Tag Archives: Halo 3

Shooting the Covenant and the Flood for some reason in Halo 3


You might say I play the Halo games wrong or, at the very least, in the wrong order. Other than dabbling around with the first level in the original Halo a few times on the PC many moons ago, here’s how my Halo history has gone down so far: I played Halo 3: ODST, which I found a bit lackluster, and now three years later I just beat Halo 3. Y’know, the game that came before the previously mentioned one. Truthfully, I don’t think it matters because these games seem to have generic, paper-thin plots that are there to set up firefights or crowded hallways of enemies, as well as a vehicle-driven sequence or two, which all boils down to shooting aliens. I suspect I said the same thing minus the alien bit about Battlefield 3, but I’m really picky about my first-person shooters, usually going for ones that focus on non-shooting mechanics and stealth.

Anyways, recently, I jokingly tried to sum up the plot of Halo 3 on Twitter, which went something like this: You are Giant Soldier, out to shoot bad aliens. Then foreign plant aliens show up, and you shoot them too. At one point, these plant aliens are your allies, and they help you shoot the bad aliens. Then they get mad at you, so you are back to shooting all of them. Lastly, a planet blows up. The end. Sure, that might sound a bit dismissive, but really, that’s kind of it, unless you want to also discuss the post-credits scene, which is there to remind the Bungie loyalists that, don’t worry, you’ll get to do all of this again in the next forthcoming title. It probably also didn’t help that I played the first two missions back in October 2013 and didn’t get the urge to play again until after finishing Crackdown and wanting to keep the 2007 hype train a-rolling.

If there’s one thing I really didn’t like about Halo 3, it’s that Master Chief can’t run. Or, if he can, I have no idea what button sets those bulky feet into motion. The game, in general, moves extremely slow, but when you are trying to rush over to a Wraith to pop a sticky grenade in its engine and crawling babies are passing you–something is terribly wrong. Yeah, Master Chief can jump really high and regain his health/shield, but I’d trade all that and a limited edition Needler that shoots green spikes to be able to run up a hill. I guess speed is not a concern for Halo fans, but games like Borderlands 2 have spoiled me too much.

Also, let’s talk a bit about friendly AI and the wonky, unpredictable physics of flipping vehicles. Master Chief, on occasion, is accompanied to firefights with a handful of soldiers, and most of them will die before the end, either by the enemy’s hands or your own. In my case, I ended up running over a lot of them with a Warthog. They are terrible at flanking the enemy, and sometimes end up in weird, buggy states, like standing still or running up against a wall. I found myself on at least three different levels sitting idle in a Warthog while an AI-controlled soldier got in the driver seat, sat staring ahead, and mumbled, “Need a ride, sir?” until I got out, removed him from the driver’s seat, and drove away on my own. Enemy AI is pretty decent, as the goons and grunts will take cover and try to surprise you now and then. For true hilarity, when your vehicle tops over, you can press a button to flip it upright, and sometimes that works, and sometimes the entire thing does an Olympic gymnastic routine that would surely garner high scores.

After finishing the game and immediately deciding not to replay it all once more on Heroic or Legendary difficulty, I went hunting for skulls. These are tiny collectibles you can find in the levels that, once grabbed and turned on, make the game harder, but also give greater rewards. Sort of like the god shrines in Bastion. Alas, these skulls are teeny tiny and aptly hidden, making hunting hard. In other words, I looked up a guide and followed along, grabbing all of them within an hour, with only two proving quite tricky (Fog Skull and Famine Skull). First-person platforming is no easy thing.

I also tried a match or two of online multiplayer–yes, people are still playing Halo 3 competitively–and that’s fine fun, but again, it all moves so slow. You die, you respawn on the opposite end of the map, and by the time you get over to where everyone is shooting at each other, they’re all already dead.

Which is your favorite Halo game? Should I try any others or just call the series average at best and move on with my time? I could live life just fine if I never had to shoot another stream of Flood monsters ever again…

The Half-hour Hitbox: October 2013

halfhour hitbox oct 2013

I can’t believe we’re already on the third iteration of this passably new Grinding Down feature, which, in retrospect, I should have put together years ago. The months surely do seem to be flying away, but even that won’t stop me from writing a wee bit about the handful of games I got to play a wee bit of in the last thirty or so days. Again, this is probably not everything, just the ones that stick out like bright red sticks in the mud, and I solemnly swear to return to several of these at some point. Heck, I might even still be playing a few of them right now. Besides, I always seem to get a lot of gaming done during the Thanksgiving break, as I rarely go out shopping, preferring to spend those chilly days warm inside, hands on a controller, eyes somewhere far away. Which is all just to say that appearing on the Hitbox does not mean you’re a one-hit wonder, destined for forgetting.

