Archive for the ‘ Xbox 360 ’ Category

Assassin’s Creed 2: Revenge of the Guido

Assassin’s Creed 2

Because of some outcry from my previous post, due to the fact that I had the audacity to put AC2 on a worst sequel list, I thought I’d give the game another chance and play it a touch more. Having endured the game from start to finish I look back and wish I’d had something better to do during my weekend. There are a very few moments that I can look back and think “Well…that was fun.” And the few there were the game was quick to make me forget. But, I digress.

Look Familiar?

Assassin’s Creed 2 and I had a gentleman’s understanding: I would do what I wanted to and enjoy myself a little bit and would then, on occasion, acquiesce and do what the game wanted me to, an act much akin to torture. You play as Ezio, the hero assassin from Midwestern Italy, who happens to be a Guido a bit ahead of his time. Seriously, a bad Italian accent, double popped collar, gold chain and, eventually, a goatee! Doesn’t he just belong on Jersey Shore? Add this trailblazer to the otherwise sub-par acting from the rest of the cast to get a truly unpleasant experience. Why everyone talks in English throwing in bits of Italian at random is beyond me. I would have much preferred if it had been spoken entirely in Italian or no attempts at all were made to insert it so that I could at least know what language they were supposed to be speaking. Acting aside, I find the story to be horrendously boring. There’s nothing to congeal the entire affair into a single cohesive story. Instead, Ezio just kinda runs around killing people, never with a clear goal besides sweet Italian revenge on his mind.

I'm a bad mother-SHUT YO MOUTH

On top of that, AC2 feels poorly shoehorned in to fit the already awkward Assassin’ Creed storyline. I suppose that’s why the Desmond sequences are few and far between (read 3). Those were one of my favorite parts about the original game, running around, stealing pens, finding creepy writing on the wall, fun times. In the second, you get a face full of Ezio and his time consuming side quests. There’s no point to doing any of the optional things, unless you’re into watching some creepy naked people run around…weirdo. I suppose you could do the quests if you wanted the sweet payday, but that is pretty much pointless. Once Ezio arrives at his uncles Villa money becomes utterly meaningless. You’ve got so much of the stuff you’re practically throwing it away, which is coincidentally a pretty effective distraction. Don’t have enough for that sword? Just wait 20 minutes for the money to come rolling in. I like the idea of resource systems as long as they remain relevant after you gain access to them. And make sure you renovate the brothel first.

Graphics wise, it doesn’t look much better than its predecessor. Yes, the faces have been significantly improved but the effects and everything else have not. In a game where killing people in dramatic close ups is a feature I’d expect blood to have better splatter effects than a watermelon at a Gallagher show. The sound effects are really disappointing as well. I am unsure what the issue was, but there were so many missed cues for sounds, from sword clanks to hearty cheers of victory. Sound is normally something that should not be noticed unless it’s done poorly, so I guess that’s one place AC2 succeeds.

PWNED

Speaking of things that haven’t been improved, the combat is still ridiculously simple to win at. Forever. You can still get through every single fight in the game by defending until you can counter. There aren’t even tricky counters to pull off like in the previous game. At least until you get to the enemies that simply cannot be countered, Ubisoft’s fix to the combat system. This can be solved by dropping your weapons and taking theirs. Same principle, easier execution *ba dum tish*. Similarly, there seems to also be a downgrade to the free running parkour controls. I can’t place the blame squarely on Ezio, but sometimes I really don’t want to jump into the river.

Zoom zoom ZOOOOM

And the flying sequence…I don’t get it. I’ve heard through the grapevine that it was the funnest thing in the game and I only found it boring. Sure, he’s flying in a thingy created by Leonardo Da Vinci, but it’s trivial and unchallenging, something which can be applied to most of the rest of the game. There’s no challenge to any of it. At best it can be infuriatingly frustrating but nothing else. And it’s never the player’s fault that something is difficult, it’s the wonky camera or funky controls that are the culprit.

