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Halo Comrade 07/29/2020 (Wed) 19:30:04 No. 3347
What are your thoughts on the halo franchise, bungie-era to 343-era
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Cancerous trash from start to finish.
>>3348 what's cancerous about it?
>>3349 Unremovable autoaim, weapon limits, and regenerating health.
>>3347 Enjoyable but responsible for the trend of forgettable shooters in the mid to late 2000s. But then that was replaced by even worse mechanics so I miss it.
>>3350 the only thing I like from there is weapon limits, but if I recall, in OG halo, only part of your health regened, personally I like the idea of having a weak buffer between attacks and your health
>>3349 The UNSC as the military arm of the imperialist and low key fascistic UEG exists primarily to crush various insurgencies aiming to liberate colonies from earth rule. Throughout the series the ONI gains more and more power while being the space CIA responsible for the dirty counter insurgency tactics and the "sanitizing" of news among earth territories. Spartans II were made of kidnapped children who were brainwashed and heavily modified to be an elite death squad whose goal was to assassinate political opponents of the UEG regime. But you know halo is a cool guy, he kills alien n stuff, so many young burgers later ended up in the united states marine corps killing brown people abroad because they didn't study the lore with a critical mindset. In short they were like their hero, brainwashed kids who ended up killing political opponents of a lowkey fascistic empire trying to maintain his rule over humanity. The games are fun though and there are a few good novels I'll give you that.
>>3353 Even in the OPS (original piece of shit) Halo, the half-regenerating health mechanic was enough to act as a massive crutch during level design. Indeed, the level design in OPS Halo is garbage.
>>3356 eh, yeah, there were some nastily linear levels, I like it because I played it with my dad and we have good memories, I like the fact there's actual enemy variety and there's no ads, but in hindsight, it was 'just better' than most modern shooters
lore sucks but its fun 2 play
Speaking as an OG Bungie fan, I am very very very very disappointed in Halo. The only good things it ended up doing for the genre (neither that unique for the time) were vehicles, squad AI, and a smooth-feeling UI that put cancels into animations. Everything else about it was underwhelming or infuriating. Copypasted from abomomination thread: >>3337 #1 example for me will always and eternally be Halo, though how much of that was the devs wanting to retire at 30 after cashing out, and how much was M$ 's launch window, will always remain a mystery. Though I'm certain Bungie wouldn't have felt the temptation to do such a hackjob on their swansong if professional game development weren't such a grueling crunch-time burden not to mention the riskiness of being self-published that Bungie experienced in their brush with death during the "Myth CD recall" fiasco: >huge open world, giant nonlinear levels >dynamic responsive nonlinear campaign >huge multiplayer popcap for coop and pvp >(then) typically sophisticated bungie story with rich presentation spanning beyond cutscenes & npc barks to reams of in-world texts >(then) typical bungie modding tools >another rare mac game <bought by M$ <dumbed down from ambitious genre experiment to ultra-linear fps with a few vehicle segments to fit in 64 megs of memory on console <made console shooters even worse with introduction of auto-aim and regen health <in-game story dumbed down with removal of all text and overall linearity <story so dumbed down a tie-in advergame outdoes it <tie-in novels also share the burden shirked by halo's storytelling <multiplayer stripped to pvp cobbled together in a week by one guy and basic 2-player coop mode <other game for rival console already in production, oni, rushed out to its detriment And then the cherry on top, while I haven't played it (and most of the O.G. Bungie team were never involved), is Destiny's fumbling of what seems even more like Halo's original concept on paper, complete with a seemingly open world stripped of freedom or consequence, and a story totally separate from the actual game. Also that was on by default, and done deceitfully, rather than having some UI indication such as crosshair/weapon movement. On top of that and regen health, I suppose there's also 2-weapon limit and mud-slow movement. But perhaps worst of all is that pretty early in development Halo pretty obviously became one of if not THE headline launch title for the system. So redesigning the controller to accommodate Halo (and the trend of other games using the right thumbstick for camera/aim control) with some kind of trackball, motion aiming, or other higher-precision input could've and should've been done. Especially since Microsoft itself already had experience with all these technologies through their Sidewinder brand.
