Sunday, November 4, 2007
Why I Don't Like Halo
Anyone who has ever talked video games with me at any length has probably picked up my PC vs. Console snobbery fairly easily. As petty and unhelpful as it is to gamingkind as a whole, I still can be a real dick about my gaming preference. I will elaborate more on that subject on a later date, but for now I'm going to touch on a facet of video game land that is affected by my views about your nubass, dumbed down POS console (I am a very nice person).
Alrighty, the topic of the day is Halo. Word is that the kids think its "all the way live, B". The game isn't popular with just the kids though. Seems every beer swillin frat guy with an Xbox thinks it is a game of epic proportions, a triumph in story telling and in game design. Apparently Halo has become the percieved standard in what it does, a new Doom if you will. The term "Halo clone" makes me just shake my head, as if its some new epic standard to strive for.
Well, if Halo and it's fans have a couch, I'm sure you can guess what malady I wish for to befall it. Here are my beefs, which I may have spent all of two minutes of consideration on.
OMG THE STORY IS EPIC: Halo has a story? Alright, so the amount of hype the game has gotten would hint at some truly epic Lord of the Rings proportioned plot, but, having attempted to play through some of the games, I found myself reaching for the skip button to get through the cutscenes. For lack of a better term, the story is generic sci-fi. That isn't to say that generic sci-fi is necessarily a bad thing. Proper execution can compensate in almost any medium. This is another spot where I fall out of step with the masses.
OMG HALO IS THE BEST: Is it now? That's great. I should preface this by pointing out that this particular point is heavily influenced by my PC gaming preferences. Allow me to elaborate. Halo is a first-person shooter (FPS). The FPS genre was one that was born and for the most part perfected on the PC (with the exception of Goldeneye on N64). Most of the praises that were sung about the first Halo had already been in place by the time the first of the series came along and PA called it like they saw it. OMG VEHICULAR COMBAT you say? Tribes had been doing it for a few years already, and while Halo might have improved on it, Battlefield 1942 followed it and blew it out of the water.
MULTPLAYER RULZ!: This is the one area where I will make a concession. Multiplayer Co-op is like the woah-money-bling-bling-word-pimps-up-hoes-down type of gaming on the planet, so any game that brings it deserves some praise. Regarding the other multiplayer modes, I can be a crusty old bastard again. Been there, done it better. Sure, Halo benefits from a conviniently packaged Xbox Live service, but a PC gamer has all those tools available FOR FREE and can be easily set up provided you aren't a complete idiot, which I would hope a gamer wouldn't be. Judging from what I've heard of the Halo community, however, I think my hope is in vain.
Srsly now, I'm sure Halo is fun, if anything a shooter you can turn off your brain for a while to play. There certainly is a value in those types of titles, and I'm willing to bet that I've played and enjoyed worse games. My last beef is truly the reason that I can't stand the game, and it is possibly twofold. I've already aluded to the'Halo Community' and sung their praises. The same praises that extends to the console community, totally rub my PC gaming sensibilities the wrong way. I've read and heard about the idiots who roam the Xbox Live landscapes, and they are precisely the type of people who give gamers this image of being immature dickheads. And perish the thought, if Halo's sales are any indication, what if gamers actually ARE immature dickheads. It's sales have garnered the attention of mass media, and it disturbs me that the Halo community is what has ended up representing gaming kind as of late. Rest assured non-gamers, on an intellectual level, there is a world of games out there that are beyond trite sci-fi space alien shooting, and it's a shame that they do not get that same level of attention.
As a side note, speaking of mass media attention, the aformentioned beer swilling frat guys also tend to be happy with their cash, resulting in the ridiculous Halo 3 mania that produced many a rolled eyes amongst the cleverer gamer nerds. Read this article to see the sort of garbage journalism that the game series has invoked, as well as product tie-ins that made as much sense as the Hello Kitty Massager.
So there you have it. I am a shallow jerk who puts a value to what kind of box you play your video games on. That and I'm smarter than you. Feel free to call me out in the comments.