Zero Punctuation: Halo 3

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The bit about the friendly AI was quite funny to me. Not funny as in 'hah hah' funny, more like a 'I've been there' funny. Then again I'm sure most of us have been there and worse. It's one thing to have completely useless back-up going into a fight but going into a fight only to be shot 16 times in the back by 'friendly fire' really sucks the big one if ya know what I mean. Even worse is when such dumb-fuggery happens while playing a game in which you have to protect one of those retarded sacks of code.

Can Not:
Really, it sounds more like you're bad at gaming than you're reviewing a bad game.

Yes, because he definitely stated that the reason for his discontent lay in his inability to play games. Look at his complaints;

- the story is quite confusing to someone who hasn't played any of the other games.
- the graphics, while good, are way too bright sometimes.
- the AI acts like a cow in a supermarket trolley.
- it is massively overhyped.
- the single player campaign is short.

There may be one or two more, but as you can see those are all clearly are based on player skill.

/sarcasm

Great review, hell, I'm one of the wankers who put forth the 1/10th k-bar for the Legendary Edition of Halo 3 with all the crap, waffles and tarts I could ever want and I still agree with everything you said. Not to say I regret my purchase, I love crap, waffles and tarts, even the single player campaign is keeping me busy until the blasted Half Life (HL) Orange box comes out and I kick myself for spending money on HL2, and HL2 Episode 1 when Valve is going to package them all with HL2 Episode 2... Wankers.

I actually enjoyed the game quite a bit. Of course, it's no where near being the best game out there, but I don't understand why people that play PC games have this complex about console gamers.

I am absolutely fascinated by the number of people who are unhappy with the fact that these reviews are biased. Biased review? Isn't the whole point of a review to show a preference of some kind? Granted, when reading a review you need to have some idea of the preferences of the reviewer, or their evaluation won't be useful to you. However, this review makes it very clear that Yahtzee is not into multiplayer games, and he is essentially coming at the game de novo, without a long history of playing halo. What do you want from the man? If you're really into the multiplayer experience....maybe you should read a review by someone who actually cares about it. If you are a halo fanatic, and not trying to determine whether or not you should buy the game........why are you worked up about the review? Its not as if sales are going to take a dramatic dive.

ccesarano:
Erm, with few exceptions, just about every major and minor FPS is being released both on PC and Xbox 360. If you, in fact, mean past games, well, some of the major ones such as Half-Life 1, Half-Life 2 and Deus Ex are also on console.

Seriously, I see no reason why consoles should be considered inferior in any way to PC's. Maybe for a game such as MechWarrior, given that a control pad just wouldn't be suitable. However, that doesn't mean my console is inferior, as there are plenty of excellent, fantastic games I've played on console that PC gamers haven't. Ever played Final Fantasy Tactics? It's like Square made that game by accident, because it's too good for them. The gameplay is phenomenal and still stands head and shoulders above other tactical JRPG's, the level of character class customization is awesome, creating unique teams from player to player, and the story is on the level with a lot of classic literature and some of the other best stories ever told(again, too good for Square). Yet it's a console game, which is treated as if it's the stupid man's gaming platform.

Are you guys seriously that closed-minded? Or, to risk being offensive, do you seriously need to justify your high costs of computer upgrades that badly in order to keep up with the latest and greatest? I may have missed out on some great PC titles, but at least I got plenty of great console ones plenty of you guys have missed out on as well.

I'm fortunate enough to be able to afford both and frankly don't enjoy playing certain genre's of games on a console. The FPS genre is one of them. It has nothing to do with thinking my PC is better than my console, it is the control schemes available to me. Its true that HL1 and 2 were both put on consoles and they were horrible there. Halo tries to make up for it by doing a bit of auto aiming for you but that can be awkward when it is locking onto something you don't want to shoot at. The keyboard mouse combination just has not been beat in that genre as far as ease of control. The same goes for RTS games, you just cannot beat the mouse/keyboard combination of the PC.

Thats not to say this is true of everything, I think most JRPG's, 3rd person games (GTA etc) and platformers especially play much better on a console than they do on a PC. Thats not even counting specialty controllers like rhythm games have.

Halo may be 'the shit' as far as console FPS games go, but to me its just shit when it comes to comparing it against other FPS titles that happen to be on the PC. I've had a controller in my hand since I was probably 7 and didn't even have a computer capable of gaming until my late teens. I don't love consoles, I don't love PC's, I love games.

Mr. Positive:
What hype can't do, for the most part, is account for any actual tangible enjoyment that people can experience from one of these forms of entertainment, and the subsequent rave reviews and eventual longevity of popularity that arise from that enjoyment.

Of course it can, and it is called 'groupthink'. You get a critical mass of consumers convinced that a game is going to be solid gold. Everyone goes and buys said product. Everyone proclaims that this Christ thing is old hat and Halo is where it is now at, and those that aren't in fact having a good time look around, seeing everyone else apparently having a good time, and jump aboard ye olde bandwagon.

The 'tangible enjoyment' you speak of doesn't necessarily come from the game itself, but from the reflected glory of 'backing a winner' and being seen to do so publicly (go ahead, call me a cynic, I don't mind).

Merlynn:
Ok,I'm gonna ask one question then shut up. Is anyone going to answer the "perfect game" question I posed in my first post on this thread? (page 4,second post from the top) I'd like to hear some ideas on that.

As long as the entire games themselves don't have to be perfect, I'm fine with that. Here are some of the elements which I might look for in said mythical beast, and are usually done quite poorly.