Overall, I leave Assassin’s Creed 2 in its place at 3rd worst sequel as previously stated. It wasn’t fun and I wish I had had something better to do with my weekend. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be getting back to my E3 coverage.

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Bulletstorming the gates

Bulletstorm

From the creators of the hit game Duty Calls, Epic Games, comes a game that will cause children to become serial rapists, Bulletstorm. No, seriously, Fox News said this game will turn your kids into bona fide southern Bubbas. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, read it I’ll wait…AREN’T THEY CRAZY? Anyway, future rise in the rate of rape aside, Bulletstorm is a hilarious sci-fi romp through the blood and guts of some unknown alien race mutants. They probably deserved it anyway.

Bros 4 life

First off, if you are unsure of whether or not you want to shell out the cash for Bulletstorm, a decision not to be taken lightly, try the free demo on your respective Xbox, Steam, or PlayStation networks. Then, after you’ve spent a while thinking “Maybe this is pretty cool,” get the full game and spend a few hours playing before you get back to where you left off. For a game titled Bulletstorm, I for one am a little disappointed that it takes 20 minutes before you can wield your gun toward some unfriendly aliens mutants. I can let this slide even, it’s not a horrible offense, but I expect better.

So what should make BulletStorm so different? The game awards points (which you can use to buy new guns and upgrades) for performing “skill shots,” which consist of things like the standard headshot to the “Fan-tastic” for making an enemy spin on the ceiling using the drill gun. Other such skillful shots, with oft hilarious names/connotations, become available as you collect guns throughout the game. This isn’t incredibly new, Mad World for the Wii did something similar years ago. While Mad World had a lot more variety to what you could do, with the Wii motion controls and all, it was easily mastered during the first level and not really varied beyond that. BS, on the other dismembered hand, had the foresight to add color and different guns, adding some spice to the horrific killing, which you pick up during the game each with their own strengths and skills. Though after an act or two you can manage to perform most of the skills associated with your newest weapon and get back down to shootin’ stuff.

Pretty much this, like, all the time.

Graphics wise, Bulletstorm feels like somebody had great plans for the game to look fantastic but then someone else decided to cheap out and use the Unreal engine. Now there’s nothing wrong with using the Unreal engine, it’s pretty cool, but it isn’t that great. Games using it often look pretty gritty, especially when the oft used dirt filter is used. Because of this, BS doesn’t look a whole lot different from other similar shooters. On occasion, it looks like someone decided that Bulletstorm absolutely needed to have super awesome graphical sequences, but they just never come out right. Half the time you are distracted by things shooting at your face and don’t get to take in the stunning vistas. That’s not to say that Bulletstorm looks bad. It is still a fine looking game, just not very differentiable from other next-genners.

I...I don't...I don't know...

As far as the campaign goes, don’t expect at deep and captivating story from Bulletstorm. It, like the level design, is incredibly linear with the budget of twists and turns spent in the opening prologue (which is the most boring part of the game). After that, however, the game just becomes ridiculously hilarious. Between your rampant path of destruction and the fantastic one liners delivered by Steve Blum (Read: Spike Spiegel) the game remains up tempo and entertaining. Around the end it kinda peters off and the ending seems very labored, but is worth it for completion’s sake.

Once you’ve finished off the single player portions of Bulletstorm the multiplayer modes are worth a try. Anarchy mode features a Firefight style mode where you and up to four other players fight off wave after wave of enemies. The other, Echo mode, allows you to replay certain parts of the single player with teammates. Both reward (and sometimes require) precision teamwork to pull off team skill shots for bonus points and extra carnage. Otherwise, these modes aren’t a whole lot different from the basic game. Still hilarious, though.

Kinda...exactly like this.

