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March 29th, 2013, 02:06
Is delusion a form of insanity, or just a mental "condition"?
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April 22nd, 2013, 20:57
My last finish was Gothic 3.I did really enjoy this.It takes me about 1 year to finish.


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Last edited by anddriew; April 27th, 2013 at 16:47.
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April 26th, 2013, 00:19
Replayed and just finished Fallout:New Vegas.

Enjoyed it a lot, especially DLC that I haven't had in the first run and all 4 are really some quality stuff. Well… Except the fact that some things you get IMO too late, for example portable bed (now why did they took the idea already seen in Divine Divinity as an item when it could have been a perk?).

The game itself didn't crash a lot, it did crash can't say it didn't, but honestly, compared to FO3, those few gamefreezes are really ignorable thing. Stumbled upon a few bugs, nothing serious really, just some scripting problems (Cass speaks something completely illogical before you take her as a companion since you nailed some gangsters that would be a part of her quest later, and such stuff). In any case based on the game log in PIPboy I've solved 135 quests so there. And none of those was "radiant", in fact "grinding", but most were unique stuff not seen in other parts of the game.

The game has a great story and unbelievably good sidestories, can't say I'm surprised giving the fact the same team from FO1/FO2 made it. And it's all so interesting I actually had to read all those logs and diaries/diarypages as I've enjoyed, dunno, for example the diary of the lunatic that thought his family and cattle are lurking on him so in the end he burned his house with him trapped inside it.

So not just with almost none bugs, with numerous different and interesting quests, and also with the rich story F:NV completely outshines both it's predecessor FO3 and it's "engine successor" TES:Skyrim.

But I wouldn't go as far as to give it 10/10. There are two things I simply won't and can't forgive.
For whatever reason, there are no "kinky" perks in F:NV. Yes, you can have sex, but you can't become "sexpert". Or "porn star". Also you won't become a "childkiller" nor "gravedigger" no matter how much you try. IMO that's a huge minus. I really didn't (re)play the game to receive those, but in the end, I asked myself, hell, after so many graves I've looted, it'd be nice to know that even with an useless perk attached.
The second thing I'm furious about is the endless mobrespawning idiocy. Even a stupidest player can grab new levels quickly on those mobrespawns anywhere and anytime. A complete design disaster, but since Josh was the project director, no wonder that filler thing in unquality stuff got blessed to be a part of the game.

So in my case I'd put 9/10 on this game and seriously, I can't believe that Metacritic total placed it under FO3 and TES:S as F:NV is a better game and more fun than both of them. One thing I still can't believe is that Bethesda, seeing that in F:NV you can "push" your sidekick away from you if he/she/it blocks some passage, didn't make the same option years after for Skyrim's bloody grandmaster-of-passageblocking Lydia!

Toka Koka
Last edited by joxer; April 26th, 2013 at 00:30.
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April 26th, 2013, 00:47
I warned you Myrthos!
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April 26th, 2013, 01:04
Yea, I know, badmouthing Lydia was going too far…

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June 4th, 2013, 03:43
Half-Life

I've been putting off the HLs till now due to being aware of the series being "abandoned" midway-through by Valve and the debacle surrounding episode 3 or HL3. Nevertheless I decided my hunger for sci-fi could be satisfied with a fix by the critically acclaimed FPS series.

So far I feel let down. I realise that hindsight is 20/20 and that there are 14 years separating my playthrough and the game's release but I can't quite wrap my head around Half-Life 1's reputation. To put it simply, to me, the game's gameplay first and foremost, and its (comparative lack of) story/atmosphere as a sidenote indicated its nowhere near the timeless classic the ratings would suggest. My only possible explanation is that the innovating and the otherwise great aspects of the game were so widely adopted by the genre that part of the appeal of the original has suffered (kinda like Seven Samurai in cinema).

My critique has obviously nothing to do with the technical merits of the game. The graphics and the AI are in fact impressive for its age and the high res/poly version that I played looked like a 2002 game rather than a 1998 one.

Gameplay-wise however I expected something that sets it aside from both the other old titles I've played and the random FPS garbage I've layed my hands on throughout the years (I'm not very picky in this genre since the games are short). To my disappointment there wasn't much apart from the usual shooting, button pushing, airvent crawling, jumping platforms all in a very controlled environment and on-rails.

