Halo

Halo 5, The Good Side

Last time I talked about Halo 5 there was quite a bit of negativity. While this was justified, I do think they are headed in the right direction so I’d like to defend it despite my disappointment.

The Basics

So Halo is a futuristic game, and that means futuristic features. I feel like recently the games have gone away from that though and followed modern shooters. To me this is just uncalled for. People play Halo to get away from the modern shooters and enjoy a different game. And Halo 5 Beta shows that they know that now. The Spartans are decked out with abilities that belong to the future. They also follow the thought process that Spartans are not ordinary soldiers, one rushing straight at you would kill you. This is great, someone finally took a step back and realized what made Halo so much fun.

It’s also obvious that they went big for this Beta. There are lots of changes in every aspect. The game has a more shiny appearance to it. The matches are quicker. The moves create new aspects of game play. And a lot of this is working for them. I still feel the thruster is a bit much, but after using it more successfully I can see that it counters the games fast play style. While I am not a fan of this, I manage to do better about the whole thing if I don’t flat out rage for it. Now with a beta they can do things like this, throw in everything and see what works. And I can say the thruster might need to remain in if the game remains so fast. As much as I hate the thing….

As much as it probably won’t happen in the actual game, I loved the maps variants. The second I started both of them I couldn’t be happier. And I’m sure it is much easier on designers to take a good map, and make an equally good variant. I do enjoy Eden more than Empire though. Truth and Regret and equally good, I would play both of them the same amount.

The Not So Basic

Let’s look at past game styles that worked really well for Halo. My two examples for this are Grifball and SWAT. Both are popular game variants that tend to have massive amounts of players. What’s common in those two? Fast kills, lots of medals, but not unfair. And that’s why Halo 5 goes into a faster mode. I’ve seen some articles about people saying this is moving towards CoD and Battlefield. However that’s not the case. It really is based off those two popular modes. Hopefully over the next 9-12 months 343 will perfect that process.

I’ve been using the default button layout for one large reason. The left trigger to scope in. Now this is very much influenced by modern shooters. And once again it works. It can also hurt too. Lets start with the hurtful part. As soon as I scope I am getting ready to hit the spot button cause I’m used to playing BF4. For a developer that’s one thing you want to avoid, players should be focused on your game when they play. But it does work, after thinking through it using the right thumb stick really didn’t work. At least for me, when I clicked in and then tried to aim it just didn’t happen as quickly. Using the left trigger really allows me to focus on aiming and not get so distracted.

What will keep me going the most is the SR system. I enjoy a ranking system, but it doesn’t keep me in the game. The SR system gives me something to strive for while being placed in the right matches. It’s wonderful for players like me. But the most crucial thing is to is that they DON’T FOLLOW HALO 4. It was over so quickly. After a month or two I was done trying to rank up and that really stunk. If they could follow the one good thing about Reach is to keep that game going on and on. With an exp cap I did the math and one of the last ranks took a full month of every day exp cap to rank. Fantastic! So let’s hope they can follow that, there doesn’t even have to be an unlock. Just give me a goal.

Now the last thing that I find good is something some people are hating on. The announcer and medals. But there is a science behind this. It is proven that a player gets more excited when they earn a medal and even more when they hear that announcer behind it. The key is getting the right placement for it. You can’t just stick in there for walking in a straight line. But things like multikills are the key. Not things that happen by chance, like hat trick. Unique kills deserve a unique medal. If they can successfully find how to do that it could improve their game.

The Finished Product

So I should at least confess that I’m getting better at Halo. It really takes all my focus, my wife talked to me for a little once and it threw me off. And to me that isn’t Halo, but not everyone enjoys a game that doesn’t require all their attention. I’ll even still buy the game if it takes lots of focus. I’m really excited to see where 343 takes this beta. Hopefully I can avoid another rant out of rage again, though I still think those points have a good basis behind them.

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Halo

Halo 5 Beta!

