Tagged "Halo"

Nov 12
By Matt Gander In Blog 1 Comment

We have in our possession a retail copy of Halo: Anniversary, officially due out next Tuesday.

As mentioned on the cardboard sleeve the box contains a bonus Master Chief avatar costume and a ‘Grunt Funeral Skull’ game modifier that makes the grunts explode like a plasma grenade when activated.

Not only this, but there’s also a DLC code inside for Halo: Reach containing 6 classic maps, a new Firefight mission and a 2 day gold pass.

A quick look online reveals that only Play mentions these goodies, which are being offered as a pre-order incentive. Our copy wasn’t pre-ordered though – we obtained it early as somebody at certain supermarket (Tesco) accidentally put copies out earlier today.

This should mean that everybody who purchases the first batch of copies will get the bonus DLC. There’s no reason that shouldn’t be the case, at least.

Sep 26
By Matt Gander In Reviews 4 Comments

Would a Mario game feel the same if Mario was replaced by, say, a shiny robotic baboon? I’d say that it wouldn’t do as some of the charm and the connection between the player and lead character would be lost. Halo: Reach is the second game not to feature Master Chief yet it still looks and feels like a Halo game. What does this tell us? Master Chief was so nondescript that he could be easily replaced. The last two Halo games have actually been better off without his appearance, bringing new and interesting characters into the mix, although this could also be down to the fact that Bungie’s storytelling and character development has been improving over the years.

And it’s with Reach that their hard work has come full circle. Like ODST you play as a new recruit joining a team of heavily skilled soldiers, only here the story leads up until the events of the original Halo. The level design and environments bear a lot of resemblance to those found in Bungie’s first opus and because the planet of Reach is colonised there’s civilian dwellings and cities to explore. Missions are pleasingly varied – one level is set at night, and its here that you get given a sniper rifle, while another level involves activating and protecting gun turrets to fight off an attack. Visuals and AI been improved greatly – the outdoor locations are often stunning to look at and once an enemy learns of your presence its neigh impossible to hide from them.

A couple of other things have changed since Halo: ODST. The grunts no longer speak in high-pitched English but rather alien gobbledygook and the lead character – simply known as Nobel 6 – can no longer duel wield weapons. Because it’s set before the events of Halo 2 the enemy hierarchy has been shook up as well with Brutes – which were common in Halo 3 – a lot rarer and Elites becoming more common.

As you’d expect there are a few new weapons to play around with, with the best being a target locator that can summon a barrage of missiles and works a bit like Gears of War’s hammer of dawn. You can also pick up and swap ability packs including jetpacks, active camouflage and holograms. These can all be used in multi-player with holograms being particularly helpful for drawing fire away from yourself or to trick foes from out of their hiding places.

Firefight mode has a bigger share of the spotlight online and unlike ODST you can now play with random strangers. Here you have to fight off waves of enemies and the settings are fully customisable. You can even have guns with bottomless clips and infinite health if you wanted. This does though make the achievements stupidly easy to gain – it’s actually possible to get around 200G within fifteen minutes by changing the options in your favor.

Character customisation is a lot deeper than it was in Halo 3 with XP and cash awarded after matches which can then be used to buy new pieces of armour. Like before videos of your multiplayer matches and photos can be saved and shared. There are dozens of match types and levels to choose from, some of which have been designed purely with vehicle combat in mind, and if you somehow get bored of those you can make your own in the Forge mode.

Reach has to be the most compressive online console shooter ever. There’s very little to fault, bar the fact that it would have been good to see a few new enemy types seeing that we’ve been shooting the same ones for ten years now. We just hope that whoever Microsoft trusts with the Halo license next can keep up the momentum.

Aug 04
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

The name Ed Fries might ring a bell with you – he was the vice president of publishing at Microsoft during much of the original Xbox’s lifecycle. He has worked at several companies since then but has recently finished his arguably greatest achievement – bringing Halo to the humble Atari 2600.

Inspired by speaking at a small video game conference and also by reading the book Racing the Beam, he set about creating the game from scratch turning for the chaps at AtariAge for help whenever he got stuck. You can read the full story of how the game come about here.

And you can also play Halo 2600 in your browser.

Hint: The gun is located on the first screen above you.

Jun 01
By Matt Gander In Blog 2 Comments

There was an air of confidence about Microsoft’s E3 press conference, but that might have been to be expected considering that they were going on stage before both Nintendo and Sony.

There’s no Xbox 720 on the horizon just yet, although there is new hardware on the way. Project Natal is a camera that plugs into your 360 and combines “an RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor running proprietary software all in one device”. Steven Spielberg, yes the Steven Spielberg, demonstrated it on stage with a 3D Breakout game and another demo called Paint Party. The camera lets you control your avatars limb-by-limb and also supports facial and voice recognition. I think maybe somebody at Microsoft has watched Minority Report recently.

Peter Molyneux has had a development kit for a few weeks and is already working on something starring a virtual child named Milo. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rare are working on something for it too, seeing that no new games from the UK-based developer were shown. Not even the rumoured Perfect Dark for Xbox Live Arcade.

Halo3ODST

So, the new games. Hideo Kojima appeared on stage to announce Metal Gear Solid: Rising. The only real detail known is that it’ll feature cyborg Raiden and not Solid Snake. There’s also confusion as to whether it’s an Xbox 360-exclusive or not – Konami refused to comment. Details of Halo: Reach – which isn’t the new name for Halo: ODST but rather another new Halo – are also slim. The teaser trailer simply shows a planet being blown up by tiny explosions. Halo: ODST has a date though – 22nd September. And if you buy it you’ll get access to the Reach multiplayer beta. The Collector’s Pack will come with an exclusive wireless controller.

ShadowComplex

An additional three Xbox 360-only sequels were revealed – Crackdown 2, Forza 3 and Left 4 Dead 2. Click on the links to see the trailers. Splinter Cell: Conviction was re-confirmed as a 360 exclusive too, while some new Xbox Live Arcade games were shown. Epic’s Shadow Complex (screenshot to the right) is a 2D action game based on Orson Scott Card’s novel Empire while racer Joy Ride will be free to download and lets you swap race tracks. Presumably developers Big Park will make their money back through the extra items that you can download to make your tracks better.

There’s no Gears of War 3 yet, but there will be something called Gears of War 2: Dark Corners. This downloadable add-on includes seven brand new multiplayer maps and a new campaign chapter. It’s out sooner than you may think too – 28th July, according to the press release.

Facebook360

Possibly in an attempt to make the 360 appeal to 14 year old girls (joke!) you’ll soon be able to view Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm on your console. Using Facebook Connect screenshots can be sent to your Facebook profile – Tiger Woods PGA Tour will be one of the first games to use it. In August a new games-on-demand service will also launch – full games, like Mass Effect, Colin McRae DiRT, Call of Duty 2 and LEGO Star Wars can be purchased from the dashboard and downloaded straight onto your HDD.

A solid showing then, albeit one with perhaps a few too many shoot’em ups. Something quirky or colourful wouldn’t have gone amiss either, but at least there will be more Gears of War chainsaw fun to be had in just under two months time.

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