Saturday, February 12, 2011

Playing the Halo Games Over Again

Bungie last fall released Halo: Reach its last Halo game. I rated the games in a previous post. I then decided to play all of the Bungie Halo games in chronological order.

So what did I learn? The story holds up pretty well. And Halo: ODST (2009) is a better game than the first time I played it. First, I like the music. It's an unusual jazz score, evoking loneliness as you attempt to find your squad. Yes, it's difficult at times when you're stumbling around in the dark. But the action on the missions of your squad mates, (you play your squad mates) is exciting. And I appreciated the romance between Nathan Fillion's character and Tricia Helfer's intelligence officer. Plus you get a stand alone arcade game. I won't change the ranking of where I put it but I will change the grade from B to A.

Halo 3's story has some problems. It's confusing. The big problem is the script. There's not enough dialogue to explain what's going on. Two examples, the Prophet of Truth escapes through a portal. It's not discussed what the portal is. Is like a wormhole? In the game it's just a big energy sphere. Spoiler. At the end of the game, Master Chief escapes in a frigate from the Halo ring that is firing. There's no scene of it going thought the portal. Instead, we cut to a memorial ceremony where Lord Hood is honoring the dead. We see the Arbiter who escaped with the Chief but where's the Chief. Okay, we see a scene where part of the frigate is falling to earth but there's no dialogue since Lord Hood is doing a memorial voice over. Huh? Unless you know the frigate well, you really don't have an idea what happened. Even the epilogue, doesn't necessarily tell you what happened. Cortana just tells you that some of us made it through. You do see part of a ship that looks like it could be cut in half. The game should have shown it get cut in half as it goes through the portal. All this reminds me of when Sergeant Johnson says in Halo 2, it's classified as to how he escaped the first Halo since there wasn't supposed to be survivors.

Still Halo 3 retain its grade for one reason. The technology. I just marvel at how the Flood Stalker transforms to a Ranged creature then to the huge Tank. It does this many time during a battle. The graphics are beautiful and there are some scenes that look like watercolor paintings. The game ends like the first one, with a driving sequence. This time, no ludicrous obstructions. The Warthog handles better also. And the game is still fun.

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