Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bawl of Reach

Alright, so to answer a few readers who kept asking, I finally managed to rent "Halo: Reach" over the weekend. No, it's not getting an episode because it didn't really leave me with anything to think about or talk about and I'm unable to summon the interest to finish the campaign. I've got no real affection for first-person shooters to begin with, nothing about Halo's story, universe or design has ever really appealed to me, and it was quickly evident that I was in for more of the same so... no thanks. I played an evening of the online multiplayer, which did nothing to assuage my dislike for online multiplayer at least in the case of FPS's.

So... yeah. NOT a "review," since I didn't finish it, but didn't really do it for me.


Arturo said...

Brushing off a Halo themed episode in favor of that "revolution" you were talking about sounds more intriguing.

Drake Sigar said...

You play one, you've played them all.

IplayRugby said...

Hey, instead of brushing off halo and FPS games just because you don't like them/don't do anything for you, why not do an episode on what a good FPS should be like.
I mean come on Overthinker, do you really think FPS games are just going to disappear? Instead of brushing off the genre you should be talking about how to improve it.

Mortrialus said...

I'm in the same boat as GO when it comes to FPSs. I'm not a fan of the genre. I don't find watching a disembodied hand holding a gun particularly intuitive or immersive. Seeing my character do things is a huge part of the experience to me. There is only a few characters who I think work as player avatars, none of which come from FPSs. Even when I play role playing games with character customization I don't think in terms of "What do I want to represent me" and more in terms of "How can I make this an interesting character."

At the same time, I find shooting in general to be boring, even in movies. I think the Joker summed it up best: "Guns are too quick. You can't savor all the little emotions." I'll take a first fight and a sword fight over a gun fight any day.

There are a few FPSs that I enjoy but I can literally count them on my hands. For the most part they just aren't my thing. Most of which come from Valve.

That said, while Halo isn't my on the list of FPS's I actually really like, I think GO is way too hard on it. It's easy to rag on it for not changing, or not doing anything new or not changing, but that's actually unfair to it. You forget just how much Halo streamlined and simplified FPS combat by removing a lot of excess things. Most shooters nowadays have regenerating health, let you carry only two weapons at once, use the weapon you're holding as a melee weapon instead of a separate weapon that you have to switch to, allow you to throw grenades without making you switch to them first, have enemies drop their weapons and equipment when they die instead of just having weapons pre-placed on the stage, etc. And all of these elements were around before Halo, but never all in the same game. (Yes that was copy pasta'd from tvtropes, I didn't feel like typing it all)

Plus I'd rather take the running and gunning style of Halo over the "realistic" style of the COD games with one bullet killing you and you inching around behind cover.

I don't hate Watchmen because of the negative aspects of its impact on comic books. Same with DBZ for forcing almost every shonen manga series's plot to become a "ZOMG WE GOTS TO GET HIGHER POWAH LEVELS!" I'm not going to hate on Halo for console game's increasing dive into multiplayer I don't care about, FPS games I don't care about and Space Marines everywhere. Halo isn't my thing, but I find it less offensive compared to other shooters like Gears of War and Call of Duty.

An episode about the general failings of FPSs would be okay but predictable.

Bioshock is interesting because of Rapture and the political and philosophical overtones, Valve games are interesting for their characterization and humorous aspects(Well, in TF2 and L4D anyway), the System Shock games are good for their horror ect ect. FPS's need to work on giving their characters and environments actual character.

REPTILE 0009 said...

You should have finished it, it had one the best endings in a videogame, EVER!

REPTILE 0009 said...

What about forge, theater, or firefight? You're ignoring large chunks of the game's content.

Adam said...

I'm in the same boat really. I don't hate FPS's. I just never get into them and have any fun. I enjoy multiplayer games like racers and fighters, but FPS flavor multiplayer just doesn't do it for me.

But I think IplayRugby has an interesting idea. Why not do a video on how to make a great interesting FPS? It's not impossible. I enjoyed Metroid Prime and you loved Bioshock right Bob?

James said...

I don't hate shooters, as there are a few that I enjoy. For example, I am kinda looking forward to the crassness that will be Duke Nukem Forever. But I played Duke3D way back when...I still have a nostalgic soft spot for that game. But I've never had a taste for Halo. The multiplayer is fun for me a party setting but I don't take it as serious as some people do. (I talk about other things during matches as I play with my salmon pink Master Chief) I wouldn't say that the Halo games are bad, but they aren't as good as most people think. They are pretty average overall.

As far as what a really good shooter should be like?

Do any of you remember "No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In H.A.R.M.'S Way"?

That is a GREAT shooter. The game is based around so many more things then shooting and has massive injection of personality. The AI may be very dated by now, but even playing it a year ago it was still a great deal of fun. More then any Halo...

Drake Sigar said...

