I have never played a Halo game

Posted by Brake (1130 posts) -

I have never played a Halo game in my life. I've mostly been a PC gamer and the last two consoles that I've owned have been of the Sony variety. As a PC gamer I have a certain natural aversion towards playing FPS games on the consoles. I've essentially been trained to play them with a mouse and keyboard since the late 90s. In fact, the only FPS game that I've ever played with a controller is Killzone 2. It wasn't the most horrific experience of my life, I could definitely see that the control method worked and wasn't completely atrocious. Although, I did sometimes spend considerable amount of time admiring the sky and ground textures as I struggled with the controls. I ended up finishing the campaign, had no real interest in the multiplayer at the time, nor really knowing where the story or the characters would go in Killzone 3. The game just didn't grab me.

That-guy! From the games! With the helmet!

Then there's Halo. I've followed this industry for a long time now and for most of that time, Halo has always kind of been in my periphery. Since I haven't had a machine to play the games on, I've never really paid too much attention to them. Hence my knowledge of them are bits and pieces that I've picked up from podcasts, live streams and forum discussions. Something about Cortana, Halo rings, finish the fight...? There's almost an air of mystery around the series for me. That added to the fact that it seems to have a very dedicated fan base, has basically kept me curious about it for years now.

Which brings me to the far away past of a few-weeks-ago, when Drew and Alexis decided to live stream themselves playing the first three Halo games for 24 hours (for the kids!). I hadn't really thought about Halo for a while, but two guys, who are obviously pretty passionate about the series, doing something like that has a way of piquing ones dormant interest. So I turned it over in my head a few times, made a list of games that I can't currently get on any other platform and finally, last weekend, decided to buy a 360 and pre-order Halo 4.

I understand this is a puzzle game of some kind?

At this point, I have some idea of what I'm in for, based on watching parts of the live stream. Apparently you point the reticule at dudes and shoot at them? Sometimes you throw grenades instead? I'll be curious to see how quickly, if at all, I'll adapt to the controls and eventually fare in multiplayer. But mostly I'm just interested in experiencing a part of a franchise that some people hold in very high regard and to see how I feel about it myself.

So that's where I am now. I've just gotten an email telling me that my order of Halo 4 has shipped and I should be getting the console later this week. No matter how I'll end up feeling about the game, all told, this should be a pretty interesting experience.

#1 Posted by Brake (1130 posts) -

I have never played a Halo game in my life. I've mostly been a PC gamer and the last two consoles that I've owned have been of the Sony variety. As a PC gamer I have a certain natural aversion towards playing FPS games on the consoles. I've essentially been trained to play them with a mouse and keyboard since the late 90s. In fact, the only FPS game that I've ever played with a controller is Killzone 2. It wasn't the most horrific experience of my life, I could definitely see that the control method worked and wasn't completely atrocious. Although, I did sometimes spend considerable amount of time admiring the sky and ground textures as I struggled with the controls. I ended up finishing the campaign, had no real interest in the multiplayer at the time, nor really knowing where the story or the characters would go in Killzone 3. The game just didn't grab me.

That-guy! From the games! With the helmet!

Then there's Halo. I've followed this industry for a long time now and for most of that time, Halo has always kind of been in my periphery. Since I haven't had a machine to play the games on, I've never really paid too much attention to them. Hence my knowledge of them are bits and pieces that I've picked up from podcasts, live streams and forum discussions. Something about Cortana, Halo rings, finish the fight...? There's almost an air of mystery around the series for me. That added to the fact that it seems to have a very dedicated fan base, has basically kept me curious about it for years now.

Which brings me to the far away past of a few-weeks-ago, when Drew and Alexis decided to live stream themselves playing the first three Halo games for 24 hours (for the kids!). I hadn't really thought about Halo for a while, but two guys, who are obviously pretty passionate about the series, doing something like that has a way of piquing ones dormant interest. So I turned it over in my head a few times, made a list of games that I can't currently get on any other platform and finally, last weekend, decided to buy a 360 and pre-order Halo 4.

I understand this is a puzzle game of some kind?

At this point, I have some idea of what I'm in for, based on watching parts of the live stream. Apparently you point the reticule at dudes and shoot at them? Sometimes you throw grenades instead? I'll be curious to see how quickly, if at all, I'll adapt to the controls and eventually fare in multiplayer. But mostly I'm just interested in experiencing a part of a franchise that some people hold in very high regard and to see how I feel about it myself.

