Halo: CE (Xbox One)

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ptdebate1
Posts: 909
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Halo: CE (Xbox One)

Postby ptdebate1 » February 26th, 2015, 10:14 am

Just finished the first Halo campaign in the Master Chief Collection on normal mode. With the exception of one early area where the floor actually looked better in the original version, the improved visuals on display are an unequivocal success. 

Halo's core gamplay remains the same as you remember it, for better and worse. Rocket-launcher-wielding flood zombies are still incredibly annoying and checkpoints feel a little too sparse at times. Some of the later levels funnel you into a meat grinder on several occasions. The sequence in chapter 10 where you have to throw grenades into exhaust vents is really finicky. 

Halo was originally planned as an RTS. When the designers bug-tested the maps, though, they would sometimes navigate them in first-person mode. Once they saw what it was like to experience these play spaces on foot, they had a revelation and decided to change Halo's genre to FPS. 

Halo was the first FPS to let the player loose in such huge spaces. Its online multiplayer (PC only) was likewise unprecedented in scale. A lot of the challenge of Halo has to do with using space to your advantage and approaching groups of enemies strategically rather than with guns blazing. It's a popular game to speedrun because of the variety of ways in which to approach each situation and because of its unique physics system (see grenade jumping).

I don't find the plot to be very hard-hitting in this game. Maybe it's the fact that Cortana's voice is too mute for me to make out half of the time or that the fast-paced, episodic structure of the narrative prevents me from grasping the significance of events to the overarching story. The incredible quality of the music, however, more than makes up for this.

Halo remains a lot more playable than other revolutionary FPSes from the time (Goldeneye, Deus Ex, System Shock 2) due to its elegantly simple plasma/mechanical weapon system and smart level design. Despite the size of some of the maps, I never got lost--not even for a moment. Performance is rock solid regardless of format, and the graphics still look good today, if only a little plain. FPSes have grown a lot since Microsoft's breakout exclusive. Halo is no longer the gold standard for online multiplayer (although it still is great) and people rarely play games together locally (unfortunately).

The MCC for Xbox One is a great collection based on the strength of the campaigns alone. Halo 2, which I just started, looks absolutely incredible with cinema-quality cut-scenes and a massively overhauled engine optimized for the Xbox One, unlike Halo: CE which was simply an enhanced port of Halo: CE Anniversary, an Xbox 360 title.

I got the game for $35 in a Microsoft game sale, so I consider it a pretty excellent value. I'll post my impressions of Halo 2 when I finish it. 



JWK1
Posts: 904
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Halo: CE (Xbox One)

Postby JWK1 » February 26th, 2015, 3:58 pm

Thanks for posting your thoughts, pt.  I didn't realize you had an XBox One.  What do you think of the system so far?  Microsoft almost got me with the AC Bundle + Wolfenstein + extra controller for $350 a couple of weeks ago.  In the end, I'm thinking I had such a horrible backlog owning the PS3/360/Wii/DS/PSP last generation that I'd stick with two home consoles and buy a Wii U when it's a little cheaper.  I could always change my mind, though.  If I got one, the MCC and Sunset Overdrive would be the first games I'd get.

As for your topic, the same day I bought a 360, I went and bought Halo: CE Anniversary.  I think the campaign definitely holds up and is just as enjoyable as the literally dozen or so times I played through the campaign on my brother's XBox.  I will say I didn't remember it being so hard.  I guess you could blame that on the numerous games I play and not spending enough time on any of them to truly master them, or on developers lowering the difficulty in their games over time to appeal to a larger audience, but if I hadn't played the campaign so much I certainly would have lowered the difficulty to Normal.  Anyway, Halo 1's a great game to this day.

ptdebate1
Posts: 909
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

Halo: CE (Xbox One)

Postby ptdebate1 » February 26th, 2015, 5:06 pm

Hey there JWK,

It could be that I just suck at FPSes but Halo 2 seems so easy by comparison! I beat that one on legendary back in the day.

I bought one of the 1TB Call of Duty editions secondhand. My brother has an Xbox One but doesn't have a PS4 so I got this in order to allow us to play games online with one another. Compared to my early impressions playing with my brother's console back in early 2014, the system software has improved a lot. Before it was cumbersome to do basic things like view your friends list and create a party. Now it's a heck of a lot more intuitive to navigate.

I like the static, minimalistic visual design of the Xbox One better than that of the PS4, which seems a little gaudy with its dynamic wallpaper. I also like the fact that you can customize the color scheme. The UI interface is a little sluggish at times but it gets the job done.

The Xbox One is more feature-rich than its competitor at present. When you start a game, your save data automatically syncs. If you play your games on someone else's console (like when I visit my brother) it automatically syncs from the cloud to that console and vice versa without requiring any user input. Furthermore, you can use an external hard drive to expand your capacity for games to as large as you want. USB 3.0 drives actually load games faster than the internal SATA drive, so you can cut down load times that way as well. The PS4 doesn't offer this feature yet.

The Xbox One has had an uneven start, but it's not a bad console to own. If you're choosing right now, I'd steer you towards the PS4 because Bloodborne is about to release. If you really want to stick with the Microsoft ecosystem though the Xbox One is a good choice. With the lowered price and improved OS, it's probably the best time yet to buy one.



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