Stolen Pixels #132: Special Guest: Master Chief

By Shamus
on Oct 9, 2009
Filed under:
Column

If Halo: ODST were a movie, then now would be the perfect time for Master Chief to make the rounds of the late-night talk shows.

I’ve been pretty critical of Halo in the past, although the new ODST game, awkward acronym notwithstanding, has me interested. I might get it. I might even get it, and do so with the intention of enjoying it and not ridiculing it.

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From the Archives:

  1. Drakey says:

    It does look interesting, and the idea that your not an imortal cyber-clone-thingy offers it a little more intensity over previouse games. Ive only ever played # 3, but I hear tons of garbble from my customers about the others as well. I agree with you, it just seems like a game I would like to play and just see how invovled it will be.

    its a good attitude to go into a game with, nice one Shamus :)

  2. Gahazakul says:

    Halo baiting Shamus? For shame.

    On the Halo front I found the games entertaining, isn’t that the point? I disliked F.E.A.R but a large group of folks loved the games but I don’t feel the need to try and justify why what I like is right and what they like is wrong.

    I just never got the Halo hoopla that always stirred up after a release of a new game in the series.

  3. Shamus says:

    Gahazakul: I think the hoopla is because opinions on the game are so extreme. You either love halo or you hated it with a passion.

  4. krellen says:

    I dislike Halo, but no more than nearly every other FPS ever made. So many of them include such ridiculous mechanics that I just can’t get into it (any game in which the “good” players are the ones jumping around the level like morons rates ridiculous in my book).

    I thought Gears of War might’ve been different, until I got to the end boss, at which point it failed. I’m just not an FPS sort.

  5. LintMan says:

    I have the original Halo PC, gotten as a freebie pack-in with a video card, but I never bothered to play it (heard the SP is really blah). But if ODST comes to the PC, I might check it out.

    On only marginally halo-related topic, I just came across this over at RPS, which I thought was great:
    Top FPS. It’s a reality-show spoof starring a bunch of iconic FPS characters.

  6. Hal says:

    I never really liked Halo, but then it might be because I only played it in multiplayer with friends who DID like it and knew what they were doing. It’s hard to enjoy a game when you’re not much more than target practice for your friends who learned how to play FPS games on a gamepad. I’m not sure I’ll ever get the hang of that myself.

  7. Joe says:

    LintMan: I found the SP in Halo 1 to be the best of the three, actually. Granted, I played the crap out it when it was new and I haven’t tried to play it in the last five or six years (Jeeze… has it been that long?) so I don’t know what it’d look like these days.

  8. Eric(Ninjews) says:

    @LintMan: Nobody likes a camper dude.

  9. SatansBestBuddy says:

    I’ve never understood the fascination with actor’s and how having one actor playing the part of some guy over another actor somehow makes the movie/show/game more enticing, simply because they’re an actor you personally admire.

    No, seriously, I’ve seen people ignore excellent shows until they learn one of their favourite actors was in it, then turn around and love the show just cause he’s in it, and it drives me nuts.

    Sometimes it’s justified, ala Arkham Asylum where they got pretty much everybody from the animated series to reprise their roles, but when it’s one famous actor playing the role of some guy alongside a bunch of no name actors playing the roles of other guys, then I start to question people’s sanity.

  10. LintMan says:

    @Joe: When I got Halo, it was already a pretty old game (hence, why it was a freebie). Halo 2 was already out and people were saying its SP was rather terrible, and that probably scared me off more than anything.

    @Eric(Ninjews): That, and Freeman’s “insertion procedure” were the best parts.

  11. I played ODST when my younger brother pre-ordered it… we had it the day of release and enjoyed a couple nights of play.

    ODST takes all the good stuff about Halo (the real stuff; instant gratification and good-hearted competition with your local friends (not online players)) and packages it into a box that steals your money for more of the same (as Halo 3).

    That being said, I can’t say I encouraged my brother to take it back to the store – it was very fun, and it’s definitely a neat little twist. I think it’s possible that ODST will become a LAN party staple, if they drop the price to something attractive and enhance the online delivery model.

