Around the (Ring)world

In which Lies attempts to talk about as many HALO products as possible in a single blog.

Halo Wars

 all units?
 all units?
I picked this guy back up from Blockbuster because I had spied Macandcheese playing it and saw this as my opportunity to grab the last couple achievements I had missed on my first playthrough- mostly the co-op stuff. ON THAT NOTE: Halo Wars' co-op does not facilitate cooperation. It is in fact the opposite- if I could have punched mac through the internet I probably would have, and I suspect he would have liked nothing more than to do the same to me. I settled for Cryo Bombing his army right before they went into a huge fight. He responded by blowing up our mutual base and then promptly ending the game then leaving to go watch Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood. Eventually however, we triumphed and beat the co-op campaign with gold medals on every mission- 
Which brought my Halo Wars gamerscore to 950G.  By hitting 950G I have gotten all Halo Wars achievements that do not require me to buy DLC except for one. You may be thinking "Go claim that last 50G and be a baller", after all that is the only correct course of action. Those of you familiar with Halo Wars may be aware of my dilemma- the last 50G require me to reach General Rank on Xbox Live- the highest attainable rank in the game, requiring 960,000 XP. Now Halo Wars is a little too popular to boost- there were 7,777 people playing last time I was on ("7,777 too many" was my friend's response to that factoid). I'm honestly considering going for it, which says something of my sanity I suppose. The thought of buying the $20 of DLC has also crossed my mind, mostly for the achievements. I didn't pull the trigger, but still :( I want that S-Rank.

Halo 2

Did you know the Energy Sword has no charge meter in Halo 2 multiplayer? Shit's kinda BROKEN. But oh so fun. The lunge is totally even longer than the H3 one too! BALANCE!
Did you know the Energy Sword has no charge meter in Halo 2 multiplayer? Shit's kinda BROKEN. But oh so fun. The lunge is totally even longer than the H3 one too! BALANCE!
I convinced some friends to jump back on Halo 2 to send it off before they shut down the servers. They were not amused.
In my opinion, Halo 2 is the pinnacle of the multiplayer- fast pace, amazing maps, best balance. In the opinion of the people I dragged to the game with me- not so much. They just wanted Spartan Lasers and Gravity Hammers. Simply baffling. I think my ability at Halo has just grown to a point where I'm "one of those people", the type who will whinge about BR starts and the like. Which I certainly will do (at least to myself, I try to not be annoying to the other people in the match). But man, for that type of player, Halo 2 is RAD. Halo 2 Battle Rifle is an amazing weapon, totally embarrasses the Halo 3 variant. Of course, I probably enjoyed my time going back so much because them that's left aren't very good. I also enjoyed superbouncing to the top of the base on Zanzibar for nostalgia's sake.
Shame it'll be going offline, but realistically people should be moving on, and hopefully the shutdown will allow LIVE to move forward as a service. Speaking of moving forward:

Halo 3

Kinda hate to admit it, but these guys know what they're doing
Kinda hate to admit it, but these guys know what they're doing
Just launched a new MLG FFA playlist, and that thing is pretty sick. I've never been much of an MLG player myself, but MLG's offering just destroys what Bungie has put on offer as competitive Free For All (And this is coming from someone who reached a level 46 in Lone Wolves). If you're still playing Halo 3 I strongly recommend giving this playlist a chance- it's already suffering low population troubles, sadly, but it will definitely challenge you and improve your ability all around.
Also: ROCKET RACE THIS WEEKEND. Those of you that haven't tried it, do. Rocket Race is some of the most fun that can be had in Halo 3, ever.

Halo 3: ODST

Fuck the Vidmaster Endure achievement.

 Ran this like five times in the last two months to help some friends out- Firefight gets old. Fast. The problem, we've decided, is that there is no mounting pressure, and the forced addition of skulls is a bullshit way to increase difficulty, especially once Mythic turns on. Chieftain rounds are hella fun, but nothing else matches that intensity. Hopefully they can fine tune Firefight to be more tense and less artificial for Reach.
Also I REALLY don't understand the people who bitched about matchmaking for this- why would you ever want to play cooperative with the general Halo 3 community? Co-op gametypes are best enjoyed with friends, not strangers. Except for Halo Wars co-op, which is not enjoyed, period.

Halo Reach

Man people say it looks just like Halo 3 with jetpacks, but there are a million things in that trailer that get me excited and thinking about the way it will change the gameplay. The campaign vidoc looked hot too, excited to see Bungie's take on SPARTAN-IIIs. Not really much else to talk about on this front- we're all waiting for May 3rd. 

Halo Legends

Sums up my feelings quite nicely.
Now I'm a huge HALO story nerd, as anyone who knows me well can tell you. I love the HALO mythos well more than it deserves. I own HALO novels. I understand the Terminals from Halo 3 to an insane amount of detail. I know about Offensive Bias. Ask me anything.
Despite that however, I get nothing from Legends. The stories are mediocre and convey extremely little depth. The animation is pretty bad in most cases, and the most important story, ORIGINS Part 1 looks like it only had sllghtly more budget than a motion comic. The lore nut in me gets nothing except inconsistencies: Spartan-303 would never exist, the way Spartans behave is more like superheroes who rely on brute strength rather than the efficient and tactical commando units they're supposed to be- Dr. Halsey looking like a 19 year old girl. Mr. Jared said he enjoyed it as a lore fan, but I don't see it- Legends is probably the worst thing the franchise has ever put out. Not an auspicious start for 343 in my eyes and not a shining example of the extended Halo universe. If Legends sounded interesting to you, I much more strongly suggest HALO: Evolutions, a short story compilation put out last year. That's the proper way to do short-form Halo projects. Not Legends.

343 Industries

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Those of you that follow the gaming press may have heard that David Ellis recently left 1Up to join 343 Industries. The revolving door that is 1Up aside, I find this very promising for the future of the HALO franchise. We know Bungie is leaving Halo behind in a big way after Reach and 343 is left to carry the torch of the largest new franchise of the last decade. No easy task. However, what this latest hire really indicates to me is that 343 is really going out of it's way to collect people who love the series and will want to continue the legacy in the best way possible. David Ellis was always one of the few gaming journalists who really got Halo from a fan's perspective as well as from an industry perspective- now he's in a position to put that knowledge to use. In addition, a while back 343 hired the guys who ran Ascendant Justice, one of the most in depth analyses of Halo ever written. Probably THE most in-depth honestly- those guys are crazy. The fact that 343 has proven willing to search these guys out and seek their input tells me that whatever comes out of them next it will be as full of love as anything Bungie ever made.
If you actually read all of that you're fucking crazy but I love you.