Being billed as “Not your average shooter,” I am saddened that I can barely distinguish it from other average shooters of today. Don’t get me wrong, it is fun, but nothing at all new. It still has the realistic brown dirt look that is so common in games today and, while there is some variety, there isn’t enough to actually be called variety. Yes, shooting someone in the genitals is humorous, but only to a certain extent. There’s not a whole lot beyond the standard kicking, shooting, and electric leashing thing. While it is fun, it gets old eventually. Bulletstorm has that quirky, highly immature sense of humor that video game’s target demographic is known for and, if you’re into that, will result in a very fun time. If not, then just hope you don’t leave feeling “one hell of a murder boner” for Epic Games.

I don't know what this is, but it comes up when you google image search Bulletstorm

Xbox Kinect

Project Natal AKA Xbox Wii60

I can't let you do that, Dave.

If you were one of the few boys and girls who were able to get their hands on an Xbox Kinect this Christmas season feel joyful that you didn’t have to shell out the 150 dollars to turn your Xbox 360 into an Xbox Wii60. I’m not saying that the Wii is superior in every way to the Kinect…oh wait, I am. Over the past few weeks I was granted the opportunity to experience the Xbox Kinect and, frankly, I was unimpressed. Before details are gotten into, I’d like to issue a brief disclaimer: I did not buy a Kinect, instead I spent many hours playing with the demo version at my local Best Buy. This may have colored my experience a tad, but I probably did more to move Kinects in those 3 days than did any of the salesmen people men. That being said, let’s carry on.

What am I supposed to throw down in rage now?

As far as my Kinect adventures went, I was only able to play a single game, with six subgames, Kinect sports. KSports, as I shall refer to it from henceforth, is the direct analog of Wii Sports, being that they are the exact same game, one being slightly shinier than the other. KSports features fun and innovative games like Bowling, Boxing, Volleyball, Track and Field, Ping Pong, and Soccer. Whatever happened to Baseball and Golf I’ll never know. KSports is a game, I hope anyway, designed to display the capabilities of the Kinect. Yes, it should be fun, but it is there to show what exactly the contraption can do. Wii Sports is, mechanically speaking, the best game available for the Wii. If you are a Wii owner and anyone ever complains about the Wii’s “Terrible motion controls” pop in your copy of Wii Sports to correct them and tell them to take it to the independent developer next time rather than the solid hardware. The minigames in Wii Sports simply work leaving all failure squarely on the fault of the player, which I suppose is good for this type of thing.

If only it worked that well, lefty.

KSports, however, did not leave me with such a feeling of hardware competency. Take bowling for example, simple, right? Grab a ball, throw it at some pins and hope they all fall down. Unlike actual bowling, throwing a virtual ball is often a lot easier and makes us forget how terrible we really are at the sport. Sadly, though, the Kinect fails to mimic this fine activity, demonstrating one of its many flaws. While the KSports bowling is fun there is one flaw that, at first, may not seem like much, but you can’t put spin on the ball when you throw it. At first this doesn’t seem like much but, for one, it shows the limited nature of the Kinect in that it lacks the ability to see fine detail, like the Wii can, and that you can not accidentally put spin on the ball. After that I scored a perfect game by standing perfectly still raising my clenched fist behind me then swinging it straight forward. Strike every time. There was an old man who was very impressed and bought one soon after. What does this mean for the Kinect overall? I means that it can’t do anything overly complicated with it, which is probably why golf was removed, and that the Kinect will be forever bound to the realm of awkward dancing machinations.

 

Because I play in a bright green room, too.