Cooperative play mechanic
Halo (might as well be briefly on-topic)
Immersive play
System Shock 2 (with Thief 3 running a relatively distant second - if every level was done as well as Cradle it'd be an easy first). I'd like to join in the communal frothing at the mouth over Bioshock, but I need to get around to finishing it. So far I haven't played enough of the game to really 'get' the story and feel like it is mine.
RPG elements (freedom of choice, consequences, etc)
Fallout 2
Variable gameplay (ie not pure shooter/sneaker)
Splinter Cell (probably Pandora Tomorrow, even though it was too short. Double Agent was quite good too, but the wishy-washy choice management brings it down) - I really wanted to say Deus Ex here, but the later game really spoiled this aspect, although it gets some points for the RPG elements in the mix.

Now I'm a big fan of RPGs and I'm also a big fan of not reliving Doom any time someone makes a shooter. Looking over the points above again I think that if anyone made a combination of them and did it well they'd be better off just tattooing a player name to everyone's forehead and calling the game Life.

I'm surprised to find all of you so "pants-on-head" idiotically putting down the console FPS. Just because you spent $5000 on your stupid Alienware computer is no reason to compare it to my $400 Xbox. Obviously Halo 3 has flaws, but I can think of many more for your apparently god-worshipped PC games, and I suppose the unbridled waste of time some of you like to call the Playstation 3. Anyways, if you aren't willing to play multiplayer HOW CAN YOU possibly expect to enjoy Halo for all that it is? Xbox is all about multiplayer, they intentionally add some variety of multiplayer to every game to enable you to, as opposed to sitting in a dark room with your PC, playing with your friends. In conclusion, Halo 3 is a great game... I don't know how you can't see that. Maybe you should actually play the entire game (and not on 'Easy' difficulty dipwad) INCLUDING multiplayer. If you played the other games and perhaps read the several compelling novels based on Halo, you'd see the rather compelling storyline unfold. How do you expect to understand Halo 3 if you don't play the other two? What fool would watch the sequel to a movie without first checking out the fore-made movies? Frankly your opinions are akin to those of a bunch of wheelchair-bound cross-eyed hobbits.

I'm surprised to find all of you so "pants-on-head" idiotically putting down the console FPS. Just because you spent $5000 on your stupid Alienware comoputer is no reason to compare it to my $400 Xbox. Obviously Halo 3 has flaws, but I can think of many more for your apparently god-worshipped PC games, and I suppose the unbridled waste of time some of you like to call the Playstation 3. Anyways, if you aren't willing to play multiplayer HOW CAN YOU possibly expect to enjoy Halo for all that it is? Xbox is all about multiplayer, they intentionally add some variety of multiplayer to every game to enable you to, as opposed to sitting in a dark room with your PC, playing with your friends. In conclusion, Halo 3 is a great game... I don't know how you can't see that. Maybe you should actually play the entire game (and not on 'Easy' difficulty dipwad) INCLUDING multiplayer. If you played the other games and perhaps read the several compelling novels based on Halo, you'd see the rather compelling storyline unfold. How do you expect to understand Halo 3 if you don't play the other two? What fool would watch the sequel to a movie without first checking out the fore-made movies? Frankly your opinions are akin to those of a bunch of wheelchair-bound cross-eyed hobbits.

I know this post really is a bit of a soft target but since I'm trying to avoid doing any real work this morning, you're it.

the11thnickel:
I'm surprised to find all of you so "pants-on-head" idiotically putting down the console FPS. Just because you spent $5000 on your stupid Alienware comoputer is no reason to compare it to my $400 Xbox. Obviously Halo 3 has flaws, but I can think of many more for your apparently god-worshipped PC games, and I suppose the unbridled waste of time some of you like to call the Playstation 3.

I particularly like this brand of straw man argument, where the opposing side is put up to be even more rabid and fanatical than they actually are for the purpose of ramping up ones own level of mouth foam so as to appear moderate in comparison.

In conclusion, Halo 3 is a great game... I don't know how you can't see that.

Yes, let us sum up your argument and reach this conclusion shall we?
i) Xbox is cheaper than PC
ii) Halo 3 has flaws
iii) Other games also have flaws, some with more than Halo 3
iv) All Xbox games have multiplayer (even if they don't)
...therefore Halo 3 is great.
*waits for the moment of realisation* *waits some more* Nope, still not happening for me, sorry. Possibly because your argument is, well, not an argument. Remove pants from head and try again (couldn't resist).

If you played the other games and perhaps read the several compelling novels based on Halo, you'd see the rather compelling storyline unfold. How do you expect to understand Halo 3 if you don't play the other two? What fool would watch the sequel to a movie without first checking out the fore-made movies? Frankly your opinions are akin to those of a bunch of wheelchair-bound cross-eyed hobbits.

First of all, while I admittedly haven't read any of the Halo, uh, novels, the only thing any game-based books in the past have compelled me to do is either claw my eyes out or (possibly more sensibly) stay the hell away from future offerings completely. While the premise for the Halo series hasn't been bad for an FPS you're not going to find me playing it for the story but rather for the quite decent game mechanics.

Secondly, Halo 3 is a game which even its proponents have described as drawing its strength from multiplayer, not the campaign. This doesn't really suggest that any understanding is required. You don't need to "get it", you just need to whack on a headset, ramp your voice up an octave, and rediscover all your schoolyard epithets.

I would like a refund. This was clearly not even worth the traditional 2 cents, let alone a nickel (being an Aussie I had to look up how much a nickel was worth *grumble*).

I know I said I'd shut up,but I can't resist playing "Captain Obvious".

http://www.amazon.com/Xfps-360-Keyboard-Mouse-Adapter/dp/B000OYI6SA

Now shut up about how consoles don't have keyboard/mouse functionality. Although they don't clear up all the problems with console controls,they do let you use a keyboard/mouse and they're getting more tweakable every day. Of course,they wouldn't NEED these things if they just replaced the right analog stick with a roller ball mouse like they used to have on laptops or one of those new touch sensor things like they have on the new ones. But whoever said the entertainment industry run on the idea of making things more enjoyable?

