Friday, May 18, 2007

My Halo 3 Beta Impressions (I sold out)

I sold out and bought Crackdown from Wal-mart last night. I felt too left out, and I wanted to antagonize DemolitionNinja, since he cannot use his right hand for a month (he just had surgery). It's all in good fun, and he's actually really happy he got to see the game. Neither of us can wait for the real deal come September 25th.

Here is a good comparison video between H2 and H3. The only problem is that at low resolutions, the differences aren't quite as obvious as they should be. But I have feeling all the gamers bitching about the graphics aren't using HDTV's, or at least aren't using good HDTV's.

First of all, plan to have the controls SCREW YOU UP. You will press X multiple times to reload and it will fail. Most actions have been delegated to the bumpers, which is obnoxious at first. After a few minutes with the new controls though, they make complete sense and are a huge improvement over Halo 1 and 2's. Being able to reload individual guns while dual wielding is more awesome than one might give it credit for. Using the bumpers as much as possible also allows us to keep our right thumb on the analog stick, which is a huge plus.

The graphics? Definite improvement, although those looking for Gears of War quality will probably be disappointed. In all honesty, H3Beta looks like a solid PC shooter graphically. Next Gen is so...shiny...

The Audio? This is where the biggest problem lies for me. Even with the volume turned up on the surround sound...the game is eerily quiet. In Halo 2, we get used to subtle background noises, whether it's birds, water, or footsteps. I don't think the sound team got their mits on the multiplayer demo. Don't get me wrong, it is in surround...but there's not as much noise as we're used to. The voice work seems to be a notch under memorable compared to H2.

The Gameplay? Awesome. Some of the cheap tricks from Halo 2 seem to have been alleviated, such as the swipe trick, noob combo-ing, and beat-down lunging. The Shotgun has a more realistic range now too...although I did come across one instance where a near-point-blank shot didn't kill an opponent that was immobile looking the other way.

The man-cannons are much better than the portals. I always hated the cat-and-mouse through the portals. They are definitely dangerous though...SNIPED.

Territories is actually setup leaps and bounds better. Instead of a single round where both teams are fighting for individual territories, it has become a multi-round game with offense and defense. The defenders have to protect ALL of the terrorities while the offenders have to try to get them. To score, the offense must capture territories...which takes a significant amound of time to do (a minute or more per plot...didn't time it). Once a territory is taken, it's locked's a score.

Thanks for fixing that horrible playlist, Bungie!

Some reviewers had some grips about the new weapons and special "grenades". Unfortunately, they are right about the spike grenades...they aren't as cool as they should be. Resistance's spike grenades are a much better design IMO. Although spiking someone in the back of the head my first try was liberating.

Grenade trajectory has changed as ricochets on the wall next to me to get a person persuing me doesn't seem to work. That makes sad. The new trajectory is kind of a mix between H1 and H2, which is actually a good thing...but adjusting will be difficult.

The portable grav-lifts will make for some interesting games I think...

Well, after playing the beta, I now know how the Halo 1 supporters feel. H3beta feels so different, that I was almost quick to reject it (although some H1'ers still reject H2...not sure's less cheap in a lot of aspects). But once I dug into it on the third game or so...I was hooked. Bungie is doing a fantastic job so far, and I can't wait to see the final result.

The part that sucks for that business trip next week...I won't be able to play for 8 days. *sigh*


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