So that's where I am now. I've just gotten an email telling me that my order of Halo 4 has shipped and I should be getting the console later this week. No matter how I'll end up feeling about the game, all told, this should be a pretty interesting experience.

#2 Posted by project343 (2838 posts) -

My god...

First off: great little blog post. Second, you are going to be hella confused for this fourth entry (judging by the impressions so far: it's a bit Halore-heavy).

Finally, I figure I should stand up and really tell you what you're in for. What makes Halo really special is the AI and combat encounters. It's often referenced as a 'combat playground' (or some other word variation). You have a bunch of crazy guns, smart AI, varied enemy types, and a slew of different vehicles all thrown into a giant silly mixing pot--open for you to do whatever you like and approach the situation however you like.Moreover, the whole thing has been dastardly coop-friendly since the original game's release in 2001.

If I had to liken the series to something, I'd say: a smaller-scale, but more refined and methodical Unreal Tournament 2004 that has a much more well-realized and developed alienness to it. When you land on Halo for the first time, it is awe-inspiring and overwhelming in a way that few other shooters have really ever deliver (Metroid Prime being the only other game I'd compare it to).

While I can't promise this will all stay consistent in this latest release, I imagine you'll have the 'combat playground' plenty intact.

#3 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3925 posts) -

I just wanna say kudos for being open to trying out new stuff and not being one of those "screw halo screw console FPS" guys. That's awesome.

Halo is a ton of fun, the AI is a blast to fight against and that combined with the weapons and vehicles make for a pretty different experience when you compare it to a lot of the corridor shooters that are popular. It's all about the mix between weapons, grenades and melee. Real fun to play with friends in co-op. As for the story, if you wanna understand it i'd definitely spend a bit of time reading a wiki otherwise you might be a bit lost. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it duder.

#4 Posted by vikingdeath1 (1006 posts) -

I hope this works out well for you!

Halo was a gift for Christmas for me and my sister along with an original Xbox back in 2001, and in that time before I really followed games at all it was a whole lot of fun and I could play it alongside my best friend.

So I think why I hold this series in such high regard is because it molded my young mind at the time?

#5 Posted by believer258 (12201 posts) -

If you play Halo 1, either do it on a PC so you can play with an M+K, or get the Anniversary Edition. Playing vanilla Halo CE on a 360 is possible, but there's enough slowdown to recommend doing it on PC or the Anniversary edition.

Also, it's a good port as far as I can tell. Plenty of options, doesn't crash at all, runs well from what I remember, etc.

Anyway, there's no great way to play Halo 2. The PC port crashes often and uses GFWL, there's a lot of pop in on the original Xbox, and playing it on the 360 reveals a bunch of "ghost" images that are hard to get rid of.

#6 Edited by Captain_Felafel (1602 posts) -

As someone jumping in fresh to Halo, I'd advise you switch your control-scheme (This is something that can easily be done in the settings at any time) to Boxer if you have any intention of playing multiplayer (Which you should; it's quite excellent, I hear). Boxer basically swaps the buttons for throwing a grenade (Left Trigger) and for using a melee attack (B). What this means is that you can now melee with the Left Trigger, and thus without having to take your thumb off of the right analog stick. It's a small thing, but it gives you a pretty significant edge in multiplayer, since you can control your camera while meleeing, which you wouldn't be able to do otherwise, having to hit the B button with the same thumb. It's one of those things that can be very difficult to retrain yourself to learn after playing with the default controls. So seeing as you've never played a Halo game before, I'd advise doing this from the start.

Anyway, enjoy yourself! If reviews are anything to go by, you're really in for a treat with 4.

#7 Edited by DharmaBum (1049 posts) -

It will likely take a while to get used to analog sticks over mouse/keyboard. I remember getting my ass handed to me in Halo 2 coming straight from PC shooters at the time, but I stuck with it because the pace of the combat and strategy it requires to out-play your opponent is so satisfying, and eventually my aiming, decision-making and situational awareness became second nature.

There's nuance to the shooting in having to trace your target to finish the kill, while also moving/strafing properly to make yourself harder to hit (and knowing when to back down from a fight and not to challenge). This is all speaking to the multiplayer of course. Campaign is a good training ground for getting used to the feel of the controls and learning how each weapon serves a purpose in the sandbox.

