Alright, as a co-worker once said (and don't ask, it's a looong story), since today is Tuesday, that means it is Confession Tuesday. I have a confession to make, one I'm not proud of, but feel like it is only right to share with you all, my readers new and old.
I have never played Halo 2 until tonight. Never. Not once, for any reason. In the eight plus years it has been out, I have never touched it in my life. And I call myself a gamer... pshhh!
Like I wrote about last night, I loved the first game immensely. But when the second game out, I unfortunately was on a video game hiatus. It was a weird and challenging time for me in my personal life, for one. Then, on top of that, I had literally burnt myself out on Elder Scrolls Morrowind, which was the downfall of me as a gamer and the reason I turned in my gamer card for a few years. I missed out on many, many games in the time that passed while I took my hiatus, and several of them I have still yet to play. Those couple of years are a total blackout of gaming history in my memory, which is sad to me when I think about it.
Halo 2 fell into the black hole of oblivion for me, and it is one game I never revisited, ever. Oddly enough, I do own the game (I got it used a few years back), but have never had a reason or the desire to go back and play it. I realize it revolutionized online multiplayer for console gaming, and it was one the grandest games to ever be released for the original Xbox. I get it. I understand it. I just didn't care to go back and experience something "revolutionary" so late after it revolutionized gaming.
Well, until tonight.
So my son and I started the co-op campaign. First question out of his mouth? "Can we spring in this game?"
"Nope!", I said, kind of unsure if that was the right answer or not. "But I know we can dual-wield weapons now!" He was very unimpressed, I must say. If he couldn't sprint, he wasn't going to be happy.
We played through several levels anyway, enjoying what the game was throwing down. One complaint I do have, and not just with this game but the franchise as a whole, is that there is usually little indication of where you need to go to advance through the level. Sure, you have a map, but that only shows your partners or the enemies. It doesn't point you in the right direction. And in Halo 2, in some of those levels, you can run (but not sprint!) in circles forever before you find a side hallway or path to take you to the next section. Also, there is a LOT of standing around waiting for drop ships to deploy enemies for you to tackle, or waiting for backup to arrive, and while you're standing there doing nothing, you start to wonder if you should be going somewhere else other than where you are. I understand the concept, I just don't like it.
After making some decent progress in the campaign, there was a disc read error, and we had to restart the game. When going back and trying to get back into it, I discovered something shocking. There was a save file with every chapter unlocked already, meaning someone had already gone through and beat the game. Turns out, my sons had at some point in the past, and Caleb decided not to mention this to me when we started the game the first time. Granted, he probably forgot he had played it, since he is seven and all, but still! So anyway, we played the last level, saw the cliffhanger ending and the awesome Chief line, "finishing this fight, sir."
I can't say I was overwhelmed by it all, but a lot has to do with it being a classic Xbox game, and after playing the original one remade in HD last night, the graphics were quite different in comparison. I also can't argue with why so many people loved this game and what it did for online gaming and the push of enhanced graphics towards the end of that generation of consoles. But after seeing what games look like today, and with no emotional connection or history with this game, I just don't feel like I missed anything by not playing it all these years.
Don't worry, I'm sure many, many people feel completely differently. But remember, I am trying to figure out where this franchise stands with me now, as a gamer, after all these years. I anticipated a roller coaster, but didn't expect the first drop to happen so quickly.
Do you have a Halo 2 story or memory? I would love to hear it! Contact me and let me know your personal experiences, since apparently I am dead on the inside when it comes to this game.
Well, we are almost halfway through February now, and it is pretty safe to say that I have jumped all over the board as far as the games I have selected to play and write about for this blog. Randomness is good, as it keeps things interesting and fresh. Other times, however, strict structure and planning is ideal for the situation. Because of that, I have decided to dedicate an entire week of my blog to one specific franchise that has revolutionized gaming as we know it today.
Don't worry, I wont make you guess what it is, as the graphics splattered about doesn't really allow me to be secretive and mysterious. It's Halo, and it's going to be one hell of a week ... My Week Of Halo.
For this week, I am planning on playing every game in the Halo series - the original, 2, 3, 3:ODST, Reach, 4 and yes, even Halo Wars. This is a franchise that I have had quite the roller coaster of experiences with, and while I would like to say I am in touch with the series, the truth is that Halo and I have gone our separate ways recently, and I wish to rekindle that magic, that fire. Hopefully, this week of TLC and love will bring us closer. Or, I might realize that Halo was the equivalent of hooking up with a stripper - really fun for a short while, but not someone you would make long -term plans with. We shall see, as I only have a week to figure it out.
Accompanying me on this journey is my Halo tag-team partner, my seven year old son Caleb. He has taken to the Halo games since before he had good hand/eye coordination to really be efficient at playing them, so who better than him to play co-op with me as I take a journey through Halo lore?
