Just so you know, i was a massive fan of halo 3 BTB. It was both fun yet incredibly deep and strategic at the same time. But i'm just not getting into invasion. I've spent a while now trying to clock up what was wrong with it, and here's what, after a hell of a lot of playing, is what's simply unbalanced about it:
-Tier 1 is boring, although at least the spartans no longer have the overpowered DMR loadout - The elites should get a needle rifle class and a jetpack one. Spartans should get a sniper rifle and the DMR back to make sure it's still slightly tilted in their favour.
-Mass shotgun/rocket camping in tier 3 is unstoppable. The core should be moved to the more open room adjacent to the vehicle bay.
-For such a powerful anti vehicle spawning weapon as the grenade launcher, the spartans have too many rockets and lasers. Either tone down the former or reduce the amount of the latter. The banshee is a good yin to the scorpion tank yang, but it's simply neutralized by the lasers and the now-tracking rockets instead of providing a balanced battleground.
-In invasion slayer, the drop should be as soon as you capture the territory. It's truly pointless to go after the territories ATM in tier 3 - you'll just get nuked with grenades/nade launchers before you can even get in the hog. Any vehicle that spawns is just instantly obliterated, and the elites have a far worse anti vehicle spawn weapon.
However, these things are just to do with balancing. The REAL flaw runs far deeper than that - See, what makes grab bag so good is that combined with the AAs all the weapons are hugely dynamic - a Hammer with sprint can give you something to seriously think about far beyone it's habitual range, a DMR on the rooftops thanks to jetpacking suddenly has a vastly superior vantage point, a sniper with camo... could be anywhere, taking his sweet time to 1 hit kill you.
In short, there is a MASSIVE variety of encounters. All with many greatly different possible approaches and counters. Combined with teamwork it is spectacularly fun. But invasion doesn't have this - There aren't any weapons on the ground - Sure, in tier 2 both teams get a chunky weapon cache, but they're all the most powerful of the powerful - You don't so much fight as have your own personal death zone. It's entirely 1-sided towards you within that area, and entireely 1-sided against you outside of it.
There is little variety in the way of loadout selection either. As a result, tier 1 is just a AR, needler and nade fest. Tier 2... there are more loadouts, right? Surely this problem is eliminated, right? Wrong. The hugeness of Boneyard means it's HUGELY biased towards the ranged loadouts, and tier 2 is just a needler rifle and DMR-only game. There are vehicles, yes, but 2 rocket launchers, 2 lasers, and 3 plasma launchers mean they are simply a no-go against any team that acknowledges their existence. And those same PWs, as said before, do very little to spice up combat.
Then Tier 3 arrives. There are TONNES of loadouts to choose from, surely this problem is averted? Well unfortunately... not. IF the spartans know the impenetrability of 6 shotguns in the core room, that's the only weapon you'll be seeing. It doesn't really matter what the elites pick at this stage, it's all equally useless.
But even assuming they DON'T know the awesome power of camping that bungie seemed not to have picked up on, that leaves you with 4 minutes. 4 minutes to get the same degree of fun you'd get for as long as you please in grab bag. But oh wait, they have a scorpion tank. And 3 lasers, 3 rocket launchers, and 3 snipers. Better make that 0 minutes... unless you're a spartan who likes his medals. The banshee is actually on more or less equal terms with the tank - You die in one shot, he dies in 2, but you have vastly superior movement, and the first strike. But then the tank needn't concern itself at all, there are a total of 6 completely devastating anti vehicle weapons with you in their sights.
In short, not only does invasion fail to spice up halo 3 BTB like grab bag did so well for team slayer and skirmish, it's even gone a step back and become horribly unbalanced. That might get fixed for the final product, but then... it still won't be particularly great. Anyone think it's time to bring on arena BTB?
I was catching up on a couple of Bungie weekly updates earlier, and what they've done is extraordinarily clever:
The halo 3 BR has split into magnum and DMR, meaning you can't have all the bases covered with a single weapon - DMR will lose at close/mid range, magnum will lose at long range.
This doesn't sound like much, but it opens up a whole realm of possibilities. It means that no matter what it will be impossible for you to cover ALL the angles, meaning...
Magnum/DMR leaves you particularly vulnerable to close range attack
DMR/shotgun leaves you vulnerable to magnum, needler... anything at middling range
AR/magnum leaves you vulnerable to long range attack from the DMR... and so on.
