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I Survived Halo 3, and All I Got Was This Journal Entry. [Dec. 18th, 2008|02:00 am]
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Halo 3's fun factor is a running riot of awesome. That game is well worth my money. I've rolled through the campaign two times, and I'm getting used to multiplayer games with my friends.

Last week, Jim's cousin, Tim, invited me to play along in what turned into some of my first Halo 3 multiplayer matches. Tim has been playing the multiplayer for a long time, and it was good to have someone who knew what they were doing to show me what to do. Thank you, Tim, for extending a hand and getting me started in the Halo 3 multiplayer universe.

Over last weekend, my cousin, Tom, came over, and we played more Halo 3. Tom's played countless hours in the Halo multiplayer universe, so it was fun getting another skilled player's take on the game. He gave me more tips, such as the need to find battle rifles. This brought on my overall realization that I'm going to need to become much more familiar with the multiplayer maps. At this point, I'm still getting lost, and feeling lost, while running around in the game.

Then, on Tuesday night, I beat Halo 3 on legendary mode with imaassspankme.

Actually, it was more like Steven beat the game, and I helped. Okay, that's not right. Steven beat the hell out of that game, while I got in the way, lol.

We started Halo 3 from the 2nd or 3rd level (near the beginning of the game) in the early evening and finished sometime past 2 AM. We got to the end too, the very end, like, Steven was trucking along in a vehicle, and he hit the final ramp to jump the vehicle into a hovering starcraft ... upon successful jump, it would trigger the literal end of the game ... however, in mid-jump, the game crashed, disconnecting us from Bungie's server. We had to go back to the start of the final level to finish the game. I will never forget the most ill-timed game crash of my life, nor will I forget going through the final level a 2nd time, victorious. Thank you very much, Steven, for starting the level again, and thank you for playing the campaign with me. :D

The kindest way to describe my Halo ability ... I'm not competent in the multiplayer games, and I'm barely competent at the campaign. They're fun, don't get me wrong ... they are loads of fun because nobody I've encountered yet on Halo 3 has been too 'srs bsns.' That's fortunate for me, since I'm usually threatening to lose the game for my teammates with a kill to death ratio of around 1 to 4. As long as they don't mind, I'm happy, since I can learn what I need to do to get better. As for the campaign, I stopped counting the number of times Steven had to run back to a non-combat area to allow me to re-enter the game after my character died. This almost never happened the other way around.

I've bought Halo, Halo 2, and Halo 3, and I've played through all of them and beat each of them, so I'm no stranger to the Halo universe. They are great games, well-deserving of their world-wide praise. While many are attracted to the slick gaming of the Halo series, the story compels me more than the gameplay. The creators of the Halo universe incorporated some neat details from previous works of science fiction, and there are vague parts in the right places to allow you to let your mind wander. I love how Sergeant Major Avery Johnson, for example, is almost a direct copy of Sergeant Apone (Al Matthews) from Aliens. Also, I believed that "The Forerunners" were humans, right from the beginning of the first Halo game. Everything about the rings seemed too human in nature to suggest otherwise. Sure enough, later Halo backstory seems to support that theory. Halo's story universe rules, simply put.

I've also played Halo and Halo 2's multiplayers on the Xbox through system links, when everyone would get together for the holidays, and those times were fun. I wasn't any good at Halo's multiplayer then, either. I'm sure if I play more, I'll get better. I'm playing against people who have devoted large sums of time to the Halo universe. I'm lucky, in other words, to register any kills. Also, time and repetition tends to improve with regard to many skills, be they work or play. I started off on another game, GTA 4, with similar estimations of total multiplayer incompetence. Since then, I've played myself into a competent online player.

Without a doubt, major features of Halo gameplay seemed to be constructed by the insane.

You can beat people to death ... with one punch. Mind you, your character is covered in armor plating from head to toe, looking as tough as a diamond. You also have an energy shield to provide extra cushion against trauma. It doesn't matter. One good thwack with the butt of a pistol, and you're done. Also, you can shoot 100 rounds into a combatant, but if you don't have a sniper's aim and hit them in the head, you're not dropping them, ever. The weaponry seems to be constructed with similar arbitrary effectiveness, both in the game and against online opponents. Some weapons seem extremely weak against certain opponents, while against others, they're deadlier than ebola, all with little rationale as to why it would be such a range of success against similar lifeforms. Also, the way to survive in wide-open spaces ... you must use your 12 foot vertical in a perpetual hopping scatter. Pushing the jump button every second should only be a reality for pogo sticks. Such facts of Halo life I have a difficult time accepting.