Obviously, we started with the first Halo game, and thanks to a buddy, we played the Anniversary Edition of the game (I only own the original Xbox version). It was a real treat to be able to see how well the old game looks redesigned in HD, and the ability to switch back and forth between HD and OG was really cool to show my son how far games have come just in two console generations.
Back in the day, when the original Xbox was being ready to be released, I had my reservations about a new system coming on to the scene. I was skeptical of it having any decent games, and it being more technical than necessary (because of it being made by Microsoft, of course). However, something implored me to buy it day one, as am 18th birthday present to myself. \
That morning of its release, I had no idea how popular it would be, as store after store I went to had lines around the block. Defeated by not wanting to wait in a line only to not get one due to limited stock, I made the best decision I could think of: go to the mall. I figured since it was a week day, and the mall opened later than stores, there was a chance of snagging one, especially because there was three different game stores to choose from. I walked in, went to the counter without another customer in sight, and bought my Xbox.
Microsoft was smart with how they marketed this brand new system, as the bundle being sold came with two free games of your choice. My first game I chose was Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, because I love platformers so much and I thought it looked interesting and fun. My next choice was tough. I was stuck between Project Gotham Racing, Fuzion Frenzy, Dead or Alive 3 or this other game called Halo: Combat Evolved. For some reason, Halo sparked my interest the most, despite having little interest in that genre of games at the time. I took it home, set it all up, and decided to give Halo a whirl real quick before I settled down with my platformer.
Unfortunately for Oddworld, though, Halo was an instant classic in my mind. I played that game non-stop for weeks it seemed. Never before had I fallen for a game so quickly without any history with its franchise. I was in love, and it was magnificent.
So tonight, playing through again, brought back all those memories and emotions I had the first time playing it. I decided to play it on normal just so we can play a good chunk of the game, but my son wanted to play on hard, because he always plays Halo games on the hardest difficulty. I have no idea why, but he has always liked the thrill of dying over and over again, eventually making his way through the level that would have taken half as long on a lesser difficulty setting. We settled on normal, because I was Player 1, and Player 1 always makes the rules.
It was fun playing with him, as I found myself getting behind on several occasions, following him through the map. He's played the original one a couple of times, I've played it more times than I can count, yet here I was, relying on my seven year old to guide me to where we needed to go.
Man, I am getting old, and it sucks.
We both settled on a few conclusions as we played. For one, it was more fun to drive Warthogs off of cliffs than it is to drive carefully. Also, it's not a good idea to drive a Warthog off a cliff when you have several miles of terrain to travel. Third, the ability to sprint would have been a very nice addition, especially when you have a long way to run without a vehicle to quickly get you there. In fact, the inability to sprint bugged him the entire time we played.
Kids and their spoiled game mechanics.
Like I said, we both had fun, and when it was time for bed for him, he was satisfied with what we accomplished, and was psyched to move on to Halo 2 tomorrow.
Let's just say it was a good start to rediscovery a lost love.
Tonight, for no apparent reason, I decided to go back and play one of my favorite Xbox games ever, XIII. Actually, it may even be one of my favorite First Person Shooters ever, and after playing it again tonight, I remembered why that is.
I bought the game when it was first released on the original Xbox back in the day. I lost it when I had a fire sale of my entire gaming collection when I went on a video game hiatus, but when I finally got back into the game and bought am Xbox 360 for my son, I knew what I had to do. I looked up to see if XIII was backwards compatible with the Xbox 360, and when I found out it was, I rushed down to GameStop and managed to find a used copy.
Honestly, it is the best $3 I've ever spent.
As cool as the 360 was, and as pretty as all the new games were, all I wanted to do was play this old Xbox game over and over again. It's been several years since I've touched it, but boy did I have fun with it tonight.
The controls are flawless (which is tough for most FPS even in today's gaming spectrum), the story is unbelievable and the fun factor is through the roof. But above all else is how beautiful the game looks. It is designed in the cell shading style, which to this day, still holds up as having a great visual design. Since the game is loosely based on an old comic book of the same name, there are tons of comic book effects throughout the game, such as story panels for cut scenes (and even through some game play), and pop-out comic-style words throughout your adventure.
This was the first FPS that I loved since Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64, and honestly, it is still top 5 five for me all time of FPS.
The one thing I hate about this game, which I also remembered (thanks to old save files) was the ending. It ends in a cliffhanger, setting it up for a sequel that would never happen. I don't know if they forgot about this franchise because it didn't sell well, or what the deal was, but if there was ever a game in need of a reboot, this would get my first vote.
Apparently there was a point and click adventure game called XIII 2, supposedly a sequel of sorts, that was released on mobile devices back in 2011, but that's like saying Super Mario Bros. 2 is a true sequel to the original masterpiece.
I'm super glad I went back and played this game, and enjoyed what made it so special for me all those years ago - before my gaming hiatus.
Speaking of which, that is an awesome story. A story I might just write about on this blog one day. One day down the road. But not tonight. I have some more XIII to play.
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Games played for project : 365