Before There Was Halo

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[quote="So Halo led other games to become brown and realistic by being purple and science-fiction-ish?
Is that what you are saying? :P[/quote]

Well, if Shamus is right, and remember, we're talking about the Experienced Point today here, and Halo changed shooters forever, then we only ended up here, with today's shooters, because of Halo.[...]

You could apply that same argument to Quake, DOOM, etc.
Halo changed things forever, but it's not at fault for all the brown "realism" in games.

I think it got that bad because of all these WWII shooters, it's just a guess though.

I agree, but tell Shamus. Its a process of evolution, and Halo is no more responsible for changing the genre than Modern Warfare 1 or Duke Nukem 3d

Look at a screenshot from Modern Warfare.

Look at a screenshot from any of the first person shooters that aren't Halo made after the original Modern Warfare.

Yep, definitely no one copying them or their mechanics their.

Actually, look at a screenshot from Call Of Duty 1.

Look at a screenshot from any shooter that's not sci-fi or made by Valve after that.

Dear LORD!

Actually, let's take a look at Quake and Doom.

Compare their color palletes and general gameplay and compare it to every shooter made after them.

Congratulations, you realized the shooter genre has always been the same, it just used to be you had to walk an extra five feet for a health pack instead of sitting behind a box.

It's nice to see at least one article about how Halo influenced the gaming world without just reducing to a:
So yeah, just the fact that the author was able to be calm and constructive and actually say a few good and informal points in Halo's favor was a selling point to me. I also agree with a lot of his points, especially about the use of controllers in console games.

Anyway, it's nice to see something said that is positive, or at least not drowning in negatives, for once on the topic of Halo on this site.

I actually rented an XBox to play Halo way back in the day. While I wasn't at all pleased with the weapons balance (handguns should not be a better medium-range weapon than assault rifles!), and really hated some of the Flood sections and the copy-pasted indoors sections, I thought it was a competent shooter with excellent outdoors combat, a few nice twists (am I the only one who thought the limited-weapon inventory adds more tactical decision-making than the Magic Gun Rack?) and an entertaining, if not exactly deep or revolutionary, story.

I think my primary Halo-related problem has come from those whose first FPS experience was with that game, who therefore think that no other game can possibly compare with it in any area.

Eclectic Dreck:


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.

Unlike Halo, it was a specialized use. Mods had it for medium and light armors (if it wasn't already stock, it slips me). Whereas you sacrifice some energy from jetpacks to protection, it could mean the difference between living or dying with the flag, when one extra shot would be all it took to kill. All I'm saying is they weren't so ground-breaking in Halo, as far as recharging shields go. Halo brings it to the mainstream though, which Tribes couldn't do as far as I know. Still, I think more games need jetpacks, and not those flimsy Halo Reach jetpacks either :P

But if you watch someone play a console shooter you'll see the game is less about precision aiming and more about precision timing. Instead of trying to line someone up with the stick, a player will get close with the stick and then run sideways, pulling the trigger during that split-second when the enemy's head passes through the reticule. Instead of trying to mitigate this, Bungie embraced it and made the gameplay revolve around timing. You've got a shield that recharges at regular intervals. Foes that take cover and fire at intervals. Weapons with cooldowns. If you charge out into the open like the Doom Marine you're going to get blasted back to the Game Over screen faster than you can say Larry Niven. Moving in and out of cover is an exercise in timing your shield, weapon, and enemy movement patterns. This is what Halo fans are talking about when they say the game is "more tactical."

To be fair, Counter Strike beat Halo to every gameplay point you just made, other than vehicles. If you try to play a PC shooter using just twitch reflex you are shooting yourself in the foot. If you REALLY watch yourself play, you will notice yourself using a lot of what you dub "console tactics"

I never really played halo until later. I started playing Counter strike in january 2001. I was sad they switched from computer exclusive to xbox because of microsoft.

I'm still trying to figure out what exactly Goldeneye did aside from being another mediocre entry in Rare's history of mediocre title after mediocre title. Actually, calling some of those games mediocre is being a bit too generous... But I digress.

I didn't like Halo all that much either. Despite of all the good things it did, one thing is for certain: The Library is one of the most awful levels I've ever played throughout years of gaming.

Taste is a objective thing so the divide between people who like and people who don't like Halo is strong.

The game itself is a great game but it was definetly different for back then and a lot of people resent that today. I was on the Gamecube for the most part for that console generation so I never got to experience much of Halo until later on in my years but I still go back to play Halo CE and 2 from time to time.

