I’ll admit it. I was waiting for this game all night before it’s release. I even stayed up all night wondering if it was worth it to go out and pick it up on it’s midnight release. If it wasn’t for a few complications I probably would have stood outside my Best Buy with the rest of the losers and grabbed my copy there. The thing about my hype was that I already knew what this game was going to be. I knew it was going to be a sequel. I know it was going to be Halo 2 with a few game-play tweaks. That’s what sequels usually do.
I think what lead to Halo’s wide spread hatred was the fact that people made a big deal out of it and it annoyed the more pretentious crowd. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t dislike Halo. The game has flaws, but it also shines in many ways. I’ll admit it. In comparison to Bioshock, and all the story driven games in the Orange Box, Halo’s story falls incredibly flat.
The characters are generic, nothing is really explained for any of the newcomers, and the in-game cinematics are severely lacking. I think that’s what made Call of Duty 4 so damn immersive. It wasn’t the fact that it had an incredible story, it’s the fact that it was put together so well. It felt like every footstep you took was planned and thought out.
This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy Halo’s single player campaign (I wouldn‘t be a Halo fag if I didn‘t). Most of the fun for me was the game-play itself. I also came in with something extra. I came in with a wealth of knowledge of the Halo universe. Every book that was released I devoured. It gave me background information. I knew deep inside that space armor Master Chief was a character other than what was shown in the game. In the books he isn’t a silent, armored piece of meat who gives cheesy one-liners.
I think half the fun for me was finding all these little links to what I had read. Every now and then I’d find some little bit of information that Bungie sprinkled in. I’ll even admit to getting chills when I heard Bungie had a new ARG (before it was hacked away by Microsoft).
I’ve invested quite a bit of time into this universe. Some people may call that incredibly nerdy as they play Final Fantasy VII for the eighteenth consecutive time and drawing Cloud fan art during those magical cut scenes. I say to each his own.
Halo 3 also came with it’s multiplayer game, and I think I’ve sunk more time in that part of the game than I have with anything this generation.
Many people overlook how good of a job Bungie did with multiplayer. It’s the first game to incorporate a level editor system, screenshots, video recording, and was able to make it so that people could share all of it with ease. I’m sort of hoping that last video Bungie released was a tease for an actual level creator. That would certainly give the game legs.
Like I said, I’m a fan of the gameplay, and that’s what ultimately keeps this game spinning in my XBOX. I can’t really say anything else. It also looks good, and because of it’s art style, this game will age fairly well unlike Call of Duty 4 that tries to go for that gray and brown, real life look.
I’m a fan, but I’m level headed enough to understand that this game has flaws. I understand and respect people’s opinions when they say they thought the game was “meh” and wasn’t as big of a deal as people made it out to be. That’s perfectly reasonable. I wouldn’t go up to people and say it’s an evolution in story telling (like the MGS4 fans). I just personally loved it.
I think a lot of us enjoy games that the public views as average. “Hey, are you going to buy Smash Brothers Brawl? A.K.A. Smash Brothers Melee 1.5?” A game that’s usually hyped up will get that extra negative attention over something that comes out of nowhere and is in the 7 to 8 review score range. I think reviewing something after feeling let down it didn’t fulfill the hype is slightly biased. You’re going into your review with an agenda, and not reviewing it for what it is, not for what you were told it was going to be.
So, what’s the point to my incredibly long digression? Go into games with no expectation and you may find yourself enjoying games a lot more than you used to.
Con amor, Alex