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Also, bonus raeg about the general dumbing down of Halo's story and Bungie's thematic sensibilities in concert with the rest of the industry and SF genre from an old post of mine on /tg/ (I'm the bottom post, but the other posts are quite relevant).
>>3388 huh, I have marathon, should get to playing it, I stopped placing much stock into halo's story after Cptn Keyes kept getting himself killed, by that point me and my dad had lost any and all respect and love for the unsc, save for the dropship chick, it comes across as some over the top space opera, I love it tho
>>3387 fuck, the movement, I hate it in CE, and the vehicles feel slow, what's wrong with health regen though, I'm aware that it reduces gameplay consequences, but how does it specifically make the game less fun
>>3391 At the tactical level, health regen pours more emphasis onto the least interesting behavior, camping behind cover and popping out to take potshots, versus more aggressive tactics. As well as providing a cushion that lessens incentives for players to improve. At the strategic level, health regen acts as a crutch for map designers, by eliminating the need to balance entire-level resources and challenges, as well as eliminating the incentive for players to perform well in each individual fight, as your resources reset between encounters. This is similar to (and even worse when combined with) reliable death drops from enemies of health/ammo/etc. Both the strategic and tactical drawbacks together create something even worse, allowing level designers to create rooms in an extremely lazy: <make empty box <poke entrance in one side <scribble chest-high walls on the floor <plop d00dz in the room <poke entrance in other side or unlock door that autolocks when player enters like a fucking zelda dungeon fashion, and then build an entire level out of these strung together. This 6-minute video provides a good explanation: https://invidio.us/cLPEdsweQGs While it's about CoD:MW, most of its analysis applies to Halo as too, and to console shooters in general.
>>3394 huh, I actually to some extent wonder how to make a good map in an FPS
>>3387 wut's wrong with weapon limits
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>>3402 While they give more meaning to weapon choices, because this is the result of giving the mapper more control over the player, they also represent a crutch for weak designers, by shrinking the mapper's "possibility space", and giving players less tactical flexibility. Especially when combined with other "streamlining", they contribute to the linearity and triviality of a game. >>3399 Er... That's a subject for either years of hard labor in the GtkRadiant mines, or a non-Hollywood-ized college course. But if I were to spitball an answer, I'd say maybe: <replayability >nonlinear, player can choose numerous paths through both map as a whole and channels through constituent areas/rooms >interconnected, reuses space not just for backtracking but for entrance and exit through different means >different approaches rely on mutually exclusive tools/resources in-game and different skills on the player's part >fights and individual enemies should have multiple sets of intended weaknesses and strengths of varying obviousness and convenience to the player >prescripting, triggers, spawns, etc., should have conditionally branching responses when possible >secrets, including skill-challenge alternate paths, caches of items, story nuggets, and secrets just for secret-hunting' sake >locations of secrets should neither be blatantly obvious, not degenerate into pixelhunting/wallhumping. though taunting the player with "there is a really cool secret somewhere" hints is okay for some but not all secrets <theme >strong thematic aesthetic, neither flavorless generic mundanity, nor thoughtless clashing mishmash >across all scales everything should communicate some sort of story or tableau, even without words; from the entire game, whole maps, groups of rooms, individual rooms, and individual fights and puzzles, that interlock with each other >narrative story, if any, is transmitted wholly or primarily in-game, prioritizing texts found in the map, audio or video recordings, npc chatter and "barks", item descriptions in the inventory ui, environmental vignettes as above, etc.; over more direct methods like cutscenes and radio/speaker transmissions >story transmitted through prescripted sequences should be integrated into fights/puzzles/etc., instead of being uninteractive events they player just watches or walks through, and (as above) should ideally incorporate conditional interactive reaction >even narrative-heavy games should incorporate multiple layers and threads of story material into maps, so more interested players can search them out, while less interested players can skim <instruction >player initiative, the player should ideally have to figure out their own goals, any explicit guidance should be something given in advance and consulted, or merely inferred from the environment, realtime hectoring from mission control over your radio is bad >realtime goal arrows on your compass or overlayed on your hud are unforgivable >automaps and automatic journal logs are okay <challenges >environment has a mechanical impact on combat