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Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Best served with a side order of Heroic or Legendary


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The Cortana level in Halo 3 is an abomination, I barely managed to pull myself through by running through the hive and and dying a million times in the process. One of the worst pieces of game design Ive endured in a long time, but then it occurred to me that I was playing a game developed 15-12 years ago and there were many games from this period that used this kind of endlessly spawning enemies to create a sense of urgency and difficulty. I cant remember if Half-Life ever did that, but I cant say I enjoyed the last alien levels in that game either, but they were mercifully brief. It doesnt help that the jumping in Halo 3 is incredibly floaty; once you jump you better know where you are going, cos its going to take a while before you have control of MC again.

 

Other than this airborne dung-heap of a mission, the final game in the trilogy totally delivers on what I always thought was the main premise of the game: the 'combat evolved' from Halo 1. I had some great moments on Tsavo Highway and The Storm levels, dealing with the Wraiths withot any other ammo than a single grenade, and learning how to deal with the Scarab again. I spent 20 minutes firing rockets at it before I remembered you have to get on it and shoot its core in the back of the vehicle. This was on Normal, but pretty sure I spent a lot of time with that on Heroic back on the 360. And this is where Halo shines and delivers on making you feel like a god damn hero when you pull some crazy shit off. Its very visceral and in your face, especially with how powerful the melee attack is. Combat feels really really good. Two weapons. The generating shield. The vehicles. Grabbing a Chopper mid fight on Tsavo Highway and turning the tables on the Covenant ambush. If you have a friend to play with, even more fun. Grab a two-man chopper in the Prowler. In this sense, Halo is unique and delivers a kind of gameplay that I dont think anyone else has really managed to copy or do better.

 

One moment in particular is the first time you get your boots off the ground, and get to fly a Hornet and assault the second tower in The Covenant.

 

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The game looks pretty dated in some places outdoors (Tsavo Highway), probably because of the higher resolution and a lack of furniture on screen to make up for it. Its more successful indoors, with the mix of glass, steel, neon lights and repeating patterns in the textures.

 

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I thought the ending was great as well, really love some of the artwork appearing here which looked more like something out of a comic book, or concept art that had been a part of the game since the start of production.

 

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Found all but one of the Forerunner archives along the way, and it was easy to go back in after finishing the game and pick up the last one. Campaign is pretty short, I finished it in 8-10 hours. And except for the Cortana mission, its a blast all the way through.

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Cortana was created at the last minute because the actual level they had planned - chasing Cortana’s ghost through the underbelly of the Ark, climaxing with you destroying the Gravemind with a Scarab gun - wasn’t going to be ready in time. The whole thing was made out of assets intended to only be used in the bit where you find the crashed Flood spaceship on earth, hence its so incredibly repetitive. 

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3 hours ago, K said:

Cortana was created at the last minute because the actual level they had planned - chasing Cortana’s ghost through the underbelly of the Ark, climaxing with you destroying the Gravemind with a Scarab gun - wasn’t going to be ready in time. The whole thing was made out of assets intended to only be used in the bit where you find the crashed Flood spaceship on earth, hence its so incredibly repetitive. 

 

That sounds incredible. I always wondered why you never saw the Gravemind in H3.

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It was only when replaying Cortana in the MCC that I realised how effective plasma weapons are against the Flood. I had such a miserable time with it originally that for years it put me off replaying Halo 3, but with dual plasma rifles you can actually cut through everything like a hot knife through butter.

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Other than the sound mix being pretty fucking awful (hopefully they'll do something with it. I'm not even sure what's going on with it half of the time), Reach is absolutely awesome.

 

The thing I always forget about the Halo games is not to go running head-first into battle. Doesn't matter how many times I play the games, I always forget this upon restarting them and consequently get royally slaughtered. I then swear profusely and play something else for a bit. 

 

And then I go back to it, actually pay attention for once, and everything falls marvellously into place.

 

Not ever playing much of Reach, this is a real treat :) 

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Well, that was a pretty great campaign. Loads of thoroughly entertaining stuff throughout it. Nothing anyone does with this franchise will be as good as the first Halo, but this comfortably fills second place for me. 

 

Only thing that had me stumped was how to take off whilst flying one of those helicopters...honestly, I was there for 10 minutes before I worked out what to do :p . 

