The Big Picture: Combat Evolved?

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The Spartans are, in my opinion, more diverse and interesting then the covenant, especially the Spartan IIs. You take a very dirty military trick to perfect human soliders by experimenting on children who have shown to stand out above the normal population and you train them to kill. Spartans range from a variety of different races as well, from the African Americans like Master Chief to Hungarians like Jorge. The whole process was painted as grim and how they took the youth from these children and turned them into weapons. Weapons that would become legends in the UNSC. These men and woman easily stand out with their much larger stature, their enhanced strength, intellect and armor and their complete ability to change and fight much more effectively. They weren't even allowed to die for fear that they would drop morale, hence the phrase "Spartan's never die."

The only comment I can share about the Halo Reach ad, is that it was a commercial, they work on a two-four minute time frame here and they're not exactly given a lot of time to flesh it out. They needed to paint the subject to be a soldier and to be part of some very strange experiment. You can't really find many ways of showing it worked in such a short time that changing a genetic trait may be one if not the only option available.

Loving this new thing, i always trust Bob to recommend good movies, he never lets me down, this new show looks interesting.

Now, i know Bob has never liked Halo, and even as a Halo fan i can look past that, but i can't help feeling that he doesn't really know what he's talking about where Halo is concerned, if he had read the lore and species history (which of course he won't have done, if he doesn't like halo) i think he would change his perspective.

Halo is pretty shallow when it comes to messages and hidden meanings, and purital fascism isn't one of them.
The idea of the SPARTANs giving up their identity to protect the human race is supposed to inspire feelings of sacrifice and selflessness, and even then many characters such as Forge or Buck are not spartans. The whole "US vs THEM" theme is supposed to show how desperate the situation is, Humanity is being assaulted from all sides by a force both numerically and technologically superior, and they're losing the fight. Only through self-sacrifice do the main characters save the human race, Master Cheif dying at the end of Halo 3, Noble 6 staying behind on Reach to protect the Pillar of Autumn, Forge activating the engine etc.

The Covenant are a pretty odvious take on religion and blindly following orders, but as they progress they (notably the sangheili) learn that their leaders don't have their best interests at heart and rebell, joining the humans and turning the tide of the war.
It is true that the races are very diverse, and it's one of the most attractive aspects of Halo to me, but Bob is forgetting that this is a video game, there would be no point making the SPARTANs diverse because you play as them, the Covenant are so diverse because they are enemies, you dont want to fight the same enemies all the time.

If someone outside the gaming industry said Halo was promoting Nazism/racism/"racial purity",m we'd be calling him/her batshit crazy right now.

So I'm inclined to disagree with you on this one MovieBob. You're allowed your opinion, I simply think that this is reading way to far into minute details of Halo. I mean, going after an eye color change in the commercial? Really?

TomLikesGuitar:

MovieBob:
Combat Evolved?

This week MovieBob rants about Halo.

Watch Video

I love how he rants about how honestly cool and in depth the story really is, but then pretends like he thinks its bad.

Congratulations MovieBob, you're just as brainwashed about the "need" to hate on Halo as the rest of the world.

So if he thinks the characters lack depth he must be brainwashed? I haven't played Reach but the characters he's describing are cliche and uninspired (although I guess I shouldn't take his word for it)

It seemed like both gross oversimplification of the HALO storyline and a rather selective interpretation of it at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I can see how the plot points are made up, but making the argument based solely on the representations made in the games? Rather flimsly point to work of off. You really can't get that same characterization looking at the broader picture of the universe that's being presented.

I suppose it would have been a rather mental leap to identify the Covenant as having more in line with Imperialism and it's persecution of outsiders and it's attempts to dominate those that do not accept it?

Of course...that would have been a bad argument because cultures resisting being included by those that are different is bad. Because cultural conquest and joining the diverse whole is ALWAYS good, right?

Right?

Just ask the Germanic tribes...
Wait...
Just ask the Cherokee...
Wait...
Just ask the Ukranians...
Wait...
Just ask the Tibetans...
Wait...
Just ask the Chechnyans...
Wait...
Just ask the Bosnians...
Wait...

Multiculturalism does not always equal good. And a more...shall we say, comprehensive, reading of the situation in HALO kinda makes that big diverse Covenant look just a shade darker...and those limited and few SPARTANS seem a shade better...along with all those other soft squishy humans that fight along side them.