The number one reason behind this is Bungie. I can stand people who hate on Halo but people hating on Bungie are just dumbfucks.

They've always tried to take the whole genre into something completely new with each game save for ODST which was a change in atmosphere more than the game itself.

And any Valve fan will agree that community interaction and suppport goes a heck of a long way. It's unfortunate that Halo got the stereotyping that Xbox LIVE brings with it nowadays but it's core community at the heart of the franchise is as strong as any out there. The people in Reach who will make the forge maps, create the extreme gametypes and spread them through the community. Roosterteeth.

TL,DR version: Bungie is one of the best developers out there that goes the extra mile in creating great games and in community interaction. And have been rewarded with a loyal core fanbase that's surrrounded by the Xbox LIVE stereotype that muddles Halo's image.

I have to disagree on your opinions on the Library level. It was the second Halo level I ever played, and for me, playing it Co-op was playing Left 4 Dead six years before Left 4 Dead came out. There were those moments when you were waiting for the Spark to unlock the door which seemed like the crescendo events in L4D, and during those goings, I was shouting to my buddy (right next to me) while I frantically reloading my shotgun (which was a wonder-weapon back then) and shooting my pistol at the hordes of Flood, and the hordes would finally relent when we had a sliver of health.

Now Cortana in Halo 3... ho boy... I think it was those new ranged flood that completely killed fighting the flood for me in Halo 3.

I liked the halo games but I think that the shield system paved the way for the immortality (in theory) that a player has in all these new shooters.

As long as you duck for cover and wait for the screen to stop being red, or the shield to recharge, or the big red gear in the middle of the screen to go away, you'd be fine. It made it so that getting a bullet in edgewise means nothing anymore. I honestly preferred health bars for the slight realism.

The Halo series for me used to be fun. Combat Evolved made me fall in love with the shooter genre again and Halo 2 really got me playing online. However Halo 3 really destroyed my love for the series. The story was noticeably worse, the online play became stale and the community seemed to favor the young foul mouthed kids a lot more.

I gave Bungie one more chance with Halo ODST and I really wish I would have kept my $60 never before have I shut a game off halfway through the campaign and never picked it up again. The story was HORRID the characters were dull and it could be summarized as "OH an OBJECT!" [Insert Flashback] Granted it added some online features but I cannot be carried through a Franchise on Online play alone. The story makes the game with me and this is where Halo has been lacking for me. Reach may be a no go as well due to my lack of faith in their writing department at the moment.

I admit that the control scheme suited consoles, but FPS's in general belong on the PC. And Halo pushed them away from it. And that's why I hate it.

Honestly? TimeSplitters 1 came out a good bit before Halo. Had it sold in same quantities we would probably be talking about how it innovated in controlling a console FPS, not Halo.

Thanks for that, Shamus, it's an interesting way of looking at Halo, even though I can't appreciate it any more now than I did before... I'm not a fan of it, but still, you made a good read.

For the better? Ha.

It reinvented nothing. What it did do was redress the standard FPS in bloom and space marines.

/looks at the cavalcade of mediocre space marine shooters

Yeah, thanks, Halo. -_-

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.

shields are groundbreaking? no they weren't. halo stole everything it had from other games.

Look people, let me put it simply:

Halo is a great game.

It's not the greatest game ever, just the same as QUAKE, DOOM, and Wolfenstein 3D [insert popular game here] are no longer the greatest games ever.

Now, let's kindly STFU, put our dicks back in our pants and move on to more pressing matters okay? K.

And in the end they handled all of that really poorly, and it's influence made almost every shooter after it a generic pile of shit. Time Splitters is by far a better game and that came out around the same time. Same with Half Life, sure it wasn't innovative, but it was one of the best FPS' ever made, and that's saying something. Good games don't need that crap, in fact most good games don't use that crap. Vehicle sections have always been second only to sewer levels on their shiteness.

Plus, it made people take consoles seriously, and now we've got to the point where all the companies couldn't give a shit about the PC and either give us a crappy port or nothing at all. Safe to say I hate Halo with a passion.

I personally can't stand the "cover-based" combat of all these new "shooters", so what you call "ground-breaking" I call "watering down". It isn't tactical at all, it is mind-numbingly boring after a while... but hey at least I can play them with a controller from the couch on my PC...

I absolutely love(d) the fast-paced shooters that required both quick thinking, precision and managing your health... Just hiding for 3 seconds and being at full health again instead of rationing your health so you make it through the level or finding that health pack at the right moment also seems kind of lame...

