I played Halo: Reach today. Before doing so, I signed a big ol' non-disclosure agreement, which covers things like not spoiling the story twists and not using footage of specific areas, and so on. It's nothing fancy and it comes with the territory. Some folks are quick to jump at moments like this as if it's some sort of shady dealing, but it's a standard part of doing business. When companies give you early access to their marquee releases, they want some legal backup to keep you from going hog-wild and posting video of the entire game online or something, and the agreements never encroach on a reviewer's ability to do his or her job. At least, none of the ones I've signed have been that way.
But that's beside the point. The difference with today's play session and subsequent legal agreement is that there are a couple of levels in the Halo: Reach campaign that I can freely talk about right now. Right this second, I could be typing it up instead of writing this nonsense. That is... if I could remember what those two levels entailed.
== TEASER ==It's tempting to go and find some other outlet's writeup of the two levels and skim them, if only to get a quick refresher course. But that'd be cheating! Gah, but it'd probably only take a sentence like "and then Noble Six cracks a dude in the skull on a bridge" to jog my memory. Wait... maybe I can't talk about the skull cracking or the bridge.
I guess it speaks to the different mentalities of the previewer versus the reviewer. I'm interested in taking the entire game in as a whole when I'm working on a review. Don't take this as me saying "most parts of a game aren't important" or anything like that. The individual moments are important when they're happening, but they're quickly culled down to a general feeling along with a few specific sequences to support points made in the text or accompanying video. Usually, by the time I've finished playing a game, many of my thoughts are organized well enough to begin writing almost immediately, though some games require a bit more thought for one reason or another.
Man, I should have just taken some effting notes instead of being all high and mighty, like I'm mister "bringing a notepad just slows me down." So here are a couple of things I can say about these two levels--whichever two they actually are--in Halo: Reach.
- Spartans have cool armor.
- I still enjoy the guns-followed-by-melee approach that has served the Halo series so well for all these years.
- The armor abilities make for an interesting addition to the standard Halo gameplay... in these two levels, of course.
- I should really go play those two levels again and take notes instead of being a total jackass.
As an aside, I threw up the following post on Twitter before starting on this little not-write-up:
That was immediately met with people trying to find hidden meaning in the message, as if this was some sly missive with loads to say about the quality of the Reach campaign. I swear, sometimes I think you guys at home are getting just as big on the misquotes and the art of the "scandalous" headline as some games writers are. Gross! Not everything has a double meaning. Sometimes my inability to parse and store level names is just my inability to parse and store level names, OK?
Wait! One is the sort of... stealthy mission, and the other opens with all those Warthogs going balls out, right? Jeez, hope I'm right...