Before There Was Halo

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Before There Was Halo

Love it or hate it, Halo re-invented the shooter genre for the better.

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Halo's shield was ground breaking. You could go a long way on one health bar, whereas with other shooters before then you'd have to just give up.

I wouldn't say regenerating shields/health were/are a good thing. But the HALO: CE did bring console shooters into the mainstream and made the Xbox a good investment.

Shamus Young:

Love it or hate it, Halo re-invented the shooter genre for the better.

Sorry Shamus, but that's not what you seem to say. Your point is about how

Bungie made the right game for the right hardware at the right time.

The word I'd use was re-invigorate.

Re-Invention seems to pre-suppose that it was the progenitor of shooters from that day on, but there was still life in the old twitch-fire mechanics.

Halo brought in a new way to play shooters, but it didn't change every shooter from then. Some of the things Halo does/did aren't great. Some are.

It changed the game to suit the people it was being sold to, as you say, but was that for the better? I'd be hard pressed to come down on either side of that argument.

Re-invigorated, not re-invented. (IMHO)

I don't mean to bash you but I can't recall how many times I've read a "Halo re-invented yada yada" article and they all say the same.

Why the article now? Reach is around the corner, is it because of it?

Sorry I think we all get the point already. Halo was influential, no denying it.

The word 're-invented' is pushing it though. 'Re-invigorated' fits more nicely.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Shamus Young:

Love it or hate it, Halo re-invented the shooter genre for the better.

Sorry Shamus, but that's not what you seem to say. Your point is about how

Bungie made the right game for the right hardware at the right time.

To be clear, that little splash of text on the front page is by the editor, not the article author. That's probably what the editor took away from the piece. (It's normally Susan, but she's at PAX right now so I don't know who wrote it this time.

So if the article and the teaser have a slightly different gist, that's why.

Shamus Young:

To be clear, that little splash of text on the front page is by the editor, not the article author. That's probably what the editor took away from the piece. (It's normally Susan, but she's at PAX right now so I don't know who wrote it this time.

So if the article and the teaser have a slightly different gist, that's why.

Ah gotcha. It did seem a little odd.

The only good thing Halo brought was Red Vs Blue. The FPS genre was evolving anyway and it has swung way too far to the "Brown Realistic Multiplayer First" side of things. if that was because of Halo, it certainly did not change shooters for the better. Its just the case of the biggest thing at the time taking credit for the overall evolution of a genre that had begun before it came out.

I will agree, from HALO nearly every iother system of play seems to have been established - I remember the days before that, they were alot less---grandiose, I think may be the word I am looking for it.

Despite what I may feel at times, I think Halo really has pused the boundaries with its gameplay and has helped to create much better games in the process - For all sorts of genres!

I want my console platformers back and the FPS's to die. Die, Halo. Die, and never come back!

.....there were two glistening wonders made by Rare, the lesser, Goldeneye, and the greater, Perfect Dark, which has always found a way to take an idea and improve it.

DiscoAtThePanic:
The only good thing Halo brought was Red Vs Blue. The FPS genre was evolving anyway and it has swung way too far to the "Brown Realistic Multiplayer First" side of things. if that was because of Halo, it certainly did not change shooters for the better. Its just the case of the biggest thing at the time taking credit for the overall evolution of a genre that had begun before it came out.

All the brown and realism wasn't Halo. Halo actually has some pretty colorful environments. Yes there's some browns but not much by today's standards.

And besides, it'd be kind of silly for a game about fighting aliens set 500 years in the future to be a basis for realism.

At page one I was very skeptical about this.. I was thinking I'd be able to bring up some archaic argument and just blow it all away..

But then you mentioned the differentiation of timing and precision. Well those two paragraphs surrounding that subject matter have given me a shitload of material to use whenever I'm arguing against a PC elitist and whenever I'm advocating console shooters..

I wish I'd seen this before.. Great little dissertation!

Irridium:

DiscoAtThePanic:
The only good thing Halo brought was Red Vs Blue. The FPS genre was evolving anyway and it has swung way too far to the "Brown Realistic Multiplayer First" side of things. if that was because of Halo, it certainly did not change shooters for the better. Its just the case of the biggest thing at the time taking credit for the overall evolution of a genre that had begun before it came out.