But for those of you who are "console only",which is the only reason I can think of that ANYONE would say that a controller is just as good as a keyboard/mouse for FPS games,just try an FPS on the PC before you say that. I suggest Serious Sam,you should be able to get it cheap. Or you can get the KB/M adapter and try that. I think you'll find that aiming/moving/killing is much easier with the the KB/M set up. Seriously. It is. Keyboard and mouse is just a superior way to play. The Xbox 360's only flaw in FPS is it's not set up for KB/M.

And all those "options" you're talking about in multiplayer? We've been doing that on the PC for years. Even the games that weren't supposed to have it. We did it ourselves. Consoles are only recently starting to move into player created content. There's a reason Half-Life 1 remained a popular game until they made the sequel. Player created content. It got so that modders were able to basicaly rewrite the whole game. For the cost of Half-Life,you got a half dozen games,including Counter Strike (originally made by Half-Life modders) and Team Fortress Classic. God only knows what they're going to do with the Gravity Gun and Portal Gun.

So,to sum up:
PC-Pros: Can do more than play games,player created content,naturally uses KB/M.
Cons: Can be expensive if you don't know where to shop for parts.
Console-Pros: Always cheaper than PCs,can get adapter for KB/M.
Cons: Pretty much only plays games,minimum player created content,naturally uses controller.

So,there it is. Also,to clearify,the whole "perfect game" thing is about what you want to see in a game. It's supposed to give us insight into what you look for in a game. So I don't want a list of games you liked. I want to hear about your dream game.

Well,I'm rambling. I'm going back to shutting up now.

"What fool would watch the sequel to a movie without first checking out the fore-made movies?"

Oh,and I wanted to answer this question. Everyone who went to see Episode 4: A New Hope in 1979 rather than waiting decades to see Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

I love you Yahtzee. I want you babies.

I really don't think you can review these 'epic' games as most all the epic games that have come out really are average at best and the only thing going for them is the rabid religious fanbase behind them that has money to burn.

From what I hear from people, Halo 3 is Halo 2.
But this review has made me realize why I should never buy an XBox... because I like single player and expect content for it.. :(

I know you mention the halo/360 fanboys in your video, but you forgot to mention the sony executives and hoards of sony fanboys that will want to dry-hump you now for not saying halo 3 is a master piece.

Dear Mr. Yahtzee,

Your reviews are very good, and this one is no exception. After playing the first Halo (primarily single player) and the second Halo (primarily multiplayer) on the recommendation of friends, I must say I had very low expectations for this game. I am definitely a console gamer, but FPS on consoles are generally unenjoyable for one reason -> auto-aim.

Halo is auto-aim hell. Thats the unfortunate nature of console controllers, they don't have the resolution of a mouse, its not going to work the same. Hell, arcade games have binary controls. I wouldn't expect you to want to play a 3D platformer on an arcade stick either. But to each there own, some people enjoy console FPS, and thats their prerogative.

My major problem with the Halo fanboys is not their boasts that the mutiplayer is great, because its not bad minus my controller beef in the previous paragraph. Again, to each their own. But why do Halo fanboys *tout the story*. Halo's story is *awful*. Its derivative, its poorly told (Halo 2 especially). Halo 3 was no different. (Truth be told I only played the review-final, but it was a beta and had all the final assets and code afaik)

Hell, when I first played the original Halo3 single player beta, I said man thats kinda sub par (fresh off of Bioshock). Then the final was no different, then we realized it was natively rendered in 1152x640p and upscaled.

Thats two big screwups against Halo3 as far as I'm concerned. Why do people give Halo3 a pass (10/10) with such glaring flaws....

Well its easy. People like being in mobs. Hate to say it but Halo appeals to the lowest common denominator. Theres a huge number of these people out there, you see them every day. When people get together they form mobs. This generation its trendy to love Halo and hate Sony (that Wii60 guy a few pages back made me giggle). Last generation it was trendy to hate Xbox and before that it was trendy to hate Nintendo. When fanboys get together and forum a mob, they tend to act silly so not to shatter some internal reality based on their favorite game. This thread is an excellent example of it.

Grow up kids :)

Evilducks:
I'm fortunate enough to be able to afford both and frankly don't enjoy playing certain genre's of games on a console. The FPS genre is one of them. It has nothing to do with thinking my PC is better than my console, it is the control schemes available to me. Its true that HL1 and 2 were both put on consoles and they were horrible there. Halo tries to make up for it by doing a bit of auto aiming for you but that can be awkward when it is locking onto something you don't want to shoot at. The keyboard mouse combination just has not been beat in that genre as far as ease of control. The same goes for RTS games, you just cannot beat the mouse/keyboard combination of the PC.

Thats not to say this is true of everything, I think most JRPG's, 3rd person games (GTA etc) and platformers especially play much better on a console than they do on a PC. Thats not even counting specialty controllers like rhythm games have.

Halo may be 'the shit' as far as console FPS games go, but to me its just shit when it comes to comparing it against other FPS titles that happen to be on the PC.