The story/atmosphere on the other hand appear almost nonexistent given how famous Gordon Freeman is as a character and how the HL franchise was supposedly heavy on the story side. Again it's possible that the modern CoD experience has created certain expectations but the lack of dialogue or otherwise verbal presentation of the story really made an impression. Having read a bit on the Internet and thus affirming the very limited information that the game does provide to serve as a story I'm seeing plenty of similarities to the Doom games (scientific facility in crisis, aliens, traveling to other planet/dimension to defeat boss) which is ironic given their reputation as much more straight shooters with HLs being more story centric.

I was initially planning on playing the Source or Black Mesa version of HL1 as well as the expansions/addons to it but I now will dive straight into the sequel in search of a (significant) change in style. Dunno what to expect gameplay-wise aside from more physics but I sure do expect a bigger emphasis on the story and its presentation.

Hope that didn't come off as too strong. I realise the limitations of applying 2013 standards to a 1998 game but I was always trying to assess how well the experience has aged.

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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June 4th, 2013, 04:44
Originally Posted by Kostaz View Post
Half-Life
I've been putting off the HLs till now due to being aware of the series being "abandoned" midway-through by Valve and the debacle surrounding episode 3 or HL3. Nevertheless I decided my hunger for sci-fi could be satisfied with a fix by the critically acclaimed FPS series.

So far I feel let down. I realise that hindsight is 20/20 and that there are 14 years separating my playthrough and the game's release but I can't quite wrap my head around Half-Life 1's reputation. To put it simply, to me, the game's gameplay first and foremost, and its (comparative lack of) story/atmosphere as a sidenote indicated its nowhere near the timeless classic the ratings would suggest. My only possible explanation is that the innovating and the otherwise great aspects of the game were so widely adopted by the genre that part of the appeal of the original has suffered (kinda like Seven Samurai in cinema).

My critique has obviously nothing to do with the technical merits of the game. The graphics and the AI are in fact impressive for its age and the high res/poly version that I played looked like a 2002 game rather than a 1998 one.

Gameplay-wise however I expected something that sets it aside from both the other old titles I've played and the random FPS garbage I've layed my hands on throughout the years (I'm not very picky in this genre since the games are short). To my disappointment there wasn't much apart from the usual shooting, button pushing, airvent crawling, jumping platforms all in a very controlled environment and on-rails.

The story/atmosphere on the other hand appear almost nonexistent given how famous Gordon Freeman is as a character and how the HL franchise was supposedly heavy on the story side.
First of all —> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNbkSgEaDZ4.

There's no way you're going to get an accurate impression of how good a game was for its time when you wait 15 years to play it.

That said, I'm not sure why you thought HL was supposed to be "heavy on the story side". I've never known it to have that reputation, especially given that it uses a silent protagonist. To me, HL was more known for the setting and atmosphere which I thought were incredible for back then and are still great by today's standards. In fact, I just played Black Mesa around 8-9 months ago, and it reminded me of how special HL was for its time.

That's not to say that HL doesn't have a great story because I still think it does. It's just not "story-heavy" in the same sense as other games. The story unfolds through the eyes of Gordan Freeman with no cutscenes and very little dialogue with other characters.

If I had known you were going to play it though, I would have suggested that you waited for the final release of Black Mesa. The original release version has not aged well imo.
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June 4th, 2013, 16:34
I agree with you Kostaz.

Half Life was INDEED supposed to be a revolution in terms of interactive storytelling - and it was hailed as such.

I saw it as nothing but a pale imitation of System Shock - except without the cerebral gameplay and without the fantastic storyline and antagonist.

I played it at the time - and found it to be a pretty decent shooter with a very strong beginning. But after the numerous scripted events during the first few levels - it quickly devolved into a more or less standard shooter - for its time. That said, I DID complete it - which means it must have had something, because by then I'd stopped completing shooters. As much as Doom impressed me, it pretty much wore me out as far as shooting endless mobs and hunting door keys goes.

Oh, it had good level design and impressive AI - but really, nothing that excited me all that much.

That said, after System Shock came out in 1994 (years before HL) - that was the peak of the genre as far as I'm concerned - and it remains the peak of the genre, overall. Half Life was a complete joke in comparison for everything except the actual shooter gameplay. Since I was never a big shooter fan, I was never very impressed by it.