Ah Christ, they gave him a show where he can stand on his soap box and rant?

Ugh.

camaille:
From and ad for Reach

Oh the delicious irony of it all.

OT: It seems to me that you dont like halo as a story, not as a game. And while I admit that Halo dosen't have the most serious or realisitic story every, there are plenty of other horrible stories out there to rag on. Good show as always but I hope hating on Halo dosen't become anything of a staple.

EDIT:

Geo Da Sponge:

ShadowKirby:
[quote="Dansrage" post="6.243904.8882333"][quote="jamesworkshop" post="6.243904.8882268"]snippity

Well, the Prophets, or at least the specific 'big three' leading the Covenant are definitely evil; if you dig a bit into the back story (something I don't blame you for not doing, by the way) those three Prophets lied about the human race in an attempt to gain power for themselves.

I remember reading somewhere that they lied about the human race because Guilty Spark told them the true purpose of the Halos and they knew if the rest of the coventant found out, then it would fall apart. However I dont know this to be set in stone so please correct me if I am wrong.

ugh...I don't have a problem with you saying what you did in the video Bob. But, I've gotta say I think you're reading WAY too much into it. The Covenant are, as you said, a group of aliens who have basically been forced to serve in a slave army. But more importantly they've all been mislead and deluded by the overlords (the "prophets")for selfish gains.

The regular gamer, I believe, sees this quite clearly. Bungie seems to have made it a point to show that the prophets are the real bad guys, as well as some of the misguided zealotry that some of the members of the covenant have. If anything the average gamer will just see them as the bad guys (regardless of the fact that they're a multi-culti army with arcane beliefs.

I also take offense to many of the people saying that NOBODY plays Halo for the story or subtext. The original Halo was perhaps one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences I've ever had with video games. I respect you're right to disagree, but that doesn't change the fact that there is a ton of story going on, especially if you read the books and such like I have (I'm not saying that YOU have to or should, I'm just saying that there is a lot more here than many people give it credit for)

Further more, I find some of what you said a little discouraging in light of the current world climate and attitude. It seems to me that too many people are taking the idea that there "are two sides to every story" a little too far. I'm all for cynicism and understanding that not everything is black and white, but for God's sake, the alien race in question is trying to exterminate the human race! I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that makes them the bad guys no matter what color their skin is, what religion they adhere too, or what kind of agenda they have.

I'm not advocating simplifying things down to the way they were before the World War I and World War II, but it's important to look at things realistically (even if it's just a game, because how we feel about a game, reflects our real world thoughts and views). This should prove to be a good weekly column though, regardless of the subject being discussed.

Its cool. Im not a big fan of all the creepy faces though

Another brilliant show for the escapist. Movie Bob is very good at this kind of analysis and this show is the perfect avenue through which he can do it outside of the movie review format. can't wait for episode 2 ^_^

Your analysis completely ignores the Flood, which is the 3rd major faction in the halo universe. It's not fair to take 2/3 of the plot and try to apply labels to while completely disregarding the rest. If you wanted to apply your starship troopers reference then the flood are much closer to the arachnids than the Covenant.

And let's be honest here, the halo video games are not exactly shining beacons of storytelling anyway, so why bother making tenuous connections to unfavorable examples unless you are specifically trying to deface the series.

As a final point, the Covenant are set up the way they are because originally bungie wanted a way to give players a variety of enemies to fight, hence a number of types of aliens instead of one race of aliens. As the series grew so did the number of races in order to incorporate more and more new stuff.

I've seen some pretty interesting halo bashing, but this one takes the cake, comparing the story to fascist propaganda.

I play halo for the story, and heck yes have I noticed this. the people in command of humanity in halo are a bunch of jerks, and completely unlikable. this is shown even more in the books. they're not very good, actually. The only guys in the covenant as diabolical as the humans are the prophets, the leaders of it all. I think this was intentional, as it means the only part of the humans who you really approve of or identify with are the soldiers who are really just trying to save lives. All this stuff just makes me like halo more.

Movie Bob is seeing things that aren't there, again.

