Halo (series)

Image via Wikipedia

Nothing has come to define the gaming scene quite like the Halo series.  In this short guest post, computer-savvy minstrel Jera Wolfe (not his legal name) shares why he thinks Halo lost its franchise power.


Sadly, it’s post-Halo 2, so any gamer that is reading this will not be reading it on the machine they play Halo on.
It’s console only.

There is an illusory bias that takes place in video games when games are relegated only to the Console market, as is the case with Halo and a few other hot titles, like Gear of War 2. Console gamers and computer gamers have different expectations, different perceptions, and different assumptions.

This difference between the computer gamer and the console gamer, and no where is it more apparent than in the first person shooter (FPS) genre, is seen clearly in the following of the Halo series.
Halo’s place as a golden title and a true classic of a game of amazing quality is widely agreed upon in the Xbox community and beyond. It was quite an advancement in some regards while the FPS market was still polishing what is quickly becoming a static formula for game design. Halo 3 has to compete with all the modern FPS systems, now, and it’s running on a box that’s falling ever farther behind the desktop, which has more ram, more processing power, faster and more robust 3d emulation hardware, and is also upgradeable piecemeal. The costs of marketing a console game and PC game are different. Microsoft’s Xbox360 is working hard to make Downloadable content a part of its parcel, with a measure of success, but it still makes its profit on the $50 titles it sells.

There are pros and cons to making a game for PC or console, which cross over when doing both, but I don’t understand them fully so won’t comment. What I do understand is the end user results, and the quality I see when playing many Xbox360 titles, is less than what I would expect, let alone tolerate for $50, on my PC.

This goes for games ported to the PC. They don’t feel smooth, comfortable, or as intuitive as a game designed for PC specifically. Even redesigned games, that are not just direct ports, still lack some of the fluidity that computer focused developers have learned to weave into their system’s design.

It’s not comparable to computer FPS titles that came out at the same time.
So lets address the game itself.

Halo Reach brings nothing new to the table, really.

It’s a pretty game, it’s an interesting bauble, and it may hold some novelty in storyline. But its become a permutation of Team Fortress, just a lot more expensive, and less portable.

The game itself was hyped, possibly too much, but from what I’ve seen, played, and heard from others, it hasn’t delivered. In my hands, it feels like a clumsy controller that makes me immediately long for a mouse, so I can actually aim and react naturally. The game play is smooth, but it feels like a blend of another Halo and some modern FPS design, along some shiny new tactical gimmicks thrown in to add novelty.

If you love the series, it’s an absolute must get.
If you aren’t into Halo, or if you are like me and own a computer, and don’t really know what’s happened after Halo 2 because you’re still waiting to play Halo 3, and you haven’t found it worth buying an entire game system to play it on? Pass on it. You won’t miss anything you won’t find in other games, and done just as well or better.


Jera Wolfe is a hardcore techie user who remembers BBS-like systems such as FIDOnet that predate the declassification of ArpaNet. His first introduction to the computers was the old TI-99/4A, a system which his grandfather taught him how to hook up and play.
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