Yeah. I didn’t think Halo was fun at all, but this is hardly a radical position. After a couple of years with an Xbox 360 I’ve had a great deal of fun with console titles, but console shooters still don’t appeal to me. It’s like playing a round of golf with a rake instead of clubs. It just feels wrong.
Read on if you must, but this isn’t going to say anything new.
Below is pure heresy. I suppose I will be excommunicated from various gamer forums, and no doubt I’ll be censured by all right-thinking folks, but let me just nail this thesis to the door of EB Games, and then you guys can do whatever you feel you need to do in response. Here it is: Halo is one of the worst FPS I’ve ever played.
So I’m going to burn through a few paragraphs and get this out of my system. The rest of this post is just going to be me beating on that long-dead horse, so I suggest you skip it. Maybe check out this great bit on Unreal Tournament 2008.
Really. Halo came out in 2001. Why would you want to read about it now?
Fine. Let’s get this over with.
When it came out it was a game filled with magical new technology. I played it a couple of years later, after the technology had gone stale. Without the OMG grafix d00d!!! to gush over, all I had left to amuse me were little things like plot, characterization, and gameplay. Judged on these criteria, the game was an appalling joke, a sad mess, and a grotesque waste of everyone’s time. It was a game where I fought the same enemy, over and over, for two hours at a stretch. A game where no matter where I was or what I was doing, I always had the wrong weapon for the job. A game where I ran down the same blocky corridor half a dozen times before the game would relent and give me something new to look at…
Such as the same corridor, only now with a new texture! Whoopie!
The whole thing had just enough plot to fill about ten minutes of screen time. The characters had all the depth and personality of Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde.
The plot was clumsy and manipulative. Consider when the Computer Lady starts screaming at you to “hurry up! Go! Stop them now!” but never once utters even the slightest hint as to why you need to stop them, how you should stop them, or what scale of a problem you might be dealing with. It would have taken twenty seconds to fill the player in on the nature and scale of the problem, but of course that would have “given away” the appallingly mundane twist the game was using for suspense. It becomes even more Uwe Bollish when you realize that you had a long flight between that conversation and your arrival at the site. Don’t we have radios? She couldn’t spend thirty seconds on a quick call?
Then later she gets angry because you don’t know what’s going on. Great. Put me on rails and then castigate me for the direction I’m headed. There are fourteen year old kids running D&D campaigns who know better than that.
I’ve never played a game that was so flagrant and excessive about re-using scenery. While I was following that annoying little flying robot around, I was constantly feeling lost and confused. Wait. I’ve been here, man. Did I get turned around and backtrack? Everyone makes jokes about the old spaghetti westerns where the hero rides west and passes the same rock ten times. Now add a scene where a bandit jumps out from behind the rock every time the hero rides by. That’s Halo right there.
The only good thing that ever came out of Halo: Red vs. Blue.
In Defense of Crunch
Crunch-mode game development isn't good, but sometimes it happens for good reasons.
Grand Theft Railroad
Grand Theft Auto is a lousy, cheating jerk of a game.
Why The Christmas Shopping Season is Worse Every Year
Everyone hates Black Friday sales. Even retailers! So why does it exist?
Video Compression Gone Wrong
How does image compression work, and why does it create those ugly spots all over some videos and not others?
The Best of 2015
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2015.