Good blog post, duder. Congrats on choosing the best console FPS out there.

@Captain_Felafel: I recommend Bumper Jumper for the same reason, but you can still aim grenades and jump without removing your thumb.

#8 Posted by Veektarius (5024 posts) -

@Captain_Felafel said:

As someone jumping in fresh to Halo, I'd advise you switch your control-scheme (This is something that can easily be done in the settings at any time) to Boxer

I was recently screwing around with old Halo games and played ODST then some reach. I noticed that in reach, my melee was no longer on B, but on RB reload was on X instead of rb. Was the melee on RB the default for Reach? If so, doesn't that solve the need for boxer?

#9 Posted by awesomeusername (4218 posts) -

Halo you say? I only played SOME of Halo 3 and that's because a friend brought it over. I don't like it. That wasn't my opinion then, I didn't think about it. But now I don't like Halo. Looks eh. I would watch playthrough's on YouTube though for the hell of it.

#10 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

Nice, I hope you have fun with it. Do you know anyone else that has a 360? Co-op campaign in Halo games is a ton of fun.

#11 Posted by Daneian (1251 posts) -

I think this is great! I am really curious to see how someone popping their Halo cherry with the first non-Bungie entry feels about the series.

Even if 4 doesn't turn out to be your thing, the other games are great experiences that you really don't find anywhere else.

Let us know what you think afterwards.

#12 Posted by Captain_Felafel (1602 posts) -

@Veektarius said:

@Captain_Felafel said:

As someone jumping in fresh to Halo, I'd advise you switch your control-scheme (This is something that can easily be done in the settings at any time) to Boxer

I was recently screwing around with old Halo games and played ODST then some reach. I noticed that in reach, my melee was no longer on B, but on RB reload was on X instead of rb. Was the melee on RB the default for Reach? If so, doesn't that solve the need for boxer?

RB defaults to Reload/Action in Reach, as it did in Halo 3/ODST. That's... really odd that RB melees. I didn't know such a control-scheme existed.

#13 Edited by Ravelle (1410 posts) -

I advise to read up on some wiki entries of previous Halo games, since they're not really chronically in order; as I understood there is Halo: Combat Evolved which is the first of the series, Halo 2 continues from a novel that bridges 1 and 2 and Halo 3 continues from the comic Halo: Uprising with Halo Reach being a sequel to Combat Evolved and Halo 4 continues from Halo 3.

There is also the 5 episode web series that bridges Halo 3 called Forward Unto Dawn but that isn't really loreheavy or mandatory to understand Halolore.

I hope I got that right, feel free to add anything if I missed something. :)

Online
#14 Posted by Veektarius (5024 posts) -

@Captain_Felafel said:

@Veektarius said:

@Captain_Felafel said:

As someone jumping in fresh to Halo, I'd advise you switch your control-scheme (This is something that can easily be done in the settings at any time) to Boxer

I was recently screwing around with old Halo games and played ODST then some reach. I noticed that in reach, my melee was no longer on B, but on RB reload was on X instead of rb. Was the melee on RB the default for Reach? If so, doesn't that solve the need for boxer?

RB defaults to Reload/Action in Reach, as it did in Halo 3/ODST. That's... really odd that RB melees. I didn't know such a control-scheme existed.

And I don't remember fucking with the controls. I'll have to go look at my settings to see what did that.

#15 Posted by project343 (2838 posts) -

@Ravelle said:

There is also the 5 episode web series that bridges Halo 3 called Forward Unto Dawn but that isn't really loreheavy or mandatory to understand Halolore.

I figure I'll jump in and say that the Forward Unto Dawn takes place when John was 15 years old (well before Reach). :P

Although, apparently Lasky is an important character in Halo 4.

#16 Posted by Brake (1130 posts) -

Thanks for all the tips and advice, duders! I will definitely take it all under advisement. I'll try to post some kind of impressions once I've played the game enough and really gotten a feel for it.

@believer258: I was planning on playing Anniversary and the rest of the 360 catalog, if I get really into 4.

@PeasantAbuse: I don't think any of my friends are currently big 360 gamers. I was thinking I might try and bribe one of my PC crazy friends to come and play some split screen co-op with me at some point. I'm assuming that's still an option the same way it was in the previous games.