See, I find the whole keyboard/mouse thing is a preference issue. Someone later mentioned that anyone that played an FPS on PC would hate the controller, but the first FPS I was able to enjoy was Aliens vs. Predator 2, a PC FPS released just when I finally got a PC capable of playing new titles. Unfortunately, I missed out on the original Half-Life until I borrowed it from a friend on PS2, the first time I significantly heard about it. For some reason I still haven't picked it up on PC and don't know why... In any case, before that people thought Goldeneye64 was "the shit", and I couldn't understand that at all. Horrible controls, shitty A.I., and the only challenge from the game came from dealing with a horrid control scheme. Sure, it introduced deathmatch to consoles, but...ugh. I tried playing Alien: Resurrection on the Playstation, and it controlled horribly. Medal of Honor: Frontline wasn't a bad setup, but it was still uncomfortable (I partly blame this on the PS2 controller).

So Halo was the first console FPS I enjoyed, and I think part of the reason is that the Xbox S controller was the most comfortable pad until the 360 one. It was also because it was a working control scheme that felt comfortable, not to mention the gameplay was something new. Sure, Medal of Honor was a WWII game, but Halo actually felt like combat. It felt like warfare. Were any of the gameplay elements, on paper, new? No, but in execution they worked out well. I think one of the flaws of the sequels is they focused less on pure atmosphere and war-style (such as dropping on the beach in Silent Cartographer) in focus of "guys, we need to make sure this is more of a video game" in people's various complaints of level design and other such crap.

The auto-aim was, honestly, not very noticeable when I first played, but if I go back now I notice it a lot. There are plenty of games on console now that don't have auto-aim, or they don't have it on default. For example, Shadowrun. You know the biggest difference between the console and PC versions? When you turn in the PC version the targeting reticule grows larger than in the console version. That's pretty much it, and is mostly because you can turn around faster. There's no auto-aim or other "tricks" involved, and the whole reason is because you can move quicker with a mouse.

Most people may be more precise with a mouse, but I usually am not. Of course, I have a TON of PC gamer friends at College here that I've watched play console games, all of whom swear by the keyboard and mouse, and I've noticed two big trends. The first seems to be some issue at moving two joysticks at once. I can't explain it, but they can never adjust both joysticks at once, to say go backward then back left then left while also aiming everywhere. The second is they are all the way on or all the way off, likely a result of the keyboard. They never gently press the analog slightly just for a minor adjustment, they press it all the way. When they have to snipe it's like they are concentrating way too much. Basically, I see them running into problems I don't recall ever having in any game.

My current roommate prefers keyboard and mouse, and he and I have some interesting discussions on adjustments made. He explained to me how Legendary on the first Halo was easy and horrible, but one thing I'll note is Gearbox handled the port. It's a BAD PORT. However, he gave Halo 2's Legendary a try and he died a dozen times on the first fight on PC, once again, the only adjustment made (other than removing auto-aim) being the increase in reticule size as you turn.

I know most people likely will disagree, but to me, the reticule size thing is a minor issue. After all, I will admit a PC gamer can turn around faster than a console gamer, so the time it takes a console gamer to turn is much longer than a PC gamer.

In any case, a keyboard and mouse may be "better" in some ways, but I've always found precision with a mouse more difficult and uncomfortable. In fact, the keyboard itself is uncomfortable. I just love a controller in my hands, so to me, a console FPS is what I prefer. I purchased S.T.A.L.K.E.R. for PC though, simply because I've been wanting that game for years. Unfortunately, my laptop needs another gig of RAM to run the game adequately...so yeah, if I have a choice, I'm also buying a game on console so I can have the best performance possible.

Strategy games, however, do belong on PC. While many companies have been working to get a good system out on console, with Ensemble Studios looking to have the most promising with Halo Wars (how ironic when you discuss hype on Halo 3 I bring up Halo Wars...), a system designed from the ground up to work on console, it really ends up working best on PC. I cannot see a game like Rome: Total War working on a console without keyboard and mouse.

Of course, if you guys want to talk about fan bases of games that aren't that deserving, why don't we compare the popularity of StarCraft vs. Total War? I mean, StarCraft is fun, but it's got some balance issues and, honestly, is simple for what once can claim to be "strategy". Yet it sells millions, building insane hype for StarCraft 2, and yet here Total War sits, recognized only by a few (by the way, I should note I'm not good at any strategy game, and the only one I can really enjoy is Master of Orion 2, but I can recognize good gameplay elements when I see them. StarCraft looks fun for a strategy game, but Total War.....Christ). Same with Counter-Strike, a massively overrated multiplayer game that so many people play. These games may not get the marketing push Halo does, but aren't they the same thing? Aren't they more shallow than what's really out there?

Merlynn:
And all those "options" you're talking about in multiplayer? We've been doing that on the PC for years. Even the games that weren't supposed to have it. We did it ourselves. Consoles are only recently starting to move into player created content. There's a reason Half-Life 1 remained a popular game until they made the sequel. Player created content. It got so that modders were able to basicaly rewrite the whole game. For the cost of Half-Life,you got a half dozen games,including Counter Strike (originally made by Half-Life modders) and Team Fortress Classic. God only knows what they're going to do with the Gravity Gun and Portal Gun.

I've seen people have made their own friend lists and other such things for PC games, but Xbox Live has put it all in one spot, makes it part of the OS and makes it easy. Plus, the Marketplace is fantastic.

However, you are right about user created content. Personally, I love what MS Games has done for (console) gaming. However, E3 2005 they claimed Marketplace was going to be a haven for user created content, and yet Halo 3 is just now bringing in Forge and MS is working with Epic for user created tools and content. Of course, the system is very different, but I think, for consoles, it still needs more work. XNA being able to tie in with the Xbox is a nice start. I think what Microsoft should do is start to tie development even further. Let's say you get UT3 on Xbox, and it comes with a special ID number. You log into your MS account (I know, I know, "taking over the world", yatta yatta), plug in the number and now have access to downloading the development kit for that game and engine. Voila. If you can tie them all with XNA and get rid of the stupid Creators Club thing limiting who can access their 360, you now have a way of sharing stuff similar to PC. Either that or include a DVD with the games including the material to install on your computer, which is much more simple.