I was even less impressed by Half Life 2 - which is the very definition of linear set-piece shooting. Except for the Source engine, which really impressed the hell out of me.

Obviously, if you really loved shooters - and you were used to Quake or Unreal - then Half Life would have been special. But if you were into cerebral gameplay and non-linear level design over "bang-bang you're dead" - then System Shock was simply superior in every way.
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June 9th, 2013, 18:12
Half-Life 2 + Episodes 1 & 2

The first part of the previous decade was probably my most busy period in terms of video games so this time I could compare the incredibly highly rated HL2 with both its contemporaries and the original.

All in all it was a much more well-rounded experience with diverse and at times unusual gameplay and an actual story with about half a dozen noteworthy characters which was a huge step-up from the original and (I guess) the mainstream FPS of the time.

Technically the game still holds up quite well (I played all 3 unmodded) and I was kinda surprised by the impression the physics engine made on me. While all mainstream shooters make quite a big deal about how realistically their physics engine imitate real life collisions HL2 was the only game I played that got a step beyond barrel shooting (there's lots of it) and actually integrated a fair amount of physics based puzzles to its core gameplay.

Another notable departure from the design of the original that was only emphasized by the contrast between the scale and its scripted nature was the way the game treated the player. While I don't consider myself to be great at shooters I played through the Half-Lifes on Hard and consider the 2nd being much more challenging than the 1s both in terms of shooting and puzzles despite neither ever making me regret my choice. Having said that there's a fair bit of handholding that is probably its most "modern" feature in comparison to the original even over the technical aspects. It's certainly a scripted ride but still a very good one.

The episodes were pretty decent overall although the 1st one felt a bit like filler. By the end of Episode 2 it looked like the existing gameplay mechanisms weren't (good?) enough for Valve as they started introducing a few one-off "Tower Defense" situations which almost always end up being rather "gamey" than valuable to the game's story or it's own gameplay.

While I couldn't imagine myself buying into the best game ever reviews before playing HL2 and still am nowhere near agreeing I can see how it affected the industry. In some ways, the high production value scripted sequences with first person drama or even the driving sequences has been repackaged and served in a more appealing to the mainstream setting too many times to count despite being at times vain imitations. The Call of Duty series are the main offender the comes to mind. As for Valve, looking past the embarrassment that their handling of Episode 3 has been, they haven't done too bad in distilling some of the great(est) parts of HL2's gameplay into standalone games. The similarities between the puzzle-solving and the zombie-shooting of HL2 and Portal and Left 4 Dead respectively are striking and I wouldn't be surmised if the shooting parts have basically been repeated in Team Fortress 2.

Having now played though the series, if I had to name what I liked the most about them I'd name the world/setting the games take place and the forces driving the events that Freeman witnesses. The game uses the all-too familiar mechanism of dropping the player in a world which he has no clue about but instead of spoon-feeding him the lore the story and the motives it's is at best cryptic despite featuring events/characters that are bigger than the known world, the dimentions or even time. The G-Man or his employers, Nihilanth, Xen and the Combine have tremendous potential which has so-far been underutilized by Valve.

PS. I need an editor.

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
Last edited by Kostas; June 9th, 2013 at 18:40.
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June 9th, 2013, 20:10
You played through HL2 and both episodes in less than 5 days?

I remember when I used to game like that.
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June 10th, 2013, 00:37
This is the most "productive" I've been in at least 4 years.

I think I'm in a "completionist" mode since its only a month ago I watched about 30 movies from imdb's top 250 over the course of ~2 weeks. Since I'm on a roll I'll try to get some other quick and highly rated games out of the way (thinking of Bioshock Infinite & the Batmans, btw how long are the System Shocks?) to thin my backlog and starting something that requires a bit more dedication (NWN2 in order to play MotB/the MEs for the sci-fi/The Divinity games) before I run out of steam.

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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June 13th, 2013, 21:01
BioShock Infinite

I had 3/4 of a fairly big post written but since Windows decided to restart I'm gonna sum up my paragraphs to:
  • Weak combat, almost entirely filler. Guns/Spells fun in the first time but console focus apparent.
  • Rapture was more atmospheric than Columbia despite beautiful vistas but BI is very strong in atmosphere when it wants to be. The world oozes with detail and especially style like few before it.
  • Columbia's society received a fairly light and superficial treatment. Main groups and characters are either caricatures or their social roles underdeveloped in favor of their involvement in the main story.