beyond providing cover and places to stand; liquids, gasses, fires, exploding barrels, collapsible walls, crushing platforms, etc., all of which should react to different weapons/enemies/etc. >puzzles, that includes subtler things like finding ways through/around a locked door or a clearly unfair fight, to more explicit puzzles, occurring both in more peaceful conditions and in the heat of continuous combat or other hazards >different enemies and weapons that complement each other, and are amenable to arrangement in many different ways >use enemy ai and map design together, e.g.: passages for fast enemies to doubleback and flank or for the player to confuse and divide foes, headspace for flying/climbing foes to maneuver, alcoves/ledges for enemies/player to snipe from, walls and openings spaced to herd the player versus bouncing grenades or detonate-on-contact rockets, big open areas for hitscan enemies, tight rooms/doors for melee enemies, etc. <balance >limited resources, the entire campaign should be designed so each map and each location within them has just enough resources to clear at a given difficulty setting, assuming resources carried over from similar performance in the previous map, plus a small cushion to absorb occasional survivable screwups, and additional challenge available for those who accrue or spurn more resources >perpetual ammo/health/etc. (regenerating, respawning, death drops, etc.) should be balanced with enemies or other hazards that respawn or are omnipresent. >no cheap deaths or "bind quicksave/quickload to your mouse buttons" design, and especially nothing outside the player's control (e.g.: dumb ai for escort missions), but also no infinite pity escapes. reloading should be expected if the player fails too badly >don't be afraid to use enemies, items, and the environment to bully the player outside their comfort zone, especially for gimmick maps that take away crutches the player usually depends on, such as certain ammo, health spawns, and even hard limits like light or oxygen Probably the apex of shooter map design are the '90s Build Engine games: Duke Nukem, Shadow Warrior, Redneck Rampage, etc., which incorporate much of the above, with the main exceptions being no campaign-level branching and/or backtracking, (as previously existed in, e.g., System Shock and Heretic) and the simple AI of the period. Regarding Bungie, a good comparison are the stronger maps in the Marathon series ("Defend This!", "Eat it, Vid Boi!", "Acme Station", etc.) whose greatest weakness against the Build Engine games is a samey feeling due to memory restraints limiting variety in art assets, and of course the shield chargers. In the case of Halo, while individual fights are mostly good, an overall disconnection of consequence between them is typical of newer games, and especially the first game almost feels like a parody of modern linear FPSs, in that it reuses the entire first half of the game in reverse order from "The Library" onward.
Replaying the Bungie Halo games semi-recently, I came to the conclusion that: Halo CE is alright but kinda falls apart in the later half as the difficulty outpaces the options the game generally gives you to resolve the situation, which I think is the main drive as to why Bungie tried to find a "fourth pillar" to the main gameplay elements (shooting, moving ,and melee) as a tactical element to remedy this and make there be more choices and individuality in playstytle. For its time though it was a good shooter which was playing with a new format of shooters from the old PC era shooters which isn't really better or worse imho, its more of a turn to some regard to limiting the player in regards to weapon loadouts but expanding the player's interaction with the environment as compensation to that loss, and unlike later games it amounts to more than "duck behind cover": since you have moon jump on at all times, you can easily outflank and surprise enemies with good use of the environment, use your AI teammates and create a field of overwhelming fire to suppress enemies and force them into cover, ect. Not really a move to "realism" really but more a turn to a more active battlefield and making the player less a dominating force in the battlefield but rather a facet (albeit a large one) of the larger whole, even in the final levels where most of your UNSC buddies are gone, the battle arenas have more than one faction at a time so you can play your enemies against each other. Looking back it's evident why it exploded in popularity for presenting something pretty new in an accessible format, but now it mostly seems antiquated. Halo 2 was, as one of the devs put it, their cathedral that assembled itself out of the storm. Not really pushing the bounds in a lot of ways compared to the original but rather refining a lot of the elements of CE, making squadmates smarter and more competent in things like piloting vehicles, flanking, defending positions, ect. Granted this is partly done by scripting rather than truly intelligent AI but in the framework of what Halo 2 presents it works fairly well, the only moments when you worry about if your AI teammates are going to get killed is in situations where you feel equally worried about getting killed (that or when they dodge-roll off a cliff when they see a