Replace DMR or magnum with "BR", and apply it to halo 3. Suddenly you have no weaknesses whatsoever in any of those circumstances. The bad thing about the BR is that it overrules virtually every single weapon other than vehicles unless you're at close range. Which nobody ever is, apart from maybe in Assembly or Ghost Town. I imagine though, that the spawn weapon you'd want to pick varies greatly from map to map, and even from teammate to teammate, so only ever picking a single loadout that allows you to play as cheaply as possible *cough*BC2*cough*, *cough*MW2*cough* simply will not be an option. .
And that's the thing, coordinating with your team to compensate for each other's personal weaknesses is going to get a whole lot more in depth and important. I imagine armour abilities also factor into this new element of tactical decisions and coordination. And if it's balanced correctly, i don't think anyone will ever truly decipher the multiplayer, and there won't ever be any "one strategy to rule them all", which is what happens map for map. And going back to the MM features article way back - The autojoin, the active roster, the auto party up and all that stuff... it seems obvious that they want everyone to play wtih friends and as a team as much as it is humanly possible to allow people greater liberty to explore strategies. I'd bet that around launch absolutely everybody on the planet will be playing in a full party.
I've been playing this quite a bit recently, and i'm sure there lies a good game in there somewhere, but so far it just "grinds my gears". It says on the box, "Racing just got exciting again", and they're right in some ways. This game has me on the edge of my seat a hell of a lot, but it's for all the wrong reasons.
Really it's all to do with the handling - it is atrocious, to say the least. Playing with the MS wheel it feels like i'm lockpicking in oblivion. I've tried dozens of force feedback and deadzone settings, but it's always the same - The wheel jerking and locking in completely random positions that bear no relation to what the car is actually doing.
I'm sure this is fine if all you do is play burnout, but my usual game is forza, and because of this, the deep regions of my brain get very upset at the nonsensicalness in the handling (did google chrome seriously not spellcheck nonsensicalness?!). you see, in forza 3, the handling is sublime, there is no other word for it. You see what your car is doing, you see what the telemetry is doing putting what the car is doing into numbers and diagrams, you see how the wheel is reacting, you see how your inputs affect it, and it just comes together in an undescribable perfect sense.
It's not realism. PGR has had BRILLIANT handling throughout it's many incarnations (especially 2 and 4). It's arcadey, you can be fast and powerslidey at the same time, but it still feels "right" - All the little nuances of handling relate and react with each other in quite an excellent and logical manner. And that's the thing with grid, the handling has no feel, no depth (can i just remind everyone again that this DOESN'T necessarily equate to realism). When you drift, it feels like you've done a button combination to activate an animation (Not as extreme as that, but to get the idea...), whereas when you drift in forza or pgr you FEEL the link - The relation between all the little things that make up handling.
So then, grid does get me on the edge of my seat, but it gets me there because it gets me edgy. And the idea of making an adrenalin-pumping racer is a very good one, but they've approached it completely the wrong way.
I don't expect many people to understand or agree here, but forza 3 is more exciting and intense than grid to me. Maybe not the single player, but when you get into a compeittive multiplayer race, it is UNBELIEVABLY good. You are racing bumper to bumper, at 100%. You have to act with boundless precision, keep the coldest calculating head possible, get EVERYTHING absolutely flawless under immense pressure. Brake a fraciton too late, it's game over. Overcook the throttle turning out, it's also game over. Brake early, it's game over. Miss the apex, it's game over.
The level of concentration you reach is simply amazing, and when your rival cracks before you do, the sweetness of the overtake is one epic gaming sensation. But most importantly, you didn't butcher any core gameplay to get there.
Of course, nobody reading this has ever felt that, since you need to be incredibly skilled at driving before you do. Forza really has a gigantic learning curve.
To sum up then, GRID is probably a great game, but it will never be so as far as i am concerned, as a far better one already has a place in my heart:
It's not all bad in the world of grid though. There are some pretty awesome things to grid, like packed 20 car grids, dynamic (albeit slightly transparent. WHOOPS, looks like _________ spun out) AI, lots of different race series (formula 3000 is pretty cool), night racing on le mans... but it just isn't enough to make me endure it. And apologies in advance if (my extremely well thought out, so well thought out i don't need a numerical score) OPINION causes massive butthurt. Which they seem to do a lot around here.
I masterminded quite possibly the best turnaround ever seen against a full party on sandtrap CTF.
It began quite badly. We were at short base, and they rapidly locked it down and established a front at grav hammer, and 2 of our guys quit. However through careful resourcefulness of the laser and missile pod they were unable to break through. Eventually as their vehicles turned to ashes and their sniper ammos ran out, they lost their grip on our base, and we initiated a massive spam of assorted vehicles. I began to think w emight not lose catastrophically after all - We had them pinned down quite nicely, but then they got a hog through, stole our flag and brought it a very long way up to the very edge of their vehicle area.