    So, I’ve got one of the only mixed reviews, I suppose.

  12. TehShrike says:

    I found Halo to be totally meh.

    I played multiplayer in Halo 1 and 2 with a bunch of friends for a while, and it was pretty fun.

    However, it was a FPS on the console – which means it could never be truly great.

  13. Nick Pitino says:

    Call me the exception that proves the rule, but I’m one of the people who’s kind of middle-of-the-road on Halo. Stellar storytelling it is not, but sadly neither are most other games these days for that matter. Not much to the game-play either, but what there is has been polished to the point of being painful to look at in direct sunlight.

    If someone has the chance to get them at bargain bin prices, I would generally say they’re worth picking up.

    Uh, I kind of lost where I was going with this…

    Anyway, what I’ve seen of ODST makes it look pretty bad ass and the general scuttlebutt drifting around is that it might be the best game set in the Halo universe yet, even people who found the originals less than stellar have been enjoying it, or so I’ve heard.

    I’m probably going to end up waiting for it to drop in price first though, I’ve been burned by paying full price for a game too many times (Damn you Mirrors Edge!) and I believe that $60 is too much to be paying for a game unless it’s the Super-Special-Ultimate-Mega edition that come with lots of little physical goodies to play with (See: Special Edition of Fallout 3).

  14. RTBones says:

    I can say that I never really got into Halo. I can say that the vast majority of my gaming is single player, which means while I may dabble online, it will be just that (the online portion of the game doesnt hold much interest to me). I can also say that any game that reunites the cast of Firefly is worth at LEAST a look.

  15. Bret says:

    From what I hear, ODST has that whole isolated atmosphere thing going for it.

    And free roaming-y level design. In other words, it seems that this one was designed with “Make more appealing to Shamus” somewhere on the priority list.

    Also: I saw your face in the G-Mod achievements box for “Innocent Bystander” before I earned it. Am I going mad?

  16. Felblood says:

    I was always kind of ambivalent towards Halo. There’s nothing really wrong with it, it just doesn’t grab me.

    Online multilayer was long ago surrendered to jackassery, by the right thinking people of Earth, so that’s a moot point, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t play video games to put up with reminders of how much of a jerk I was, at that age.

    The single player is fun, but not any more than any other game from the same time period. In fact, I think most of the people who “hate” Halo would say the same thing. The game isn’t really bad, it just isn’t up to all the hype.

    In the end, I quit playing the first game when the invisible sword dudes showed up(they murdered the otherwise silky framerate, and they spawn the first one behind you). With Soul Caliber II, and Dawn of War on my plate at the time, I didn’t see any reason to fill my gaming time with any more of that.

    Of course, I was employed then. Maybe, I’ll dig up a copy of the original Halo, now that I’ve got nothing but poverty and free time. Surely somebody I know has an old disk lying around.

  17. RPharazon says:

    Do you mind if I go on a rant before fading into obscurity in these comments? Most likely, nothing I say here will change the pattern of “People hate Halo with a passion to the point of fanaticism” and “People defend Halo with reasonable points that get shot down ‘because it’s on a console’ or ‘because the first two games sucked’.”

    I have fun with the Halo series. I care nothing for the community, or the general culture built around it. I DO enjoy the fun times I have with friends whilst playing Halo, and the awesome literary devices that the games employ if you scratch beneath the surface, especially since Halo ODST integrated a LOT of the expanded universe lore into it. There’s even a few references to ARGUS and whatnot. If you look into it, the story is there, even without reading the books. (Sadie’s Story, the Terminals).

    Shamus, I’d recommend giving it a go. Try to find as many of the journals as you can, enjoy the pretty graphics (after so many people complaining about the “brown” graphics of the generation, nobody mentions Halo’s very colourful graphics?), and just go into it with an open mind. It’s a bit of a short experience, but that’s not necessarily bad.

    For the rest of you, http://blog.ascendantjustice.com/ has really good commentary articles about the games. They explore the hidden intricacies of the game story, gameplay, and the rest of that stuff. It was so intricate (and sometimes even so correct that it lined up perfectly against Bungie’s Halo Story Bible)that some of the writers were invited to work with 343 Industries, the studio that’ll take care of Halo after Reach comes out.