I'm late to the Halo multiplayer party, but I'll play. It doesn't matter ... the game is pure fun. Also, we are what we play. Yeah, we are all crazy. :D


From: imaassspankme
2008-12-18 10:45 am (UTC)
Ah, it wasn't that bad. I remember dying quite a few times and having to wait on you to bring me back. Most memorable: the part where we were in the helicopters or w/e they're called and I died like immediately and you had to take out an entire fleet of banshees and anti air wraiths and God knows what else. The whole time I'm just staring dumbly at the screen wondering why I thought it was a good idea to rush the place.

Really, it would have been tons easier if with mics. I could have told you when to stay back real quick while I went on a kamikaze mission and vice versa. Plus randomly shooting you in the back isn't really all that great at expressing what I need to tell you. Regardless, I know for a fact you helped a ton since I couldn't even get through the first mission when I tried to go it alone.

Multiplayer: It's the little things that can make you good. Really, I'm still an awful shot. I keep my sensitivity at a crazy high level which basically fucks my accuracy. You just got to learn that no matter what's going on, keep moving. On a sniper tower looking for a target? Keep strafing back in forth. That way, if there's another sniper, he will probably miss you and you'll have a chance to retaliate.

Also, throw lots of grenades. Unless I'm out, there's very few battles I go in and not throw a grenade. A single one, if it hits right, takes down their shields and then one shot to the head from a battle rifle is an instant kill. And that one shot is simple since all you have to do with the battle rifle is swing it along their head height. One of the three shots will usually kill him.

As for melee, two smacks and they die. But they way it's best used is to shoot them down while you close the gap and at about half shields, you can smack them down in one hit. In fact, most battles in multiplayer go this way since not everyone bothers to grab power weapons. This one is just a timing thing, though. You have to be quick to get the hit in first, so it'll just take practice.

There's other things that just come with observing. Needlers are surprisingly useful now when they were laughable in the original Halo. If you happen to have sticky grenades, it usually isn't that hard to throw a last ditch one as someone melees you to death taking them with you. That's true with any grenade, though. Whenever I know I'm going to die, I try to throw a grenade near my body in hopes that they'll come across it and die. It works more often than you'd think.

But yeah, much fun was had. I've never beaten Halo on Legendary difficulty before. Granted, I've never really cared enough to either. I usually just crank through on normal to get the story and then move on to multiplayer, but it was a fun challenge. In a lot of ways the Campaign AI is less predictable than players online.

Since Halo is really the only game I bother to play anymore, I'd be willing to crank through some games with you and help you get better. I was actually going to try to power level you up, but we ended up getting a bunch of people closer to my level who have obviously played the game a shit ton more than you, so it really wasn't all that fun for either of us. Social matches are good though. So yeah, if you ever see me online and want to kill some people, just shoot me a message. Of course, when Christmas comes and I get Fall Out 3, I don't know how often I'll be playing Halo anyway.

But hey, welcome to the Halo universe. Keep your disbelief at the door and learn to understand a whole new set of physics. You'll find it's easier that way.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2008-12-18 10:51 am (UTC)

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride

Your Live userid is a hell of a good rendition of middle-aged HST. Good times.

I have to get myself my own copy of GTA 4. I'm using my cousin's copy. I love that game so much ... and now with the biker gang addition coming out in February (with more multiplayer options), that's really going to be where I want to spend some more hours.

Halo 3 is going to be great over the long run. Pretty much every person who has 360 probably has that game. It's the game of games in the Xbox universe.

Edited at 2008-12-18 10:52 am (UTC)
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From: imaassspankme
2008-12-18 11:04 am (UTC)

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride

Yeah, I wasn't too confident going into making it, but when I finished I actually laughed out loud at how close he looked to my minds version of him. Too bad the majority of the people on my friends list don't read, let alone know who he is to appreciate it.

