10 November 2007

Halo 3: A Multiplayer Retrospective

So! Now that I've had internet for a good while, I've - you guessed it - been playing Halo 3 online rather a lot. Mostly because it cheers me up having not been able to get a job, but also because I have precious little else to do with my free time, and suffering from writer's block eliminates the ability to write my novel. *sigh*

Regardless, I've been playing Halo 3 online, and I have to say, my opinion of it still stands. It's brilliant; but less brilliant than I originally stated. The inherent problem is, that it seems that the multiplayer has weakened somewhat since the wonderfully balanced and brilliantly playable multiplayer of Halo 2. Things to point out:

1. The melee system needs tweaking. It really does. First off, smacking someone's feet as they jump over you seems to count as an assassination (instant kill for those of you not down with the lingo). That's just weird, and totally annoying, as it more or less renders jumping in combat completely useless. Second, there seems to be a rather arbitrary system in place that governs head-to-head melee-ing, in that it doesn't do a fixed amount of damage. It simply just seems to pick who has the most health, and then the other person looses. Which is, again, a bit silly.

2. They need to balance the weapons on maps more. Yes, there just seems to be an over-abundance of certain weapons, and a bizarre scarceness of others. The mauler - that hand-held shotgun thing that'd technically break the wrist of anyone using it - is everywhere, and yet the human pistol is sadly absent or ridiculously scarce on almost every level. And the problem with the mauler being everywhere? The thing is ridiculously over-powered. Blast, melee, repeat; plus it only takes 3 shots to kill someone at mid range. Anyways, for certain weapons - shotgun, rocket launcher, sniper rifle, spartan laser - scarceness is part of the point. But you'd think that there'd be loads of pistol lying around, wouldn't you? But hey, that's just me.

3. Achievements? Good. Improbable achievements? Not so good. Part of the point of having achievements, I thought, was that the situation required to fulfill them required skill to get. Thusly, the Gamerscore of any person would roughly reflect their relative skill with the game. But the five ones that I'm lacking in Halo 3 seem to rely solely on luck. Mongoose Mowdown? The damn thing isn't heavy enough to run people over! Steppin' Razor? If you can actually find three people to kill, given the size of the levels. The videos I've seen of people getting them seem to showcase how lucky you need to be to get them. But then again, I have awful luck when it comes to video games. Anyways.

4. Lack of variety in game types. Yes, Slayer, CTF and Assault are great. But there're SEVEN different types of creatable match, and each has almost infinitely customisable options. Also, whatever happened to good old CTF classic? You know, when there're two flags, and you've got to concentrate on both getting the enemy's flag and protecting your own? I loved that. And it's gone the way of the dodo, it seems.

5. Communication. It's suffered a downgrade. You used to be able to talk at people in ranked matches. Insults, and whatnot - some people didn't like it; I, for one, found it to make the game that much more entertaining. Now, in ranked matches you can only communicate with your team; and in free-for-all you can't communicate with anyone. Which kinda sucks.

Those're pretty much my only gripes; and they've appeared afresh above the single gripe I had with Halo 2, which was all but totally eliminated. Apart from that, I have a huge amount of fun playing. Especially with friends. Me and my mate Al have been teaming up reasonably regularly, and the teamwork we put together is nothing short of spectacular!

The maps are solid (despite the annoying weapon over-abundances/shortages); the gameplay is nicely paced and nicely skill reliant; and generally the players are a decent bunch - beyond that odd annoying kid whose parents bought him a Mature-rated game, and thinks he's better than everyone who's played the game ever, despite the 22-3 scoreline against him. So yeah, great fun game.

And that's it; all that's on my mind recently. Hopefully I'll have something vaguely more interesting to the non-gamer crowd next time; but such is life.


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