Okay. Here’s October, in a nutshell.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning


Many moons ago, on the Xbox 360, I downloaded and played the huge demo for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I swear it was around 2 GBs or something near that. Anyways, I found it an okay experience, with the bright, fantasy-ready colors being my favorite part of the standard action RPG fare. However, it suffered from tiny text syndrome, which made the lackluster dialogue and subsequent dialogue trees even harder to endure. A shame, as I am always mildly interested in big, epic RPGs, the kind that hold more than enough to keep one busy for a few months. Thankfully, this month, the game was given out for free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, and so I got to try again, and the tiny text is no longer a problem. However, I have only played a sliver further than I did in the demo, and I just can’t commit to it right now.

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes

might and magic chess-layout

A puzzle game with a surprising amount of attention spent on story and characters. The actual puzzle part revolves around grid-based battles, wherein you have to move units around to create super units to deal damage and protect yourself. It’s easier seen than described, and I thought I was doing well with it, but the difficulty ramps up dramatically fast after the first chapter, leaving little room for error. Might & Magic certainly has a lot of style, but its hooks aren’t very deep in me; I also tried battling online and got my tush handed to me by, what definitely sounded like, two little boys.

Tetris Blitz


Another free game on my Windows 8 phone. It’s Tetris on speed. Speedy Tetris. Speed the Movie: Tetrisication. Whatever you want to call it. Basically, you have two minutes to clear out as many rows as possible and score big. This is helped immensely with power-ups. Of course, since it is a free-to-play title, there’s microtransactions and ads for them everywhere, and it seems sort of hard to get a really high score without paying a little money for those killer power-ups, which are quite expensive if you are attempting to pay for them with the in-game currency. Meh, that’s not me. But it’s a decent two minute killer, and who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and score over 200,000 points all by my lonesome one day. Stay tuned for that…

Halo 3


Another month, another Halo game tried. This time, it’s Halo 3, given to us petty Gold members for free from the Microsoft overlords, and I played the first two levels on whatever the default difficulty is–and it went all right. Not really following the story much, since I never played anything in the series before it, but Master Chief is found on some planet, told to go forward and shoot aliens, and, well…there you go. Died a bunch of times, actually, as I don’t yet have a grip on the combat. And at some point, Tara came over and said, “You’re playing this again?” She thought it was Borderlands 2. Not sure what to make of that.

Poker Night 2


Already wrote a bit about how bad technically Poker Night 2 is, and I’ve not really gone back into it since then. Sorry, Brock and Claptrap–not your collective fault. Though now I am tempted to at least check out some of those Sam & Max games I have on Steam…

Dead Island


There’s a good amount to like about Dead Island, but I just can’t get over its breakable weapons. Now, for starters, I’m actually okay with weapons having durability and such; in fact, some of my favorite games, like Fallout: New Vegas and Dark Cloud 2, have you constantly repairing your gear to ensure you are in tip-top shape. However, on this island of living dead things, your weapons break fast, and you can only carry so many with you, which left me a number of times empty-handed and surrounded by enemies. Not an enjoyable system, especially when you can still lose a weapon you spent a lot of money on improving and upgrading. I get that it’s more realistic, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Otherwise, it’s good, with plenty of side quests to keep you busy. Love the kick button and looting every suitcase I come across. Some of the voice acting and character models are sub-par, but the zombies are effective and varied. Also, I’m going to admit that it took me several tries to get a vehicle moving, as for the longest time I didn’t realize the steering wheel was on the other side. Oops!

Batman: Arkham Asylum


Despite my lackluster love for Batman as a superhero character, I’m quite enjoying my time exploring the inner (and outer) workings of Arkham Asylum in…um, Batman: Arkham Asylum. It’s a mix of Super Metroid, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and the combat from the more recent Assassin’s Creed games, and it’s totally a blast. The attention to detail is perfect, and everything really gels with one another, from the Riddler stuff to the exploration and even the boss fights. Alas, of the bunch, this one seems like the best, so I’m trying to take my time with it.

The Half-hour Hitbox is a new monthly feature for Grinding Down, covering a handful of videogames that I’ve only gotten to play for less than an hour so far. My hopes in doing this is to remind myself that I played a wee bit of these games at one time or another, and I should hop back into them, if I liked that first bite.

Games Completed in 2011, #8 – Halo 3: ODST

Halo 3: ODST ends a fraction of a fraction after you think to yourself, “Wait, it can’t be over yet, right?” Guess ODST really stands for Oh Do Stop Trying.

The game takes place between Halo 2 and Halo 3, which means nothing to me as this is the first Halo game I’ve ever played. A group of soldiers are dropping down to the planet New Mombasa, which is being attacked by disgruntled aliens calling themselves the Covenant. However, something goes wrong fast, and the party is split up. Everyone in the ODST gangbang has ridiculous names like Romeo and Dutch. Suprised Bungie didn’t toss in a Fabio for good measure. There’s also the Rookie, which nags the silent protagonist role even though you will also play as other members of the group.

The aspect I liked the most about Halo 3: ODST‘s story is that it’s broken, told in pieces, wedged together bit by bit. See, each level switches around who you play as, and it’s also a different time since being dropped on the planet, meaning one level will be bright and sunny on a coastline and the next level might have you running through dark, nighttime streets, desperate to make contact with something that doesn’t want to shoot your face off for dinner. Made for a great mix of settings and styles though the night hours are really dark.