grenade). Of course this is also the game which introduced duel-wielding into Halo which would become the biggest weapon-related meme for the longest time after it became big via Halo, and would only be a feature in Halo 2 and Halo 3 because of the difficulties of balancing that with the gunplay. Despite all this though, its easy to feel where things they wanted to do was cut, and at the end of the day there is little else to say about Halo 2 except "Halo CE but better" and then make a meme about the cliffhanger ending. Halo 3 was the first real attempt to build that 4th pillar that Bungie had been wanting to do but was denied from doing in Halo 2 because of the disastrous dev cycle for that game, and it came in as... the mostly underwhelming equipment system. There are neat things you can do with it, like using the turbo-lift thing to rocket yourself around the arena like you are an angel of dakka, or use the bubble shield to advance under heavy fire, but for the most part its inconsequential to gameplay. Halo 3 came with the expected improvement to both friend and foe AI and opened up the levels a lot more, since Halo 2 had more enclosed levels so the AI scripting wouldn't go mad, and even in these situations the AI can generally not fuck itself over doing something stupid. the AI uses a system of rally points to get around the map in regards to player progression part of the time and the other part of the time they will just follow the player around whenever they are accomplishing an objective. The AI can also tell when you've boned yourself somehow, like when you end up on foot during a mission where you are supposed to be in a vehicle, at which point your AI buddies will drive up in whatever multi-passenger vehicle they can find to offer you a ride. The AI also has decent threat-assessment, and they know when to sally out from a defensive position to mop up enemies and when they are overwhelmed and chose to flee into more defensible positions (the mid-part of Tsavo Highway is a good example of this, where a bunch of soldiers have a hillfort made out of traffic barriers and other stuff they have found and are under attack by a covie armored group and jetpack brigade, they retreat to their bunkers when they are getting pressed hard but when you arrive and take out large chunks of the covenant forces they sally out to help your attack). Halo 3 also loved to show off their setpiece battles in the Scarabs, which were neat at the time in having an AI vehicle with multiple modes of attack that it is using to fight off multiple parts of your own forces at the same time, and if you don't know what you are doing the scarabs can be pretty nasty, but at this point most everyone knows the trick to killing them so its more a neat concept than anything else. Sidenote on Halo 3 ODST: Mostly just a moodier version of Halo 3 which focuses more on survival in a hostile environment without aid than big setpiece battles, but it can be pretty fun if you like both jazz and halo 3. Halo Reach was the sendoff to Bungie's halo as they parted ways with Microsoft, and its pretty much what you'd expect from such a sendoff, it didn't focus on innovation as much as Halo 3 did but worked on polishing up what was already there to give the experience people knew in the best way they could. They did take another crack at the 4th pillar thing with Reach as well, now with their new equipment system which was less useless by virtue of the fact that the equipment wasn't single use and included useful things like a sprint which not only increased movespeed but modified your jumping angles and heights so you could play with terrain more, jetpacks to zip from place to place and rain down lead from above, stealth cloaks for if you want to dick around and ambush your enemies, and things like the lockdown ability which made you immune to explosives and vehicles running you over at the cost of making you immobile. While it wasn't quite as ubiquitous as any of the 3 existing pillars, they were all situationally useful and did a lot more to vary things than Halo 3 did. The campaign took on some of the slightly darker thematics laid out in Halo ODST for their main campaign, setting up the game as the losing battle to save the planet reach (the UNSC's biggest planet besides Earth) from the largest covenant force ever encountered. The plot also acts as a good ramp for the game's difficulty, so new players can still smoothly get into the game at the early levels and be prepared for the large difficulty spike towards the late game. Levels became a bit more linear from Halo 3, but that was likely more due to the fact that the battles were denser with more enemies and allies than ever before in larger spaces, with more vehicles, air support, and troop movements between locations on the map as the battles unfold. I didn't really miss the more freeform levels as much, I tend to find the more concentrated linear experiences where most of the creativity comes out of how you interact with the things around you are more fun than the games where its just a bunch of stuff lying around in a sandbox for you to interact with from place to place. Halo 2 and Halo Reach probably stand for having the biggest difficulty spikes in Halo though, and that is probably why they both stand as my personal favorites.
