First Impressions: The GoldenEye of the 128-bit era?
Chances are, if your one of the lucky few who preordered themselves an Xbox, you also reserved the most promising looking title for the system, that game is of course, Halo. Considering that, since you're reading this, more than likely you are getting an Xbox. So you should already know all about this mammoth title. Not only that, if your like me you've been counting down the days till you can actually play it, and for all you who've shunned the Xbox and called Halo all hype, well, you're right in that respect. Halo is Microsoft's most hyped product and should be treated that way; expect it to be responsible for the sales of many Xbox gaming consoles come November. But this is all for good reason.
Halo is looking to be the FPS (first-person-shooter) to end all FPS's. Actually, the title plays an important role of leading the way in a sudden surge in the genre, which includes titles like Unreal Championship, Return To Wolfenstein, Doom III, and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. The game itself has gone through quite a lot on the development side of things. Originally planned for the PC, the developer, Bungie, soon scrapped the entire project and started from scratch on Microsoft's Xbox. This came soon after Microsoft purchased the small, yet talented company in June of 2000. It looks as if this was a very smart decision on Mr. Gates' part.
The story of Halo follows a ?super? marine (a.k.a.- YOU) who is thrown in the middle of a war between humans and an alien life form know as the Covenant. Damn, that's one original story? well, maybe not. All this is taking place on the mysterious planet of Halo, which just happens to be shaped like a halo, what are the odds? Even though the futuristic plot isn't anything extraordinary, is does seem to be a nice setting for all the action that is to take place. From what I've seen, the world of Halo seems to resemble Earth in many ways. Such environments as beaches and forests exist, with bright blue skies and sunshine gleaming down on everything. I'd also expect some nice weather effects, such as rain and the already showed off snow surroundings. I for one think this is great, fighting in dank, dark caverns for hours at a time gets old fast. But Halo will contain a good mixture of both.
Now that we have the world and story established (some what anyways), let us talk about what to expect gameplay wise. Well, to put it bluntly, expect it to be kickass. Although I have yet to play the game myself, I have seen countless movies of it in action and I'm here to give you some details. Foremost, like I stated earlier, Halo is a First-Person-Shooter, or ?Doom-like?. So as you'd guess, you run around the whole game shooting at, and killing alien scum. But Halo differentiates itself from other FPS's in a variety of ways. There's the weapons aspect, Halo's customary weapon is the Assault Rifle, which also happens to have a built in flash light for lighting up those dark areas. Other weapons include the sniper rifle, rocket launcher, flamethrower, and grenades. Sure, you've seen these weapons a million times before, but what you haven't seen is the alien ones. After you defeat an enemy you have the option of obtaining his foreign weapon. The cool thing about it is that some are plasma based, meaning you don't have to worry about ammo. However, the damned things do heat up on you when used a great deal, leaving them unusable for a short period of time.
In addition, your life gauge is also very unique, for the simple fact that you don't really have one. Instead, you have a shield that depletes when you are hit by enemy fire. In effect you're not going to have to worry about obtaining medi packs to stay alive either, the shield replenishes itself over time. Man, you just gotta love these advanced futuristic weapons.
I'm not done with the gameplay features quite yet (there's a bunch). One of the most hyped features in the game is the ability to ride in vehicles, whether it be humanoid or an alien one. This is easily one of the most entertaining looking parts of the game. Some can also be used in cooperation with fellow marines, take the buggy for example. It's a jeep type vehicle with a mounted machine gun on the back, instead of you getting on back to blast away the Covenant, you are in the drivers seat while the computer has all the fun, well, the driving looks pretty exciting too. One thing I should mention is that Bungie is being very ?hush, hush? on many aspects of the gameplay, they are looking to surprise people with some nice twists, so be prepared, be very prepared.
I'm sure everyone in the world? scratch that, galaxy (much better), have heard about the sheer graphical beauty that imminates from Halo. This game is no joke people; easily the most gorgeous games ever created. The only competition comes from fellow launch title Dead or Alive 3, it's going to be close. Halo looks as if it is going to harness just about everything the Box has to offer, including nice particle effects, lighting, bump mapping, and all those millions and million of purdy polys, the game is truly a work of art and must be seen in person to truly appreciate. O yeah, and for you doubters out there, the choppy frame-rate that showed up at E3 has been remedied, expect the game to run at a nice smooth 30 frames-per-second, even in the multiplayer modes.
Not only are the developers spending countless hours on the visual side of the title, but the audio is also getting a great deal of attention. Bungie has a crack (not on crack) audio team who is making sure every single sound in the game is true to life. For example, when you step on a sheet of ice it will make a very life-like cracking noise, also, when the bullets hit metal walls I noticed it makes one cool sounding metal clacking against metal clatter. It's these nice little details that gives me the impression that Halo will go unparalleled in this department. Don't forget the totally inspiring music either.