In any case, yes, the modding scene will always be more at home on PC, but honestly, who would want to work on a console for modding anyway? My console isn't for work. My PC, on the other hand, is.

Man, that was long. I think this thread is actually convincing me to join the forums here, because if this is the worst it gets...

.... I dont get how you think you can play the third game in a TRILOGY and expect to get all the story. The only parts I agree with in this are the driving AIs and the... wait theres nothing else. If you pay attention theres plenty of story. There are 3 books on it. I like Zero Punctuation so im just going to forget this ever happened, but do yourself a favour and play the first games.

Also, why is it that so many people on Yahtzee's side have never actually played halo 3?

and holy effing crap ccesarano, long enough for ya?

Fantastic. Well done.

Merlynn

the adapters are imperfect and can be annoying enough to not fool with, either a A class adapter is made with full config ability and super smooth mosue or the console makers own up to the lack of control options and offer it, hell sony is letting epic use a USB KB and mouse for UT3 on the PS3.

The industry needs to get over the KB/M myth and offer it as a control options I'd be happy to pay for a official adapter if they gave me that choice but no its a pad or nothing and frankly I prefer nothing nowdays 300+ for a game I can barely play that takes twice as much time to learn to play than beat, and there are few games worth playing after you beat it(not a MP gamer so dont start any of you :P).

Gaming needs to head back to fun/control for a bit of tailoring the mindless console spew of pad or nothing,set cookie cutter controls or nothing is madding and sad on systems that are as powerful as a computer.

Thank you, Yahtzee. I appreciate that there's someone out there who has the ear of gamers and that does not worship at the Church of Halo just because everyone else seems to.

I've never thought they were bad games, but they weren't all that. I played the first, I experienced the multiplayer while guided by a fan, and I still don't see the fascination. Frankly, I think there are lots of things that are very popular but aren't anything special. Just because something appeals to the masses doesn't necessarily make it great. (Was Enter the Matrix a good game merely because it sold well, or Independence Day a fantastic movie because it was a box office hit? Answer: NO!)

Looking forward to next week...

Spindrifter:
Thank you, Yahtzee. I appreciate that there's someone out there who has the ear of gamers and that does not worship at the Church of Halo just because everyone else seems to.

And what makes you think there are no gamers that are huge fans of Halo? Again, I know it's not the best game series, but I have no problem owning a Halo 3 t-shirt and an old Halo shirt with a Grunt on it. As these are good games, though, I have no problem with the hype. Sure, there are better titles out there, but I'd rather Halo have this level of popularity than a game that's horrible.

ZippyDSMlee: I...am having trouble following you. I can't tell if you think the control pad is simply horrible, or if the industry needs to move onto a new type of controller, or what. I agree that, if you have a USB device, then keyboard and mouse input should be a definite option with no special tweaks or work-arounds. However, I...just have trouble following you.

Easykill:
and holy effing crap ccesarano, long enough for ya?

I like to say lots of things. :D I have no problem writing a lot, as it all contributes to the purpose or relates my thoughts and ideas. After all, I don't necessarily agree with telling people "you're wrong" unless it is something like, say, thinking Final Fantasy 8 is a good game. I don't care how much you enjoy it, that has to be one of the worst designed pieces of trash I've ever touched. At least the titles after I could play all the way through, meaning they were at least fun. But FF8? Ugh...

EDIT: Something that just came to mind is the whole "Games as Art" vs. "Lowest Common Denominator" thing. A lot of people are all about games being art, and I'll be honest, I am as well. I love artistic games. However, I see nothing wrong with games for the lowest common denominator. In fact, I find part of the art of game design is that you can take a game that is enjoyable to the masses. Granted this means you won't be as complex or intellectual as some games targeted just for the high brow masses, but you should still be able to appeal to them.

Some companies try to just grab the attention of the masses by emulating what they see in others. For example, how many sitcoms are out there using the same sort of dumb, cheap humor? However, there are also games that have plenty for a variety of gamers. These sorts of titles, to me, are a different sort of art.

So I think the idea of the "lowest common denominator" shouldn't be considered that negative of a thing. Not unless it's simply generating another GTA clone a la True Crime or Saint's Row. However, can you tell me what other game Halo is trying to clone? As many elements as it includes that you can find in other games, it sure has a unique feel and atmosphere. A lot of people try and compare Halo and Half-Life, but the most accurate comparison is actually, once again, the Ringworld books (I'm surprised no one has mentioned those yet other than me). The idea of the Halo rings and the idea of the Flood are pulled right out of those books, but it ends there.

I'll have to admit first off that I'm a bit of a "rabid Halo fanboy," but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate something funny (shocking thought that may be.)

I love your reviews, and this one I actually mostly agree with. On the other hand, there are bits that really do confirm that you never actually played Halo or Halo 2 (as you admit) and seem to misunderstand Bungie's (and Microsoft's) target demographic.

First, where I (mostly) agree with you:

As for the single player campaign: fair enough. You make some excellent points. I actually am a huge fan of the Halo story, despite a lot of chortling from some about it being "derivative" (ok, maybe) or "simple" (not particularly.) Playing through the first two games might have given you a reason to care one way or the other about the Master Chief, Cortana and the other characters. As it is, Halo 3 does not give any reason to, really, so it's fair enough for you to feel a bit ambivilant. Were Halo 3 a standalone title, and not the culmination of a trilogy, your point there would have been completely unassailable. As it is, your complaint is really: "Halo 3's story isn't particularly accessable to newcomers to the series." A valid complaint, maybe, but not a huge one.

