Yes, I realize there's a Halo 4 hype thread, but this is about the franchise under Bungie, so I thought it deserved it's own.
For ten years, Halo has meant Bungie and Bungie has meant Halo. Now that the Halo baton has been handed to 343 Industries, it's the end of one era and presumably the beginning of another. What better time to look back at what went right and what went wrong?
Bungie did weapons right
If there's one thing a shooter has to get right, it's the guns. A hallmark of Halo was that every weapon was unique. They each had personality, whether it was the way the needler's ammo popped out like porcupine quills or whatever that indicator on the battle rifle was pointing at. North? Is there north on a halo? What's more, every weapon was useful given the right circumstances. Even the lowly pistol had a little sniper rifle in it. And Halo never afforded you the luxury of just picking your favorite weapon and sticking with it. You had to scavenge weapons as you played. You had to experience firsthand the diverse arsenal. Furthermore, can any developer match Bungie's reputation for treating weapon balance and tuning with the utmost seriousness and detail? I once attended a GDC talk given by a Bungie developer discussing the velocity of their sniper rifle bullet. It was -- no joke -- fascinating.
Bungie did writing wrong
The storytelling in the Halo series has always been awkward at best, incoherent at worst, and overly earnest throughout. Meanwhile, other notable developers played with new ways to tell stories in a genre where the main mode of interaction was shooting something. Bungie's stories never made their way into the gameplay (the introduction of the Flood in the much maligned library was a rare exception). They bent our ears with exposition during cutscenes. To make matters worse, a story about a guy in a badass suit of armor saving the universe should not be convoluted. Yet we got some sort of prophecy mumbo jumbo, a bunch of hoo-ha about alien artifacts, and the talking plant fromLittle Shop of Horrors. Can anyone explain Gravemind to me? At least the weirdly moody ODSTand the forced war-is-hell-so-let's-take-turns-at-noble-sacrifices of Halo Reachwere something different.
Bungie did aliens right
It's called a shooter. What you're shooting at is equally important as what you're shooting with. Just as the guns had personality, so too did the aliens. The grunts scuttled confusedly, just as likely to huck a fatal plasma grenade as they were to run away. Elites sidestepped adroitly when you popped their shields. Brutes heaved their hammers mightily. And oh how you had to agonize over the unique dilemma of how to smack a hunter in its squishy back while avoiding its obligatory twin. Seriously guys, if you'd just show up one at a time, my life would be much easier. Even the ancillary aliens had their place. Sentries were always a cause for serious dread or serious relief. And love 'em or hate 'em, you have to admit the Flood weren't your garden variety zombie apocalypse. Bungie provided as rich and diverse a shooting gallery as any game could hope to have.
Bungie did characters wrong
The humans don't fare nearly as well in the Halo universe. Master Chief was a stuffed suit. Of green armor. He didn't even have a face. He was from a time when the player character was a mute cypher. I'm still surprised every time I hear him speak. I can see him and Gordon Freeman getting along royally. Cortana, Guilty Spark, Miranda Keyes, and the cigar chomping Johnson were all derivative and/or underdeveloped. The cast of Reach is straight out of a Call of Duty game. I'd argue the only interesting character in the entire series is the Arbiter, which is probably because Bungie knows how to do aliens right. See above.
Hit the jump for the full article.
I agree and disagree. Having the Chief largely be a blnk slate was, I think, a very good decision. I also disagree about Cortana being a bad character, and found the moment-to-moment writing to be solid overall.
I agree that they did DLC wrong, and bots would have been nice, but their absence isn't game-breaking.
Your thoughts, System Warriors?
Also, inb4 people realize this is the same guy that gave Halo 4 a 20 and likes the Flood and use that to discredit the article.