Tag Archives: Halo

The Difference Between PS4, Xbox One, and Switch 1st Party Games

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Quarter one of 2017 has been pretty good for first party exclusive console games, particularly from Sony but also for Nintendo if you count one incredible game. In the midst of this I’ve also heard a lot of talk that one reason Microsoft is behind Sony in console sales is because its lineup of exclusives is weaker. What’s interesting is if you look at the first party lineups of each console manufacturer you see different strategies or a preference for games with different kinds of business models. Continue reading

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Video Game Anniversaries That Will Occur in 2016

Here it is — the list of what gaming-related anniversaries I found are taking place in 2016. This year is a big one too. A lot of major franchises are celebrating major anniversaries, to the point where some other websites have already taken notice. Red Bull in particular is totally on it. Many publishers of these major games have already begun to mark the anniversaries with new game releases too.

Part of this is because 2016 marks a major anniversary for at least two past console cycle transitions. This year it will have been 15 years since 2001, which was not only when the Gamecuube and original Xbox launched, but also when the PS2 received an absolutely monstrous lineup that included the beginnings of some franchises and major entries in others. 20 years ago was 1996 which was a transformative year in 3D video game design — three of the most influential 3D games came out that year. 1991, 1986, and 1981 also saw some major beginnings and landmarks a lot of people might not notice today. Continue reading

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Frame Rate And The Future Of The Console Shooter Crown

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With the unveiling of next-generation console games at E3 2013, one trend some gaming tech heads noticed simmering in the background is the emergence of shooters that run at 60 frames per second. This could be the most legitimate competition Call of Duty has ever faced.

A game’s frame rate is the main factor in the feel of its controls. The higher a game’s frame rate, the quicker its controls respond to the player and the tighter and more tactile they feel. It’s why most fighting games, racing games, and music games run at 60fps as opposed to most other games which usually run at 30 in order to get better-looking graphics.

The Call of Duty games are almost the only shooters that run at 60fps on the PS3 and Xbox 360, with the standard being 30. Infinity Ward and Treyarch have almost acted like it’s their trademark in interviews. This is looking to change: Battlefield 4 will run at 60 on the PS4 and Xbox One, so will Titanfall. 343 Industries thought it was a big enough deal to come on stage and make an announcement out of the next Halo game being the series’ first entry to run at 60 on a console.

If any of those games, or any other shooter does one day manage to have an affect on COD going into next-gen, I don’t think it will be Battlefield. It’s just too different from COD.

People who choose COD typically say that other games just don’t “feel like COD.” The controls and frame rate are definitely a big part of it (even if most players don’t realize it), but it’s also about the design of COD’s multiplayer. The maps are small, the guns have low recoil, everything’s tailored for players to spawn, get kills, die, and respawn as rapidly as possible. Battlefield on the other hand requires players to take things slower and work with teams across larger maps with higher palyer counts. Just look at how the central mode of COD is Deathmatch while Battlefield’s central mode is Conquest.

Probably none of these games will dethrone COD in the near term. Infinity Ward has already said they aren’t fazed by a 60fps Battlefield. Furthermore, Battlefield 4 and Titanfall are still probably going to run at 30 on the current-gen consoles, and at first most people are probably still gonna buy the current-gen versions of those games.

If a change does come though, it might start around fall 2014 when we see Treyarch’s next game, Halo, EA’s next shooter, and maybe some other competition (DOOM 4?). By then games will have fully transitioned to next-gen hardware and we might see a full reshuffling of the deck similar to what happened around 2007.

I’m just saying: every console generation there seems to be a shift in what the most popular franchises are. COD took the console shooter crown from Halo which you could argue got the crown from GoldenEye.

BULLETS:

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Halo’s Campaigns

Finally playing through Halo 4’s campaign reminded me why I was so unsure about yet another entry on the Xbox 360 in the first place. The thing that’s gotten to me about the Halo games is the uncertainty of whether the franchise is actually improving.

Playing through all the games consecutively in 2010, one thing became apparent: Combat Evolved still has the best campaign of any Halo game (if you ask me). Or at the very least, no Halo game has indisputably surpassed the 11-year-old original.

