343 is to Bungie as Treyarch is to Infinity Ward

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#1 Posted by Fistfulofmetal (680 posts) -

Playing through Halo 4, I started out enjoying it to a degree. I liked a lot of the elements brought up early on (weird mystery planet, Cortana going cray, Prometheans) but I also was worried about the other aspects that seemed to be coming (Covenant, Humans).

As I'm going through the game I feel as if I'm enjoying it less and less. Halo 4 is slipping into the routine of Halo and isn't doing anything to make itself stand out. It's safe. It's a bit dull. And it's a bit boring.

It got my thinking about the split between 343/Bungie and how I see a lot of familiarity in this situation as I saw during the COD glory days. I will maintain to this day, to never play a Treyarch COD game because I feel they are a mediocre developer that couldn't design an interesting set piece if their lives depended on it. On the surface level, the IW and Treyarch COD games had a lot of similarities. However there was always something off about the Treyarch outings that I could never reconcile. The set pieces were never very well put together, the gameplay always felt off. It was like playing a bizarro world version of COD. All the elements were there except they just weren't fit together as well.

With Halo 4 I'm seeing the same scenario. Obviously we won't see another Bungie Halo game but I feel the comparison is still solid. 343 has taken all of the elements of a Bungie Halo and has given it their all trying to piece it all together. For the most part it looks solid. But I'm just not feeling this outing like I did the last. To prepare for Halo 4 I started playing Reach again and I was immediately reminded of how fun a Bungie Halo game is. There's a sense of momentum to the combat. How they design a combat scenario always felt right. Halo 4 almost gets this. It's almost an uncanny valley situation. Halo 4 gets so close to the mark but doesn't quite reach it. Because of this the problems and flaws stand out like a sore thumb.

I know I haven't really said anything specific. But I find it difficult really pinpointing specifics. I will say that I feel sorely disappointed in how Halo 4 has thrown away all the interesting elements going into this game in favor for the same ole same ole Halo. But when it comes to things like set pieces, the feel of the combat, etc as Brad Shoemaker often says, it's a nebulous concept that is hard to explain. Halo 4 just doesnt feel right to me. It feels like a copy of a copy of a copy. It feels like the B-Team is making it.

#2 Posted by Mister_V (1252 posts) -

You say you don't play Treyarch COD games and then list reasons why they are bad?

#3 Posted by punkxblaze (2967 posts) -

Yeah, except Black Ops and, from the sounds of things, Black Ops 2 are head and shoulders above anything infinity ward has made since 2007. I understand your comparison, but I don't feel it's entirely accurate.

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#4 Posted by jakob187 (21662 posts) -

The thing is that Treyarch's Call of Duty games are the vastly superior product, though.

Halo 4 is just Call of Duty Lite with retooled skins.

#5 Posted by anywhereilay (144 posts) -

Haven't played Halo 4, but I don't really get where you're coming from when comparing the Treyarch/IW games. Granted, I haven't played any of them for years now, but they all seemed like pretty spot on Call of Duty games to me. Honestly, I think these comparison arguments are getting pretty tired.

#6 Posted by Fistfulofmetal (680 posts) -

Poor wording on my part. Sentence should have read "never play a Treyarch COD game again. I've played a number of them (never finishing). Black Ops was the breaking point.

#7 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

Yeah, they totally are, but not for the reasons you list them.

Bungie/Infinity Ward were the arrogant prodigy who was up his own ass half the time, and 343/Treyarch were the crazy stepchildren who wanted desperately to prove themselves. Then when the prodigy child got sent to prison after a bad drug deal went down, they got their time in the sun.

#8 Posted by Nokterian (61 posts) -

Looking at how Treyarch is becoming and what they are doing with Call of Duty. To me MW3 was a big mess. More of the same like MW2 with a lot less content in it. Also the maps where horrible designed. But looking how Black Ops 2 is going to be with the fundemental changes to killstreaks becoming scorestreaks. Create a Class 2.0. Zombies with 3 different modes,you get more bang for your buck then MW3. Also singleplayer with more endings,creat a class,strike force missions. The whole package feels just more to it. Because Infinity Ward is no more,it is just a name more then 50% off the original staff left IW to become Respawn Entertainment. And looking from how the quality evolved out of treyarch. I love Black Ops,the map design was great and making your class give you so mutch freedom,also One in the Chamber etc was fun and small things. And zombies is now bigger then ever using the multiplayer engine instead of the singleplayer engine like in World at War and Black Ops 1.