All the brown and realism wasn't Halo. Halo actually has some pretty colorful environments. Yes there's some browns but not much by today's standards.

And besides, it'd be kind of silly for a game about fighting aliens set 500 years in the future to be a basis for realism.

but the article said that Halo got us to where we are today with shooters. Well, not everyone likes where we are today with shooters, so maybe Halo did not change thinsg for the better, as Shamus asserts.

DiscoAtThePanic:

Irridium:

DiscoAtThePanic:
The only good thing Halo brought was Red Vs Blue. The FPS genre was evolving anyway and it has swung way too far to the "Brown Realistic Multiplayer First" side of things. if that was because of Halo, it certainly did not change shooters for the better. Its just the case of the biggest thing at the time taking credit for the overall evolution of a genre that had begun before it came out.

All the brown and realism wasn't Halo. Halo actually has some pretty colorful environments. Yes there's some browns but not much by today's standards.

And besides, it'd be kind of silly for a game about fighting aliens set 500 years in the future to be a basis for realism.

but the article said that Halo got us to where we are today with shooters. Well, not everyone likes where we are today with shooters, so maybe Halo did not change thinsg for the betetr, as Shamus asserts.

It changed things in terms of gameplay, not art style.

Whether thats good or bad is up for debate.

Irridium:

DiscoAtThePanic:

Irridium:

DiscoAtThePanic:
The only good thing Halo brought was Red Vs Blue. The FPS genre was evolving anyway and it has swung way too far to the "Brown Realistic Multiplayer First" side of things. if that was because of Halo, it certainly did not change shooters for the better. Its just the case of the biggest thing at the time taking credit for the overall evolution of a genre that had begun before it came out.

All the brown and realism wasn't Halo. Halo actually has some pretty colorful environments. Yes there's some browns but not much by today's standards.

And besides, it'd be kind of silly for a game about fighting aliens set 500 years in the future to be a basis for realism.

but the article said that Halo got us to where we are today with shooters. Well, not everyone likes where we are today with shooters, so maybe Halo did not change thinsg for the betetr, as Shamus asserts.

It changed things in terms of gameplay, not art style.

Whether thats good or bad is up for debate.

But I was using Yahtzee's term for the modern Realistic shooter.

DiscoAtThePanic:
The only good thing Halo brought was Red Vs Blue. The FPS genre was evolving anyway and it has swung way too far to the "Brown Realistic Multiplayer First" side of things. if that was because of Halo, it certainly did not change shooters for the better. Its just the case of the biggest thing at the time taking credit for the overall evolution of a genre that had begun before it came out.

By your own admission, you've never even played Halo. How can you comment on it?

-|-:
Halo's shield was ground breaking. You could go a long way on one health bar, whereas with other shooters before then you'd have to just give up.

Tribes has the health kit and shield pack, to be fair. I say has since it is still played!

It's nice to see someone who's not necessarily a die-hard fan of the series approach it with something other than rabid animosity, and I agree with the overall analysis. From the simple changes made to the game's handling to adapt it to the controller, to the game's mechanics themselves (the advent of the "regenerating health bar", for instance.), Halo changed the way the FPS market has evolved.

Wow, Shamus, thank you. I've never been able to put my finger on what makes Halo different than a PC shooter, but the whole "timing vs. aiming" thing finally clarified it

Although I give them props for making the alterations and have to say if Halo does anything well its the vehicles, I cant give them that much credit. As you said Golden Eye was proberly the one that really refined that stlye and it lead on to far better games like Perfect Dark and my favourite game francise of all time TIMESPLITTERS!!!
But they did help FPS's move on from the online arena's they seemed trapped in so... yeah... I suppose.
Oh I also really like their trailers, there the reason I think a Halo movie may at least LOOK nice.

I'm just glad it gave us regenerating health, I hate backtracking for some health pack I may or may not seen half an hour ago.

Roboto:

-|-:
Halo's shield was ground breaking. You could go a long way on one health bar, whereas with other shooters before then you'd have to just give up.