GTA 4 is awesome, but I really wasn't into the multiplayer. The controls don't have nearly the crispness as a game like Halo and I just couldn't find myself enjoying the mayhem, even when I got used to the strange aiming system. The story mode is an absolute blast, though. It's so deep that honestly, I never bothered to do more than crank through the missions and side missions. The rest was just overwhelming to me. I'm astounded that anyone's able to get 100% completion. Good work on that.

Really, the only extra play value that games has for me is when my friends occasionally invite me to a free mode battle and we all terrorize the city together, occasionally hatching plans long enough for us to steal a helicopter and start heading somewhere only for someone, usually me, to just pull the pin out of the grenade and hold on to it until we all blow up. Then again, that's really no fun anymore now that my mics broken.

Halo 3 is certainly the standard, but a lot of the FPS crazies have moved onto Call of Duty and Gears of War. I'm starting to find that only diehard fans and people with as little game selection as me play halo with any regularity anymore.

And I'm writing too much about nothing again. This shit always happens when I'm nearing the end of a good book.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2008-12-18 11:30 am (UTC)

GameFAQs Saved My Gaming Life

GTAs and many games I've beat completely are done so with one resource ... gamefaqs. Any big-ass Brady Games book that doesn't give you the full story for 20 bucks or more, man, none of them hold a candle to the info you get freely from people contributing to gamefaqs.

There's a couple really great 100 percent completion walkthroughs on gamefaqs for each GTA, if you ever get the mood to conquer the overwhelming. The thing is that you have to be absolutely careful to do everything as they say, in the order they did it, like for instance on killing pigeons ... there were times during the story mission that I would come across a pigeon and want to take care of it then, but I knew that I'd possibly forget I already got that one a while ago. Then, I'd think I am too dumb to figure out where it is, and be stuck. There's also the danger of accidentally reading a map wrong and skipping over one or two, and then when you think you're done, you're missing 2 of 200 things all over the map. If that happens, ugh, it'll take almost as long to go back and see which one it is. The satisfaction of getting those kind of completions, however, it's kind of a rush to rack an achievement. Xbox Live really stumbled on to gaming crack with that achievement and gamerscore framework. I wish they'd go back and set achievement parameters for old Xbox games.

That's funny that the sluggishness turns people off to GTA multiplayer. I find that the opposite ... immensely soothing. Halo runs like a hyperactive child throwing a tantrum, in comparison. It's so fast that I can't keep up at times with the chaos. Another major complaint was the vehicles and the driving mechanics. It took me a while to get used to it ... they drive more like real sedans and trucks, meaning you can't turn on a 90 degree dime running 50 mph into the turn.

Ever gone from one fps to another? After we did Halo 3, I popped in GTA 4, and I totally gave my brain a mindfuck. I was wanting to look down and instead looked up for like 15-20 minutes.
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From: imaassspankme
2008-12-18 11:52 am (UTC)

Re: GameFAQs Saved My Gaming Life

Oh, I know about FAQs and on occasion, I've used them. It's just that there's so much stuff you have to do in GTA4 to get the achievements, so much tedious work, that I just can't even fathom going through it all. Heck, I can't even see myself going through what little work I have left in Halo 3 to unlock the Katana armor. I have paid for a few books, though, but those always made for decent shit reading material. There's a reason written word exists outside of the internet. Plus, my life lags pretty bad if I have my computer on while I play.

Ah, but I am the hyperactive child throwing a tantrum. Or I used to be at least. Maybe the fast paced gameplay somehow entices the hyperactive child deep down in me. Or maybe I just prefer fast paced gameplay, who knows. The sluggishness really isn't what turned me off GTA4, though. The gameplay is just... not as polished. It clearly wasn't a game created with multiplayer in mind. They simply added that aspect. Rockstar dudes have never really cared much for multiplayer and it shows in the little things. Headshots are very often not head shots. Bazookas are incredibly inconsistent on when they'll off you a kill.

I can still see the appeal. Cruising around in a fast car, mowing down people, doing drive bys. I just can't help but think that it was a great idea poorly executed. Bad mechanics are fine against AI, but in a player vs. player format, there's simply too much pride at stake usually to allow any strange fuck ups. Just look at your average halo match. People absolutely screaming over their mics at how they just got jobbed and should have gotten the kill. No imagine how bad it would be if the mechanics were as hit or miss as they are on GTA.