IplayRugby – A good shooter shouldn’t be a shooter at all. Pretty much every game has incorporated RPG elements now right? Well the shooter genre is so stagnant, that it desperately needs to be gutted from the inside out and become an afterthought, used for spare parts to make masterpieces like Portal and Call of Cthulhu.

Leon' Bandeira said...

ill take DOOM 2 anyday over modern fps.

Pierre Chanliau said...

Bob, how about you just make an episode explaining exactly what you find so horrible about First Person Shooters. Are there any you actually like? What do you expect out of a First Person Shooter?

It would at least be better than throwing random insults throughout your videos at people who like "Halo" or "Call of Duty." I don't like those games myself, I'm more of the "Half-Life 2" kinda guy.

But really, just make a video explaining your reasoning for hating the genre so much and what you think would improve it.

Pat said...

Spoiler Alert (Barely)
"They all die" hardly constitutes as one of the best endings ever. War movies have been doing it for decades. Quite a few games have done it as well. Definitely a good ending, sure, but not something so original/cool/unexpected that it redeems the rest of the game if you weren't already enjoying it.

Also, if he doesn't enjoy the core gameplay or the multiplayer, he probably won't enjoy forge, theater or firefight.

You can enjoy the game all you want, but playing more of the game won't cause Bob to have an epiphany and realize that he was wrong.

Jared said...

I believe he was refering to the very end--as in, the last minute of gameplay. I refuse to spoil what happens because it is pretty great.

Hey, at least you gave it a try. I hope your online experience wasn't too bad (for the record, the loud, grunting douchebag segment of the fanbase is just an obnoxious minority.)

awwnuts07 said...


I understand where you're coming from when it comes to FPSs, but I think you've failed to realize, or at least acknowledge in your videos, that most FPSs nowadays are judged heavily on their multiplayer. Every Halo fan I know loves the game not because it has an incredible story (because it doesn't), but because they enjoy the multiplayer so much. Saying (most, not all) FPS games are crappy because its single player campaign is too short, or the story sucks is a lot like saying Street Fighter sucks for the same reasons. Bob, since it's obvious you have no love for multiplayer, stay away from the FPS genre. Or you could just play games created by Valve and Irrational. For sure, those two developers are still devoted to creating an interesting single player experience in the FPS genre.

This actually reminds of another question:

What do you think of games such as Fallout 3 or Dues Ex: Human Revolution that use the First Person Perspective? These are FPSs, but at the same time, not FPSs.

REPTILE 0009 said...

What pisses me off about Bob most is the fact that he takes every chance he gets to insult and degrade fps's and the people who play them. He needs to grow the fuck up!

Captain Scrambles said...

Something shooter fans will probably never understand is that some people just don't like shooters. It doesn't make them bad by any means, but certain games appeal to different people. I doubt Bob thinks Reach is a bad game, but I also doubt it's his thing.

And yeah, I loved Reach.

Clayton said...

I like shooters but I'm not entirely enamored with them, especially in the current landscape where the Halo and CoD clones blur together and have really put a damper on the genre, causing it to stagnant when in fact people should stop trying to outdo them at their own game and do something new and innovative. So far the only shooter on the horizon that appears to be doing something new is (fittingly) Bioshock Infinite (and even then the setting might as well be Skytown from Metroid Prime 3). As for multiplayer, I'm even less interested. I play with friends in close proximity, not online where the chances of meeting twits is high

sam___25 said...

Halo is pretty much the only fps I'll play and I enjoy it to an extent, mostly for the multiplayer and then mostly with my RL friends. What I find disappointing about fps's is that you're behind the eyes of your character but not in their head, in fact most of the front men in those type of games show very little emotion at all even if you can see their faces. I find it difficult to empathise with their causes and motivations and playing as a faceless goon has no charm and does not beget immersion.

@Jared: I played through it all on legendary right from the get go, so I did not acquit myself well in that bit. It was significantly less than a minute :p.

Hawkeye In the Sky said...

Yeah, sounds pretty much like my experience with Modern Warfare 2. My roommate had it,so I decided to play it at 2 o'clock in the morning. Tried to go through the single player, got through 3 or 4 missions before throwing up my hands and declaring "THIS IF FUCKING STUPID" and putting in Dragon Age.

Blake said...

[quote]I mean come on Overthinker, do you really think FPS games are just going to disappear? Instead of brushing off the genre you should be talking about how to improve it.[/quote]

This is a good idea.

Pat said...

Assuming you're talking about the final battle where you fight till you drop, that's what I was referring to as well. Fighting an onslaught of baddies until you die has been done before. It's cool, but it's nothing new and it's not cool enough to redeem the game if you weren't already enjoying it.

Bob doesn't dump on people who like FPS's, he dumps on the douchebag college student "gamers" that modern FPS's cater to. The people who play nothing but Halo and CoD4 and think that all games that stray from that genre are gay. These people exist. You may not be one of these people, but they exist. And Bob hates them. When Bob is talking about Halo-playing douchebags, he's not talking about you, he's talking about those guys.