  18. mark says:

    I dont mind halo. The multiplayer does the trick. I kinda consider the whole thing a ‘lowest-common-denominator’…

  19. James Pope says:

    I don’t love Halo, but I’ve had some fun in the past with it until it crept into “My god, Halo is full of douchebags” like all other mulitplayer shooter seem inevitably turn into. I’m playing Champions Online now (curse you!) and there’s certainly an amount of PVP douchebaggery creeping in there too. Mostly I just wish Halo had better physics, and turned it’s maps into a seamless thing with short term objectives and strategy or something for the single player thing.

  20. Sho says:

    Huh, I get the feeling that there are a fair few people who have non-extreme opinions about Halo. It’s a bit of a “vocal minority” situation regarding the extremes, but if you call the others out I’m sure plenty of people will raise their hands.

    Me, I enjoyed Halo okay. I didn’t get into it as much as a lot of the fans have, and I didn’t care for the multiplayer (played it anyway because I’m silly), but it was fun until I lost interest in the concept (and refused to buy a new console just to continue the series).

    The books were nice. Though I don’t get the argument that it affects enjoyment of the game. They’re just good books.

  21. Jabor says:

    I enjoyed ODST at a recent LAN match. I also have a feeling it’ll be a LAN party staple around here.

    Singleplayer was better than I expected (better than the single-player in the previous games), but still nothing to write home about.

    I wouldn’t try playing it online, but Firefight seems great for local games.

    EDIT: I hadn’t actually heard about the Firefly cast being in it before playing, so when we got into the first cutscene I was like “Holy crap is that Mal?”

  22. SatansBestBuddy:

    Because, clearly, you have not watched Firefly. Or, if you have, you’re dead inside.

  23. Jabor says:

    Also, I love Shamus’ post in the escapist thread so much that I’m going to quote it here. Or rather, the punchline, because the post itself is kind of long.

    “[…]

    The point isn’t whether Halo is a good game or not. The point is the number of feral ragebots you can round up just by showing Master Chief in a bad light.

    Do you guys get it now? The punchline of this joke isn’t Master Chief. The punchline is YOU. You delivered it for me when you came in here and acted just like the angry fanboy parody I set up in the comic itself.”

  24. vede says:

    I played the first two Halo games. Never played MP, though. Very few games get any MP play-time out of me.

    I’d say I’m pretty much indifferent. I’m actually a fan of the standard story-less “You’re a superdude with guns, and we are aliens. Please shoot us!” FPS game, which makes Halo seem like it would be good, but then it gets balanced by the console exclusivity (all things need PC releases dammit!) and the evil corporation Microsoft publishing it…

  25. facus says:

    I enjoyed the halo series. but its multiplayer is something i wouldnt touch even if you payed me. Over all i dont hate the game, i just hate its fan boys.
    The comic and its predictable reactions on the escapist forums was brilliant. the number of bans you got from such obvious bait will thankfully clean the forums up a little. =D The fag line at the end had me laughing for a good few minutes, you could see the reactions for that a mile away.

    side note: theres an amusing halo song on youtube by JamesatWar. It mocks halo fans and its an amusing 3 minute distraction.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOkF0McZKIw

  26. Rob G says:

    I’m gonna go out on a ledge here and say that I absolutely love the Halo series. I grabbed Halo 2, 3, & ODST at midnight launches. I realize it’s an imperfect series (especially the community, which is both incredibly adoring and incredibly savage), but I’ve always been a major fan of both the core gameplay and Bungie’s handling of the series. Things like full-campaign-coop play (for up to four people now), four-player local multiplayer offline and online, easy party matchmaking for online play, etc.

    It’s always provided a pile of fun for me and my friends, and we’ve always loved it. Firefight mode is a new favourite around my house, with the sole issue being that you can’t play four-player Firefight without two Xboxes; rather disappointing, but it’s better than “online-only”, right?

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