Treyarch > Infinity Ward

#9 Posted by ShaggE (6398 posts) -

343 was making arguably inferior Halo games every other year until Bungie dropped the ball and 343 had a creative fire lit under their collective ass?

:P

I know what you mean, it's just not the greatest analogy. Halo should be so lucky as to have its own "Black Ops" entry. I guess ODST comes closest to that.

#10 Posted by Fistfulofmetal (680 posts) -

I should also clarify something. I'm really only talking about SP.

#11 Edited by pweidman (2319 posts) -

With Blops Treyarch arrived. And we'll see how good 2 will be but it's looking at least just as good. The relationships between these developers are not the same. Different circumstances. Bungie wanted out, and 343 picked up the series and all/most of the assets. And some Bungie people as well. This is their first game, unlike Treyarch which has been making CoD games for going on 6 or 7 years at least, right?. And I do not agree that it's boring...Halo 4 that is. The campaign so far for me is great and the mp is extremely fun. Feels like an updated and better Halo 3. Did they play it too safe? Yep, but that was to be expected. With Halo 5 we'll see what 343 really has creatively, and I'm betting they have a lot.

#12 Posted by Fistfulofmetal (680 posts) -

@ShaggE said:

343 was making arguably inferior Halo games every other year until Bungie dropped the ball and 343 had a creative fire lit under their collective ass?

:P

I know what you mean, it's just not the greatest analogy. Halo should be so lucky as to have its own "Black Ops" entry. I guess ODST comes closest to that.

Yeah I admit the analogy is not the greatest but it's the best I can think of to give my opinion context.

Though it is weird, I feel the same way about the Halo series as I do about COD. So far every other entry has been a disappointment.

Halo CE - great

Halo 2 - awful

Halo 3 - great

ODST - didn't like it

Reach - great

Halo 4 - not liking it

#13 Posted by ShaggE (6398 posts) -

@Fistfulofmetal: Yeah, I see what you mean. (ODST was great, though! Can I get an amen, somebody? Can I get a witness?) On the bright side, Halo 5 will be your bread and butter. :)

Oh, and where do you stand on Halo Wars? I've been thinking about getting it recently, and your Halo tastes seem to come closest to my own.

#14 Posted by guttridgeb (23 posts) -

I prefer Treyarch to Infinity Ward...

#15 Posted by Fistfulofmetal (680 posts) -

never played Halo Wars. the whole console RTS concept doesn't do anything for me.

#16 Posted by Klei (1768 posts) -

@Fistfulofmetal said:

As I'm going through the game I feel as if I'm enjoying it less and less. Halo 4 is slipping into the routine of Halo and isn't doing anything to make itself stand out. It's safe. It's a bit dull. And it's a bit boring.

You just resumed every Halo games since Halo 2 for me. This series always has been, since 2004, a massive snorefest with floaty lunar jumps. I felt like Halo 4 changed it a bit, somehow. I'm really not one of those Bungie-Believers, I think.

#17 Posted by Cloudenvy (5891 posts) -

@ShaggE: ODST is my favorite Halo game! There's your amen!

#18 Posted by JasonR86 (9649 posts) -

The change from Bungie to 343 was very very different from the change from Infinity Ward to Treyarch. I think there are things that are simply a part of a FPS Halo that are required and every Halo game, even ODST, had these elements. They are the combat puzzle and the feel of the movement. 343 understood this and delivered on that experience. But they also added new elements to the game that can't be overlooked. The Promethians offer a different experience from the Covenant and Brutes but are more fun to fight then the Flood. The graphics, sound, and overall presentation are much better then what Bungie were able to do. And the overall pacing feels faster then what Bungie did.