Tribes has the health kit and shield pack, to be fair. I say has since it is still played!

Sure that shield pack existed, but I always played in light or medium armor. That meant I favored mobility. That meant I never actually used the blasted thing. I never understood how people played the game using it since the moment you put the thing on you sacrificed the initiative.

The Bandit:

DiscoAtThePanic:
The only good thing Halo brought was Red Vs Blue. The FPS genre was evolving anyway and it has swung way too far to the "Brown Realistic Multiplayer First" side of things. if that was because of Halo, it certainly did not change shooters for the better. Its just the case of the biggest thing at the time taking credit for the overall evolution of a genre that had begun before it came out.

By your own admission, you've never even played Halo. How can you comment on it?

Never said I had not played it. Played Halo and the first sequel many times. I was never impressed by them or fond of them, other than my ability to butt-stroke hy partner on co-op mode in the back of the head, accidentally killhing him just before a big fight started, my first time playing Halo 2. Other than that, meh.

Timesplitters 2 which was released the year after HALO by the Goldeneye team had MUCH better gameplay both in the single and the multiplayer.

The damn thing even came with a MAP EDITOR! Timesplitters 2 was 100x more fun than Halo ever was, it just didn't have the fratboy following that has been dumbing down gaming since 2001.

The co-op in Halo was good, I'll give it that, but so was the co-op in Timesplitters 2.

Regenerating shields is a gameplay retarding abomination. And the awesome "innovation" of only carrying 2 weapons at a time and taking forever to switch between them added a new level of tedium.

Also the combat in ME2 sucked. I seriously looked for a "skip combat and assume you win" mod. The "charge" and other biotic powers much ballyhood in the trailers was useless in 3/4 of the situations. The sniping was much better gameplay wise but turned every fight the exact same.

I intentionally didn't upgrade my sniper rifle until the very last fight just so it was somewhat of a challenge.

What exactly was wrong with the realtime pause system of Kotor that bioware had to muck it up with all this "action" crap?

The conversation system was brilliant however and I hope they keep it up in other games.

I think Halo gets far more flack than it deserves. "It's popular so I must bring it down a peg" mentality. I personally find it very fun, and like Bungie as a developer.

Well, it certainly was above other shooters of the time in terms of plot. The only other shooters with an actual plot outside of Halo on that pre-Halo era time were Half Life 1. And System Shock 2, iirc.

I do like the regenerating shield/health system, since it lessens the importance of who shoots first.

I was thinking almost the same thing about this article. Almost every game from a lot of genres owe a lot to Halo, like it or not.

I'm almost on a strict diet of PC Borderlands right now, playing with a fellow vault hunter, we're right now on Playthrough 2 and we're having a blast. Most mechanics that Borderlands uses were taken/inspired by Halo, the shield recharge (wich feels a bit old school Halo 1), the vehicle driving, although it's not as good as Halo, it certainly took it from Halo, the enemy AI wich I felt sometimes it belongs on a console shooter and more specifically, behaves a lot like Halo's AI. Even a lot of weapons feels a lot like were taken from Halo, especially the assault rifles and the SMGs.

Also, Halo was one of my first few FPS games I've ever played on a PC, and the first time I played Halo was way back on 2004/2005 when Halo 2 was already out and I wanted an Xbox so bad (wich didn't happened and I'm still glad I sold my 360). I didn't played a lot of FPS on a PC before, but I had a blast playing it, it seemed so fresh and new for me at that time.

Like it or not, if it wasn't for Halo we'd still be stuck on FPS tournament games, although today we're on that already, with anual installments of Call of Dutys and Battlefields (or whatever is being played these days) being made specifically for the multiplayer in mind and not for the single player.

rembrandtqeinstein:
Timesplitters 2 which was released the year after HALO by the Goldeneye team had MUCH better gameplay both in the single and the multiplayer.

The damn thing even came with a MAP EDITOR! Timesplitters 2 was 100x more fun than Halo ever was, it just didn't have the fratboy following that has been dumbing down gaming since 2001.

The co-op in Halo was good, I'll give it that, but so was the co-op in Timesplitters 2.