After that I tried my hand, ironically enough, at a game of soccer. And by soccer I mean some kind of crazy Russian dance. Any actual skill or expertise you have with Soccer is pointless in this arena where the game is determined by moving your feet in one of the (up to 3) directions allowed or, as is the entirety of the volleyball game, block the ball with your hands, as the goalie of course. It doesn’t actually matter which how you move your feet when playing, only that you do move and hope the ball goes in a direction you wanted. This flaw falls squarely on the Kinect this time. After a few failed games I went into the settings and discovered that the Kinect was unable to recognize my feet and head at the same time, regardless of how far away I stood. If i was too close the camera wasn’t big enough and if I was too far it couldn’t decide where my head was. Obviously, the Kinect could use a few more dots for articulation, but alas, ’tis a bit late for that. Just hope that the ball doesn’t get close enough to put you in goalie mode, because they will score. The Kinect is painfully slow at recognizing well…pretty much anything and this is nowhere as obvious as when you are goal tending. Wanted to block that kick? Shoulda started moving before they kicked it. This happens in Volleyball and Ping Pong, but since waving your hands around is the main function of the game the timing becomes easier to predict, assuming it wants to register anything at all. The Wii was at least pretty responsive, years ahead of the Kinect.

Every. Single. Time.

Next on the list is Boxing. I don’t actually have anything bad to say about Boxing. It was pretty fun but still suffered from many of the same problems as the others, but least notably. And Track and Field? No idea what I was supposed to do. No instructions were given. I think I was supposed to run or something. Overall, anyone who wants a Wii either already has one or isn’t going to shell out the money for a Kinect, which is not significantly cheaper than an entire Wii console. The Wii, now four years old, got it right on day one and the Kinect and the PlayStation move are just cheap attempts to earn some more money by Microsoft and Sony. I haven’t had a chance to mess with the voice control features, but from what I’ve heard it is cool but not enough of a redeeming feature to save the Kinect. My final thought: Don’t give Microsoft more money, give the Wii some love again and maybe they’ll release another Zelda game.

They mad.

Extra Credit: If you want some more insightful commentary on the Kinect and Move in relation to the Wii, check out this episode of Extra Credits over at the escapist, right below Yahtzee.

Call of Duty: African American Ops

Released November 9, 2010 for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and PC by Treyarch studios, the group responsible for Call of Duty 2 and 3, and recently condemned by the Cuban government for being too violent is the newest game in the Call of Duty series Call of Duty: Black Ops. Personally, I believe that this game has, thus far, been a little too well received. I have heard reports that there was literal dancing in the streets (and laser tag) to celebrate the release of this game as well as an average Xbox Live population of over 5 million. Just let it sink in that, right now, there are more people playing Black Ops on Xbox Live than live in the state of Oklahoma. Frankly, I don’t understand this but I suppose it can’t be helped, but I digress. As COD:BO is similar in form to Halo: Reach, this review will be split into 3 separate parts, each being rated on their own merit: Single Player, Multiplayer, and Zombies.

Single Player

The first thing you notice while playing the campaign portion of Black Ops is that you, Alex Mason, are strapped to a chair and being tortured for information about the Russians or something. This is where most of the campaign’s story originates from, most of the missions being Mason’s flashbacks. The flashbacks are of your adventures during the Cold War. The missions involve all kinds of neat gimmicks, from flying a spy plane to running through poison gas in a hazmat suit, but all eventually devolve into kill the Russian/Viet Cong/Nazi/British enemies rushing at you with whatever gun Mason can get his hands on. Normally, this would be fine, but after you assassinate Fidel Castro,

You also get an achievement for headshotting Castro.

the first mission and the scene that caused Black Ops to be condemned in Cuba, the game becomes highly repetitive. Run into room, shoot enemies in front of brown border, and repeat ad nauseum. A few hours in and the player starts feeling tortured. The campaign does, however, pick up during the infrequent vehicle based sections. These are the more fun and intense sequences that kept me playing but were often over as quickly as they started, possibly because you don’t die as much, something you do a lot of when on foot.

Outside of the flashbacks, the game feels like it was made exclusively for people suffering from ADD. Flashing lights and constant camera cuts to nothing in particular make the scene incredibly hard to focus on, possibly because someone told the game industry that’s what the people wanted. The story, once you can find it, is childlike in its simplicity. There are two major plot twists at the end, one of which is spoiled by the third mission (if you’re paying attention) and the other seems tacked on to the end out of nowhere. I won’t spoil anything, but let’s just say that Oswald couldn’t have done it better.

