Well, since I don't have any new games to review... might as well talk a bit about a game I'm playing (I'm alternating between Halo 3 and Vegas 2, and may start Viva Pinata soon - I heard it's Achievements are ea - I mean it's a good game).
So, I thought I'd bring up a common though not so controversial aspect of Halo 3's multiplayer: the armour permutations.
Since the game came out, we've all been trying to unlock our favourite amours; collecting all the skulls to add to an almost annoying number of HAYABUSA whor - I mean ninjas, playing the Campaign on Legendary for EOD, annoying Bungie for Recon... (which is, undoubtably, the most controversial armour perm).
And while you do that, your Elite counterparts do the same (though with only 5 armour perms, as opposed to the Spartan 11 helmets and slightly less shoulder and body pieces). The choice to be Elite is purely a liking of the charismatic race from the Halo universe. Or is it?
Are the armour permutations merely cosmetic, or do they affect gameplay? Bungie claims that they do not, but over my time in Halo, I noticed that they do (I don't know about Halo 2, not having played all that much of that game).
Playing as Spartan will mean you're a smaller target, and some would argue that it's harder to get a headshot on a Spartan. However, the 'box', the area surrounding the head that counts as part of the head to the game's mechanics, negate this issue, along with the rush of battle. I have never personally found this a significant advantage.
I did find something else, though.
I've played 5 games as an Elite, back when I was fairly new to Halo 3, and was still learning to master the maps and meleé, then my weakest attack, and now one of my most formidable. I notice that it was far easier to kill with a meleé; I hypothesized that this was due to their natural strength. I just dropped the issue, not considering it significant.
Until last week.
As you know, Team SWAT is now a permanent, ranked playlist, after it's two succesful stints on the DoubleExperience weekends, and it's history in Halo 2. I played it for a few games, and noted that I was usually the only, or one of two or three, Spartan. I thought it was odd, but not very important. Until the end of the game. I basically sucked, though I consider myself fairly skilled at Team SWAT, the BR being a weapon I am proficient with. Yet I was killed near 30 times on one occasion, with 5 kills.
I went over to the Bungie.net forums, and found other victims. I heard people complaining in other matchmaking playlists, occasionally, about this issue. Elites definately have an advantage in Team SWAT, though I'm not sure what this is. It's probably a greater body health compared to Spartans, which helps in the mentioned playlist. This is significant, it seems, only in this playlist. In most others, the 'dinos' are just huge targets :P.
And, I almost forgot, some obsessive players worry about the slight differences in shape between different helmets, both Spartan and Elite, with many preferring the default Mark. VI (MJOLNIR) helmet, for it's conservative shape.
So, what do you think? Do armour perms affect gameplay? Have you had any experiences that made you question the effect of perms? Comment away!
In case you're wondering, I use a Scout helmet (looks like a TMNT!) with EOD shoulders and Project: HAYABUSA body.
UPDATE: Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that the game is unbalanced. I just mean that different armour perms may have a slight effect on gameplay, which may or may not have been intentional on Bungie's part. In fact, this expands your strategic options... (Elite for Team SWAT, for example).