I think the people who are irritated at the similarities between Halo 4 and the other Halo games are simply tired of the Halo games and what they offer. At some point FPS Halo is FPS Halo and asking for something dramatically different is asking for a different genre of game set in the Halo universe or simply a different game altogether.

#19 Edited by Phatmac (5723 posts) -

Bungie actually deeply cares about its community and makes modes devoted to them(this comes from a bungie.net user). So no, they aren't like IW in that regard. I respect Bungie even if they didn't do a great job most of the times. Whatever you think of the Halo games they can still be respected for the amount of content in each one. Reach had a ton of content that I really loved and has yet to be done in other shooters. My point being that 343 has done a great job at making their first Halo game. They still have much to learn like making community file sharing live on day 1.

#20 Posted by believer258 (11771 posts) -

Treyarch is the only one that's done anything remotely interesting to CoD since 4. Infinity Ward is just a shell of its former self these days, anyway.

#21 Edited by KaneRobot (1499 posts) -

If the subject line is true, the current Halo trilogy is gonna be pretty goddamn awesome by the time it's over.

I like Halo 4. It's not really as good as 3 or Reach, but I'm enjoying it quite a bit. I'm convinced half the reason they brought this out now was to hook people in that will want to see the next chapter & will see Halo 5 as a huge reason they're buying the new console. At least from a storyline perspective, 3 & Reach were total clean breaks - if they brought out Halo 4 as a Xbox 720 launch title, the incentive may not be as strong for someone to buy the console just to get the first chapter of a new story. Someone who plays Halo 4 on the 360 is theoretically now invested in the story of the new trilogy.

I have plenty of confidence that, between the lessons learned from Halo 4 and the power of the next XBox, the next one will be better.

#22 Edited by zombie2011 (4972 posts) -

IW, before it was dismantled, was way better than Treyarch! Not sure why people are saying otherwise. Teryarch games are just re-skinned IW games, Treyarch never had to think of anything new. While IW was implementing game changing stuff that weren't perfectly balanced, Treyarch just got to sit back implement all the fan feedback from the IW's game.

So while they may have made technically better games, they don't deserve the praise they receive from gamers i believe.

#23 Posted by FirePrince (1763 posts) -

Black Ops 1 is better than Halo 4.

lol

#24 Posted by Fire_Of_The_Wind (170 posts) -
@zombie2011: I agree, it always felt that TA's games were more like mods to IW games, WaW was a WW2 mod for CoD4, BO was a mod and rebalance of MW2, and MW3 is not made by the real IW which doesn't exist anymore. Even then it was months of patching before BO became slightly better than MW2.
#25 Edited by Eidderf (506 posts) -

Honestly I found that it felt like Bungie were kind of resting on their laurels a bit too much for Reach and found that game kind of lack luster in a lot of departments, the characters weren't very engaging, the story felt a bit meandering, the equipment you could pick up never seemed to jell that well online (a lot of playlists seemed to be hardly be using them apart from perhaps the sprint) and just generally it seemed like they were kind of going through the motions in a lot of respects. I mean take the multiplayer maps for example, it seems like they were almost entirely recycled areas from the campaign with the exception of forge world and the playlists seemed to attempt little new game type or mix things up especially in comparison with 3.

Halo 4 has felt like a lot of more of a polished game, obviously their is the huge visual leap, but the campaign in general just feels a lot tighter and well paced. For example the first level reintroduces you to the game with tighter areas (perhaps a bit CODish it would be fair to say) but then it slowly begins to open up until your fighting in the classic large combat puzzle areas that halo is known for. It keeps doing this throughout the game too, you start to get bored of the regular covenant, the hunters pop up, then the new enemy type then it introduces vehicles back into the mix etc.

Halo Reach's campaign started it and it kind of just seemed to drop you down in the middle of a scenario and basically said you know what to do, get on with it, it wasn't particularly broken in any way but didn't seem like it was trying to excite the player by showing off all these fun little things that make Halo so enjoyable to play. Apart from the space battle section I can't think of too many memorable moments for me, it felt almost like a best of the past Halos in a way but came off a little bland and uninspired.