Black Ops also suffers from somewhat lackluster acting, which is surprising given the cavalcade of stars brought in to voice the game. The two main characters, voiced by Sam Worthington and Gary Oldman, are more annoying than anything else. The voices are backed by a very impressive soundtrack, featuring selections from Credence Clearwater Revival and other original compositions that are quite good. Especially for a shoot ‘me up video game.
Realistically, the single player is not why anyone will purchase Black Ops, as it is far too weak to stand on its own and is just bad in its execution. The online multiplayer is what the Call of Duty series is known for and what is selling Black Ops.

Multi Player

Nice Dog-OH MY FACE!

The meat and potatoes of the Call of Duty franchise is the online multi player, and Black Ops expertly implements its version. At its heart, the multi-player is just like that of its predecessors but there are a few important differences from the previous Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Firstly, Black Ops is more balanced as many of the weapons and perks that were before considered unreasonably overpowered and easily abusable have been neutered or cut entirely from the game giving a more entertaining and fun experience for everyone involved.

Outside of the core gameplay a few new game types have been added (including wager matches which are always fun) and the weapon upgrade system differs slightly from COD:MW2. Players still level up to unlock weapons, but everything (except the starting set) is truly unlocked by purchasing it with COD cash (also known

Stick and Stones: Best MP mode ever.

as space bucks). Each piece of equipment for each gun comes at the price of 2,000 space bucks (average earning for a match), as do as the guns after you unlock them. This system is more flexible than the achievement based system from before, except for unlocking guns, which are, oddly enough, still level based. It just seems like an odd system when you have to unlock a gun and then buy it, even if it is for a relatively small amount.

Overall, the multi-player aspect of Black Ops is very fun to play. The new maps are very clean and nice looking. There is enough balance for even new players to have a chance at winning. As far as multiplayer games go, Black Ops isn’t a bad choice.

Zombies

A staple of Treyarch’s Call of Duty: World at War, Black Ops ships with the much anticipated Zombies mode. Here, four friends can pit themselves against undead Nazis as historical figures John F. Kennedy, “Tricky Dick” Nixon, Fidel Castro, and Robert McNamara (no one cares about him) in the Pentagon. Why are they there? Who cares!? It’s time to kill Zombies. There are a few other maps with different characters but they all follow the same high-concept, just with less historical relevance (I think one is about time travelling communists?).

World leaders at work.

 

Hydrophobia-phobia

Curse you Thomas Malthus

Released September 29th by Dark Energy studios, Hydrophobia is a third-person action game with the intent of displaying the capability of water physics possible on the Xbox 360.  It also claims to be a survival horror game and fun, but neither of these is completely true.  Hydrophobia boasts a fantastic new engine for creating in game water effects and features but, sadly, little else.  It relies far too heavily on this feature and suffered when additional features were seemingly hastily thrown in to make a game people might buy, ruining the rest of the game in the process, something I refer to as “Mirror’s Edge Syndrome.”

http://xboxoz360.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/hydrophobia-queen-of-the-word-oxcgn.jpeg
I’m on a boat.

Hydrophobia takes place in the mid-21st century on a boat, The Queen of the World, on its tenth anniversary.  You are an engineer named Kate assisted by a thickly accented Scottish man, aptly named Scoot.  I’m pretty sure he mentions dilithium crystals once…maybe.  On this special occasion, a group of overpopulation terrorists attacks the boat with some non-specific ill intent, screaming the battle cry “Save the world, Kill yourself!”  These Neo-Malthusians, basing their claims on theories by classical economist Thomas Malthus, are the most awkward evil force in a game that I have ever come across.  The idea, while novel, is so far out of left field that I doubt anyone would understand what they were against without taking a course in economics.  This concept might not even be that far-fetched if the developers had at least known something about Malthus, thus preventing the generic and often religious statements by the terrorists.  But, I digress.  You, Kate, are trapped on a lower level of this ship and spend the entire game fighting through terrorist and water to make your escape, or drown trying.