Talk about looking into it to much. Post above says it all ^^

Ok i acctually like your theory of racism towards space visitors, but dont the Convenent want to kill and Enslaved the Humans? And are searching through space for more forms of destroying the humans and erase humanity itslef from the fabric of universe!?

Your theory was pretty and dandy but i still think the aliens are the bad guys SINCE THEYRE TRYING TO KILL US ALL FOR NO APPARENT REASON....

So if i think the Spartans are the good guys? Well if an alien race was attacking myself and my hometown, for no reason, with the purpose of killing everything they see, and my decisions are between kiss and rainbow dancing with them, and hide behind a military super soldier badass, with the Codename Spartan, i think i would go with option number 2....

Dude... for a show called "The Big Picture," you kinda just missed the big picture. The Covenant aren't the almost embarrassingly multi-cultural and racial crew of the Enterprise... they're a bunch of religious Zealots who use slavery to kill millions for their cause.
Honestly, it felt like you were just trying to stir controversy. Either that, or you over analyze the hell out of stuff.
Halo is a shout out to all the old Pulp Sci-Fi that had preposterous story arcs and were more reminiscent of Greek Myths in space. For something so nerdy (because you have clearly demonstrated that EVERYTHING nerdy is always awesome all the time), it's strange that you shun Halo so. I wonder if it has something to do with its popularity? Does liking Halo no longer make you the cool indie guy hyping some unheard of gem and instead merely one of the proletariat on a band wagon?
From one of the proletariat happily on the Halo Bandwagon, I tell you to get over yourself and just relax. Liking Halo won't make you lose anything.

Wait, Moviebob has another show? If you'll excuse me, I have to go sacrifice some goats to the Escapist staff...

Also, while I don't think that subtext is entirely intended (I tend to think in the extremely-obvious text of the Covenant being religious zealots, said zealotry being why they have a multitude of species working for them), it's an interesting way of looking at things.

Of course, I find Moviebob at his best when gushing over Nintendo (his Game Overthinker episode about the Zelda timeline is one of his best) or talking about the general community (say what you will about his self-righteousness, at least he's self-deprecating about it and makes good points about online communities).

Here's to hoping The Escapist never realizes what it has unleashed upon the world, and also to all the future nerd rage this show will be causing.

My favorite parts of your movie reviews are when you get into more off topic subjects, so this is just awesome in my book. I sure hope there will be much more to come for a long time.

If Escapist registers success by the number of comments on the first episode (I always kind of kept track of traffic that way on this site) then I'd declare this debut a smash hit.

Bobic:
Has it crossed bobs mind that maybe their isn't some big ugly subtext and maybe the reason for all the different creeds and colours of the enemies is to give you more variation in the things you shoot at?

I have to agree Bob is just looking far too deep in to this and I think the blue eye thing in the ad for Reach is unintentional and if you actually play all the games you will know that the human army isn't just skin-head white guys and don't most armies now make everyone have the same haircut and uniforms.

It would be nice to hear something else from him besides bitching about Halo. I'm not the biggest Halo fan but it's getting boring.

Bob I love your work and this new show looks awesome! The new faces add class man, looking forward to more thought provoking rants on geeky things-

Ultratwinkie:

josemlopes:

Ultratwinkie:

They do. You don't realize that there are MORE than just a shotgun guy and rifle guy. who heals the injured? who coordinates artillery shelling? who refuels the helicopters? who repairs the tanks? who drives the supply trucks to forward outposts? who BUILDS the forward outposts?

An army is more diverse than you think.

That has nothing to do with their uniform, they all have something to distiguish but it isnt all that much, you wont see the color scheme changing drasticly from one ocupation to another.

Also, the aliens diverse in species, we are only one specie, and Halo Reach in particular even has multiple races so they did made variety on the allies, they have multiple colors and diferent body structure. There is a russian (I think) chick, a black guy, a eastern huge dude, the tipical white guy and our character, all with their own colour and body sizes.

actually yes the color scheme would change depending on occupation. You don't expect the mechanic to have camo and heavy weaponry do you? not every occupation gives you an assault rifle and colored body armor.

