Another whole series I need to catch up on. I never had an original Xbox and was never all that impressed with my brief, early encounters with the Halo series and so never bothered to follow the series, but what the hell, you can get the whole remastered series together for $40, might as well. Has to be better than that buggy piece of shit Dying Light, that I traded in towards it (not even going to get into that story. Just be aware: buy games from Techland at your own risk). Anyway…
Despite a couple uncomfortably large flaws, I ended up enjoying this a lot more than I thought I would. One of those flaws is what put me off this game in the first place, back in the day, which is that the beginning of the game is fucking awful. The first level is a hugely overlong prologue/tutorial stage that is nothing but exposition and a lot of really boring identical corridors. It spends so much time beating you over the head with the basic gameplay that you really start to get the impression that this simplistic clichefest is representative of the whole game and it really made me almost stop again, because it just drags on and on for so much longer than it should. It’s a really bad way to start a game, but if you push on past it things finally start to open up. The levels get much bigger and more open and the fighting gets more and more intense as you progress.
You start off fighting against the Covenant, which are…some evil alien guys, I guess. You’re told almost nothing about them other than that they’re your big space enemies. You both land on HALO though, which is basically Ringworld, except it secretly imprisons the deadliest alien race ever (for now?), the Flood, and also can destroy all organic life in the universe, which is supposedly the only way to stop the Flood, by taking away all their potential food, which is not at all an insanely terrible plan. Anyway, once the Flood get released the actions ramps up as you find yourself swarmed by nutty zombie plant parasites.
Then you get stuck in the middle of the Covenant and the Flood fighting each other as you try to make your way through the rest of the game. I have to admit, the action is so fun and furious at this point that I didn’t even mind once I noticed that almost half the game is basically just backtracking through almost all the exact same levels twice.
Another of the big problems the game suffers from though, is the end. You have to do this driving escape sequence where you have to escape this exploding ship before the time runs out and you need to use the Warthog (space jeep) to do so, and the Warthog has unbelievably bad controls. You’re given a pretty generous amount of time, so it’s not all that difficult to accomplish, but it just feels so damn awkward and unpleasant, this horribly clumsy escape sequence where you just keep smashing into walls and corners and having to stop and back up to straighten yourself over and over again. It’s really sloppy and unpleasant, and makes for one disappointing ending. Still, I enjoyed the game a lot more often than I didn’t. Enough that I am beginning to understand what the big deal about this series is and am really looking forward to experiencing the rest of the series, which will hopefully have sanded out those nasty rough edges.
Well, Halo 2 was pretty similar to Halo 1, but they did improve most of the problems and expand on a lot of aspects of the game, especially the previously bare as hell story. We learn a lot more about who the Covenant are and even get to play as one of their champions for a few levels as a civil war breaks out among the different races that make them up, though I still don’t think they have ever bothered to mention just why they all hate humans so much yet. Oh well, better shoot em all anyway.
The levels are more polished, though are a bit smaller and there’s less exploration, but on the other hand this removes all the wandering and getting lost and the backtracking of the previous game. This means less downtime and more combat, and oh the combat is fun.
There’s this overarching plot that’s slowly unfolding regarding the Halo devices, their creators, and the Flood and all that that is pretty interesting and I’m looking forward to see where that all goes. I especially want to know what the deal with this guy is…
That’s a Gravemind, which apparently is the final form of a Flood infestation. What it wants and what it’s going to do next remain to be seen (for me anyway). The game ends raising more questions than it really answers, but at least I won’t have to wait long to find out. I am definitely converted though. These games are really living up to the hype so far. I can see how they would be a lot of fun in multiplayer too, if one was into that sort of thing. Anyway, time for a little break to play one or two other new things, then I’ll get back to more of this little Halo marathon.