Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ZA Critique: Halo 3

I don't think I really appreciated Halo 3 until all my friends with Xbox360's switched to Call of Duty 4 as the game of choice. Whereas I never missed a chance to poke fun at the plot or refer to everything as 'nerf guns' in Halo 3, COD 4's style of play left my sorry ass out on the curb. You couldn't play if you'd had too many beers, you couldn't play with people who were better than you, and technically I couldn't really play the game online, period.

After a while I decided to figure out what the hang-up was. It ultimately boiled down to the fact that Halo 3's design accommodates people with low skill by providing some insta-kill situations. Certain types of weapons immediately trump other types of weapons while others break even. This system has been polished to perfection.

I borrowed a quote from Iroquis Pliskin on the topic, stitched together a few analogies, and then found a way to consider randomized dominance a perk instead of some huge flaw.

Something tells me a lot of fans aren't going to see this the same way.


Iroquois Pliskin said...

Hey thanks for the shout-out L.B. I don't have a huge range of experience when it comes to online multiplayer shooters but I've always been impressed by how the weapon variety and map design come together to create this multiple-register combat; very different from the way that COD4 matches play out, where you almost always stick with the same weapons.

Also I think I"m with you that the randomness of Halo 3 is a key to its fun. It's just very freewheeling, which is one of the good things about it. Maybe it's just the jumping, or whatever, but it's got this enjoyably chaotic feel that's great.

Anyhow, kudos for continuing to talk about games that were released more than 3 months ago. You're doing god's work.

L.B. Jeffries said...

Thanks man, it's certainly a lot lighter on my wallet to stick with the cheap stuff.

Alas, I'm turning off my comment notification on the post now. The kneejerk Halo 3 fans have showed up and in my experience, they are the touchiest bunch in gaming.

Iroquois Pliskin said...

I read the comments. The sad fact is that videogame enthusiasts are basically the worst people in the world. Thank god you didn't praise the Needler or commit some comparable sacrilege.

Anyways this piece got me sucked in to playing Halo again (this happens every few motns) and it's only made your basic argument more convincing. It really matters what kind of weapons you run into each match, and this is pretty happenstance. Good stuff.