I'm only a couple of levels in to 4 so maybe I'll start to see what you mean as I progress a bit further, so far though it just feels like as much as I loved the original Halo trilogy I think Bungie did the right thing to let it go and let these people with a sort of renewed passion for the series give it a go and it really shines through a lot more than Reach did.

#26 Edited by GunstarRed (5094 posts) -

Don't agree with any of this at all. Treyarch have made the best Call of Duty since 4, I could probably argue that the campaign in Black Ops is superior to Modern Warfare also. I don't think any of the games since 4 have come close to its multiplayer though.

As someone that comes to Halo for the single player, I have always been a little disappointed by what I have gotten. I was late to the series and there was so much hype for Halo 3 that didn't match up to what is a pretty mediocre game. I replayed through it earlier this year and it still feels quite weak. ODST had the atmosphere down and felt a lot punchier and better paced, but I could never really shake the feeling that it was an expansion pack.

And then Reach came around and I tried and tried and tried to love the story, they had all of that expensive advertising and I convinced myself that this was it, this was going to be the satisfying, emotional rollercoaster ride I have always wanted out of these games... and it just turned out to be just another, prettier Halo game.

Then Halo 4 comes along, and while 343 can't get all of the praise as the foundation their game was built upon is all Bungie. What they managed to do with the fiction, the storytelling, visuals, writing, pacing is miles ahead of the five games that came before it. Never before have I finished a Halo game needing to know what is going to come next. (even 2) Maybe it is just because I'm not that hardcore a Halo fan and have never fallen in love with one of the games before, but I think 343 taking over is the best thing that has ever happened to the series.

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#27 Posted by Demoskinos (14710 posts) -

I'd agree with your synopsis because 343's take on Halo is way more interesting to me than Bungie's the same way that Treyarch's CoD stuff is way way better than IW's stuff. Black Ops was by far the best Call of Duty since CoD4

#28 Posted by laserbolts (5317 posts) -

I'm just happy Treyarch decided to do what Infinity Ward were doing instead of where they were heading with call of duty 3. The multiplayer in that game was downright awful.

#29 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5351 posts) -

Halo of Duty > Call of Duty

#30 Posted by Redsox44 (482 posts) -

IW has sucked since CoD 4, Treyarch is the shit. Also Halo 4 is awesome. Maybe Campaign's a little weak but it's interesting but multiplayer is great so far.

#31 Posted by Sammo21 (3250 posts) -

Unfortunately, I think 343i can't do multiplayer for shit.

#32 Posted by project343 (2816 posts) -

@Terramagi said:

Yeah, they totally are, but not for the reasons you list them.

Bungie/Infinity Ward were the arrogant prodigy who was up his own ass half the time, and 343/Treyarch were the crazy stepchildren who wanted desperately to prove themselves. Then when the prodigy child got sent to prison after a bad drug deal went down, they got their time in the sun.

And are setting new spectacular standards for both series.

#33 Posted by Sammo21 (3250 posts) -

@project343:

Unfortuantely, unlike Treyarch, 343i hasn't done anything interesting or original with the series but merely decided to copy from other games and series. I think its a wild overstatement to say that 343i is setting new spectacular standards unless those standards have something to do with shit drying on a sidewalk.

#34 Posted by project343 (2816 posts) -

@Sammo21 said:

@project343:

Unfortuantely, unlike Treyarch, 343i hasn't done anything interesting or original with the series but merely decided to copy from other games and series. I think its a wild overstatement to say that 343i is setting new spectacular standards unless those standards have something to do with shit drying on a sidewalk.

The art direction and visuals are leaps and bounds more interesting than anything Bungie has done in the past. The incredibly human narrative between Cortana and Chief are unlike anything that we've seen in the series before. The gameplay has finally been refined to a point that there is no such thing as excess; their sandbox designer did a spectacular job moving away from the 'feature creep' standard in the series. Along those same lines, this is the first Halo campaign that maintains a spectacular pacing throughout: every other campaign was artificially padded out with repetitive or reused content.

All artistic mediums are inherently derivative. The three last 'interesting' additions that Bungie made were the Forge, Theatre, and Firefight. All three are derivative of other games in the genre.

