Unfortunately, I have not been able to blog the last couple of weeks due to serious busy-ness at work (see what I did there) and unable to get a minute. But anyway, I have been able to do some gaming these last couple of weeks. Mainly Batman Arkham Asylum (awesome)which I will get to next time. But, it is Halo week.
I am definitely a big Halo fan. I have loved the series since it was first released on Xbox1 all those years ago. The first one was easily the most gripping, with it being probably the best console shooter I had ever played up until that point. But even on PC, there was no single player FPS thatI had really loved as much as the original Halo. The open lush environments of Halo contrasted nicely with the tight corridors on some of the ships and in the bunkers or what have you. Overall, it was just a blast to play. The guns were satisfying, the enemies had some of the best AI at the time, and it looked great. I had never really gotten into the multiplayer, as it was split screen only, and the majority of friends I had only play PS2. Once I hit college, this all changed...
Halo 2 was highly anticipated in 2004, the heart of my college years. I remember being hyped for it, but being a PC gamer as well, I was too busy with CS:S and HL2 in 2004 to really care THAT much. These games did go head to head in November of that year. But, I did end up buying Halo 2 in the nice collectors case (which I still own and love). The single player lacked punch compared to the original, and the ending as everyone knows now was less than stellar. However, Bungie added this HUGE portion to the game which basically had been unseen in the console world up until this point. The online multiplayer was simply outstanding. The competition was fierce and addicting. Not only that, setting up LANs in college was amazingly fun and caused many an all nighter instead of sleeping before class. Once 2006 and 2007 rolled around, the inevitable Halo 3 was being hyped, and turned into a juggernaut.
I was pretty pumped about Halo 3, simply just to see Master Chief in glorious HD and finally see him... ahem, "Finish the Fight". The game didnt dissapoint, although some did bring it down for its less then Gears of War quality graphics. But it was distinctly Halo, and Ipersonally thought the game looked great. Add to this4 player campaign co-op, brand new maps, weapons, deployable items and you've got anotherHalo. But once again, Bungie gave us that charm and polish that keeps us coming back for more. I think its just the abundance of love that is put into their products that really defines them. Only Valve really rivals Bungie in pure polish and quality on such a consistent basis. Anyway, Halo 3 was a megahit, selling a bagillion copies (I believe its just over 10 million now) behind Microsoft's juggernaut of an ad and marketing campaign. The game deserved it though. For $60 dollars, you would still be pretty hard up to find something that offered as much quality content, even today.
So today (well tomorrow morning at 12:01) we see the release of another Halo, and I believe by far the most controversial one, Halo 3:ODST. What the hell is that? Is it a sequel, an expansion, or a side story? Originally titled Halo 3:Recon, Halo 3: ODST is a totally different kind of Halo product. Something old, something new. We get a brand new campaign from the view of the Rookie, an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, who lands on New Mombasa and wakes up 6 hours after the crash. The first time in a Halo game that your not the MC. Add to this a new multiplayer mode, Firefight, which is similar to Gears of War Horde mode, but with a distinct Halo twist. And then, on a seperate disc, the whole Halo 3 multiplayer experience, with every map released so far plus 3 new maps being released alongside ODST's launch. AND access to the Halo Reach beta. I would say Bungie has not skimped on content, although about halfof it is old hat. Now, I can see how some are skeptical. It does seem like Microsoft and Bungie are milking the name and getting a nice little quickieinbefore the eventual release of Reach. However, I doubt Bungie would release a product they weren't proud of. Halo is THEIR baby, whether they own the licensing for the Halo brand or not. I strongly believe they would never put out a title that didnt live up to the standards of the previous Halo's, and I believe, if not forced by the hand of Microsoft's, they would have made a completely new Halo experience, or maybe we would be playing Halo Reach today, instead of ODST.
Either way, I may not be as excited for ODST as I was for Halo 3, or the inevitable Halo Reach, but I still cant wait. The campaign looks gritty and dark, something Bungie really hasnt delved into yet. The Firefight mode, if anything like Gears of War's Horde mode, will keep me occupied for weeks. And not only this, I am looking forward to getting back into Halo 3's multiplayer, as I have put off buying the last two map packs for knowing ODST would contain them. All of this quality content makes me feel confident in a $60 purchase. Not to mention, get to be one of the first to play Reach....
And Bungie, at the very far out chance you may be reading this, remember I trusted you on this. This would not be acceptable with 99%of other developers out there. I know it was experimental, and thats fine. But please, do not dissapoint me with Reach. I know what your capable of, and I have an idea of what your going to try to accomplish with Reach. Honestly, I want to be blown away. ODST is a nice little appetizer, but next year, I want to be seriously chowin down on a great new and refreshing Halo experience. But in the meantime, Ill be playin some Firefight.