But that’s where the enjoyment ended. Each level felt very much the same to me, and they went a little like this: level start, move forward, come across a group of enemies, shoot and hide, hide and shoot, move forward, come across a group of enemies, shoot and hide, hide and shoot, discover a clue, cutscene. Do that eight to ten more times to get the full effect. There were only a few moments during Halo 3: ODST‘s campaign where the gameplay varied, and these usually involved piloting a vehicle.

There’s some famous voices in the game, too, with actors from Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. They were a little weird to hear at first, especially since Nathan Fillion’s character in Halo 3: ODST is a lady-charmin’, sarcastic captain–a real stretch. Alas, the script they were given did not allow them to act, only read one-liners and make stupid quips in the heat of battle. Kind of a waste.

I had been hoping that I’d finally see the magic that makes everyone go crazy for this series, but alas…no. It’s just a sci-fi FPS in my eyes, with nothing special to it. Some of the enemy designs are interesting, but other than that, it’s just a game where you shoot wave after wave of bullet-bags until something happens. I have to wonder if that’s the same premise for the other games; there wasn’t even a memorable final level here. I escorted the alien worm thing to a safehouse, and then a Covenant ship swooped by to drop off like five waves of enemies, all of which got tougher each wave, but that was it. Several tossed grenades later, the game was over. In that case, the game could’ve really ended on any level.

There’s Achievements for completing the game on higher difficulty levels, but I think I’ll just stick with this one:

Campaign Complete: Normal (100G): Completed the Campaign on Normal difficulty.

Generic alien-fighting solider OUT!

Halo 3: ODST, a story of love, sacrifice, and a wormy alien

I can’t wait to complete Halo 3: ODST, dear Grinding Down readers, but only because I am eager to write about it for y’all. See, I’ve barely been paying attention to what is going on and already know next to nothing about the Halo universe, which should make for a very interesting write-up. I think I even played the last two levels on the lowest volume possible because I had a slight headache, meaning that if Captain Mal said anything important, I most certainly missed it. Right now, I’m on the level where I have to escort some worm alien thingy to safety. Not sure if that’s near the end, but judging by the Achievements I’ve unlocked so far, I’d say we’re fairly close.

On top of not knowing what is going on, I still don’t see the appeal of this series. Everything screams generic, and I am constantly cursing under my breath at the controls because there seems to be no such thing as a run button. And the night missions? Frak the night missions. Might as well as turn my TV’s monitor off and play it that way.

But yeah, aliens and guns and shooting aliens with guns. That’s been Halo 3: ODST so far for me. I’m glad I bought this cheap and on a whim. Otherwise, I’d probably feel like I just bounced a sticky grenade off a wall and on to myself.

Cracking skulls and standing still in Halo 3

I was feeling rather aimless last night after getting some good work done on the latest Sekrit Projekt, and I figured I’d give Halo 3: ODST another go even though I have no clue what’s going on in the game and can’t really kill more than three alien enemies before having my armored ass tossed aside. Only I ended up putting in the second multiplayer disk instead and found myself playing…Halo 3. Well, not the main campaign, but all of its online maps and modes. Weird. Even weirder was that running this CD also tricks my Xbox 360 into thinking I’m playing all of Halo 3, and thus I now have a new list of Achievements separate from Halo 3: ODST to get. Except I can’t get them; I only have the multiplayer aspect of that game, and while meaningless in the longrun, I do find it a bit annoying now that there’s going to be a slew of unlocked Achievements on my system that I didn’t ask to be placed there.

But yeah, Halo 3 multiplayer. I played a round of Oddball and a round of King of the Hill before moving on to fiddle about in the forge mode by my lonesome. In each game mode, I made a single kill and was summarily destroyed every time I pushed forward on the analog stick. My best defense was standing still and hiding from other players. Don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to be played, but whatever. I’m at peace with the fact that I lack significant sniping and sticky grenade skills. And now I’m definitely spoiled by Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, which rewards players with losing streak perks if they’re having a hard time keeping up.

A quick scan of Halo 3‘s Achievement list–quick because, well, there’s 79 Achievements to look at, and most of them don’t apply to the multiplayer–mentioned finding hidden skulls on specific levels. I tried to do this on my own, just running around and flying around in Forge with the floaty camera, but alas, these hidden skulls are seriously hidden. I had to look up a guide to find two of them:

Orbital Skull (25G): On Orbital, found the hidden skull.

Assembly Skull (25G): On Assembly, found the hidden skull.

I’m not sure what’s more creative there. The Achievement name or the flavor text. I’m just kidding. They both suck. I might look up a few more guides for the others though some seem really complicated, such as the hidden skull on Sandbox. These might very well be the only Achievements I’ll be able to unlock here. Le sigh.

Unfortunately, I still don’t get Halo. The multiplayer felt so quiet and repetitive, and the graphics were spotty. I dislike having to hold down a trigger button to pick up a weapon, and I don’t know if there’s a sprint button, but I hope so. It feels like an uphill climb no matter what the elevation. I just can’t see what I’m supposedly missing here, that’s all.