The driving, I can honestly say really upset me at first. I had been playing GTA for a long time and I thought I had a good handle on how things worked in that world. GTA4 was like an entirely different game. The driving was much more difficult, but once I adapted, I enjoyed the extra challenge it offered when trying to catch someone or speed away from a crime scene. It did ruin bikes for me, though. Which makes me laugh out loud at the idea that they expect me to pay for something that's going to want me to ride bikes a lot. Bikes don't forgive the occasional lapse into the old, peddle to the metal style of driving.

And yeah, going from one game to another is rather unnerving. Halo to GTA especially since I've always had both games up to date. They're the only franchises I'll go out and buy when they come out with a new release. Really though, the fact that GTA still forces inverted aiming on the players is pretty shitty. Up should never be down.

Actually, the worse case of this involves no game changing at all. I only have one controller, so when my cousin's over, we take turns on Halo. He's one of those inverted weirdos. A lot of times I forget to switch it before my game starts. There's nothing worse than being in a fast paced game in halo that relies on split second instincts than your instincts suddenly being the exact opposite of what they should be. I swear to God, I'm absolutely useless when I try to play inverted. I'll leave like that for an entire game and by the end I'm still flipping out and staring at the ceiling when I meant to jump over someone and look down so I could shoot them as I flew past.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2008-12-18 07:32 pm (UTC)

I'm also staring at the ceiling or floor during heated battles, lol.

Hahaha. Man, the switch in game controls gets to me ... glad to see I'm not the only one.

I haven't experienced the same difficulties you did in GTA 4's multiplayer. I think it's the lag that causes headshots not to be that ... I've run up to people and shot them several times while they just stood there, and I've also experienced where someone else was shooting me while my end lagged, so that might have something to do with the non-head headshots. Lag I'm used to ... that's been a fact of all internet gaming from day one.

One of the reasons I love GTA 4 ... it takes a lot to go up to a person and kill their character with a knife, fist, or bat. One swing Halo is completely eliminated, and I like that ... also, Halo 3 should drop melee entirely unless you have a sword. It doesn't help how they determine a melee 'winner' not by who struck first but by the relative health both characters have.

I love the logical results from GTA 4's weaponry. A pop-gun is still effective if you have good aim. The AK vibrates more than the M rifle, causing for short bursts as a rule. In fact, with any weapon, if you hold down the trigger, you will get a spray pattern that is way less effective, just like in reality. I can also see tracers in GTA, which is something I hate about the Spartan weaponry ... I can't see where my shots are flying from a distance. I also really really dislike most of the Covenant weaponry because it seems like it's less effective in general, even though plasma or laser technology should be far more effective than ballistics.

Call of Duty and GOW may be the popular new realms, but I have a feeling that if either is going to overtake Halo, it's going to have to amp up the story or the gameplay. I read about the massive glitching in GOW and the sequel, and I want no part of that. Call of Duty might have promise, since it's based on reality, but I doubt it'll take over Halo's legacy. The only thing that will kill Halo universe's king status ... Bungie. If they make a lousy sequel, or if they charge too much for too little gameplay, those are surefire ways to lose the crown.

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From: imaassspankme
2008-12-18 08:33 pm (UTC)
Meh, I guess it could be slight lag, but it sure doesn't feel laggy when it happens. Maybe I'm just used to Halo and that's why I don't see the immense value of meleeing as a downside. It's been like that from the very beginning. Someone gets to close, they get smacked. That's just the consequences of halo. And really, I think I prefer it that way. There's nothing more satisfying than getting in someone's face and beating them down.

As far as the relative health business goes, I don't know... I honestly can't remember much of a difference between Halo 2 and 3 when I went in to melee. I've still come out winning most battles. Looking at the video, it shows that one person is clearly winning the AR battle from the very beginning. It's not like they lose that extra health when they stop shooting and melee. They're just a crappier shot or not as quick with the shooting. To me, it would be pretty shitty to win the AR battle outright and see no type of affect in the melee battle. What it basically comes down to is the people who are good at Halo come out winning whether it's 2 or 3. As long as the clearly inferior players don't start dominating, I don't see a problem with it.

