Friday, December 10, 2010

halo: part 2 (conclusion)

halo: part 2
halo: part 1
halo: prelude

finally finished it. It was pretty good. The game has "beaten" me in this regard. I really really wanted to tear that thing up but I couldn't because it's actually good. I said most of what I wanted to say in the last part, but I wasn't finished with the game 100%  then, so I avoided commenting on the story until I finished. That part of it was okay. Okay. It really didn't get me into the game like the story did in, say, Half-Life 2, but it wasn't bad at all. You could say that blandness is a greater crime than flat-out badness, but that's really another article. It just wasn't the motivator that I was hoping for.  Lots of times, a story in a game is so good that I actually want to continue in the game to find out what happens. In HL2, occurrences like Alyx being kidnapped, characters dying or maybe an enemy taunting me would make me continue to play into the night/early morning, against the need to sleep. It was not based on the sort of addiction-drive you get with Diablo or an MMO. It was a genuine connection to the characters and a desire to see a conclusion. That didn't happen with Halo.

The Master Chief character unfortunately stayed boring, and I really had little to no immersion in the world as a result of the bland cast. Nothing was compelling me to go on. I didn't care about rescuing anyone, hunting a certain enemy, or the development of my character. The story about (Spoiler) an alien race of parasites attacking in the middle of a different man-alien war just didn't do it for me. If Bungie was trying to "up the ante" when compared to other stories by essentially piling one alien invasion on another, they didn't really do it well. In the middle of fighting the war against the Covenant, a race of "headcrabs" attack both parties and Master Chief is unofficially tasked with killing them. He has to go to the ring-planet Halo, which...... Oh by the way, in the first game you have no idea what Halo is or where it came from. You know that it is a weapon that is going to be used to blow up teh world, but as far as origin, construction and such, you are given 0. Like Final Fantasy XIII, you are dropped into a conflict without knowing anything about what's happening and are just expected to roll with it. Unlike in FFXIII, it just doesn't work. I have no idea why. It might be dependent on my status as a FF fan and a Halo skeptic, but honestly I don't think so.

Even though FFXIII is similar, you still get way more time to get to know the characters in the first 10 hours of FFXIII than you do in all of Halo. You know what kind of world FFXIII is, what kind of story it's trying to tell, and why to care. In the first few hours, after you're thrown into the world, you are at least gradually brought up to speed with the characters and are hit with several changes and plot developments that keep things interesting. In Halo, there's just really no reason to care about any of the plot developments because you don't know what happened 10 minutes ago. And it just keeps moving and moving without explaining. It just kind of goes "Morning, Chief. Hey, what's that? It's Halo! OH NO HEADCRABS! Quick, blow up Halo! The End". Now, normally this wouldn't matter to me. It's just another game. But Halo isn't just another game in so many ways. This game put the 7th generation console war in the bag. Or at least it was going to. Today the story's different thanks to some smart work done by Sony as of late, but for a while it looked like 360 would be champ hand over fist, and by and large it was because of this game and the sequels it spawned. I just expected something better. Granted, I was hoping it would be bad so I could complain some more, but the flat-out boringness of it is even more offensive. It's like trying to review unbuttered toast.

Sorry. Backing up. I'll flesh out my summary of the story some more in order to be a little more clear. If you haven't played Halo but want to, close your eyes. I mean plug your ears....? No, close your eyes........ Skip to the next paragraph. You start the game on a human ship, in the middle of a war with the Covenant aliens. You're fighting them because.........fudge I dunno. They called your mom a whore. You are woken up from cryostasis to fight as you're a supersoldier with power armor. Then the ship finds Halo. Just.... finds it. Nobody knows what it is. The Covenant want Halo for some reason, most likely to blow the world up. The ring-planet, as far as anyone can tell, is a weapon. You go down to Halo to get more info and stop them, but before you can do anything, you're hit with the headcrab swarm. Then you're abducted by a gay talking flying saucer who says Halo will be used to destroy all life (headcrab food) because the Forerunners (After reading this, you know as much about the Forerunners as I do) designed it to kill the headcrabs. That's right. Halo was designed to save all life from the headcrabs, and to do this, it's going to destroy all life. To save the world from this ridiculous plot device, you have to blow up Halo. You really are hit with one "what's that?" after another, and just when it looks like the game arrives at a place where they can explain, the game ends. Halo blows up, and the world is saved. Except for the war going on. But hey it's a relative safety. You totally know that it's the end before you get there, but when you finally beat it, it's like "it's over?". Then the realization hits you that in order to have anything explained and see where the story goes, you have to play Halo 2. I'm sure Halo 2 is a good game like this one was, but at this point I was all Halo'd out. My curiosity was satisfied, even by the fact that I was proven wrong in many regards, but I still didn't want any more Halo.

So the story's a fail. Characters, a fail. Game? Not a fail. As concluded before, it's at least halfway decent. The gunplay mechanics are rock solid, and while I never really cared where I was going or why, shooting aliens on the way was at least interesting enough to keep me going. It's a good game. Just good.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Can't find it?