As far as I'm concerned, he didn't take this post as a chance to insult or degrade FPS's. People asked him what he thought, he tried it, he didn't like it. He even admits that this doesn't really constitute as a "review".

John said...

I hate Halo! I know i'm going to get flamed but I hate it.

I own 1 and 2 picked them up at a game store after hearing all the hype about them. Nothing special. They are FPS and nothing more If you wanna play GOOD FPS in no particular order

1. Left 4 dead 1 or 2
2. Borderlands
3. Team Fortress 2

These are your solid FPS. Halo, call of duty, Medal of Honor. All lumped into the same category of SUCK. They don't have anything particularly interesting to offer. Its the same game just new box and shinier graphics and they attract the worst of the worst player in multiplayer. I don't enjoy coming home to hearing FAG shouted 1000 times in a match. I can play TF2 or L4D and i'll never hear it shouted.

Dancovich said...

I don't remember who said it first, but once I read somebody say that it is unfair to label a game just for the position of the camera. We all say FPS as if FPS is a genre, it is not. Halo is an shooting action game which happens to be in first person perspective. Metroid Prime is an adventure and exploration game with the same POV.
I like Halo a lot. I don't think the story is all that great, sure it is good, but no great. The thing I like about it is how it is Contra in first person.
I'm not talking about difficulty, because Halo is not difficult. I'm talking about lack of realism and "holywood" action. Nowadays we have so many war shooting games that I think it is good to have a shooting game that, gameplay wise, doesn't take itself too seriously. You have a superarmor, can jump high as hell and can shoot with a sniper rifle without having to use a scope, while walking.

Arman said...

part of my appeal to Halo is that it still retains the more classic elements of older FPS's. That is, its not grey or brown, it doesn't feature modern warfare, you don't have iron sights, you can jump, run and gun with a variety of fun tools of destruction. Is it groundbreaking? Well, the campaign isn't. (Though I do hold Halo: Reach to be the best game in the entire series, topping the first one even) The Multiplayer is a blast, though if you're predisposed to hate Xbox Live, then I ain't going to convert you on that. Forge is a standard of excellence, and the only thing that was good about Halo 3.

I really liked Halo: Reach, and I was greatly disappointed by Halo 3. ODST was fun. Halo 2 was exciting, and Halo: CE was pretty damn good for its time.

General Jack D. Ripper said...

Ehh, I love and hate Halo.

The series has a soft spot for me because it was one of my first games ever, and I played Halo:CE with my brother till death. Co-op was awesome, and playing with my bro is one of my fondest memories.

Past that, I see why people don't like halo, and even I realize why now. My friends who are halo fanboys, went crazy for Reach's ending, but it felt "bleh" to me.

curtdogg said...

If you want to avoid random assholes on XBox Live, why don't you just play on PC? The community on games like TF2 and Left 4 Dead are leaps and bounds better than XBL.

Sephiroth_deus said...

I personally find it disingenuous that you(MovieBob) can't find anything to say about Halo or the Halo Universe. The entire premise of The Game Overthinker is to analyze how and where gaming culture and the wider culture overlap. And you're saying Halo floats entirely free of the wider culture? I gotta call you out on that.

The one element you named in one of your videos is the book Ringworld and left it at that. But the thing is it's not just that. Another novel that Halo has a connection to is Starship Troopers. Think about it. Powered armor, super soldiers, and an alien race bent on destroying humanity. I know you could do a video about these three topics alone much in the same vein as your Mega Man video. And what about Ringworld? The whole concept of mega structures has roots in both sci-fi and reality. It connects to anime (e.g. the Gundam series), the transhumanism movement(they just love to think about this stuff), actual space exploration(I know you can find designs real architects and engineers have made), and the list goes on. And that's just the obvious stuff.

What about the moral and thematic questions posed by the games? Take Reach as an example. The questions of self-sacrifice and dying for something greater than yourself is beaten over your head. Now I admit that it doesn't make it a part of gameplay where you can actually make a decision, but the fact is the question is there and you can ask yourself: 'What would I do?' Or how about the theme of an existential threat from an extraterrestrial species? There's lots of movies, books, and video games that deal with this theme.

Now I wish to be clear(yeah I know I'm channeling Obama get over it). I'm actually not that huge a fan of Halo. I enjoy it from time to time, but I don't own any of the games(or even an X-box for that matter). Also I don't wish to make it seem as if you must make a video of this game. You're free to do what you want and I'll enjoy your videos regardless. What I am saying is that you are wrong that there's nothing to Halo. Is it the best(or even good) at exploring any of the things I've talked about? Probably not, but they are there and any honest assessment of the games is forced to admit that.

Leeroy said...

i don't think Halo is that bad. the developers are certainly trying more than others. the online play is where the real effort is, but thats an acquired taste. the idiots that you have to play with are the problem, and you can't blame the game for that. but in a sea of gritty brown realistic shooters at least this one has purple ships and blue explosions.

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