The Halo 5 Disaster

So after a week of the beta I can confidently give my opinion. It honestly sucks. There have been more games that I hate than I enjoy. I did go back and forth between the older Halos so I could grasp more of what was off. So here’s a thought on what is wrong:

Small Things Take Down Big Projects

The ranking is terrible. My K/D is about to break even and that’s not normal for me in an FPS. Despite that I’m somehow halfway between Onyx and Semi Pro. It goes up a lot when I win, goes down a little when I lose by a ton. Naturally I find myself playing against teams that are way better than mine. Seriously, I saw 3 Silvers in one game who had a 2.0 K/D. Now maybe it’s because occasionally I find myself going up against people who I win, or don’t die a ton against, but this doesn’t make up for the 5 I lose massively in return. UPDATE: I just played a game where I went 5 and 17. There was a party of 4 and I had 2 quit on my team. I lost 7 points on my ranking, clearly I don’t belong at Onyx.

It’s way too quick to be Halo. I loved the thought of this and had a post all ready for it earlier. After playing it I realized that it’s more of a who sees who first thing. As you can guess I don’t see people too often cause I find one, he hides and then I get hit from behind. It’s 75 percent of my deaths. That’s not to say the game should be too much slower, like the older games. After going back and forth I realized it was too slow sometimes, like gosh that could have been quicker. But I shouldn’t feel like I’ve lost a battle once someone sees me first. If anything, I think the booster should be gone. That’s breaking most of the game for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to counter act grenades. Here’s a great example of what it does though: I shoot a player, his first reaction is to use the booster and hide. Once his shields are up he throws a grenade and gets help in time to counter act the fact that I’m alone.

I would say the booster in general has one key flaw that nothing else new has: it has no counter. Stabilizers are great, but if you get caught using them at the wrong time, you’re gonna be in trouble. ADS is gone once you get hit so you can’t remain scoped in. Sprint has it’s correct timing to use it. Boosters have no downside. You dodge grenades, get out of a battle in a snap, move faster. Maybe the downside is you might occasionally jump off the edge of the map, once in a year.

This is pure speculation but it feels like I get teamed up against parties, with randoms on my team. Now the simple fix for this is joining a clan or something. As a casual player though, this ain’t gonna happen soon. Now the focus lately has been on MLG for Halo. So obviously they want to encourage this. However that is a small portion of their fan base, so they’re gonna lose a lot to gain favor with a few.  This has been a problem in my eyes for every Halo game. They have never bothered to really fix it either.

Oh gosh, the nades. It seems lately that nades have gotten a bit of a bad rap for me in just about every FPS. If you’re resorting to using it in every combat situation then it’s OP. The kill cam for it is especially awful, I know I got naded so I don’t need to see that. Lemme know where the guy is so I can hunt him down.

Why play then?

The game is still fun, at it’s core there is a good game. However it won’t keep me for very long if i can’t help but lose over and over and throw my controller. I haven’t done that yet, but it’s approaching. Sure this is what the beta is for (and that’s why I’m typing this up, hoping some guy will pass by it), so let’s hope for a better game at release.

It was actually good when the game didn’t start with BRs. I didn’t like it at first, but I was playing old school style and that’s what was wrong. Everything felt perfectly matched and I didn’t lose a battle if I was caught off guard. Empire wasn’t the best of maps, but there’s a few bad ones in every game.

The system of having a rank and an SR is great. I’ve been playing a lot of Battlefield 4 and it’s only because I have a rank that doesn’t affect who I play against. I enjoy having goals and striving for them, so keep that and I’ll play Halo 5 till it breaks down.

It’s close to where it needs to be, just a few more tweeks and I think it would be there. Without those tweeks though, they’ll have a very poor game because of it’s MLG focus.