As far as the mood/difficulty, well I'll have to agree with you on those points. The first game handled this much better - the "horror" elements did not creep in until later in the game, arrived somewhat by surprise, and took over the last half of the game completely - and those enemies were HARD. The Flood, even at the normal difficulty level, were tough in the original game. Here, they are very weak. Absurdly weak. The vaunted "true enemy that threatens all life" was kind of a pushover here. What a let down. Meanwhile, battles against Covenant forces - even some sections with comparatively weaker Grunts, were impossibly hard. The fact that the game richocheted between these levels of difficulty and mood were a distraction.

(In defense of the Grunts, their reactions to Master Chief have always been fairly humorous throughout the series. The enemy dialogue (as well as friendly AI dialogue, if you take the time to listen to it) has always been very intelligent (in how it reacts to the player's actions) and often pretty funny. What you found annoying here came across to many players of the series as a whole as continuing a tradition... so make of that what you will.) :)

Yes, the campaign is absurdly short. I would have liked more. And the friendly AI is impossibly stupid. No wonder humanity is losing the war to the Covenant!

However, where I really disagree with you is in one statement you make: "I don't give a shit about the multiplayer and neither do a lot of people."

Well, a lot of people are playing the multiplayer (though, in comparison to the world population, I guess we could say "a lot" of people aren't.) One need only log into XBox Live and look at the "currently playing" numbers to get an idea of the insane amount of people on Halo3 Multiplayer. To address your point specifically: the multiplayer isn't "excusing the short campaign" (as if the multiplayer were some tacked on addition to a single player game.) The multiplayer IS the game. The multiplayer is the entire point of this title - Bungie might as well have released a game similar to Shadowrun - entirely multiplayer - and it would have been a praise worthy game (though they would have gotten complaints for never finishing the story...) As it was, they did include a campaign (thank god) in order to wrap up the story of Master Chief, Cortana et al - and it's a fairly good wrap up, while admittedly having some flaws.

Where the game really shines, however, is in the multiplayer - which is surprisingly robust, varied and fun. The inclusion of The Forge editor was a brilliant move on Bungie's part (and whether or not PC shooters have been doing this for years is irrelevant to whether or not Halo 3 does it well.) The multiplayer gameplay offers everything the single player campaign fails at: intelligent enemies, ramped difficulty, intelligent allies (in team play - assuming your friends are any good) and near infinite variation, depending on the specific options and gametypes set on any number of maps. People can turn it into an argument about PC vs Console shooters (a lot of which is just subjective quibbling anyway) but the point is: this multiplayer game is fun, and very well done. It's obvious that the multiplayer aspect is where Bungie's designers spent most of their time tweaking and refining the game, because it's incredibly well done, and a blast to play. It's tons of fun.

And really, the multiplayer was the entire point of this game. Halo 2 continued to be one of the most played games, even crossing over to the 360, not based on its admittedly spotty single player campaign, but based on its multiplayer dimension. Halo 3 took that, and ran with it.

So, yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly about the single player campaign. It could have used a little more work. As it is, I'm glad they gave the story some closure - and that there is quite a bit of robust storytelling (if you play on Legendary difficulty and know where to look in the game for it.) But I have to respectfully disagree with you, as someone who "gives a shit" about the Multiplayer.

Then again, you are correct in that there are some people who just aren't interested in a multiplayer game, and are just looking for a good, single player shooter with a decent time investment and a deep story. At the very least, your review will inform them that Halo 3 really isn't that sort of game.

Well,to me,the difference between sticks and mice is pretty obvious. With a mouse you can not only turn fast,you can aim fast. You don't have to be as precise with a mouse. You have to slowly and carefully nudge the stick to aim with a controller and it's really easy to over shoot the mark. And,while you're doing all this,you get the feeling of not moving fast enough and that's like the antithesis of FPS games. They want to do things fast and precise. Holding still and slowing down just goes against the whole idea of FPS games and leads to players feeling like they're leaving themselves exposed. At least that's how I feel. Every second I spend aiming,I feel like I should be dead 10 times over.

That's what I hate most about the sticks. I figure if one's willing to practice at it,they can get good at it,but ultimately,you want to use what's comfortable for you. And what's comfortable for most FPS players is KB/M. So while you can play better with the sticks,you have to realize most FPS players came from the PC players where FPS games were before making the jump to console and therefore most are better off with the KB/M. And I still say replacing the right stick with a roller ball mouse would be a big improvement for everyone.

As for you idea of the PC made player content transfered to consoles,the biggest problem is they'd have to be built to run on the consoles. And the only way I can think of to do that would be to include some kind of testing software or emulator and that can be backwards engineered to make a full emulator so you can play console games on the PC. And most console makers don't like the idea. Otherwise,I suppose content could be submitted to the console makers and checked and approved,but that would mean you still couldn't do anything the companies frowned on,like making popular character models,nude patches,or ripping off maps from one game to play on another game. So,yes,no matter how you look at it,console player content will always be second place.

And I find forums are only as good as the people on them. To that end,I try to keep it nice and civil. I don't do a very good job of it,but I'm trying,damn it!

And Zippy means that alot of the bugs with the KB/M adapters out is that the games themselves aren't really set up for KB/M controls,so it takes a lot of tweaking to get them to work and even then it's not as good as on a PC,where it naturally uses KB/M. So you either have to find a really good adapter (which may not even exist on the new consoles yet) or the companies that make the games have to acknowledge the usefulness of KB/M and support their use,which is unlikely even tho MS makes keyboards and mice and could make a bundle off ones just cosmetically altered to go with the Xbox. It also doesn't help if the games don't allow remapping your buttons.