#35 Posted by Sammo21 (3250 posts) -

@project343:

I would completely disagree that this campaign is any more better paced than the rest. Look at Halo: Reach has almost a similar pace as well as levels almost modeled exactly the same. I wouldn't same the art style was any better, only that you are on a forerunner planet for 3/4 of the game. I also don't think there's anything between Chief and Cortana that hasn't been there before, only instead of subtle dialogue between the two they decide to spell everything out. Don't confuse exposition with detail. I would say in terms of designing the Spartan IV armor in comparison to the rest in the series is inherently uglier. The story in general does nothing, explains nothing, and boils down to nothing more than you fight the Covenant some more and there's a bad guy who in gameplay terms does nothing to the series. You could have substituted any character, macguffin, or enemy in his place and it wouldn't have effected the story one way or another.

I'll also reiterate the pacing is no worse or better than other games in the franchise: its the same. What is an example of the past games padding out the series with reused content or repetitive content? They are paced the exact same way. I also don't understand your correlation with the sandbox designer moving away from feature creep. Don't you mean the creative director? Sandbox designer would have been the single player and its just as good, or bad, as the other games in the series.

#36 Posted by solidwolf52 (300 posts) -

Since West and Zampalla left IW i don't think the Treyarch as the second studio works anymore. If anything the roles have reversed.

#37 Posted by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

The story is kind of awful so far. They're trying to hard to copy what bungie did and it just doesn't work. the biggest example is the names of stuff. In the previous games, they were always weird but good. This game just has the Matrix Sequels effect where it's pretentious up the ass. The Librarian, the Dedact, all this shit. It just doesn't work. Also, knights and watchers are insanely annoying and boring to fight, and the covenant is just.. more of the same old.

However, i'm loving the hell out of the multiplayer. And I haven't beaten the game yet. But yeah..

#38 Posted by Hansolol (394 posts) -

At least Treyarch knows how to balance their multiplayer.

#39 Posted by project343 (2816 posts) -

@Sammo21 said:

  • What is an example of the past games padding out the series with reused content or repetitive content? They are paced the exact same way.
  • I also don't understand your correlation with the sandbox designer moving away from feature creep. Don't you mean the creative director? Sandbox designer would have been the single player and its just as good, or bad, as the other games in the series.

Most of this is going come down to barking opinions at one another. But I can address these two points.

  • I'll shit on the darling child Halo:CE for this one. The Library, Two Betrayals, and Keyes levels feature a wealth of reused level design. To a lesser degree, The Silent Cartographer and The Maw follow the same issue.
  • The sandbox designer for Halo ensures that all the different elements of their 'combat sandbox' work effectively together. Each of the grenades has a purpose, each of the weapons has it's place, each of the vehicles work together. In prior entries, there was a significant amount of a sort of 'sandbox feature-creep': unnecessary vehicles additions for the sake of it, unnecessary enemy types for the sake of it, unnecessary weapons for the sake of it, etc.. This time around, each of the sandbox elements feels useful, familiar, and most importantly: it has it's own niche. They've done a spectacular job moving the Covenant variety of weapons away from 'shield-destroying alternatives' to human alternatives and each of the new Promethean weapons has a unique place and function (like the Boltshot's dual functionality).
#40 Posted by DystopiaX (5297 posts) -

@project343 said:

@Sammo21 said:

@project343:

Unfortuantely, unlike Treyarch, 343i hasn't done anything interesting or original with the series but merely decided to copy from other games and series. I think its a wild overstatement to say that 343i is setting new spectacular standards unless those standards have something to do with shit drying on a sidewalk.

The art direction and visuals are leaps and bounds more interesting than anything Bungie has done in the past. The incredibly human narrative between Cortana and Chief are unlike anything that we've seen in the series before. The gameplay has finally been refined to a point that there is no such thing as excess; their sandbox designer did a spectacular job moving away from the 'feature creep' standard in the series. Along those same lines, this is the first Halo campaign that maintains a spectacular pacing throughout: every other campaign was artificially padded out with repetitive or reused content.