The story and especially the ending was nothing short of incredible. The last half an hour was a terrific mindfuck, one better or at least equal to what the movies that specialize in that area provide. Connecting the pieces after the credits roll was a novel yet very welcome gaming experience and even after the various timelines and events became completely clear I couldn't but admire how well-thought-out the plot was.

Apart from the plot, Infinite's ending left me wondering whether the experience that the story aimed to create/provide was best delivered through the kind of game that BI was. A different genre or even a radically different medium would probably work just as well if not better. Infinite's plot could have been served as an adventure game, an honest-to-god interactive movie or even a certain sort of film.

As things stand I'm certainly glad to have played it but can't ignore its confused nature that lead to some important shortcomings.

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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June 13th, 2013, 21:32
Originally Posted by Kostas View Post
[*]Weak combat, almost entirely filler. Guns/Spells fun in the first time but console focus apparent.
I thought combat was very good and definitively better than previous Bioshock games
Originally Posted by Kostas View Post
Rapture was more atmospheric than Columbia despite beautiful vistas but BI is very strong in atmosphere
Agreed, while Columbia is well done Rapture remains one of most atmospherics settings in any medium imo.

Originally Posted by Kostas View Post
Apart from the plot, Infinite's ending left me wondering whether the experience that the story aimed to create/provide was best delivered through the kind of game that BI was. A different genre or even a radically different medium would probably work just as well if not better. Infinite's plot could have been served as an adventure game, an honest-to-god interactive movie or even a certain sort of film.
I disagree.While I like Adventures far more than FPS but I don't think it would deliver this story very good, and I don't like interactive movies as I think they are medium for who people too lazy to make fitting gameplay.

Also one thing I think isn't as done as good as in original BS are voice recordings they are more interesting in first BS.

One thing I didn't like about first 2 BS games is fixed.That is silent protagonist that is huge plus BSI has over rest of series.
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June 14th, 2013, 00:12
I have to agree with Kostas about the combat. It wasn't terribly exciting, and I didn't find it to be a significant improvement over Bioshock at all. The sky-lines were an interesting addition, but they didn't elevate things enough (slight pun intended) for me to consider combat a strong point.

I didn't care for the weapons, and the Vigors were just Plasmids all over again with better FX. It also seemed like Infinite had even less a variety of enemies than the original game. Boss battles were enjoyable, but otherwise you were just fighting the same 2 or 3 guard types over and over again.

And yeah.. Columbia didn't compare to Rapture in terms of atmosphere. At least not for me.

Very good game imo, but also a little overrated at the same time.
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June 14th, 2013, 00:22
While I don't care much for shooter gameplay - I found Bioshock Infinite MUCH better than Bioshock for this aspect.

It just controlled much better - with a lot more precision. It had superior long range combat - and as I'm a fan of sniper rifles, I naturally enjoyed that part of it as well.

I will say that the tactical arsenal during combat seemed smaller - but since I never really found much use for tactical creativity in Bioshock, it's not something I missed.

As for Rapture - I'm a sucker for underwater environments - so it had a natural advantage. But if we're talking level of detail and mastery of the art, I'd say Columbia far surpasses Rapture - which looks primitive and positively ancient if you compare them directly.

If I had to guess - then you could take the one hour introduction of Columbia - and you'd have more detail and unique assets than the entirety of Rapture. But that's just a guess.

When it comes to story and the ending - Bioshock Infinite walks all over Bioshock. In fact, I find it hard to believe they're both by the same person. Bioshock was basically low-level philosophical musings that fell apart around halfway through - and Bioshock Infinite was a complete and consistent story with an ending that blew me away.
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June 26th, 2013, 14:28
I just finished Tomb Raider.

Nothing groundbreaking, but it was an enjoyable experience for the most part. As a reboot, I liked its style a lot more than the older TR titles. The level design is more open now, and exploration was significantly improved. The visuals are outstanding, and the game is very well optimized.

The overall tone is a lot grittier than the previous games. Combat gets nasty, and some of the death animations for both Lara and her enemies are just plain brutal. Weapons are realistic, and there's no unlimited ammo here.

