Halo: Combat Evolved
It amazes me that a mediocre game has somehow amassed such a following, let alone gamelist. Look at it, five games! It is turning into Call of Duty. Yes, it was a game that shifted the zeitgeist (a phrase so pompous that I should be shot for using it, although it actually fits) of the gaming world. And yes, I know that there are many worse games on the market and in the dark corners of the history of gaming. However, to echo so many other haters, this heartfelt piece goes out to you fanboys.
And you are fanboys. Quick quiz: do you think that Reach will bring something brand new and wonderful to the series? If you said yes, then you’re a fanboy (okay, let’s be fair… “fanperson”). The game is similar to the first three in the same way that a reflection in a warped mirror is the same as the original. Yes, a few things have changed around, but it’s still samey enough to put on your makeup on.
To be fair, I have only played the first two games, since I refuse to get an Xbox when I have a perfectly good brand new (god damn YLoD) PS3 and Microsoft apparently has forgotten to tap the PC market by releasing the last games. However, I have played 3, briefly, and I must say this: the first game was good. It was different than what composed most of the market. However, the second and third one tried to ride the same wagon in exactly the same way, and it got boring. I actually found myself trying to burn through Halo 2 as fast as I could in order to move onto three, simply because I was so bored with the mechanics by then. Oooh dual wielding! That’s some innovation right there.
And before you start complaining that “ooh you have to play for the story, blah blah blah”, I did get the story. Like all big people with normal attention spans, I read the books. You know, those paper things that don’t have you pressing mouse1 to kill. And guess what: the story was mediochre. I don’t think that I’ve read a book with such focus on describing violence, although I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the game is geared toward those who hold the infantile idea that “gunz are kool” to the point where they memorize everything about every tool of death and destruction ever created. This is not study for peaceful, folks! Plus, it makes for dull gaming.
The sad thing about the series revolves around Halo: ODST. This was the first game that really made the series better, at least in my opinion. The ODST characters were really the only ones that I liked in the books; the soldiers who were sent in by drop pod with nothing more than an assault rifle and the advice to duck when aliens shoot at you. These are men’s men, manly men. Kind of like the Imperial Guard in Warhammer 40k, thin as paper and pretty much as useful in a fight, but man are they heroic. Those bastards would hold the line if they had to beat off the aliens with their detached leg. And you got to play as this guys, fighting a real battle as real heroes without all that bullshit magic armor. This was a happy innovation in the Halo series, a move towards a better game and a better story setting.
And then they went back to the big tank of a man with the magic armor that you could only relate to if you happened to be a cyborg. The faceless, mindless character that we’ve been dredging along with all this time, for three games already. And let’s face it, there are few game series that were good in the beginning and just got better, they either completely shift how they do things for varying effectiveness (Silent Hill series) or just keep doing the same thing until it get copy-pasted into meaninglessness (Final Fantasy). It seems that Halo tried to be the first but slipped back into the second, as so many do.
So, yeah. Reach will not be the solid gold Game of the Year that so many people are putting it up to be. It’s another samey shooter than has only varied from the first in a cosmetic sense. Now get over yourself and go play a real game.