This week as been a pretty slow and uneventful week as gaming things go so there isn’t really that much to say for the cold open. Most of the bigger things I’ve already covered but there is one thing I want to talk about, and that is “Playstation Home”. It is a “virtual 3D social gaming platform” on the PS3, developed by SCE London, that opened in 2008. I’ve always thought of it as the “Second Life” of the Playstation. (I’m not the only one by the way.) And I love it. Although, the tense of that previous sentence may be changing soon as the service is being shut down in Japan and Asia. The sale of virtual items will stop in September and then go offline in March next year. They have said that it will be staying in Western areas for the foreseeable future which it good because I like it and, as I’m in no hurry to get a new console (I have a PC and not sold on spending of the current catalogue), I will be playing it for a while.
For those of interest, I take “photographs” in PS Home. You can view them here. And to test the water, who would like some PS Home videos/articles? It’s the PS3 “Second Life” and you like that, right?
Anyway, to “Retro Monday”…
Title: “HALO: Combat Evolved”
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studio
Released: November 2001
I think, with the amount of ribbing that I have given the HALO series of late, I should cover it say where I stand on it once and for all.
HALO is, to most including me, is the forefather of the genre ‘modern shooter’. A genre that is more a dead-end than most. But that’s only because people took ideas and thematics from the HALO series and where mostly retarded in how they used them. HALO can’t be blamed for that. It’s like blaming the fire service for why there are arsonists. Why I don’t HALO is more because the game just isn’t very good.
As most of us know, you play as Master Chief, human super solder blah blah blah, you have a mostly naked and very often ‘alone time’ companion Cortana. Your job is to go through liner corridors that have enemies in them with the aid of your usual machine gun, shotgun, pistol and near end-game/one-off super weapon that you never end up using. So far so contemporary standard. The plot sees you fighting two alien species. One is the Covenant, a species that has the “Warhammer 40k” style of religion and theocracy, and the Flood, a parasite, zombie like species that appear all of the galaxy for mysterious reasons. Firstly, you can tell what group of aliens I find more interesting, and it doesn’t have a C in its name. The Covenant are the species that back story revolves around, but after HALO 1, whole chunks of game are dedicated to the species that are as interesting as watching paint dry. It might be because sci-fi games are a staple of mine but the whole idea of an alien species that is a theocratic war race is so over done, it’s now part of Doctor Who.
Before you start, no I am not including the books, or the added pile of extra universe stuff, comics and sex pillows that comes not in game form because the game should be able to stand up on its own. Not because it has a back-catalogue of books that you had to have read to understand what is going on or give a damn about the characters.
The title of the series comes from a ring-shaped space weapon that appeared in HALO 1 – 3. It is a weapon that someone built to get rid of the Flood because zombies and there is no escape blah blah. The problem is, to destroy the Flood the HALO would destroy all sentient life in the galaxy in the arbitrary rising of the stakes there ever was, but sure I’ll bite. It’s a zombie killing weapon after all. It’s basically “Resident Evil’s” nuke on Raccoon City so not that far-fetched. Except, as you find out in the later games, that rather than having one super death weapon, there many super death weapons in the most lazy of sequeling. Act one and act three end up staying the same with only act 3 changing depending what game your playing. Your either fresh-faced and being explained to as in the first, dark and gritty with murders as in the second, or just tired of it all so just chasing people to advance plot as in third.
One thing I will crucify the game for is the creation (or at least popularizing) of regenerating health. Regenerating health is the most boring addition to shooters since the ability to carry only two guns became a thing. Oh wait, that was HALO as well. Guess I have to crucify it twice then.
As the series progressed I got more and more bored has the plot started to retread more and more ground that it had already stepped on or stepped where someone else had stepped and stepped better. I’m not saying that it’s bad of the bane of all gaming. Like I said, “people took ideas and thematics from the HALO series and where mostly retarded in how they used them” so HALO is somewhat exempt. But it is stone dead average, only held up in nostalgic eyes because the 90’s where dark, gritty and consisted of the colour brown hidden in shadows.
Thinking about it, we’ve come full circle. Quake is now CoD with a brown castles and brown bombed towns. So I guess that means that HALO 5 will bring some colour into our lives and be held up as a nostalgic icon for years to come. Or Master Chief can take Cortana into the bike shed and we can have some hot new IP. “Destiny”, the hot love child seems nice.