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Halo

The Master Chief Collection’s Beauty

As I sit here in a dimly lit room I’ve finally come up with a way to describe why I think the MCC is still a great game despite it’s set backs. First off I’d like to state that this game was a huge improvement and the number of things happening makes me think someone up top should have been considering the possibility of such a huge problem. The game does more than release new maps and an upgraded campaign, it is everything that was previously on a older system plus dedicated servers and 60 fps with 1080p. Murphy’s law alone is reason to suspect launch issues everywhere. It’s a tough situation considering you can’t launch a beta for something that’s already come out and it would be hard to target that audience. Though had someone made that happen they would have learned at least a month in advanced their servers were bad and matchmaking wouldn’t work. To me though the simpler solution would have been starting the servers far in advanced, basically when reviewers first get a copy. But that’s in the past, what’s done can’t be undone.

To me this is still a successful game though and I’m probably the only person in the world who thinks that. Given that they fix the game completely later on, it will still succeed in dragging me and thousands of other back in. The point of the game wasn’t to be “Game of the Year” because it’s a re-release, the point is to bring back those memories and put a Halo game on the Xbox One. I have still largely enjoyed the game and taken the hassle with matchmaking as a side effect of new territory for 343 industries. So let’s branch off on that, it’s literally what makes the MCC worth buying and so we should focus on that.

Halo 2 and 3 had some of the best memories of my life on it, as sad as that can be it is true. I spent countless hours playing those maps over and over, memorizing every trick jump and location so I could master the game. There were so many nights I didn’t get a second of sleep and proceeded to try and take on the next day because I couldn’t drop that controller. And I’m still there today, they are still constantly fun. So much to the point where I don’t care if my team sucks cause I’m still getting kills and feeling all those memories rush back. I can never completely decide which playlist I want to play cause they are all so much fun. I can’t wait until the whole game is functioning as I will still be playing this game way up until Halo 5 comes out.

Next up in this perfect match up is the Halo 5 beta. It’s so common to see a beta offered with a game that the Halo 5 beta kind of blends in. People are ignoring that this the best way to present a beta to players, and it will likely never happen again in the future. People are constantly playing Halo 4 and looking back saying “the previous ones were better”. 343 is taking that jump and saying, here are those previous games that you enjoy so much. Please play them and give us feedback as to what is great. Then immediately they follow it up with a beta so far in advance from it’s release that it is guaranteed it will be modified in many ways before it is complete. They might as well be saying this game could really be the crappiest thing you’ve played, please fix it. And of course everyone will feel free to tell them why it sucks cause they already do.

After watching some of the beta gameplay I’m tempted to join them, it looks so different and it is concerning. But Halo is trying to create a new ground breaking game and if it’s worth calling it Halo I’m gonna give it a shot. I’ve heard it isn’t something to be judged by videos and that it honestly has a learning curve that deserves more than an immediate first impression. I’ll be playing the crap out of it just to enjoy every minute, I like the ideas on paper and it will get it’s chance for me.

However the biggest thing for the MCC is Halo 2 Anniversary. And boy did it deliver. I could watch every cinematic over and over again. The game plays great along with the new skulls they threw in. That by far is the biggest accomplishment of the game, it was a smashing success in that aspect and I love every part of it. The music is great and sometimes gives me that feeling like it hasn’t been changed massively. However after switching back and forth you can tell there is so much improvement in some places, I didn’t enjoy all of them. The new maps look and play great, but since I can’t get even teams when I start a game it kind of destroys that playlist for the mean time. Multiplayer is where I feel they made their subtle test though, the maps have changed and gamers do not like change! But they took the risk anyways and even though they were made by Certain Affinity I still feel like it’s 343’s way of seeing if it’s the maps that are not doing so well in the games.

I’m excited to play this game everyday, and I hope you give me your feedback as to what I’ve said. It’s different from what I’ve read in other places so I expect a harsh lashing to come my way. In the future I think posts will be about what has made Halo such a great game. This’ll go over the small aspects that add up to a large game and maybe even take this on as a perspective of building a “new” Halo game. It’ll cover everything from the campaign and universe to the multiplayer. Again, if someone is reading this please leave feedback, and maybe spread the word 🙂

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