But for what you do in the game (the missions) you wont bring a mechanic right?
In Halo CE you have the guys with semi casual clothes in the first and second level. They are doing their part with their red and yealow uniforms

Also, Master Chief is the equivelent of an Elite Covenent in the midle of the Grunts, so in the Covenent perspective there is some variety

PS: This discussion is taking quite a while lol

Oh man, Halo, what an original topic for MovieBob to talk about.

It's gotten to the point where arguing serves no purpose since you'll never change your opinion even though you have no idea what the actual Halo storyline is...

Oh wait, that'd be fascism too, eh Bob?

Wow... i knew Bungie was going for highbrow metaphor bullshit, but i pretty much gave up on trying to decode it after Halo 1.

Also, does anyone else realise that the Covenant = the Tau?

Dear The Escapist

Thank you for giving me more moviebob. It's not even Christmas! You're the best.

Sicnerely, Kennisiou.

Big Picture?
Bah.

I watched it, and honestly, I don't know what to really say.
For the entire thing, it sounded like you were shooting at marks that just are non-existent, or could easily be explained from a player's view of Halo.

Still nice change from Escape to the Movies and I'm glad I still watched it.

I find it hilarious that all the HALO fanboys come out of the woodwork to cry foul when their game comes under even light criticism.

HALO is not the greatest thing since sliced bread. Get over yourselves.

Why would someone wage war against a multicultural society? Well, if that multicultural society comes at you going all, "Join us or die," then how exactly are they SUPPOSED to respond? Hell, in Halo, the very game that's bothering Bob so much, humans don't even get the first choice. It's just "die," and that's it. I mean, what, should the humans roll over and be exterminated in the name of diversity? What what what?

That might be what Bob's missing. It's not necessarily the multiculturalism that's bad, it's the price you have to pay to become a multicultural society. In particular, if a multicultural society demands too many compromises of one culture--in the case of the ancient Spartans, they had to give up their independence, and the humans in Halo must give up their LIVES--then of course that culture isn't going to submit to the whole. And to cite modern, real-world examples, would multiculturalism mean that we'd have to tolerate the practice of female genital mutilation by some cultures? Because, gosh, that's just how they do things, and it would be judgmental and bigoted for us to say otherwise. Right?

maddawg IAJI:

from the African Americans like Master Chief.

You're fucking kidding me, right? Or trolling? Please, tell me you're purposefully sounding stupid here.

In the books it plainly details John as a pale white kid with freckles. Where the fuck did you hear he was black?

josemlopes:

Ultratwinkie:

josemlopes:

That has nothing to do with their uniform, they all have something to distiguish but it isnt all that much, you wont see the color scheme changing drasticly from one ocupation to another.

Also, the aliens diverse in species, we are only one specie, and Halo Reach in particular even has multiple races so they did made variety on the allies, they have multiple colors and diferent body structure. There is a russian (I think) chick, a black guy, a eastern huge dude, the tipical white guy and our character, all with their own colour and body sizes.

actually yes the color scheme would change depending on occupation. You don't expect the mechanic to have camo and heavy weaponry do you? not every occupation gives you an assault rifle and colored body armor.

But for what you do in the game (the missions) you wont bring a mechanic right?
In Halo CE you have the guys with semi casual clothes in the first and second level. They are doing their part with their red and yealow uniforms

Also, Master Chief is the equivelent of an Elite Covenent in the midle of the Grunts, so in the Covenent perspective there is some variety

PS: This discussion is taking quite a while lol

Mechanics are not a magical solve-all. They are not magicians. They just fix the machines of uber death then get out of your way. who the hell drops a broken tank on the battlefield while the mechanic works on it?

Danz D Man:
Oh man, Halo, what an original topic for MovieBob to talk about.

It's gotten to the point where arguing serves no purpose since you'll never change your opinion even though you have no idea what the actual Halo storyline is...

Oh wait, that'd be fascism too, eh Bob?