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Guns, my ONLY weakness!

Sadly, Hydrophobia offers little direction besides the ever present objective of Escape.  Often to a painful degree.  On multiple occasions, it presented a room with a puzzle with some obscure solution and, after fighting off the guards, left the player to run around for an obscene amount of time with the only direction of “Ye need to get oot of the room, Lassie.”  These are only second in annoyance to rooms full of armed Terrorists.  Also, you are armed only with a stun gun, with the occasional drop of specialized ammunition designed for dispatching enemies, which drop in disturbingly small quantities.  The player is then free to throw themselves endlessly at the oncoming horde, dying countless times, until, after hours of obscenity filled rage, they make it through, only to die to an errant flame and be forced to start over.  It is often quite frustrating and took a severe amount of dedication to finish the game and not call Bill Gates directly and demand my money back.  How does it end?  You can find that out in the next installment, left at the end of Hydrophobia with only a disappointing “To Be Continued…”

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Why is there so much FIRE!

Let’s continue with the best feature of this game:  The HydroEngine. Hydrophobia features the HydroEngine physics engine, created specifically for this Xbox Live Arcade game and designed to incorporate flowing water and other such effects with a level of realism never before seen in video games.  The water effects in Hydrophobia do live up to the hype.  The tangible ebb and flow of the water, which serve to impede and move the player against their will, provide an exciting experience with the water as an enemy.  At least until the game forces the player to swim.  The controls of Hydrophobia are finicky on land and even worse in the water.  Swimming becomes a veritable feat, accomplishable only by the incredibly experienced.  Though, once you get the hang of it, it’s not the worst thing in the game.

Look at those great…effects.

One other thing that I did like was the hacking minigame which is, in my opinion, one of the better ones.  Using the two joysticks in tandem, the player must adjust the amplitude and frequency of their hacking console to match that of the device being hacked.  I know this doesn’t sound like much, but given 20 seconds to match 4 different waveforms it’s a very fun experience, especially for a hacking minigame.  Especially amongst the rest of the game.

What is this? Magic plastic?

On that note, Hydrophobia does manage water quite well, being pushed back by a wave of water rushing through an open door has never felt more suffocating, but this core feature of the game is overshadowed by a constant onslaught of mild to aggravating annoyances that completely detract and distract from this revolutionary concept.  Hydrophobia is built on a gimmick and the rest of the game shoddily placed around it in order to appeal to the Xbox community.  Had Dark Energy focused solely on the water mechanics, Hydrophobia may have been an enjoyable experience, but they didn’t.  Someday, the HydroEngine may be incorporated in a different game that manages to take full advantage and showcase this awesome piece of engineering, without the overly obscure philosophical references.

Hydrophobia The second.

Halo: A bit of a stretch.

Halo: A bit of a stretch.

First and foremost, I would like to make it clear that I am a stout believer that a video game should never stand on its multi-player facets alone.  Games like Modern Warfare 2, for which there is absolutely no reason to play the single player campaign, are still fun to play but not worth sixty dollars to hear 12 year olds swearing about how I’m a noob.  Even an MMO (it’s in the name) should be fun to play alone.  That being said, I am going to split this into two separate sections:  The $30 single player and $30 multi-player.

Singleton:

In the past, Bungie and their halo franchise have provided a fun and entertaining story.  You, a big bad Spartan, are taking on the entire covenant army to save the Earth.

Never got past the cover.

Cool right?  In Reach, being a prequel in the series and even further in the past, you should be kicking so much butt that Master Chief won’t even be necessary.  That is almost true.  You are the new kid in a group of six lesser Spartans, I’ll refer to them as the uncool kids in school, who are on Reach (the planet) to take care of a pest problem.  It quickly goes downhill from there.  I don’t want to spoil anything for those who have not played the game but that is slightly impossible.  It’s fairly evident that Reach will fall, there’s even a book about it.  Don’t focus on the end, that’s depressing.  Instead, let’s talk about how we get to this fateful end.