At this point it all sort of disintegrated. We lost our hog, but i was still laying down some serious suppressing fire in the chopper and preventing them from getting it. I urged my team to ALL UNITS their way over here and help our, maybe even attempt a getaway with their flag, but they were too late. Somebody on their team had fished out some rockets, i tried to avoid, i asploded.
The jig was up. They got the flag, and were back to dominating from across what i would like to think as no mans land (between short and grav hammer). For the longest time we were desperately fighting off an enemy that outnumbered us and outclassed us, but despite this we managed to hang onto laser and therefore keep the situation under control.
This precarious stalemate lasted for a while, until they got hold of new banshee, new sniper, and started to completely massacre us. However, because they were only sending one guy at a time from their lines to try and grab it they failed to score, but i knew our luck wouldn't last. Time was running out, we had completely lost it, so i knew only crazy, drastic do or die tactics would work. I told my teammates to "&%*^ off and stay alive", as i jumped onto a mongoose and headed towards their base.
I got off at rockets - Something very sinister was happening. I was feeling like some kind of reconnaissance guy off star wars, except many bothans died not giving you this information. Anyway, as i sneakily spied on what they were up to, i realized - A banshee was changing hands beside their elephant. Feeling very brave, i lobbed a power drain across the albatross and it landed somewhere in their midst. The guy who relinquished the banshee took off on a 'goose to spawn camp my fellow teammates, and the pilot was nowhere to be seen, so i ran to the missile pod.
Cautiously, i tiptoed (or crouch walked, but that sounds garbage) around. Nobody was home. I grabbed the missile pod and scanned the horizon for mister banshee, but to no avail - He was miles away and out of range. But that didn't matter - I had an even crazier idea...
I brought the missile pod with me just in case, and their elephant lumbered towards our base, with me at the helm. I was feeling giddy with excitement, who knows what would happen? I let out a squeal of excitement as i saw a couple of respawnees not notice me whatsoever and head back into the carnage. At this point, i realized THIS COULD BLOODY WORK, and then straight after, i heard the dreaded words of FLAG STOLEN - Obviously my team had cracked under the 5vs8 pressure, but all was well as i watched the waypoint blip to the sound of FLAG STOLEN FLAG DROPPED in completely the wrong direction! This was simply too good to be true.
As i approached our base, i realized what a horrific bloodbath it had become - Red Xes were all over the place, enemies had completely surrounded us. And then disaster - I was spotted by a chopper. I went for the missile pod but in a cruel twist of fate it had disappeared! Remembering my jedi training,though i went back onto the controls, and was safe and sound. Then my some of my team spawned all around and he was naded and BRd into smithereens.
We weren't out of the woods yet though. A banshee descended upon our location and wiped out the elephant comandeering crew. I thought it was game over, there was one minute left. But astonishingly, a member of their team was BRINGING IT CLOSER... obviously thinking that with their map control it would be over quickly. Oh the fool, he must be punching his own face quite hard right now.
As their team moved in to try and get another capture, they were gradually killed, and spawned right across the other side of the map. 2 of our guys sneaked round, got a warthog up and running, and from then on they stood no chance. We juggled 3 flags from elephant to elephant, and the rest is history. with 40 seconds of sudden death left to spare...
So it's been a long time since i made a blog. (Shut up about modern warfare 2 already) Anyway i recently started playing massive amounts of halo 3 again, after a recess of forza 3. Why is this game so unbeatable? Who knows, but i've been busting my thumbs in SBTB and social skirmish all weekend, racking up multiple double figure win streaks (go me) and a load of other cool medals and wins and good times. Halo is srs bisnis
Anyway, i was wondering what to get for christmas - I quite fancy borderlands but to me it seems that theres a woeful lack of good games to be had this year. PRetty woeful, especially when you don't like MW2. And you own ODST. And forza 3. In fact it seems to me all the shops no longer have any good games on the shelves - it's like they've run out of money and no longer bother replenishing their stocks so they just are left with a load of shite. Maybe i should get something music related to help boost my learnings, like some nice sheet music and books. But that would be BORING. Maybe some lager then. and chocolate. Lots of.
Don't you just love the great british christmas of spend spend spend and extravagance?
Anyway, i took this snapshot of a game of Avalanche CTF i had earlier today. It was quite epic.