Some of my favourite (multiplayer) shooters were Quake 3/id Tech 3 engine based with a lot of strafing around the level, controlling your character to perfection and being an aiming-god at the same time. Starting with "Soldier of Fortune" and "Sin" etc. back in the day dabbing into things like "Blood" or "Duke Nukem 3D" too, then moving on to Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, Quake 3: Arena, Voyager: Elite Force and the culmination with Jedi Knight II and III by RavenSoft (which are probably still my favorite shooter titles of all time and I played online a lot :P) cause you had to strafe quickly and perfectly through the levels ( ) while having to defend yourself with a lightsaber against most incoming shots, using force powers to your advantage and defend against hostile force powers (besides having things like force heal and shield long before "Halo") trying to push you into your death etc. and killing people with amazing gun-play. There were a lot of different tactics to employ.

I didn't like most idTech 4 engine games after Doom 3, because they were already heavily consolized and "tuned down" and provided largely boring gameplay like the new Wolfenstein...

I also liked and still like a lot of Unreal Engine 3 games, but those mostly for their singleplayer (e.g. Deus Ex, Unreal 2, Bioshock series, Thief series, SW: Republic Commando, Splinter Cell series, Batman:AA, Borderlands, Alpha Protocol, Mass Effect series etc.) than for providing a compelling and fast-faced multiplayer experience.

Halo... tactical? Sorry Shamus, but what are you smoking? I agree with you 99% of the time but this is just wrong.

Tom Clancy shooters on the PC were tactical. Day of Defeat (a HL1 mod) was tactical. Battlefield 1942 was tactical. Some of these came out well before or at the same time as Halo. They aren't your typical Quake/UT shooters either.

Halo did reinvent the shooter though; it made it possible for a FPS to actually be boring in multiplayer mode. Cover-shield-shoot ad nauseum. It's like a game of Tic Tac Toe... with big guns.

Someday you'll pay for regenerating health, Bungie.

And for launching the xbox.

It was going to have drive-able vehicles. Inverse kinematics that would let riders bounce around in the vehicle instead of acting like statues affixed to the vehicle's frame. Squad-based AI that would take cover and flank instead of just charging into the player's reticule. A mixture of indoor areas and outdoor landscapes instead of endless tunnels. Co-op play. And it would have a rich sci-fi setting that would rise above the "shoot all the aliens" narrative we'd been living on for the last decade or so.

Wait, you lost me there. Are you talking about Halo or Perfect Dark? Because comparatively, the only thing Halo added(subtracted?) was being able to kill more things with less skill because of a regenerative shield. And a piss-poor selection of weapons.

I personally would have written the article like this:
Before Halo, there were no super frat fanboys. Halo introduced the 'douche' to video games. That is all.

Some things you failed to mention:
Halo was originally intended to be an RTS but those plans fell through.
I'm pretty sure Halo was the first FPS where melee was a valid option as opposed to a fallback when you were out of/didn't want to waste ammo.

Gameplay was about diving head first into the sea of bullets and dogfighting your way out.

This very well sums up what you think about other shooters, Shamus. But it isn't necessarily true. Yeah, precision is important (and it's great to have good precision with a mouse), but you can play tactically in almost anything... When I first played Doom II or Quake II, I was progressing quite slowly.

Also, in 2k1 I've played Halo CE demo. I liked it - really. The open environment and the AI were most interesting. The vehicles were terrible, but innovative for that time. Too bad the rest of the game didn't live up to those standards. The rest of the game is even more dull than most dull shooters.

Plus, and I blame this on Halo, it influenced other shooters to date and made them worse. Most shooters now come with extremely simplified game mechanics, so they can be played with a gamepad. With the exception of Crysis, I can't remember a game which would be inspired by Halo (gameplay-wise) and at the same time, be at last an evolution. Most are a clear devolution - just "make it simple, stupid".

I don't know about some of the features you described there, Shamus. Enemies that darted from cover to cover existed in Half Life. If the military grunts saw a grenade, they'd let out an audible cry of grenade and get out of it's way as fast as their legs could carry them.

In Half-Life, it also had a mixture of outside and inside and didn't just focus on endless corridors.

OK, Halo had the regenerating health bar. But I wouldn't say this is a good or bad thing, it is an aesthetic - at least it is to me. Personally, I think they take the suspense of low health away from the game.

While Halo might have had the silent protagonist break his silence, my opinion was that he simply didn't have anything truly interesting to say. The Spartan's was flat and emotionless and the script was something a child could have written.

However you can definitely say the script got better along with the support characters the further along in the series you went - but the Spartan didn't.

He remained kind of bland and lacked the nobility and charisma of the first Arbiter. He lacked the playful, perky snarkiness that went into Cortana.