To be clear,it's perfectly fine to like Halo for what it is. Enjoy it. It's just not "teh b3st gAmxors EVAR!" Which,I think,is a valid point. Halo is overhyped. That's not to say anyone should think less of you if you enjoy it,just that it's largely undeserving of some of the praise if uniformly gets. And lets face it,even if every game were taken on as an art project,there's a lot of different ideas as to what art is and not everyone's going to like your definition. And even Lowest Common Denominator games have to have some standards. The lower your standards on a game,the better chance you have of getting less intelligent people into it. But the other edge of that sword is the dumber you make the game,the fewer people of higher intelligence you'll get. So if you dumb it down too much,you'll only get the bottom 10% of the population and only until they find a shiney object to distract themselves with.

I think Halo is about the middle. It's smart enough to get some of the intellectual snobs to play,and simple enough to pull in the casual gamers and "frat boy demographic". As has been said,the game's not bad,it's just not the big bag of awesome we've been hearing about. But it's ok if you like it on the game's own merits. It's just as easy to say "Serious Sam is just a mindless killfest of all the creatures god saw fit not to create",but I still like and enjoy it. In pretty much all respects,SS is dumber than Halo,which is saying something. But I like it and I'm not going to deny it to pretend to be cool for anyone. I'm a huge nerd and you can suck a candy bar out of my ass for all I care if my enjoying my life my way offends you. So at the end of the day,you can play Halo and wear the t-shirt and go to the movie and enjoy the hell out of it. You're still cool here.

Mr. Positive

It's pretty interesting that people believe they've found their knight in shining armor to side with. As if a lemming crowd with pitchforks and boomsticks are raiding the microsoft HQ as one. But if you seriously expected a non negatory review from said attention whore then you are perpetually retarded. Yahtzee has one goal in mind, to please his fans, and he does this best by bashing the popular games that are released. Let's face it, people love to hate, it's in our genetics. Yahtzee is just catering to that sect of individuals and in essence is the only true reviewer that forgoes both sides of the coin: negative and positive aspects of a game. In this case, much like Bioshock, he's only focusing on impossible standards that simply cannot be captured by today's technological states on a console.

Yes, Yat is clearly growing a fanbase from a negative cult ratio blow mind pig snake and the cell is right on the sky blue lunatic.

But your claims are a bit... troubling.
Is a good consistent narrative only possible on the Playstation 8?
Is a medium to long story only possible on the Playstation 8?
Is a decent AI only possible on the Playstation 8?
Is a richer FPS experience only possible on the Playstation 8?
Are correctly calibrated graphics only possible on the Playstation 8?

Cause contrary to Bioshock's review, where he may have pushed the limits over the lady down the blush tree fork slag my heart feels goat milk and above all mathematics, his points in this case are rather correct. Blunt, harsh, but correct.

Merlynn:
And I find forums are only as good as the people on them. To that end,I try to keep it nice and civil. I don't do a very good job of it,but I'm trying,damn it!

And it's appreciated. It never ceases to amaze me how civil and intelligent a conversation we can have, regardless of the number of participants, when all parties are committed to rational discourse, rather than poop-flinging.

Here's my little throw-in to the console vs PC argument, as I can't be arsed to read essays worth of fanboy babble on either side.

The X-Box 360 is controlled by a company called Microsoft.

That's it. That's all of my factual argument. Now for the analysis...

Now it's not any of my direct hate towards Microsoft...it's my hate towards companies. Companies that dictate how something should move, because normally their goals are to get more money. If a decision does not result in more sales, they don't bother. Case in point...

On the 360, they're called Xbox Live Arcade games. Classics like Geometry Wars and Doom for about $5 each. No one can deny they're very fun for the amount of money they're worth.
On the PC, they're called independent games. Classics like Narbacular Drop, Echoes and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. They're FREE. That's because no one wants money here, they just want you to play their game, and sometimes donate.

Anyone remember Valve putting out Half-Life 2: Lost Coast just because they thought people might like it? People who bought HL2 didn't get it with any notion that they'd get an extra map later on. On the Xbox, a Halo map pack is some 20-odd dollars. Granted, that is a number more maps than Lost Coast; but something in me tells me if it was one map, it would still cost $2.

Then there's problems with cross-platform play. On the PC, you do what you want. GTASA actually BECAME a multiplayer game through a mod. On the Xbox almost everything you can or can't do is dictated by Microsoft (such as Halo 2 cross-platform multiplayer). If you don't like Microsoft's decision schemes, you have to BUY A NEW CONSOLE.

There's just this unnerving feeling that one day Microsoft will say something ludicrous, such as "to play Halo 3 singleplayer anymore, you must have an Xbox Live Platinum account" Obviously this makes little sense whatsoever, but the fact is they COULD do it. This isn't the case on the PC, where not only are there a MILLION game companies, all of which can make their games as they please, and if one of them suddenly makes said ridiculous statement, people would just go on playing someone else's games.

In conclusion: One company to control the Xbox. A million to control the PC. Power struggle makes business good.

ccesarano:
And what makes you think there are no gamers that are huge fans of Halo?

I am not responsible for your misunderstandings if you read things into my message that are not actually there.

And what's comfortable for most FPS players is KB/M. So while you can play better with the sticks,you have to realize most FPS players came from the PC players where FPS games were before making the jump to console and therefore most are better off with the KB/M.

I have no issue with that at all. I can easily accept people that tell me KB/M is more comfortable for them, and I know this is the case anyway. What I can't stand is when people tell me to my face that keyboard and mouse is better, and in some respects it might be, but my performance with a controller is much better with a controller. So I don't like my preference being called wrong since, if KB/M truly is better without a doubt, I should perform better on it.