All artistic mediums are inherently derivative. The three last 'interesting' additions that Bungie made were the Forge, Theatre, and Firefight. All three are derivative of other games in the genre.

They made shit look like Tron. Yes the graphics look better but with the progress of time I'd expect them to. The multiplayer gameplay hasn't been refined at all, it's been reskinned to look like CoD and take away some of the best aspects of the multiplayer in the series. As the major game mode change to the series Spartan Ops is terrible and I'd much rather have Firefight, and Forge and Theater were great additions for their time as well. While the three Bungie additions that you listen may be derivative, no one was doing map customization like Halo in Forge on console, as well and as smoothly as Bungie did. No game let you save clips and shit as easily as Bungie did, and integrate it into their website as well.

#41 Posted by project343 (2816 posts) -

@DystopiaX said:

take away some of the best aspects of the multiplayer in the series

Elaborate?

#42 Posted by ajamafalous (11929 posts) -
@jakob187 said:

The thing is that Treyarch's Call of Duty games are the vastly superior product, though.

Halo 4 is just Call of Duty Lite with retooled skins.

This, which is fucking depressing. Halo 4 isn't a Halo game, so I don't even understand how you could make this comparison.
#43 Posted by Irvandus (2875 posts) -

Sure

#44 Posted by DystopiaX (5297 posts) -

@project343 said:

@DystopiaX said:

take away some of the best aspects of the multiplayer in the series

Elaborate?

The loadouts take away from the level playing field style of MP that Halo was well known for before this game. With this and the unlocks system Halo changed from being one of the last games to not adopt a CoD style progression system and that was one of the reasons I liked it so much. Bungie and others have claimed that the loadouts don't change much since the carbine/BR/DMR are all similar but later unlocks do let you kill things faster, and it changes the flow of the game so that 1 on 1 battles are less about hitting headshots consecutively and more about how shot first, again a problem that I associate with CoD multiplayer. As they said on the bombcast, I feel like the genre is desperately in need of another game to come along and revolutionize MP the way CoD4 did. Plus some of the perks like the one that lets you see through walls take away a lot of the skill gap in previous games, which is knowing the maps and positioning so that you can get a jump on your opponents as well as having good teammates that call out enemy positions so that your better teamwork will let you easily beat an inferior, uncoordinated team.

#45 Posted by big_jon (5723 posts) -

@Fistfulofmetal: I so strongly disagree with Halo 2 being awful it is crazy.

#46 Posted by Shortbreadtom (733 posts) -

Says has never played a Treyarch developed COD...Calls Treyarch a mediocre developer.

#47 Posted by Sammo21 (3250 posts) -

@ShaggE:

ODST was awesome.

#48 Posted by Sammo21 (3250 posts) -

@project343:

You are shitting on a game from 2001 that revolutionized the console shooter genre. Congratulations. Sure looking at that 11 year old game now looks dated and the pace off. Half-Life 2 is amazing but its pace doesn't hold up now. I think that they hold up incredibly well still which for a shooter period is good. Half-Life 4 is very pretty but there are still plenty of areas that look the same and making the "point" that there's lots of diversity is odd. The UNSC stuff looks the same, the forerunner stuff isn't really new but is just built off of existing Bungie art, and 343 has been drawing forerunner tech that way for years now. I would say you could take out 1/2 of the guns in the game and you'd never notice...its lazy design. There are just basically 3 different versions of each type of weapon. There isn't some revolutionary weapon balance going on here.

#49 Posted by murisan (1119 posts) -

World at War sucked, but Black Ops is the top CoD game IMO. Multiplayer especially. So, sure, 343i IS similar, because I'm having tons of fun with the multiplayer.

#50 Posted by HairyMike87 (1015 posts) -

One can argue that even though Infinity Ward deteriorated and put out a semi good game last year that Bungie has put out consistently good games every time. Bungie is still a studio that has most of the original people heading it while Infinity Ward lost a good amount during that crazy time. I think Treyarch is going to hit a home run with BO2. Bungie hit a home run for every Halo game they made (ODST is debatable, but still a worthy game in the franchise).

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