Halo 2's Arbiter had more character, more back story, feeling and was a lot more fun to play in one or two chapters than the Master Chief was in 3 whole games. I found myself wanting to know more about the arbiter and his background than I ever did with the Chief.

But I guess my main niggles with the Halo series was that the supporting cast was far more interesting than the main character. Mind you, I also found the same thing with Half Life - but Gordon at least wasn't a nigh-invincible killing machine who could duck behind some crates and be back up to full health and armour in no-time at all.

I do apologies if I come off as ranting. But characterisation has come a long way in gaming, especially in Bioware games. Surely it's not too much to ask for an FPS where the protagonist is interesting and shows a little emotion. (Even Doom managed this when you held the fire button for a while.)

I loved the first halo, it was perfect, but I didn't like halo 2 to present. Everything after halo is generic console shooter.. pff.. breaking the weapon system down into catagories where one weapon sucks in all but one situation and dual weilding was the final nail in the coffin.

Maybe you should try Reach once it comes out? It looks a lot better than 3 and 2, it seems Bungie has got a better sense of direction again. They seem to be listening to what everyone loved and really bringing it back, or ramping it up, but hey, you might not even have the ability to try it, so my typing this was for nought.


I like in this thread how people are blaming Halo for the downfall of all original ideas in the video game industry, going as far to say Bungie are bad people for it. Halo was a great game, it's why it got popular, but you can't blame Halo for what OTHER PEOPLE are doing. If they want to copy Halo, it's their fault the games are bad, not Bungie's, nor Halo. Also, Space Marines are high at the moment because sci-fi has seem to become a lot more popular than fantasy, as well. Bungie are a great developer, making the games they want to make while listening to their community, yet no one remembers that, hailing Value as the only developer who cares what the little people say, yet shitting on Bungie, saying they don't deserve anything they have.

This is what i put in another post complainging about halo, with a few changes after reading the articles

Halo:CE was really the first "blockbuster" game where it hit mainstream audiences everywhere.

It introduced to a WIDE AUDIENCE (note:that does not mean nothings done it before but its what introduced it to alot of people)

Regenerating Health
Limited Weapons
Good Control Scheme
Co-op gameplay

Just "streamlined for console" gameplay and it introduced a few new mechanics to the genre overall.

remember when you could carry every single weapon in the game and just shift effortlessly between them, then shitting a house when you realised you had to decide between your sniper or the rocket launcher in halo!

People like it yes? so what everyone likes something, dont bash them for it (unless that thing turns out to be totally immoral/illegal and just wrong in all sense of the word).

if you don't like shooters now a days i wouldn't say for the better i just say they reinvented it

I just found Halo to be over rated and boring

I don't get it. It's a good article, sure .. but surely we've been over this a thousand times before? And how is this subject still relevant? It's nearly 2011, with Halo nearly being 10 years old in November.

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.


haha, that's the most inane thing i've ever heard. so you're saying that you'd just have to stop playing shooters at some point before halo because you didn't have health enough to continue? ridiculous.

i will have to disagree; halo didn't do anything that hadn't been done before, and certainly nothing that wasn't outside an arm's reach in the days of creating shooters.

Halo will be one of the top games everyone will remember 20-30 years later. weather you hated it or loved people will remember it for a couple of reasons. One it introduced people to more of a tactical shooter game. Like in Legendary you wont be a complete idiot and run into a group of covenant with barely any shield, you would wait kill some, hid and recharge your shield and repeat unlike other games where you would go in kamikaze hoping to live. And the biggest one was in Halo 3 where they introduced a new way to play using custom games and on maps people created in Forge. It gave people the ability to make a game variant (of the main options) and a map for that variant they were able to make in a standard map.


I like in this thread how people are blaming Halo for the downfall of all original ideas in the video game industry, going as far to say Bungie are bad people for it. Halo was a great game, it's why it got popular, but you can't blame Halo for what OTHER PEOPLE are doing.

Ding, ding ding! We have a winner!

That's the part about Halo Hating that irks me the most. We get it, you don't like Halo. But how is it Bungie's/Halo's fault that unimaginative developers just out chasing an easy buck do nothing but try to make lower quality Halo clones?

I'll be honest. I never could dig Halo and never understood what all the appeal was. Everytime I pick the damn game up, I just can't get into the controls. Dual-analog controls just don't work for me. For me, it has to be on PC if its an FPS. No question.


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)

Didn't you read the part about it being about timing instead of aiming? That is the reinvention, it was a whole new way to design a shooter game

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