 

Hope they don't take too long to get Halo up on the PC though - I'm in the mood for more action!

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Just tried a bit of Reach Firefight and Team Slayer on my ancient PC (i7 860 + 750ti). Runs at a rock solid 60fps at 1080p although I need to replace my CPU cooler as it sounds like a jet taking off.

 

The default mouse settings and controls are very odd and it's weird being able to whip around 180 degrees with a flick of the mouse but still have the old Halo run speed, but first impressions are it's a great port. Well worth a look if you got the game pass ultimate deal but have a potato of a PC.

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I re-downloaded this on Xbox One X and it just even load up for some reason. Pretty annoying after a massive download for it all as well.

 

..urgh, got it to work, i still had the reserved 4gig it requires on my old drive so i copied it over and it now works.

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It seems to take absolutely ages to load on the Xbox now, it was nothing like as bad when I played through ODST a few months ago.

 

What's the new Seasons thing about? Is it just a case of unlocking cosmetics as you play multiplayer or is there more to it than that?

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The initial load takes a ludicrous amount of time (to the extent that I thought it had crashed last night), but the time to load into the actual game and to change levels seems massively reduced. Not sure whether these two things are linked.

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On 05/12/2019 at 19:17, JoeK said:

 

If you're playing on an Xbox, then you can play them whenever. 


On PC, they've got some sort of staggered release schedule happening throughout 2020, so you'll only be able to play 'em as and when they're released.

 

imagine if they released Reach then 4 then 3 then 2 then 1 like next xmas. Furious!

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Just now, Mr Combo Breaker said:

 

imagine if they released Reach then 4 then 3 then 2 then 1 like next xmas. Furious!


They’d do that to me, just to make me pick up an Xbox once again....MS hate me so much.

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On 07/12/2019 at 13:08, CarloOos said:

It was only when replaying Cortana in the MCC that I realised how effective plasma weapons are against the Flood. I had such a miserable time with it originally that for years it put me off replaying Halo 3, but with dual plasma rifles you can actually cut through everything like a hot knife through butter.


It really shows the attention to detail. A narrow, high velocity round will pass straight through and do some damage. 
 

A blast of plasma would just splash and do huge amounts of damage with the intense heat produced. 

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Finished Reach on the One S yesterday - some scattered thoughts..

 

  • First time round on the 360 I thought that the invincible allies broke the Halo formula - this time, no issues with it at all. Most of the time, I hardly noticed.
  • Elites having armour lock negates one of my favourite tools - the needler burst. Bit odd, when..
  • The needle rifle is Brute poison. Wipes the floor with them!
  • I can't handle Legendary any more. That's gone. Even heroic had me stumped a few times.
  • Speaking of which, there were a few too many choke-points where I felt I was funnelled into a very small through-area against a lot of enemies. Found myself banging my head off these for a while.
  • The space bits are visually impressive, but not fun. Ditto for the Falcon level, but the on foot bits of the level are AMAZING.
  • Heroic is a lovely sweet spot in this because of the increased focus on having a marine fire team.
  • Mercifully few tank bits.
  • It's nice to have the shoot-them-in-the-orange-bits up close dance with the Hunters back. Did they work like this in 3 and ODST?
  • The story is still a mixed bag, but the military bombast works better with the general sense of melancholy. A really effective feeling of everything going downhill very fast.
  • I cannot use the grenade launcher to save my life.
  • Lone Wolf is still probably the best story moment in the whole series (I haven't played 4 or 5 but from word of mouth I don't think they'll trouble it).

I saw a post on Reddit saying it has 'aged like a fine wine.' Yep!

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6 hours ago, jonny_rat said:

It's nice to have the shoot-them-in-the-orange-bits up close dance with the Hunters back. Did they work like this in 3 and ODST?

 

I remember Hunter combat in 2 and 3 tended to be from long range. In ODST they were harder purely because your character was less manoeuvrable than the Chief.

 

I think of most Hunter encounters in Reach taking place at very close range, and their attack timing and attack tracking were significantly adjusted to allow very little room for error when dancing around them. I'm not sure if the fast 1-hit-kill, behind-the-back, overhead shield slam attack was brand new to Reach, or just an old attack speeded up: either way it was a cause of many, many deaths on Legendary!

