternoon, and it looks really neat. I haven’t played a Crash game since… well since the very first one on the PS1. But I really liked the cartoony style for this one. May have to grab that when it comes out.

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