#17 Posted by bibamatt (1090 posts) -

@Captain_Felafel said:

As someone jumping in fresh to Halo, I'd advise you switch your control-scheme (This is something that can easily be done in the settings at any time) to Boxer if you have any intention of playing multiplayer (Which you should; it's quite excellent, I hear). Boxer basically swaps the buttons for throwing a grenade (Left Trigger) and for using a melee attack (B). What this means is that you can now melee with the Left Trigger, and thus without having to take your thumb off of the right analog stick. It's a small thing, but it gives you a pretty significant edge in multiplayer, since you can control your camera while meleeing, which you wouldn't be able to do otherwise, having to hit the B button with the same thumb. It's one of those things that can be very difficult to retrain yourself to learn after playing with the default controls. So seeing as you've never played a Halo game before, I'd advise doing this from the start.

Anyway, enjoy yourself! If reviews are anything to go by, you're really in for a treat with 4.

I don't know about 4, but they changed the melee button in Reach. It was RB instead of B. Loads better!

#18 Posted by Phatmac (5728 posts) -

Congrats! Wish you the best in your new Halo endeavor! :)

#19 Posted by Captain_Felafel (1602 posts) -

@Veektarius said:

@Captain_Felafel said:

@Veektarius said:

@Captain_Felafel said:

As someone jumping in fresh to Halo, I'd advise you switch your control-scheme (This is something that can easily be done in the settings at any time) to Boxer

I was recently screwing around with old Halo games and played ODST then some reach. I noticed that in reach, my melee was no longer on B, but on RB reload was on X instead of rb. Was the melee on RB the default for Reach? If so, doesn't that solve the need for boxer?

RB defaults to Reload/Action in Reach, as it did in Halo 3/ODST. That's... really odd that RB melees. I didn't know such a control-scheme existed.

And I don't remember fucking with the controls. I'll have to go look at my settings to see what did that.

Apparently I was mistaken; apparently RB WAS melee in Reach. It's been so long since I played on default controls that I completely forgot what they used to be.

#20 Posted by McGhee (6075 posts) -

I've played every Halo except ODST, and I'm pretty sure that I'm all Halo'd out for the rest of eternity.

#21 Posted by Ravelle (1410 posts) -

@project343 said:

@Ravelle said:

There is also the 5 episode web series that bridges Halo 3 called Forward Unto Dawn but that isn't really loreheavy or mandatory to understand Halolore.

I figure I'll jump in and say that the Forward Unto Dawn takes place when John was 15 years old (well before Reach). :P

Although, apparently Lasky is an important character in Halo 4.

I knew it took place 25 years prior to the war but had no idea he was that young because he sounded quite average aged, how old would that make him currently?

Online
#22 Posted by big_jon (5788 posts) -

Halo is pretty good, I hope you enjoy.

#23 Posted by project343 (2838 posts) -

@Ravelle said:

I knew it took place 25 years prior to the war but had no idea he was that young because he sounded quite average aged, how old would that make him currently?

Born: 2511

Halo 4: 2557

Age when Halo 4 starts: 46 years old

#24 Posted by supamon (1334 posts) -

Good on you for giving it a try! Hope you'll enjoy the series as much as I have. I learned to played first person shooters with a controller through Halo and I think it's still one of the best out there. I look forward to reading what you think about it afterwards.

#25 Edited by mlarrabee (3064 posts) -

@Brake: Here's what you shall do:

Go buy Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.

Change the control scheme to "Boxer." Just by glancing over the page I can see you already know why.

Prepare to have you ideas of FPS player movement and feel turned on their heads. I'm struggling through Killzone 2 and 3 because of their movement, and while I'm finished with the Halo series for now the "feel" is still utterly solid.

EDIT: And to echo what another said: good on you for being one of the easygoing platform adherents who are willing to experience more. I've a PS3, an Xbox 360, and a Macbook dualbooting 10.8 and Windows 7 (soon to be 8); life is good when you're not tied down to one system or design.

#26 Posted by probablytuna (3824 posts) -

Wow, that is a bold move. Hope you enjoy it!

#27 Posted by pweidman (2364 posts) -

@Brake: Here's what you shall do:

Go buy Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.

Agreed, despite/addition to playing Halo 4: watch the latest web series and read some of the novels. Fall of Reach especially. Maybe you'll get hooked. The added context makes it all better imo.

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