not often that a game comes out and completely outdoes its
competition. It is even more rare to see a game that not only
dominates itís own genre, but upstages all other games in recent
memory. A few years ago it was Half-Life. Before that it was Super
Mario 64. Now that game is Halo.
realize those are strong words and in most of todayís media things
tend to be over-sensationalized, but Halo really is the next
big thing. So many things
set Halo above its peers that it is hard to single out just one
thing. First off, while the majority of todayís games rely on cut
scenes to help advance their stories, Halo lets things unfold as you
play. Granted there are some cut scenes peppered throughout the game
(usually before and after levels) but most of the time if something
happens that effects the storyline, it will occur right in front of
you as you play. This kind of seamless advancing in the story can
really make you feel as if you are actually in the game.
said, the story is actually pretty good for a videogame. In short, a
spaceship loaded with humans makes a crash-landing on a ring-shaped
world called Halo. A collective of alien races also land on Halo and
the two forces battle for control of the worldís mysterious powers.
It sounds simple, but there are quite a few twists. Explaining them
would ruin things entirely, so youíre going to have to go see it for
yourself. I hope you
donít have any important plans coming up though because Halo
is a huge game. There are
10 levels and each one of them are divided into smaller chapters.
To complete just one level can take anywhere from one hour to
three hours depending on your skill level.
Pack a lunch, people.
stories are great, but even the best ones canít make a game great
without evenly matched gameplay. Most role-playing games can serve as
proof of that. Luckily for you, Halo has gameplay in spades.
Can you remember playing a first-person-shooter lately and
using the same lame tactic to overcome most of the enemies? That kind
of thing doesnít fly in Halo. The enemies in Halo are
brilliant in both design and intelligence. There are different classes
that each one falls into and each one has their own distinctive
behavior. Whether youíre facing a single enemy or a large pack, each
battle will call for itís own approach. In most cases the enemy will
try anything to surround you or back you into a corner. On the highest
difficulty setting, they actually use grenades in attempts to herd you
like cattle. If you can
imagine a tactic, it probably can be used by you or against you in Halo.
big part of Haloís appeal is the use of vehicles.
There are four different vehicles you can take control of in Halo.
Two of these, the Warthog and Scorpion Tank, can take other
marines along for the ride. Say
youíre in a single player game and you have four marines with you.
Fire up the tank and they can all ride on it with you while
still being able to fire all their weapons and toss grenades.
Multiplayer games can really get crazy with vehicles.
Letís say you have two linked systems with 4 players on each
team. You have tons of
options at your disposal. Put two people in the warthog while two protect the base with
sniper rifles, put everyone in a tank and invade, put each person in a
vehicle by themselves, etc. The
more players you have, the more insane the action can get.
Whatís best of all is that all this still applies to the
single player game thanks to the remarkable intelligence of your
thing that makes Halo great are the weapons.
No matter what your experience is with first-person-shooters,
you can adapt Halo to your playing style.
Letís say youíre a Quake III veteran.
Haloís weapon of choice for you is probably the plasma
rifle due to itís fast rate of fire. The game becomes a fast and furious fragfest with this
weapon. Not the fastest Quake
player? Is Counter-Strike
more your thing? The
sniper-rifle and pistol are for you.
The pace of the game slows considerably when you use these but
the game is given a much more realistic feel.
Itís this kind of adaptability that makes Halo a game
for everyone. No matter
who you are, there is a weapon in here perfect for you.
not sold? Well if Capture
the Flag and the like arenít enough to capture your interest, then
maybe I should mention that itís possible to play through the entire
single player game with a friend in co-op mode. Thatís
right, you can play the entire game from start to finish with two
people working side by side. Not only that, but the number or marines and enemies increase
when you add a second player. Those
massive firefights with the Covenant get twice as hot in co-op mode.
Best of all, Halo doesnít lose any detail in itís
graphics because of this and it rarely takes a hit in framerate.
of graphics, Halo is definitely the best looking game on a
console, period. There is
so much detail that it blows my mind.
You can run through the entire game and not even notice all the
little touches thrown in to make the game as great as it is.
Completely unnecessary things such as individual blades of
grass and transparent floors are everywhere in the game and you
probably wonít even notice them the first time through until you
actually stop to look around. After
three years of development, Haloís graphics make it quite
obvious that none of that time was wasted.
could go on and on about Halo but no amount of writing is going
to be able to communicate how great the game really is.
This really is the next big thing and will serve as the game
that all future first-person-shooters will be judged by.
It would have been worth buying an Xbox for Halo at $299, but
now that the Xbox is $199, it is a no-brainer.
Do yourself and your friends a favor by buying this game.
Set up a nice weekend with your friends and just let the hours
roll by as you blast your way through Haloís expansive