Late to the Party: Halo Franchise (Final Thoughts)

So after 20 posts and a word count in the tens of thousands we’ve finally finished the Halo trilogy. And through all the questions, all the frustrations, all the mumbled curses, all the shouted curses and all the outright whining, if nothing else I’m glad to be able to say that I’ve finally finished this franchise. While you can debate the literary or intellectual value of a game like Halo it’s still a staple of the genre and it’s useful to have experienced just for frame of reference. And now with that experience under my belt I feel like I can finally give my own educated verdict on the franchise.

It’s somewhat anticlimactic then that that verdict is more or less the same one I had going in. Ultimately I still think Halo is an over-hyped, over-rated, bland and boring linear journey through the halls of mediocrity.

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Late to the Party: Halo 3 (Part VI)

Last time, we managed to finally recover Cortana from the Flood and now we figured as long as we’re here we might as well lay the hurt on the Gravemind, too.
Chief must be the world’s worst house guest. I have the image in my head of him visiting a fancy cocktail party one evening and then breaking open the gas lines to the stove before leaving, engulfing the place in fire.

Can you imagine what the insurance premium on a SPARTAN is? Ouch.

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Late to the Party: Halo 3 (Part V)

Alright, so we’re on Deep Space 9 and we’ve gotta link up with Sisko so we can take down the Covenant.

But first, some repetitive exposition:

If I were to create a drinking game wherein I took a shot every time someone explains that the Halo array will kill everything in the galaxy, I would be incapable of writing this right now because my liver would have failed at this point. I just can’t shake the sense that the game is somehow talking down to me by constantly reminding me what the Halos are supposed to do. We know what they are supposed to do. The Halos are the central threat of this entire series, and it’s not a particularly complex threat: the rings were made to kill the Flood, but they’ll kill all of us too. That’s it. This is not a nuanced political drama where we need to pay very close attention to follow the plot. It’s an action/adventure story in space where we shoot things to save the day. Star Wars is basically the same in principle, and we only needed to be shown the threat from the Death Star once. After that the characters and the audience totally understood what they had to do and just went out there and did it.

But I guess they’re just trying to re-affirm our purpose in the game, which isn’t necessarily a bad idea at all. If we don’t have a clear vision of what we’re doing then we lose interest, so I’m pretty sure they’re just trying to keep the player focused on a central goal, which is fine. I just wish they’d done it in a way that wasn’t so obtuse.

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Late to the Party: Halo 3 (Part IV)

So I may have suffered a minor episode of psychotic rage last time in light of the fact that one of my favorite actors was brutally killed. The same thing happened when I was forced to kill him in Jade Empire. But I’m better now and we can proceed to the next plot point.

As you can probably guess by now, I had a few reservations about this. Remember, I was nigh-convinced that Cortana was an antagonistic force at this point. She’d previously been deliberately deceitful, possibly traitorous, and just kind of bitchy at times. Add to that the fact that she just showed up onboard a Flood ship and has been spending the game thus far doing her best impression of internet popup spam and I’m not particularly eager to go “rescue” her.

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Late to the Party: Halo 3 (Part III)

So after meeting up with roughly 1/4 of the crew of Serenity I apparently got a little bit too excited:

I really don’t know what to tell you guys here. I mean, I jumped on top of this tank, I started melee attacking it and it exploded. I guess there’s a mechanic where as part of the “punch out the driver and hijack the vehicle” sequence you can press the B button and shove a grenade down his throat. Normally that’d be the end of this little mystery if it hadn’t been for two things: 1.) I did not have any grenades left and 2.) I did not press B. We already established in the first game that Master Chief’s fists need to be registered with the ATF, and county officials need to be notified whenever he moves, but… goddamn man, this is just crazy. I’ve played multiple multiplayer matches where my best weapon was my own right hook, but it feels like your overpowered melee is less of a mechanic and more of a narrative recurring joke at this point. Or at least that’s how I choose to interpret it.

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