>>3355 Honestly, I never really paid too much attention to the story in Halo beyond what was present in the main trilogy. As far as I was concerned, it was about defending humanity against an overwhelming alien force and you're a super soldier with the potential to turn a hopeless situation around - go kick ass. It helped that it was backed by really solid level design. It was when the devs tried deviating from this that everything started to feel really strange. The weird melodrama of ODST and Reach that carried on into future games. The rewriting of the lore that made the "humans" from being yet another race to becoming the cosmic chosen ones from a million years ago that the Forerunners got jealous of. And then there's all this other lore that added much needed complexity to "humanity" that I don't think was really explored in the sequels. Instead 4+5 became science fantasy and we're just going back to fighting covenant-lite in Halo Infinite except this time humanity apparently have weapons on par with if not better than the banished do so what's even the threat here.
>>3633 I always thought humans and forrunners were related from the beginning, either way, the humanity special trope fucking disgusts me, it's this fucking wank over how special we are for like, what, being born with an inheritance? I don't like it tbh
>>3633 Its part of the problem with them constantly expanding the story. Humans being the "reclaimers" in the first few games leaves much of it to your imagination and only states that something about humans makes them capable of re-activating the rings. When they started adding more and more information for the forerunner history they had to actually write out and explain what it meant. From there its very easy for the new team of writers to fuck up turning implications into story and we end up with a generic "humanity fuck yeah" backstory. A lot of these writers need to relearn that often less is more.
>>3602 These were pretty much my thoughts as well, replaying CE especially I noticed how spiky the difficulty curve is in places and the arbitrary, very old school lack of good conveyance there is in spots (the player being required to use a ghost at one specific angle on a specific side of a canyon to sort of half jump over an impassable looking ledge when destroying the firing conduits comes to mind, as does the sudden appearance of minor, but very sloppy feeling platforming elements not used anywhere else when getting to engineering to detonate the ships reactor in the 9th level) Rocket launcher flood in particular are the obvious meme enemy for CE but they are genuinely frustrating especially as they're very very hard to tell apart from regular flood and don't telegraph their attacks well, relying on you dodging the rocket instead, but more than the rocket flood the flood in general are used in ways that are just annoying and not fun to deal with, the last levels in CE start to feel like MW2 or something where trying to play sensibly by letting enemies come into territory you control so you can use the environment to your advantage ends with you fighting seemingly 2/3 times more flood than you do when you just plough forward and have a boring, unsatisfying stand up shooting match with power weapons Also the assault rifle is essentially useless on heroic and higher and has no mechanical reason to exist when the plasma rifle does its job better, its only there for story reasons, I didn't cop it as a teenager but this is the obvious reason why the AR was dropped for the BR in Halo 2 and is completely revamped when its reintroduced in 3 onwards >>3959 >>3637 >>3633 I think they fucked it when trying to implement the ideas from the books back into the games, Humanity having been this massive star empire in the distant past and lacking all knowledge of it is kind of an interesting idea, but it shouldn't be humanity speshul, it should be this revelation that's used to make the universe feel bigger and give texture to the world instead of massively effecting the immediate story. The main Halo games have such ridiculous stakes at the centre of their stories a side game or sequel trilogy with a twist that brings the theme down a bit and shows how insignificant whatever sectoral conflict that's playing out is would be pretty neat and could let them bring in more of the cool stuff from the books without ruining the games A far more satisfying reveal would have been some forerunner war AI or something challenging a human ship because it thinks they're still in a cold war and then getting confused when the humans have no idea what it is, or some kind of Ozymandias thing where the human characters stumble on some really really old human thing that's now completely decayed and useless, like a ship hulk floating between planets or the remains of a million year old school or something
>>3347 Actually fascist but I unironically enjoy the games The insurrection did literally nothing wrong, death to the UNSC
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>>3972 Not really relevant anymore when you're all being genocided together
>>3967 >trying to implement the ideas from the books back into the games This is exactly what I was complaining about upthread. If the amount of IN-GAME story material in Halo had been up to at least the level of Bungie's previous titles, with Staten expected to actually do his job, this wouldn't have been a problem. Instead, appetite for story material was supplemented by a galaxy of derivative tie-in material with nothing central to draw on. And they're doing it again in Destiny, except worse, because there's a large amount of lore shipped with the games, but it happens outside of actual play.