The campaign feels, like all of its predecessors, too short but is oddly the perfect length.  Given a difficulty curve like a titration graph, Reach makes you feel good then takes that feeling and shoves it down your throat.

SCIENCE!

Repeatedly.  That aside, Reach does have a decent story included.  Of the Halo series, it is the only one that made me actually like the characters in the game.  It’s true that you, Number six, have the personality of a fishtank, but that’s an overdone cliche standard in video games anyway.

In addition to the above average story, the campaign goes above and beyond, quite literally, to provide experiences that are noticeably unavailable in the multiplayer.  My favorite level in the campaign was when Number 6 was jammed into an experimental space ship and shot directly into outer space.  Why, you might ask, would they put him there?  He is a Spartan, he shouldn’t be flying.  WRONG!  He should always be flying.  Well, thrusting about, but you get the point.

Duffman is thrusting toward the problem!

Flying around in a fighter jet shooting down other ships if incredibly entertaining and I hope that, someday, Bungie decides to include this as a multiplayer variant, but they probably won’t.  Sadly, this mission is very short lived and you soon set foot back on ground with your puny legs.  Like other Halo games, Reach does have a flair for vehicle combat.  Driving around in tanks is still fun, as well as the entire gamut of Warthogs, pickup trucks and forklifts.  Most of these are pretty short, unless you’re clever enough to find a way around their roadblocks.

Artist’s rendering.

Unlike the previous Halo games, Reach does provide a bit more imperative to play intelligently.  There is a lot less ammunition lying about Reach, forcing you to think twice about picking up the rocket launcher with 2 shots or the DMR with a lot more.  Also, there is a lot more attention to detail and overall glamor within the game.  I noticed primarily on a level sans gravity.  In a covenant space ship you jump around, floating from place to place, killin’ some grunts, but when you shoot them there’s not splatter but instead form into little blobs.  I found this to be a nice touch, one among many (forklifts being another).  The rest of the world is incredibly detailed and, often, beautiful.

Overall, the single player is pretty good.  Not incredible or original in any way, but still good.  If you liked the first three, you’ll probably like the one that came before all of them.  Now, on to multiplayer.

Multikill:

“BRB. Mom say’s I gotta take out the trash.”

The multiplayer experience is pretty disappointing, and mostly through no fault of Bungie.  The main fault for Reach is that it was made for the Xbox and thus connects to the Xbox live (XBL) community, where never a more wretched hive of scum and villainy will you find with an average user age of 15.

Other players aside, Multiplayer work best when treated like playing Monopoly:  Its only fun when you can make others in the same room suffer along with you.

ProTip: There is no get out of hell free card.

Reach does have a few very fun games modes, but you have to rely on those playing with you to vote for the fun one, which is apparently not the one you thought it was.  You wanted to play Race?  You’re playing Sniper battle now.  The only way to have a chance at playing what you want is to have 3 people tagging along to pad your votes.

Even if you get a map you want, which has a high probability since the game shipped with a trifling 8 maps, you probably won’t be playing someone at your skill level.  There must be a bug or something in the Reach matchmaking algorithm, because it is incapable of finding people that match your rank.  After a few nights of extreme Reach action, I have yet to find opponents that resulted in anything besides a complete steamroll, which can result in a very unfun experience.  Though, having jet packs is pretty cool.

In short, the Multiplayer of Reach is more of the same.  Yes, the graphics got an update and there are a few aesthetic changes to the overall system but is still the same old Halo everyone remembers and tolerates.

In conclusion, if you haven’t already gotten Halo: Reach…you really aren’t missing out on anything.  The single player is fun, but there are better options in the discount bin at Best Buy and the multiplayer really isn’t worth the screaming children you have to put up with.  If you are really into Halo, go now and buy the Legendary edition and feel good about yourself, the rest of us are going to McNellie’s.

Warthog concept art.
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