This Side Up – Anniversary Achievements and Campaign

Inspired by my recent skulduggery I’ve kept the ship moving on Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and I grabbed a few more achievements:

Look out for the little guys Look Out for the Little Guys

Leave it where it lay Leave It Where It Lay

This side up This Side Up

He's unstoppable! He’s Unstoppable!

(You can get a handy summary of how to get these achievements here.)

I forgot how Continue reading →

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Halo @ E3 2014 – Halo: The Master Chief Collection

No need to rehash the intro, let’s get right to it!

Halo: The Master Chief Collection reactions:

Rumors notwithstanding, The Master Chief Collection is confirmed real and is almost everything I could want.

“Almost” you say? Of course! What kind of Halo fan would I be if I didn’t gripe about something trivial during a franchise high point?

Hyperbole aside, I’ve tried to Continue reading →

Halo @ E3 2014 – general reactions

The stars aligned this afternoon and I was able to sit down and watch the entire Microsoft E3 2014 Media Briefing live from the comfort of my own home.

The kids were told to play outside, so that meant the room was mine alone. Currerbell1847 was close by, as I had the directive to tell her “when something Halo” came on.

Ladies and gentlemen something Halo did come on, and with Continue reading →

War Games – upcoming playlists

You may (or may not) have missed the War Games calendar posted in last week’s bulletin, so for your benefit – and the fact that I don’t want to hunt for it again either – here’s what’s upcoming (click on the calendar for a larger size):

Click for a bigger shot

Click for a bigger shot

“Race” is the current featured playlist, with “Rocket Race” next week.

My magic day is January 20th of the new year – that’s when the lists start to go my way:

  • Team DLC – I always love playing the newer maps
  • Heavies – Loved it in Reach (in spurts, mind you), so I’m interested to see how it plays out in Halo 4
  • Big Rumble – I’m assuming this is a sixteen player free-for-all, and the sheer craziness sounds good to me
  • Extraction – I’m a big fan of this game type so seeing more of it is welcome
  • Squad DLC – Did I mention I love playing on the newer maps? I think I did

Since Big Team Battle has been the most popular playlist on Halo 4, it makes sense that BTB playlists would be – wait for it – a big deal.

Big Team Battle is still my favorite game type in Halo multiplayer, so it’s great to see them expanding what it means to play with a large group in the space.

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A Question of Weight – Halo 4 and Community

Discussing the community’s reaction to Halo 4 is tired. Old. It’s all been said.

But I’ve never had a problem with beating dead horses*, so it’s time for me to throw a few words in the pile. I’ll keep it brief, and as a bonus you’re also going to get my “review” of Halo 4 in bullet point form sprinkled throughout … nine months after release. Nice!

  • I was surprised to find that being more aware of the Halo Community made the game harder to enjoy. Everyone should (and does) have an opinion, but I didn’t expect that it would be many in the visible community telling the world that you shouldn’t like Halo 4
  • ReviewHalo 4’s visuals and music were, and still are, awesome
  • This could just be a little bit of history repeating itself. When I started Reactive Bias almost two years ago, I was introduced to all the players who strongly disliked (hated) Reach. And all this time I loved a game that I should have complained about … 😉
  • Review Halo 4’s story was a disappointment, not in content but in execution. I feel 343 Industries pushed the bar so high it ended up out of reach. Everything mattered, but everything didn’t come together into an understandable whole at the time of the game’s release – and because of that the story suffered. Both those who read the books and those who did not finished “Midnight” feeling something was just a little off, and I think the enigma of the Didact was to blame
  • I’ve realized that Halo to me is what’s put out there as Halo, no matter who’s making it. That doesn’t mean I think it’s all good, but it does mean that I recognize the obvious – I’m not in charge.
  • Review – Spartan Ops was a great first step (minus the dudebro of the first half)  in a new direction, and Multiplayer still keeps me coming back for more. Halo multiplayer has been fun for me in the past, and Halo 4’s War Games hasn’t changed that

To bring these reflections to a close, the good that Halo 4 does – and aspires to do – outweighs the bad for me. It’s that question of weight, and my answer to it, that lands me squarely in the “likes Halo 4” camp 😀

***

Last thing – be sure to check out CruelLEGACEY’s posts (part 1,part 2 and part 3) on how he would make Halo 5 if given the chance. We differ on our excitement for the franchise going forward, but I agree with a lot of his takeaways on how the experience for the next game in the “Reclaimer Trilogy” can be bettered.

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*=The author of this post does not actually enjoy the beating of any of the equine population, dead of otherwise.

Modcast Bulletin (Ep. 4)

This Modcast was originally broadcast on 11.10.11

The Modcasts keep humming right along and this one has to be my favorite yet – great discussion, good points/quotes, and all with the anticipation of Halo Anniversary mixed right in!

Thankfully we now have our hands on said title, but travel back in time with me as I hit the highs (and lows? 🙂 ) of Modcast Delta!

Appreciated Points:

Level “343 Guilty Spark”– The Jenkins recording was eerie, and “nailed the sense of Continue reading →

Be nice and play with your friends: DS multi and the big jump

Originally posted at GameSpot on July 15, 2008

Playing a bit of catch up on the gaming front; my brother-in-law had some time before he stated his new job, so he can over last week on Monday (June 7) and Thursday (June 10). He and his girlfriend just bought a DS – one for each of them. How sweet is that?

