This week’s confession: I don’t like Halo.
While I appreciate it has introduced concepts that are now copied in several other major titles(The recharging shield for instance) I just don’t believe that it is Gods Gift to Gaming that many people seem to think it is
At the moment I have played all the main Halo games, that is Halo 1-3. I don’t include Halo Wars or Halo ODST as these were made by different developers could have been any other game if you took away the Halo license.
As a multiplayer game, it is as good as any other. It is always fun to fight with or against friends and Bungie is one of the best if not the best developers when it comes to catering for the community. However that is only part of the overall package, for me a game requires a story, it requires a reason for why I am doing what I am doing (obviously this doesn’t really apply with puzzle games although Professor Leyton and others are doing their best to change this)
The Halo Universe is extensive and there are even 6 books to supplement the story, but I just don’t find the story to be particularly groundbreaking, unique or even that interesting. Personally I feel that more credit is given to the story than is actually due. As an example lets take Mass Effect which itself takes some inspiration from Halo.
In the Mass Effect Universe every planet in the star system has information. It’s completely redundant and you never set foot on some of these planets, yet you are still given information about life on the planet, its atmospheric conditions and even its climate. Even your squad all have their own stories to tell, this all helps to flesh out the universe and make it seem like a living breathing creation. In Halo you go to different planets to shoot stuff.
That may seem a little harsh, but it’s the way I feel, I do not get emotionally involved or connect to the characters in the game. I just don’t find the campaign fun which is what a game should be. I didn’t find fighting the flood in Halo 3 a challenge or entertaining. It was a chore that needed to be done, like washing the dishes. Again looking at Mass Effect you go from planet to planet shooting stuff, but all the time it feels like I am one step closer to achieving my goal or one step closer to helping a crew member. It never feels like the only reason I am doing this is because I have to, I do this because I want to. I want to help Tali, Wrex Liara and Garrus. I care for these entirely fictional characters and it was really upsetting when something happened to them. I know the games two years old now, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone who hasn’t played Mass Effect.
One final point about why I don’t like Halo and this is aimed squarely at Halo Reach and Bungie. What on earth possessed you to make the last game in the series a prequel? We all know that the events of Reach can not end happily otherwise the rest of Halo is irrelevant. You cannot create new characters that are never referenced before or since simply to kill them off (Disclaimer I have not played Halo Reach so I may be mistaken but I doubt I am) A similar comparison is the Star Wars franchise. In The Phantom Menace we are introduced to Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul who were never mentioned before. The consequence? At least for me I knew it meant they were disposable, and I was right, they didn’t even make it to the end of that movie. On a side note about the Star Wars prequels, way to spoil the biggest surprise of the first movies that is parts 4-6. When parts 1-3 were released we all knew the big twist about Darth Vader, yet for future generations the surprise is spoiled if you watch the movies in chronological order.
Okay, that’s enough on Star Wars, back to Halo.
There will probably be people out there burning effigies in the street of me because of this article but you can’t please everybody all the time, I won’t be shedding any tears about Halo Reach being the last Bungie Halo game. For those that are, dry those tears, no doubt another Halo game will be made in the not too distant future. Microsoft will not let a money spinner like Halo die.