It did get a bit repetitive in parts, and the QTEs were nothing but annoying to me, but overall it's a pretty good game if you're in the mood for a modern action-adventure.
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June 27th, 2013, 04:06
Batman: Arkham Asylum & Arkham City
After checking my previous post in this thread I realise these 2 took me way longer than they should've or I expected. I actually finished Arkham Asylum's campaign a couple of days after writing that Bioshock Infinite wrap-up but didn't bother posting because I didn't have much to say and planned to write a combined piece. Around that period my days became increasingly busy which slowed down my playthough speed to a snails pace.

There's really not much I could say about Arkham Asylum. It is a superbly executed 3rd person action game with a nice blend of stealth, fighting and puzzle elements. All of them tended to be on the easy/casual side (at least for me) so there was one word stuck in my mind when playing it. Functional.

The audiovisual side of the game was superb and most importantly served the Batman theme more than adequately. This must be the first game which benefits from the stereotypical Unreal Engine 3 features on shaders and models. The story was solid and probably as "non-superheroish" as possible. While not one of the greatest games ever the only thing noticeably wrong with the game was its lack of ambition, mostly in terms of gameplay.

Cue Arkham City, they kept the good parts, added to the mechanics and placed the various buildings that the main story took place in a fairly big and quite interesting city. While the main story was at most just 20% longer the improvement to the game as a whole both quality and quantity-wise as regards to the content could probably be compared to the huge step up that Assassins Creed 2 was to the original. Free roaming is at its best when you're Batman. The side quests are generally of a high quality and there's enough of them to amount to an extra 40% on top of the main story. There's even a few bits when you get to play as Catwoman and get a chance to experience the city with a different toolset.

And then you have the collectibles. Normally I could care less about them. They are at best a completionist's nightmare and at worst a nuisance that artificially prolongs the length of an open world game for those who just have to get 100%. GTAs have them and I never bothered. The Assassins Creed games have them and only #2 and its first expansion provided real incentive to go out and chase feathers (literally).

The 2 Batmans have (what I consider) an extreme number of collectibles. The number (~250 in AA and 440 in AC) is however warranted. About half of the collectibles in AA are actual riddles which force you to go and explore in return for 1)the game's single major sidequest and 2) unlocking the game's lore (earning those "boring" bits makes them more valuable than simply having them provided). The other half forces you to use the tools Batman has at his disposal in creative ways that the main quest never requires. In a way the presence of collectibles adds a whole new dimension to the gameplay, one which is however optional. I foolishly didn't realise how to scan riddles in AA until after finishing it which forced me to go through almost all the areas visited during the story a 2nd or even a 3rd time, this was less tedious than it sounds and in AA's case extended the length by about 50%.
It could be argued that Arkham City went overboard with collectibles. The number appeared ludicrous at first but there's a good reason for their presence. If collectibles added a mere dimension to AA, Arkham City is probably a different game altogether if they are ignored completely.Not only do they provide and require the most skill and thought but they most importantly bring out just how detailed the city is. Arkham City not only has the most fun exploration I've experienced in this genre (Batman's gadgets > Prototype's outrageous sci-fi) but it also celebrates the verticality of a city.(Vertical) exploration is incredibly rewarding and you keep encountering new hidden spots even after clocking over 20h in what appears to be a small area/city. The developers evidently put thought behind almost all of those trophies/riddles and I'm glad there was an actual quest behind them rather than a worthless achievement.

I usually don't explicitly state scores but since this was put together more quickly than the usual: AA 7.5, AC 8.5 Well worth the time of anyone enjoying the genre or being into Batman's universe.

Onto what I hope to be a quick playthrough the first couple of Halos before I hit the point of having to decide between the NWNs, the Divinities or the Mass Effects (not sure how to handle the plural in this case )..

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
Last edited by Kostas; June 27th, 2013 at 04:28.
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June 27th, 2013, 09:09
Great feedback on those games Kostas!

I've tried both games several times, and while I've always liked them - I just never got very far in. Not sure why, really.

AA seems just slightly below my demands in terms of gameplay and mechanics. It's a bit too structured and limited in nature. I suppose it doesn't help that I'm not a big comic book fan. I do like Batman, though.

I really should get back and try again.

AC was clearly better - but I think my main issue was that it struggled on max settings om my hardware. I've since upgraded - so I definitely need to try it again.