Monday it was just him and I, and we played The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. This was the first time I had ever seen the game in action, and I was impressed; I hope to get this someday for my DS as well.

I was able to see some of the single-player action; from drawing the path of your boomerang to blowing out candles through the mic. The game play looked engaging, and I think it would be great intro for me into the Zelda universe.

Watching him play was fine, but the multiplayer was outstanding. Playing as either Link or the soldiers, each of you had to stop the other from reaching your respective goals. If Link, the goal was gathering jewels – if a soldier, your goal was stopping him from doing so. The warp doors, wind barriers, and vision tricks the game made each map have its own special craziness.

I especially liked the power-ups – cloning yourself, speed or strength, and then being able to run over and deny them from your opponent was great.

We closed the night with a little “Boarding Action” from Halo: Combat Evolved. He won, naturally – but I will say I enjoy that map a lot more than I used to. Some good moments.

Thursday had even more going on with four DS’s in my living room. My wife was able to try Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends, and she liked it. I was finally able to play some multiplayer for the first time on Star Fox Command, and it didn’t disappoint. Power-ups spread throughout the map were well-balanced, from bombs to various laser options, and barrel rolls while trying to get behind the enemy.

I won more of these battles; but to be fair he had never played the game before.

Other DS multiplayer action involved the New Super Mario Brothers. This is one of the best games for the DS, not just because of the tremendous single-player campaign, but for the fantastic multiplayer. We played some very intense ten star matches, each of us jumping or shooting fireballs like mad trying to crush each other.

Besides the “level” multiplayer, we played some of the mini-games as well. Card games, rolling snowballs, and bouncing Mario’s all made an appearance here – including my former best, the hidden faces! He dominated in a way I didn’t expect – I need some training. Perhaps a refresher course with some Where’s Waldo books?

You can’t play any new Mario without thinking of the old, and I showed him the GBA version of theSuper Mario World. I am currently stuck on a level, but I booted it up just to give him a little nostalgia.

I entered a world just to show him where I was at, and after commenting on how I found the game a little tough I promptly fell off the edge into nothingness. We lost it, laughing so hard at the perfect illustration of my current game progress. Oh course, funnier if you were there, but it was the best set-up I could’ve had.

He fell off once as well for good measure, and we figured it was time to put that baby down before wereally hurt our pride.

Even with all the DS goodness, we managed to get some Xbox in. After trying (and failing) to figure out the multiplayer of Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory, we ended up with Need for Speed Most Wanted.

I finally beat the “Get through 6 police roadblocks” on the challenges, but the real jewel of the evening came when my brother-in-law was trying to beat the same challenge. I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the best features of the game is at certain points of the city, the camera will snap back into a cinematic third-person view while everything moves in slow motion. It mixes up the racing very nice at key points, and I find myself trying to hit those “slow-mo points” with as many cops behind me as I can, just to make it a cooler shot.

Anyway, he had just come up to a road block and smashed through; happens all the time right? What was special about this time was the fact that his car was thrown in the air lop-sided, and it was just over a hill at a slow-mo part. So when he flew in the air, car twisting around, it was like watching our own action movie. The car flew up and we both could hardly speak due to all the awesomeness, and then he jumped up with an “Oh yeah!” that I was more then happy to second.

As the car landed he went back into first-person perspective, and we actually saw the landing through the windshield – the car flopping back into place. Simply put, it was a fantastic gaming moment that made us stand up and cheer. When we rushed upstairs to tell the ladies what had happened you could see the light in our eyes, describing how sweet a moment we had just witnessed.

They might not have shared our enthusiasm, but that didn’t matter. It was a great jump, and a great night.

Post tenebras lux

For England, James?

Originally posted at GameSpot on March 26, 2008

This is the third entry into a series about great moments from my gaming past. These wrinkles in time refuse to go away in my conscience, and I want to get them down before all the details are lost. The events are not in chronological order.

This wrinkle deals with the hours and hours I’ve spent playing GoldenEye 007 for the N64. It was Halo before there was Halo, and this game was the first to really show me that playing with others was fun.

My first year of college saw me play some games – and even systems – I never had before (a baseball game for the Sega Saturn comes to mind). But what kept me up at night, what kept me late for (or even missing) lectures was multiplayer on GoldenEye.

With a list of great and varied maps, fun weapons (I enjoyed the Moonraker laser), and cool modes (no guns, just a hand slap to the back of the head!), the game had everything needed to keep half the guys on the top floor of the dorm playing all day.

Whoever won the match got the pick the map and weapon, and everyone had their specialties – whether proxies, rocket launchers, etc. In GoldenEye, as in Halo today, I still vote for the bigger stuff – evens the playing field a bit.

Believe me, I needed all the help I could get – those guys were merciless, and I rarely found myself at the top of the heap. Losing is an art, one I’d like to think I’ve mastered.

Still, while I occasionally got sick of being pummeled, it wouldn’t take long before I was back for more – the game was just that good.

Post tenebras lux