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Halo 4/AC3 Opinion

Now Playing: Halo 4, AC3, Batman Arkham City GOTY
Now Listening to: Snarky Puppy (seeing them next week!)

I've been an over-active consumer as of late - I sort of forgot that Halo 4 and Assassins Creed 3 were on the horizon (despite placing early pre-orders for both, something I'm not very accustomed with). There are always a few titles I'm on the look out for at a certain price - and if I find them, I order them, at least when I'm raking it in at work. Most recently picked up Batman Arkham City for 20 and Rage for 10, stupid really as Halo 4 and AC3 should keep me pre-occupied for a long time. Well… one more than the other most probably. Quick-fire opinion time!
Assassins Creed 3
As I said, I rarely pre-order games, that's usually reserved for franchises very close to the heart. Unlike Halo, I don't have many childhood memories of the AC series. But this game was hyped so prominently, eventually I got sucked in. Especially because I spent time in America during university, I found the story and setting equally appealing as the technical feats on show. But having played for a steady 6/7 hours now (still not that much, I know) - I have to say I'm a little disappointed. The story element and cut-scenes are fantastic and the game does a great job of delivering the narrative and creating an immersive bustling world - but I wouldn't say the former has really helped the game-flow itself. All of the setup hours felt like a tightly structured novel - the next day, six hours later, the other side of the Atlantic - how convenient. Now I know this was probably the most straightforward way to setup the game considering its scope, but as I've continued I've found this type of structuring hasn't really become any less prevalent. The world itself feels like a sandbox but the missions and delivery of narrative comes in a very boxed/constricted form - which also seems to (re) utilize a lot of old AC ideas: to me it's a bit of a contradiction. And not a major one, it just seems to take the sheen off what otherwise is a hugely ambitious game, for which it should be applauded. There are moments of greatness, but for me, it's not the perfect package, and not so much of a final-push of this gen's hardware as I'd have hoped.
Halo 4
Now this game has taken up the bulk of my time. I had no idea what to expect from 343, I expected a game on par with previous Halos in the way that Black Ops improved on Modern Warfare - technically distinctive, but generally perhaps not so much to distinguish at all. To the Halo fan like me, 343 start the campaign out in familiar fashion; they seem to be paying homage to Bungie with a lot of the sections which is great. But on top of that, I think they've re-invigorated the series. The Prometheans are a worthy additional set of alien foes - their weaponry is balanced excellently with Covenant and UNSC guns. In multiplayer this is most evident, especially the new powers like promethean vision - it feels like a smarter way of levelling and rewarding - it's not mindless machine guns and helicopter attacks like in CoD, all of the perks reward the fast and smart thinkers. I really love the addition of the killcam to most modes, and overall - multiplayer is awesome. I'm sticking with it because I'm sick of buying CoD each year. I'll stick with this till Halo 5 thanks! In terms of the campaign, I loved the first run through on normal. Great sense of flow from the different types of combat, excellent more human-centred story-line, much better cut-scenes and a much bigger sense of the Halo universe. About to continue my heroic run-through.
No time to really talk about Arkham City, it seems like a really polished game and I'm ashamed I held out for so long. Will be interesting to see what Creed 3 and Wii U Batman will offer as incentives for people already owning a 360 or PS3 like myself. Game of the year Arkham City is about £20 some places, the Wii U version will surely be double. Rage I have yet to play, but for a tenner, it was mainly for curiosity's sake.
In other random news you don't care about, I have new reference monitors and headphones on the way. I've also taken an interest to the audio of Halo (thousands of soldier audio dialogue, with clever algorithms to avoid repetition and so on) - which got me thinking about another area of music and sound which I'd definitely consider working in if I got the experience - audio engineering for video games. 

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this blog entry

Halo is pretty good, not sure if the multiplayer is better i'm still weighing it up in my mind. It feels very different to Reach, but it's great to play on Valhalla again.

Honestly I was never that great at previous Halo games, but I already know I vastly prefer 4's multiplayer dynamic to all the previous iterations bar Combat Evolved. I think 343 saw how various CoD elements could blend with the established Halo formula and they achieved that well. I seem to do well in 4 if I pay very close attention to the radar which tracts movement and also indicates if enemies are above or below you: with the DMR, Battle-Riffle or Assault Rifle and close attention paid to radar, I seem to do well. The maps aren't crazily unique but they are very well balanced, especially Haven which is a classic. Next generation Halo will have that map in a DLC pack, I guarantee it! Some of the changes could be considered shallow copying of CoD elements like the kill-cam and 'drops' - but they're not outright, less toned down and more focused on your guns and gear then massive helicopters (as I said, haha) - the game still feels like Halo, just evolved ish. Honestly just being able to run changes so much, but it feels natural - although in a way, that also probably sets a CoD pace to games. But yeah, I'd happily have this as my multiplayer shooter till the next Halo on the next console. 

Ah I think I have had enough of it to be honest, don't really like it.

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