Sorry folks, but I need to put videolamer’s bold blend of criticism and cynicism on the back burner and brew a fresh pot of Game Fuel. That’s right – we need to talk about Halo 3.
Rest assured, we will be featuring a review of the game in some form or another, despite the fact that it is rather useless to review the biggest-game-of-the-decade-until-GTA4-comes-out. Though perhaps I am wrong about that – if vl’s readership is anything like its staff, there may be some of you who are unsure about this franchise, in which case we’ll have lots to talk about. But before a proper review is done, we have to play the damn thing. And before even that happens, there are a few things we should get out of the way.
How do you feel about Halo 3? Are you sick and tired of all of its hype? Are you sniping at fans the way I did with Harry Potter fans during book 7’s release? Are you staying up at night like it is Christmas all week in anticipation? Whatever your stance, I find it hard not to be happy with the results of this game. As we constantly debate whether games are art, it might seem appalling that the “College Frat Boy” game is the one that is going to capture the attention of the entire world. But despite the fact that some people aren’t doing it right, the fact that any game is receiving more excitement than a Hollywood blockbuster and is giving me flashbacks to Harry Potter is pretty amazing. I want this game to succeed, because this kind of release, this kind of marketing campaign, will make people stop and take a look at “them here videogames”.
I also want it to succeed because I think that this time Bungie might actually earn it. How well this game turns out will say a lot about Microsoft and how much they have learned over the years. The first Halo had to be ready for the Xbox’s launch, and as a result the game was not just startlingly different from its original design, but as an FPS it had one of the most drawn out and unnecessary second halves of single player gameplay. The Flood stages show a clear delineation where Bungie needed to add more missions but didn’t actually have them. And if you don’t believe me, then just load up The Library missions and tell me why there are arrows on the ground showing you where to go.
Halo 2 was also rushed in order to make the holiday season. While we all slobbered over it at the time, it is quite hip these days to say that the game “sucked”. While that is not really the truth, the game did have problems, namely a story that wasn’t at all what we were promised, iffy level design and questionable weapon changes. Halo 2 was not the game we expected, though the signs were there for quite a while. It showed us what happens when we let the hype machine run wild. And once the backlash started coming, Microsoft knew they couldn’t screw around with their cash cow.
The hype machine rolled again, which perhaps shows that we really learned nothing at all. But this time it looks like Bungie were able to do things their way. Wasn’t this game supposed to be here in time for the PS3 launch? That didn’t happen, which tells me that Microsoft realized the folly of such a promise, how undercooked a product they would have received.
So now we may have the Halo sequel we always wanted. We already know the game will have 4 player online co-op with a crazy “metagame”, highly customizable online avatars, video replay options, a level editor and tons of new weapons. It looks like they are trying to make the most comprehensive multiplayer experience on the 360, and in just hours we’ll be able to see if they really did.
Halo has me giddy. Who would have thought?