Red elite is me, blue team's flag is behind that explosion. There is a teammate hiding behind the icicle. The score is 2-1 to blue. There is a minute remaining.
Try and guess what happens next. And i will post the aftermath
So i've had this game for only 3 days now, but despite that i have clocked up almost 15 hours of game time. There's so much fun packed into this game. I started out forza life with a ford fiesta, which is RUBBISH, but soon i was inundated with reward cars and prize money.
After the first few events though, i have not been particularly interested in the career mode. Instead, i have been enjoying the excellent new multiplayer. It is FABULOUS fun to instantly be chucked into an A class race with all manner of different cars and setups, and while there are a few "first corner chaos" morons they were kicked out pretty fast. The matchmaking is great (although i want to race lower class cars plz), I have spent most of my time in A-class, but when i dabbled in R1, the speed and competition there were simply too much to handle. However despite sucking i soon got to grips with the fact that the diesel LMPs are overpowered monsters, and downgraded to a smaller, lighter, less powerful one and did much better.
Weirdly however, most of my driving time has not been in multiplayer, but on the test track, searching for the perfect cars to pwn A class with. At first i was just racing a stock F40, which is an extremely good all round car, but soon i got tired of it, and wanted to win in something i could call my own. And after much trial and error, this is it:
This is a ferrari F355 challenge, which has been modified to A-600, with 420 horsepower and the ability to simply melt the corners. It has won every single online race where there hasn't been a first corner "incident". It simply obliterates the competition. However, it is not alone...
This is my second car, also A class, and it is a vauxhall monaro. Only it had a racing corvette engine with 720BHP plonked in it, and had a race weight reduction. The final result is a semi missile car designed almost entirely with the Le mans track in mind, and maybe road america/road atlanta. It is quite challenging when you race with no assists to keep it level in the corners, but boy it's fun to just rocket past someone in a crummy R8 with downforce spoilers, and i have actually been called a "fucking noob" for racing something so fast, but surely having the ideal car for the job makes me non-noob? In the photo it is doing about 220mph.
What's best about this game though, is how compared with forza 2, the cars feel so ALIVE. I was driving a fiat 500 abarth with 170 horsepower and at no point whatsoever did i find it slow. I stepped into an R1 LMP, and my brain simply couldn't keep up with all the precision and speed needed. I was test driving my F355, and the handling tweaks i played about with shaped it in so many ways until i felt i had got it just right.
It's brilliant, it makes you want to explore more and more cars and possibilities. Drifting is so much fun on the benchmark track in a ferrari 599 (courtesy of RH). So is browsing the storefront, i could spend days downlaoding endless awesome designs (which i am incapable of making), i could spend even more time tuning cars to perfection for each class, and even more trying to master the R1 class. Hell i haven't even stepped into an R2 car yet, let alone try to get competitive in it. There's so much to do at any time, it's becoming a struggle every evening to tear myself off the controller and fling myself into bed with forza induced dreams. And i haven't even managed to get my MS wheel into my room yet (it's bolted on to a DIY chair/stand arrangement... it's a long story). This is simply one of the greatest games of all time, it's absolutely masterful.
496 thousand pointss, 1005 dead covenants, set three, round three, wave five in 2 hours. Security zone. Normal difficulty
DISCONNECTED FROM XBOX LIVE
Could i just point out once more than firefight is epic win? On set 3, round 3, wave 4 i had to complete the entire wave by myself (pie was dead), with no stamina and almost zero heatlh (black eye skull) with a half empty brute plasma rifle and an automag. I ended up being chased across the whole map, accompanied by grenade spam. The final tally was 13 brutes and 8 grunts dead, all without getting shot once and with a half empty brute plasma rifle and an automag. I actually completely ran out of ammo, and had to sneak all the way to the top of the map for some more clips. It was the most nerve racking yet awesome thing i have ever done in a video game to date.
Tragically though, a split second after i heard "HERO!" and pie respawned, i got killed from a stray spike from a spike grenade :'(
I was going to do a picture story, but then i realized the game was over an hour long. But anyway, it consisted of 700 dead covenants (which is more than i had from 5 playthroughs of the entirety of halo 3), a killionaire and 260,000 points (the record is over 4.5 million apparently... i dread to think how long you have to play for to get there), but ended with pie dying in miscellaneous epxlosions and me carrying on bravely until i got smashed by a hammer, but surivived only to be flung off the map into the chasm... at what i believe was set 3 round 2. Which is peanuts (apparently) but hey i got the achievement
Oh and the map was alpha site, but i guess what i'm trying to say is