>>3972 Fuck off fascist, you're not welcome here.
>>3977 >Saying the Starship Troopers-esque military government that protects a capitalist economy is bad makes me a fascist retard
>>3985 TBF, your grammar was ambiguous, as to whether you were saying "Halo is fascist" (an opinion on which I disagree, along with the Heinlein Corollary to Godwin's Law) or "I am fascist".
>>3974 >Empire Earth based
>>3986 Oh shit, yeah, I can see that. But my opinion on the Halo setting is that it's basically post-racial, post-gendered fascism.
The first one was the best one
How greasy is Master Chief's back hair do you think? He doesn't take that armour off for at least a couple weeks real time between the start of 2 and the end of 4, does his suit collect his body grease to use as lube when its jacking him off?
>>3967 >The main Halo games have such ridiculous stakes at the centre of their stories a side game or sequel trilogy with a twist that brings the theme down a bit and shows how insignificant whatever sectoral conflict that's playing out is would be pretty neat and could let them bring in more of the cool stuff from the books without ruining the games Honestly I don't see how that idea would achieve that, showing remnants of the old Empires isn't going to help when the main plot is them stumbling upon one of said old empires galaxy killing weapon. It would have worked if 2 and 3 hadn't been about finding even more superweapons but you can't make the conflict seem insignificant when the stakes actually are inherently ridiculously high.
>>4075 I mean like for example a side story or an interlude game where the main story is about some sectoral conflict like control of a couple of planets, stopping some fleet of ships slipping through a blockade or something like that, a little flavour level or cool backdrop for an encounter with some lore intractables would be nice and could be used to set a specific tone pretty well if used correctly, like for example you're sent to check out some weird alien activity at the edge of a system and you have a few levels set on an ancient, long abandoned ship and it sets up the tone or one of the themes of the game as being about impermanence or whatever Like ODST uses its environment and music to tell a tonally very different experience to the main series with much lower stakes and fleshes out some of the background not really covered in the classic games
>>4078 Thats what I expected Halo 4 and 5 to be with all the marketing campaigns about human rebels that resisted peace with the Elites. Then they just went into ridiculous stakes anyway.
>>4060 if I remember right in one of the novels it says his skin as pale as snow because he rarely spends time outside of the suit, so it must not be great in there.
>>4105 Do you think thats part of what makes him so effective? Whenever he gets hit the pungent odour emanating from his suit distracts the covenant so much that they lose the focus needed to kill him. Just something to think about.
>>4133 CURSED
About to start Halo 2 on Heroic having last played it a decade ago what am I in for?
>>4498 Jackal snipers and insta death I hear
>>4506 I thought the jackal snipers were irritating on heroic but not he instadeath laserbeams that they are on Legendary.
>>4520 never played halo 2, I'm guessing
>>4520 they are 2-shot kills on heroic normally the elites are more of the problem you will face, especially in confined spaces, since they can haul ass fast. when you get to the sections with brutes just make sure you have either a shotgun and explosive weapon or a shotgun and a headshot-capable weapon, explosive weapons for juggling them, shotguns for finishing them off at close range, and headshot-capable weapons for doming them before they get close. I think the energy sword is still usually a 1 or 2 hit kill for brutes on heroic though, so you can use that if you find one.
>>4498 Okay I'm at the first Arbiter mission and I think I really should just go down to normal, the difficulty is slightly too hard most of the time which is fine but then there's random spikes every four or five encounters into the almost deliberately frustrating range
>>4533 Are you on gamepad, or PCMR?
>>4534 M+KB
>>4521 I've played all of them but it was ages since I last played it on heroic+, I genuinely don't remember them being as obnoxious.
>>4533 Coming back today and playing a bit more on classic graphics I think a big part of the problem is the sheer amount of visual noise that the Anniversary edition adds, there's so much bloom and flare and extra detail that its harder to process what's going on compared to the original release
>>4547 man I can say the same thing about cea, new graphics are fucking gorgeous, even today, but it's all cluttered-like, so I just play on classic

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