November 3, 2012

Review – Halo 4

Review Halo 4
Soldiers scramble past fleeing scientists as Covenant troops fill the tight corridors of the Ivanoff space station. Emergency lights flicker over broken instruments as communications crackle and the battle consistently threatens to create hull breaches. And as the Master Chief charges forward, his faithful AI companion raises added cause for concern as her program continues to degrade and Cortana essentially thinks herself to death.

343 Industries returns the franchise to the opening tension of 2001’s Halo: Combat Evolved along with a sense of horror – an action game where players discovered fresh threats in that empty space where no one can hear you scream. Having fully taken the reins from developer Bungie, 343i doesn’t simply mimic the flow of the story that started the franchise however, waging a war of their own to bring a deeper theme of sci-fi horror alongside the grand operatic leanings of the series.

That doesn’t mean that 343i reinvents the wheel, rather, that they take the opportunity presented by a new trilogy in the franchise to refine the ride – often with layers of attention that, either owning to a fear of breaking the formula or the idea that “if it ain’t broke you don’t fix it”, were very much overdue.


October 9, 2010

Review – Halo: Reach

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 8:44 am

It’s 2010 now, and at this stage in the videogame universe reviewing a Halo game seems largely unnecessary. You’ve played it. You know what it is. You know if you’re prepared to spend your sixty-dollars for it. Still, there are some things about Reach that deserve to be said, so we’re going to say them, regardless of the fact that you already bought the game on launch day.

When I reviewed StarCraft II I wrote that a level of perfection in the gameplay design allowed the original StarCraft to endure, without sequels, far longer than any game has a right to. The Halo franchise is characterized by a similar condition with opposite results; in this case, a string of fundamentally similar sequels have been produced, capitalizing on the natural strength of the core gameplay mechanic.


October 7, 2010

The View From Reach

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 5:38 pm

Halo Reach
There’s a fiendish grin on my best girl’s lips, which slips into a smile nearly every time her battle rifle smacks across the face of an Elite.

In the futile rush to push back the Covenant invasion, there were plenty of times we lost track of one another, separating in the rush for cover, but often reunited by familiar Halo bottlenecks that never seem to leave enough ammo lying around when Hunters block the road ahead.

Greener pastures are open spaces where I can rush out to face the horde, pushing them back just as she circles around to catch them from behind with that crack of the rifle that makes her smile so.

Playing Reach constitutes her first steps in a Spartan’s boots, and a very long war seems fresher through her eyes. It gets a little easier to remember the first time I tried Combat Evolved, playing with a friend until my eyes burned from the purple of the Covenant fleet and the fact that the sun was sneaking up and cutting through the windows to glare against the warm glow of the television.

It’s so easy sometimes to treat anything popular with disdain, that I forgot how much I enjoyed playing through most of the damn campaigns in this series.


February 21, 2010

Lazy Sunday – Production I.G To The Rescue

Halo Legends
Last night I took time out to watch Halo Legends, because despite my dickish reputation I am, in earnest, a fountain of eternal optimism. Thematically and structurally Legends is chasing after The Animatrix, no surprises there, and while it misses that mark it is also littered with sequences and ideas that make the work hard to dismiss entirely.

Rather than a focused and stylish effort, Legends is more like a sloppy bomb that leaves just enough shrapnel embedded in the subculture it wants to wrap itself in to find extended life, not unlike the Skeksis. Repeated viewings turn up interesting pieces, but it’s clear from the first run through that Production I.G is in many ways without peers, with The Duel easily standing out from the pack both for its visual challenge and narrative focus.


Powered by WordPress