 

In Halo 4, I know a pair turn up in that late-game space station mission (Composer), but I don't remember how their combat was different at all.

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Just finished Reach on Heroic,  first ever Halo game and I'm very impressed!  I didn't realise quite how big an area they give you to run around in, figure out choke/cover/cheese points, and generally work out a strategy of how to get through the level.  And some of the levels are genuinely, impressively enormous.  There was a couple of times when I got mildly frustrated because I wasn't sure if everything would keep respawn until I moved on, or if I had to kill everything to move on, but they weren't that frequent.  Could have done without the space bits as well but they weren't too egregious. 

 

The story was a bit more military hoo-rah than space opera but I gather Reach is the odd one out in that respect, is that right?  Really looking forward to playing through the main trilogy now, whenever they're going to turn them out for PC.

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The unlocking structure in this doesn’t feel very well thought out. You unlock gear through getting tokens, which you get when you level up. You can then use them to buy gear - but the gear becomes available one piece at a time, after you buy the previous piece. There’s no point at all to the tokens that I can see - they may as well just unlock sequentially. 
 

Also, the MP is full of people going AFK to unlock gear, as you get 2000 points just for playing a game. 

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So I have all the content installed but when I try to play Reach it says I do not have it installed and takes me to a page where it does clearly say I have it installed.  Try again and get taking in the same circle. 

 

I'm going to have to uninstall the lot and reinstall it right? Playing on Xbox here. 

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1 hour ago, K said:

The unlocking structure in this doesn’t feel very well thought out. You unlock gear through getting tokens, which you get when you level up. You can then use them to buy gear - but the gear becomes available one piece at a time, after you buy the previous piece. There’s no point at all to the tokens that I can see - they may as well just unlock sequentially. 
 

Also, the MP is full of people going AFK to unlock gear, as you get 2000 points just for playing a game. 


The nightmare that was achievement hunting in Halo 3. Every game featured some twerps trying to laser each other and not play the game. 
 

Achievements in MP games were such a bad idea. See also Little Big Planet and all the awful Trophy unlocking levels. 

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So I've been having mad issues with screen tearing. I have g-sync monitors, so it's been a bit of a ballache trying to work out what it was. Anyway long story short, the game tears like a bastard on anything other than fullscreen. Seems rock solid now, even with uncapped frames. 

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23 hours ago, Kevvy Metal said:


The nightmare that was achievement hunting in Halo 3. Every game featured some twerps trying to laser each other and not play the game. 
 

Achievements in MP games were such a bad idea. See also Little Big Planet and all the awful Trophy unlocking levels. 

 

Yeah, Bungie never really got to grips with MP achievements. Every map pack would have a bunch of achievements with absurdly specific requirements, like 'kill someone with a mongoose in a ranked FFA game in the Defiant map pack playlist', which were effectively impossible to get after the first couple of weeks. And any game would have a couple of nobheads in that Hayabusa armour desperately trying to engineer a situation where they could get it.

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The MP in this is a mixed bag. I had a go at the social Big Team Battle list last night, and the first game was King of the Hill, with a fixed-position hill, on the Halo 1 version of Beaver Creak, i.e. twelve players on a map that's better suited to four. It was an absolute clusterfuck of continually being killed and respawning, with grenades taking out half a dozen people at once and bodies flying all over the place. It was fun for about two minutes, but it went on for fifteen.

 

I had a great Team Slayer game later on (Ghost Town, Halo 3 rules), but some of the choices of game type are a bit weird. They need to tighten up Firefight a bit as well, games can go on for absurd amounts of time. It's not as bad as Horde mode on Gears of War, where you've basically got to book a day off work to finish a game, but they could make it a bit brisker given how quick the loading and the matchmaking are now (which is really impressive in itself).

 

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I might try and get back in to Halo multiplayer over Christmas but I can't see myself doing anything other than setting the match making to one specific game at a time. I don't think my brain could handle having to remember all the slightly different weapon properties and rules for multiple games at once.

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I've been playing multiplayer for the last 3 nights. It's taken that amount of time to get back into it. Just Reach, mainly Social 4 v 4, and some Hardcore.

 

I love hardcore for the lack of Sprint (hate the heavy breathing), but I get pwnd quite a bit more. I'm also surprised at how much like Halo 5 it is.

 

Nothing beats Halo multiplayer for me, I just love it.

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