I'm the sort of person who needs to play the prequel before a sequel - almost no matter what. So, I have to wait until I have the time/energy to focus on AA
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June 27th, 2013, 15:14
If you can muster up the will and endurance AA is just a 14h game. Sure its longer than your average COD but I'm sure you won't break a sweat.

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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June 29th, 2013, 01:33
Halo: Combat Evolved

I was planning on covering both of them in one post but since I had enough notes on the first one I opted for a more organized approach.

First of all, I have to make clear that I wasn't expecting too much going into the game, only picked it up to satisfy my sci-fi craving and for what its worth I can say about 1/3 of the game certainly did that. The Halos are, at least amongst the gaming communities I frequent, generally looked down upon as mainstream kiddie shooters alongside the Call of Duty and Gears of War series which lowered my expectations even further. With that in mind I expect to be somewhat lenient.

Gameplay-wise the original Halo was average, it certainly wasn't a classic but still nowhere near downright bad. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by how challenging it was, I set off playing on the 3rd of the 4 levels of difficulty but had to revert to what the game considered Normal (2nd out of 4) about a third of the way in. The handling of difficulty also surprised me because it wasn't a simple change of damage and/or health bar, the game tweaked both the number and the type of enemies and encounters when changing difficulty. I can imagine most of the battles/tactics later on in the game being completely different on Legendary.

To its detriment there were plenty of occasions where my having a hard time had more to do with the absolutely terrible gunplay, the worst offender of a tube-like FoV I have experience and most importantly the overly retarded checkpoint system. Having finished the game I still got no clue how checkpoints worked, there were occasions (including the very last part of the game) where I had to do a fairly lengthy sequence 3 times and only after that would I get a checkpoint. The gunplay was anything but advanced, there were a total of 8 weapons in the game (3 of them useless), no recoil whatsoever and the crosshair was about 1/20 of the screen. Quintessential console shooter.

The developers were wise enough to let the player occasionally take a break from the shooting and included some very fun driving bits. While easy they were far less limiting than those present in modern shooters and I have to give Bungie a huge thumbs up for including a machine that let you fly unrestricted on all 3 axes, a brave inclusion even for a 2013 game.

Not sure what the budget for the game was but there was a noticeable reuse of assets. About half way through the game the experience felt strongly like a corridor shooter although it did pick up later. The point about the reuse stands however as there was a grand total of less than 7 enemy types and about 50% of the action took part in structures used 2-3 times without any alteration whatsoever.

If Halo's gameplay was average there is a stark contrast between the game's memorable audiovisual presentation and its low quality story and writing. The story was nothing to write home about and was at best an excuse to shoot things and visit places. And while I feel there wasn't much of an attempt as far as the story is concerned the game can't hide how comically bad the writing is. There were about as many cliche dialogs per minute as in a low quality Hollywood action film. Most notably, the marines (think of any bad American patriotic film), the single alien race encountered(either straight up monsters or some speaking jar-jar like English(?!), whose idea was that?) and the captain (about the 4th most important character) who was easily the worst written - most cliche character I've even seen in a video game. Suffice to say I had a trouble picking the most cringe worthy aspect. Oh and if there's a reason Master Chief is a huge video game "persona", it wasn't included in Combat Evolved.

Not sure why I left the game's highpoint for last but I guess it will be the one that stays in mind. I wanted beautiful sci-fi and got at some parts exactly that. It's not the technical fidelity that impressed me, it's a 2001 game that probably wasn't impressive back then, it's about the beautiful vistas (limited in number but deserving a mention) and the use of colors that seems very liberal and in stark contrast to today's browny games. Even alien corridors were impressive for the first few minutes of exploring them. Crysis' trip into the heart of the alien mountain is the closest similar example I can think of (BTW does anyone know if Crysis 2 or 3 had more of that?).

Halo's music and ambient sounds also deserve a special mention. The music was an interesting mix of ambient space, world and tribal sounds (I suck at describing music) and it was good enough for me to add this to my favourite music soundtracks. The battle music was at times so good that my death annoyed me mostly because they interrupted the music. All in all it enhanced the sci-fi atmosphere more than I could have hoped for.

The artists that were involved in the game were much more passionate about it than anyone else.

The effect the game had on the shooter industry is easy to see. Probably the most obvious is the fact that cutting it down by about 60% wouldn't really worsen anything apart from the campaign's buck per hour value. I'm also not sure if this is the kind of game that deserves a remake or one that is the exact opposite.

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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