I am not responsible for your misunderstandings if you read things into my message that are not actually there.

But you are responsible for your wording.

I appreciate that there's someone out there who has the ear of gamers

So what, he's speaking for all of us now? Yeah, he raises valid points, but honestly, when it comes to a lot of his opinions, I don't give a crap.

Just say it's nice that someone else agrees with you instead of wording it like only fratboy dick heads enjoy this title.

What is even happening in this thread. I don't know. Keep up the good work, Yahtzee! And might I recommend, next week, taking this huge audience you've accumulated and introducing them to something so obscure that even you haven't heard of it before?

Katana314:
Here's my little throw-in to the console vs PC argument, as I can't be arsed to read essays worth of fanboy babble on either side.

The X-Box 360 is controlled by a company called Microsoft.

That's it. That's all of my factual argument. Now for the analysis...

Now it's not any of my direct hate towards Microsoft...it's my hate towards companies. Companies that dictate how something should move, because normally their goals are to get more money. If a decision does not result in more sales, they don't bother. Case in point...

On the 360, they're called Xbox Live Arcade games. Classics like Geometry Wars and Doom for about $5 each. No one can deny they're very fun for the amount of money they're worth.
On the PC, they're called independent games. Classics like Narbacular Drop, Echoes and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. They're FREE. That's because no one wants money here, they just want you to play their game, and sometimes donate.

Anyone remember Valve putting out Half-Life 2: Lost Coast just because they thought people might like it? People who bought HL2 didn't get it with any notion that they'd get an extra map later on. On the Xbox, a Halo map pack is some 20-odd dollars. Granted, that is a number more maps than Lost Coast; but something in me tells me if it was one map, it would still cost $2.

Then there's problems with cross-platform play. On the PC, you do what you want. GTASA actually BECAME a multiplayer game through a mod. On the Xbox almost everything you can or can't do is dictated by Microsoft (such as Halo 2 cross-platform multiplayer). If you don't like Microsoft's decision schemes, you have to BUY A NEW CONSOLE.

There's just this unnerving feeling that one day Microsoft will say something ludicrous, such as "to play Halo 3 singleplayer anymore, you must have an Xbox Live Platinum account" Obviously this makes little sense whatsoever, but the fact is they COULD do it. This isn't the case on the PC, where not only are there a MILLION game companies, all of which can make their games as they please, and if one of them suddenly makes said ridiculous statement, people would just go on playing someone else's games.

In conclusion: One company to control the Xbox. A million to control the PC. Power struggle makes business good.

Well, there were hints, notably from Steam, and especially with some products announced for the PS3, that episodic content and other addons would become shorter and more expensive. I remember that at some point, it was really getting absurd. I think such signs were spotted slightly more than one year ago, but the balloon vented and things remained reasonnable.

As for Wolfenstein, it's more like there has been issues during the production iirc, notably with the editor I think, so they still decided to release it for free. It wasn't a bad move, as it let the game grow a solid community, which would greatly help for the future product in that franchise, known as Quake Wars.

Bongo Bill:
What is even happening in this thread. I don't know.

A Halo Chaos Vortex. Spawns demons of all kinds.

I am not responsible for your misunderstandings if you read things into my message that are not actually there.

But you are responsible for your wording.

You know what's even more impressive than winning an argument? Being able to accept losing one. The more you post the more you seem like an immature asshole. No offense.

Arbre:

Well, there were hints, notably from Steam, and especially with some products announced for the PS3, that episodic content and other addons would become shorter and more expensive. I remember that at some point, it was really getting absurd. I think such signs were spotted slightly more than one year ago, but the balloon vented and things remained reasonnable.

As for Wolfenstein, it's more like there has been issues during the production iirc, notably with the editor I think, so they still decided to release it for free. It wasn't a bad move, as it let the game grow a solid community, which would greatly help for the future product in that franchise, known as Quake Wars.

Valve has already admitted that episodic content was not such a good move (for them), and Episode 3 will be the end of it. (that's not to say Sam and Max Season 1 and 2 don't kick ass though!) That sort of "piece by piece" crap has shown up a lot more on consoles, whereas you need to buy more tracks and more cars for racing games, etc.

Also, as for the "unfinished code" thing with Wolfenstein: They didn't HAVE to release it at all, and it could have ended up like the OLD Team Fortress 2 or Prey, being completely discarded and never released for stuffed-up business reasons. Microsoft's style would have been to package it as some "beta" along with a game called BreakApart. (vague parody of Crackdown...) Let's not forget the entire Q3 code is GPL now; Open Arena certainly isn't helping id's sales.

Katana314:

Valve has already admitted that episodic content was not such a good move (for them), and Episode 3 will be the end of it. (that's not to say Sam and Max Season 1 and 2 don't kick ass though!) That sort of "piece by piece" crap has shown up a lot more on consoles, whereas you need to buy more tracks and more cars for racing games, etc.

Just a word of note. They haven't actually said that Episode 3 will be the end of episodic content, nor that episodic was 'not such a good move'. They have said that after Episode 3, they'll have the evidence they need to reevaluate the episodic decision. With three HL titles, plus TF2, plus Portal on the board, they'll have enough examples available to ask the community how they should refocus. I imagine that if everyone comes out gushing praise for the episodic model, that they'll be back doing it right away.

Kazidoom:
You know what's even more impressive than winning an argument? Being able to accept losing one. The more you post the more you seem like an immature asshole. No offense.

image

None taken. Banned.

If the only thing you have to add is an insult to someone else, then you should probably keep that to yourself. Basic, kindergarten-level social interaction stuff, people.

/mod.

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