As far as realism in shooting games go, I've never been in big favor of it. Fuck being shot in the leg and having to limp around for a century. Fuck hiding for half a game and popping your head out only to be one hit killed. I need my games to be forgiving of small things. Hell, in most battles on Halo, I'm not even the person who initiates. I'm usually getting shot and have to scramble to find where it's coming from before I can jump into the fray. If whoever one each battle was based simply on who saw who first, it'd be absolutely no fun for me.

The spread, meh, I could deal with. It would just require you to adapt. When halo 2 came out and everyone was complete shit because of the buck on the SMG, I was a God. I was able to compensate for it from the very beginning and won most battles without ever having to pick up another weapon. Really, this only applies to a few guns anyway since the majority of them require you to shoot in bursts.

As far as the difference in weaponry, as a general rule, Covenant guns take down the shields, ballistics mow through the weak. That's why a plasma rifle coupled with a SMG in Halo 2 was golden. In Halo 3, there's really not much of a need to dual wield anymore not that the assault rifle has returned. In fact, I very seldom see anyone even bother with it and when they do, they're very often not very good. For this reason, I honestly think Halo 2 is the better game. But still, I find myself using plasma weaponry when I see it. Usually, I use it when in closed quarters and expect a melee battle. Plasma rifle + Melee beast Assault Rifle + Melee every time. They burn your shields hella fast, but they take forever to finish the job.

Fantasy beats reality every time for me. I go to video games to escape reality, not be reminded of it.
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From: imaassspankme
2008-12-18 09:20 pm (UTC)
Actually, on second though, that shit is pretty broken. But whatever.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2008-12-18 09:27 pm (UTC)
Which shit, GTA, Halo? I'm lost, haha.

These are great games, we're splitting hairs. I'm just lookin' for more peeps to have fun doing the Deal Breaker multiplayer in GTA, in terms of that game and my desire. There's more stuff coming out for it in Feb, so that's gonna rule.
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From: imaassspankme
2008-12-18 09:32 pm (UTC)
The melee in Halo 3.

I'm not even sure what the Deal Breaker is... I can go pop in GTA and play some with you right now. I'm not against playing GTA. I just prefer Halo.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2008-12-18 10:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I prefer Halo because of the massive population of players, although, some might be surprised to know that GTA 4 has turned massive profits of their own. There's got to be a huge base of people playing GTA multiplayer, as a result.

Right now I'm about to do some other stuff, but if you're up later, I'm guessing I'll have some time for the Deal Breaker.

It's a match where you and up to 3 other people work together to complete a GTA-like mission.

You play one of the old world mobsters working for Petrovic, going to a drug deal they caught wind of ... their Italian rivals and a biker gang. Only, you bite off more than you can chew. It's a whole army of bikers, in the industrial complex at the bottom of Alderney. The goal is to kill 'em all, take their drugs, and make it back to the start point.

It's one of the most profitable missions in multiplayer in terms of raising the GTA rank, which adds to its popularity. On Hard difficulty level, mission completes get $4500 plus $100 per every CPU bad guy killed.
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From: imaassspankme
2008-12-18 10:54 am (UTC)
Oh, and not that I have anything else to say on the subject, but that bullshit crash warranted some type of comment from me. I couldn't believe it when it happened. I saw the ramp, recognized it as the very end, felt this tremendous relief flow through me, and the BAM! Shit froze. Next thing I know, we're both in the lobby trying to figure out wtf just happened. Luckily, we cruised through the level the 2nd time. And even more luckily, it didn't crash again. If it had, I wouldn't have been responsible for what harm came to my Xbox and/or T.V.

Thank you for suggesting we finish it. I'm not sure I would have been to keen on giving it another go today.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2008-12-18 10:59 am (UTC)
Yeah, I find it's best when you're running into something and you just miss to try immediately again ... near losses can haunt. You see it in sports all the time.
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[User Picture]From: hammerscythe
2008-12-19 12:56 am (UTC)
Welcome to the Halomultiverse. We've been expecting you. If you've got Live (which I assume you do) the gamertag's BobbyLightXV.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2008-12-19 04:48 am (UTC)
Sent request! I am happy to be cannon fodder!!

Edited at 2008-12-19 04:49 am (UTC)
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