Looking back, Combat Evolved is such a great game because of the sense of scale in its battlefields. Other console first person shooters don’t let you engage with dozens of fighting NPCs on the ground, and then hop into a vehicle with which to fly to the top of a tower several hundred feet above them and continue the fight inside seamlessly. The game feels a little bit more like an actual battlefield compared to its competition.

After this, Halo 2 was a little bit of a letdown because of its more linear nature and abrupt ending. I’ve felt that the franchise has been trying to reclaim the glory of Combat Evolved ever since then, inching closer and closer.

I don’t actually remember enough about Halo 3, ODST, and Reach to really say whether they did that because it’s been a while since I played them. I do remember enjoying taking down Scarabs in 3 and finding Reach good enough to replay more than once. All that uncertainty is the main reason why right now the only Halo games I saw fit to own are Reach and Combat Evolved Anniversary.

They are all very good shooter campaigns, some of the best of this console generation, and Halo 4 is definitely worthy of them. The UNSC Mammoth level in particular had me agape at its display of scale. Something like that, with graphics that impressive, on seven-year-old hardware, proved to me that 343 did indeed have new tricks up their sleeve for the franchise. The Pelican level had a similar effect.

As of now, I might say that Halo 4 has the best campaign in the series since Combat Evolved. Maybe the difficulty in ranking the games is justification for continuing to own and play them all instead of just the latest one. Maybe that just shows how timeless Bungie’s game design has been.

BULLETS:

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Halo 4: Going in With Zero Hype

I’ve maintained an almost complete media blackout on Halo 4, mostly because I’m just not hyped for the game, but on top of that I’m honestly mystified as to why there’s so much hype around it.

Since Reach came out and the franchise switched over to 343 industries I was under the impression that people were starting to get tired of Halo, at least for this console generation. To me, at face value, Halo 4 just has all the hallmarks of something unnecessarily developed as long as it’s financially viable.

The switch to a new developer was the first thing that signaled to me that Microsoft wanted Halo to continue whether or not the Bungie magic was still present. Secondly, there’s the fact that they’re releasing Halo 4 on the Xbox 360 and not waiting for the next generation Xbox.

They say it’s supposed to be a new beginning for the franchise – the start of a new trilogy, and I still think a new console generation would be best for that. Also, I’m not sure there’s much left to really do with Halo on current hardware. I must admit that what videos I have seen of Halo 4 look damn incredible for an Xbox 360 game, similar to how impressive Gears of War 3 looks, but otherwise I have no idea what they’re doing to freshen things up on seven-year-old hardware.

There’s also where this game seems to be going with the story. I’ll go ahead and admit my bias in not carrying at all about Halos overarching storyline (I’ve played all the games up to this point and read a massive chunk of Halopedia). The only part of it that ever caught my interest was humanity fighting for its survival against a superior coalition of alien civilizations. I thought Bungie sold that part so well that I didn’t need the Forerunners and especially not the Flood. To me Halo 3 provided enough closure (as did Reach) and even if I do play Halo 4 I don’t really care for these Promethians and wherever the Chief is headed.

Now those are all just face-value perceptions of the fourth Halo game on one console from the point of view of someone who only recently played all the games and thus isn’t a fanatic. I think the Halo games are better than nearly all other console shooters, I just didn’t go through that stage of indoctrination that so many seem to have undergone since 2001.

Is the supposed “who’s who” list of talented game developers working at 343 really that good? Has the preview footage really been that incredible to win people over from “tired of Halo” to “totally day one?” The additions that I know of beyond just “more Halo” – like new alien races and Spartan Ops, don’t have me much more than mildly interested, but if critical opinion of Halo 4 has been this glowing then 343 must be onto something.

In any case, a GameFly disc should be in my mailbox around Wednesday or Thursday if I’m lucky. Perhaps it’s better that I go into Halo 4 completely blind.

BULLETS:

  • Remember that Genesis/Mega Drive game that came out in 2010? Here’s a Kickstarter for a Dreamcast version: http://t.co/47v7wHFY
  • Another Solatorobo game is in the works http://flpbd.it/YdTxg 
  • Mikami’s Project Zwei to feature the work of lead artist behind Resident Evil remake http://flpbd.it/xa2Va 
  • So there’s a spiritual sequel to Assault Suits Leynos aka Target Earth coming out for the PSP but only in Japan. http://t.co/KKQsVO8V
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