This is very true, i often find myself defending Halo because so many people seem to dislike it without even having played it. (and i need to be specific, playing one mission split-screen at your friend's apartment does not mean you have played Halo).
It's easy to understand why Halo gets so much punishment, without Halo i'm willing to bet there would be no Xbox, many people don't like Xbox because they simply own a different console, but i wont go into that, it's not the time nor the place to start a console war.
The problem stems from people who have not played the game and people who dislike the game on principle (its an FPS, it's on the 360) bad-mouthing the game before having tried it. I think everyone here knows someone who has said "X game is shit" without ever having played it.
Another reason is that Halo's multiplayer is used as an example of games "fratboys" play, i come from France and have never met a fratboy, so that only applies to America, and many countries other than America play Halo.
I think it's all just a case of pre-judging a game before you get the chance to try it. If Halo had been an obscure indie game that was released today without the bad reputation it has gained, i bet it would be universally acclaimed.

i'm not saying you can't play Halo and not like it, i admit that the story is often sketchy and poorly told, and the gameplay can be repetetive, but Halo doesn't deserve such a bad rap.

video content ON A TUESDAY? oh dear lawdy i am a happy man

I'm sorry (though not surprised) to say that MovieBob is quite wrong on multiple points.

First of all, the blue eye ad wasn't made by Bungie; third party was responsible for those ads. While THEY may have some fascist ideals, don't blame Bungie. I mean, that was a subtle enough change that I never even noticed until you pointed it out; I doubt if Bungie had any involvement they would have caught that.

Second, diversity is never trodden on. You might want to remember that it's not about One vs. Many, like you suggest, but simple Good vs. Evil. The Humans are alone against the Covenant, but they're happy to get the Elites' help when they offer it. If it was Humanity and a dozen other races all going up against just the Brutes or something, would you call it a game promoting diversity and equality?

Finally, your point about the characterization falls flat if you give it some thought. Since you're not a fan of Halo, I doubt you'd even know that there's two groups of Spartans. Spartan-IIs, and Spartan-IIIs. The Master Chief (and the big guy Jorge) are Spartan-IIs, who are trained to be a bit more individualistic and free-thinking, so of course they'd be the snarkers or big softies of the group. The other Spartans were IIIs, and were meant as more spec-ops cannon fodder, of a sorts. Their personalities would have little opportunity to bloom, and would obviously be forced into the bitter badass that most of them seem to be.

*goes in expecting something about the Halo movie in limbo*

Wait, WHAT?

Okay moviebob, i'll cut you some slack since I tend to agree with you, but if you read the books, your entire outlook on the situation would change.

MovieBob:
Combat Evolved?

This week MovieBob rants about Halo.

Watch Video

Bob, let me get this right out first. I love ya man, I really do. Although your views are biased they're well worded and even if they're one sided they help give insight to at least one side of the conversation which in turn helps give more insight into other sides of the conversation. I'm really happy you've been given the equivalence of free reign here and I usually agree with your views, even on Halo. But man, you have opened yourself up to a major shitstorm here. I know you're no stranger to flamers and hate mail, but you may really be in for it this time. Here's to hoping you're as thick skinned as you seem.

CJ1145:

Finally, your point about the characterization falls flat if you give it some thought. Since you're not a fan of Halo, I doubt you'd even know that there's two groups of Spartans. Spartan-IIs, and Spartan-IIIs. The Master Chief (and the big guy Jorge) are Spartan-IIs, who are trained to be a bit more individualistic and free-thinking, so of course they'd be the snarkers or big softies of the group. The other Spartans were IIIs, and were meant as more spec-ops cannon fodder, of a sorts. Their personalities would have little opportunity to bloom, and would obviously be forced into the bitter badass that most of them seem to be.

*sigh* I really should stop before it looks like I have no life... I swear, I do, it's just that whenever I see something like this, I have to point it out.

You got the two groups completely mixed up here. The Spartan II's spent their lives being brought up as singular killing machines with a collective mindset, constantly berated for deviating from any of their traning to make sure they are the ultimate soldier. They can think on their feet, improvised, and they're definitely smarter than your average soldeir, but they are completely bound by military hierarchy.

Spartan III's were created as throwaways, soldiers that were nearly as good as the II's, but were quicker to produce. Their training, though harsh, wasn't AS harsh, allowing personalities to flourish a bit more. Example is Kat, who looks up top-secret data just because she's curious. Or Emile, the dick, who just doesn't give a shit. NOTE: I hate Emile.

To explain Jorge, he was a very different Spartan II. He entered engagements against humans as much as, if not more than, engagements with the Covenant. Plus, he was one of the two known II's to work with the Spartan III's, and their more out-there nature rubbed off on him, making him have a more diverse personality than most II's.

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