Regenerating shields is a gameplay retarding abomination. And the awesome "innovation" of only carrying 2 weapons at a time and taking forever to switch between them added a new level of tedium.

Also the combat in ME2 sucked. I seriously looked for a "skip combat and assume you win" mod. The "charge" and other biotic powers much ballyhood in the trailers was useless in 3/4 of the situations. The sniping was much better gameplay wise but turned every fight the exact same.

I intentionally didn't upgrade my sniper rifle until the very last fight just so it was somewhat of a challenge.

What exactly was wrong with the realtime pause system of Kotor that bioware had to muck it up with all this "action" crap?

The conversation system was brilliant however and I hope they keep it up in other games.

In Halo's defense, anything compared to Timesplitters 2 is bound to fall short. Or anything compared to the Timesplitters series in general really.

I loved this article until the paragraph that was fourth from the end. It seems that, at that point, Mr. Young ends the wonderful history lesson and begins his conclusion. The confusing part is that he does not clearly state his case when making these conclusions, he assumes that the history lesson will lead the reader to the point that he is trying to make.

Shamus Young:

But I have to give the game credit for inventing a genre and fathering a dozen or more imitators.

What genre is he crediting Halo with inventing? The X-box shooter genre, or the console shooter genre as a whole? Please tell me it's the former of the two. To give credit to Halo for inventing the console shooter genre, a person must ignore the enhancements to the genre by games like: Wolfenstein, Doom, Star Wars: Dark Forces, Quake, Half-Life, Duke Nukem 3-D, Rainbow Six (all of which were originally designed for the computer) and console games like: Perfect Dark, Medal of Honor, Timesplitters, and Goldeneye. A person cannot credit GE with inventing the light bulb just because Mr. Edison's version didn't work as well as theirs. If Halo is the first 'city' of console FPSs, then it was built upon the foundations laid by the 'villages' of it's predecessors.

Shamus Young:

...instead they made crucial alterations to game mechanics and ended up with a game that perfectly suited the intended controller...

This led to a lot of shooter fans rejecting it, simply because the game wasn't what they expected or enjoyed. (I'm one of them.) And this break from expectations gave rise to the Halo hate flamewars that are still burning eight years later.

My second issue with this article came from the second to last paragraph. Just because this is the reason that the author didn't enjoy Halo, doesn't mean that "a lot" of fans had a problem with it's control mechanics. Quite a few had a problem with it's "exclusive" status to X-Box (sour grapes), and quite a few had a problem (and still do) with the arrogance of Halo owners thinking that the game was the equivalent of the Second Coming and (like the author) ignoring the contributions to console FPSs that had been made by previous games.

I will agree that Halo was the right game at the right time for the X-Box, but I wonder why a self-confessed NON-FAN of console FPSs feels the need to give his opinions of Halo. A non-fan is a great choice for a history lesson because they can remain impartial; but when you are extolling the values of a game, wouldn't it make more sense to have an article from someone who actually enjoys those types of games? Nobody would expect Yahtzee to sell the praises of an RTS, so why is Mr. Young writing about a genre that he doesn't care about?

Onyx Oblivion:
Well, it certainly was above other shooters of the time in terms of plot. The only other shooters with an actual plot outside of Halo on that pre-Halo era time were Half Life 1. And System Shock 2, iirc.

There was also Deus Ex, Thief and Unreal. Most PC shooters by 2000 had some kind of plot admittedly most of them were not very good plots but they had them. Halos contemporary on the PC was Deus Ex which was far better plotted and had multiple endings

Abanic:

I will agree that Halo was the right game at the right time for the X-Box, but I wonder why a self-confessed NON-FAN of console FPSs feels the need to give his opinions of Halo. A non-fan is a great choice for a history lesson because they can remain impartial; but when you are extolling the values of a game, wouldn't it make more sense to have an article from someone who actually enjoys those types of games? Nobody would expect Yahtzee to sell the praises of an RTS, so why is Mr. Young writing about a genre that he doesn't care about?

Wild stab in the dark here, because hes paid to?

WOW, I started my post when there was only 6 posts and typed so slowly I made it to position 32!

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