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shunji
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Subject:And then, "Fun With Dirt!"
Time:08:04 pm
I've always had trouble figuring out how to respond to detractors of Halo (and now Halo 2). On the one hand, it's sold a crapload of copies. On the other hand, it's hard to find a post on any forum about Halo that does not have its share of anti-fans.

Anti-halo folk tend to have a PC gaming background, usually hardcore. Debating the value of Halo is akin to arguing about the validity of Wicca to an evangelical Christian. There's just no common frame of reference to have a meaningful discussion.

One thing Halo does better than most PC games is optimize the user experience for the average player: the kind of player that has a limited in-game lifetime (i.e., they die every so often). Hey, that's just like me!

Firstly, the checkpoint system encourages all levels of skill to keep playing. It takes only 4-6 seconds to restore the last checkpoint;.5-1.5 if you invoke the pause screen and restore explicitly. That means you do not have to switch mental modes in order to continue playing after dying; it just happens. Even if you die every 5 seconds, you're still always back in action right away. (Personally, I'd much rather play a game than manage a game; that's just me.)

Secondly, we made sure to optimize the single player experience for a straight playthrough. If you play Halo 2 all the way through, you should never see a long interruptive loading screen. (You will see the Loading... done text, but that's unavoidable for the size and complexity of levels.) Even Halo 1 only had 9 significant loading screens, and those were at appropriate points in the game (i.e., at the end of a level), not in the midst of gameplay. That directly translates into a minimal amount of dead time waiting for the game to start, and a maximal amount of time available to play the game. If you happen to die a lot, who cares? You'll never have to wait for the game to reload your checkpoint; you can get right back into the game.

The immediacy of gameplay is one aspect many just don't understand. Or rather, many that disagree with the success of Halo don't understand. (In my opinion.) My theory is the combination of PC gamer and hardcore gamer results in a type of gamer that doesn't experience what I consider to be the least polished areas of most games: player death. And as such, they don't experience the excruciating experience of restarting gameplay.

Then again, maybe it's all the marketing hype. No, probably not. :)
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(Anonymous)
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Time:2004-11-10 03:11 pm (UTC)
There are many people in my boat - absolute fans of Halo 1, who loved the missions(especially on Heroic and Legendary), who loved the gameplay, the maps, the weapons, the sound effects, the health system e.t.c - who are quite dissapointed with Halo 2, and all of the changes, both minor and major, that have made Halo 2 much different to the game we fell in love with - Halo 1. You may quip back and say I am a pistol whore - which I am not.

I am not grieved by some small glitches that may occur in some of the cinematics/graphics/textures e.t.c
I am more dissapointed with many of the smaller gameplay changes which defined what Halo was (as above mentioned), which have now been changed, effecting the whole campain and multiplayer experience. Sure, it is not meant to be Halo 1. It is Halo 2, but because of the accumalitve effect of all of these minor/major changes, you have made it seem quite unrelated to its prequal - a game that created game-lovers of a certain kind of game.

You have sold millions of copies with pre-sales off the back of this first game. It may be a different thing to make 100 million dollars off the back of the second (with a Halo 3) considering many fans of the first, who may have lost heart due to the different nature/character of the second game.

You can make intelligent, witty and biting comments back to me, and others who may offer some constructive criticism, or you can realise that we are sincere and genuine gamers - also not pistol whores - who tried to organize system links every weekend for the past years, play through the campain in all ways (especially Legendary), who feel Halo 2 hast lost the Halo-ness about it.

Are you prepared to accept any criticism? Could you ever admit that maybe you did not need to make some changes?

Just an aside, but could the Mark VI armour/shield have been similar to Halo 1 armour, except that the health bars regenerated as well as the shield (so you could more clearly judge your health-state)

Go on. Make your incisive response, but do see that I am a sincere fan not trying to just cut you down.

salvettma@optusnet.com.au

Yours sincerely, and with well-intentions,

Matt
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darkprimus
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Time:2004-11-10 08:20 pm (UTC)
If gamers are really "hard core", they shouldn't complain about having to replay a big battle over again if they die. I didn't throw my controller down in frustration ever when I died, because every time I tried a different tactic. I got a lot more game experience out of this than if I were playing a PC game, in which one can save every two seconds.

Hmm, perhaps I should stop doing that...
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shunji
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