Halo 2: Anniversary Edition

In this month’s Official Xbox Magazine, fans and skeptics were tossed a controversial bone. While only a rumor, the possibility of a Halo 2 Anniversary Edition is a topic that can either instigate annoyance, or giddy anticipation. I myself am on the annoyed side of the spectrum. Really? I mean, really? The first I can understand, but why remake Halo 2.

I am a fan of the Halo franchise, and have been playing the games since they made their appearance on the original Xbox with Halo: Combat Evolved. As a fan, I found myself quite happy to hear about 343’s venture to remake Halo 1. I enjoyed playing the original Halo, and would even pick it up from time to time to relive the experience, though I would always be annoyed by the graphics of the game.

When they announced the Anniversary Edition I found myself skeptical, wondering if the game industry was going to turn out to be like the film industry, remaking and corrupting legends of the past. I was pleasantly surprised by 343’s efforts to maintain the integrity and authenticity of the game by simply revamping the graphics and textures rather than actually remaking the game from scratch. It followed the original Halo’s gaming experience to a T, and added a few new features such as terminals which explain the events that led up to the Halo games, as well as foreshadowing the story of Halo 4. The Anniversary Edition did its job, making me happy that I bought it. However, I think it should have ended there.

 

The possibility of a Halo 2 revamp is no where near as pleasing to me as its predecessor was. Unlike Halo 1, which was very primitive in  terms of game play and graphics, Halo 2 was quite advanced, especially for its time. While its graphics are not perfect, they are no where near as painful as the first games. Halo 2 was my personal favorite chapter in the saga, and the only complaint that I had, like most fan boys, was the ending which did not have the same closing effect as the first game, or any of the subsequent games. Even so, I think the game  is awesome, and perfectly fine as it is.

I mean, what more could they add to it? They could touch up the graphics, bringing it to the standard of Xbox 360 graphics, but what else besides that? More terminals added would be pointless, especially since Halo 4 will probably come after it. Maybe 343 intends to give us perks and a taste of the multiplayer system again, but what would be the point in that, since multiplayer would probably just be using the same engine as Halo 4.

No, I can’t see any real purpose in making a Halo 2 anniversary edition besides to suck more money out of fans. It is this cheesy business tactic that upsets me, not the lack of logic around the games production. Why does 343 want to suck more money out of us? They made reach, remade the first game, and are making Halo 4. These are all great business ventures, but remaking Halo 2 is a sham, without even having the decency to hide its intent. I hope you fan boys get enraged by my opinion and comment below because I really would like to know the point in remaking the second chapter of Halo.

And here I thought I had retired…

I am hoping that this is all just a silly rumor, because I believe the creation of this game could spell trouble for 343 industries and the Halo franchise. Check out an article on the rumor from Gamerant’s website.

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Halo 4: Reservations and Expectations

If you can find me a single gamer in the world who has never heard of the name ‘Halo’ or their own language’s equivalent of the word, Masterchief would make a personal appearance at that individual’s home, and educate him on UNSC Spartan Protocal.

Halo, the game franchise which took the Xbox from being a second rate console to the most talked about gaming system, has been an anchor for modern gaming, especially in the realms of Online Multiplayer and First Person Shooters. With five games, a book series and several shows, it has become one of the most influential icons in video-game history. After creating Halo 3: ODST, Bungie threw in the towel and claimed that the series was ending. However, a few years later, after the release of successful offshoots of the series, 343 Industries, the makers of Halo Reach, announced that the series was not yet done.

A brief teaser trailer was shown at E3 2011, revealing that Halo 4 was in production. We all know that 343 is a capable company, as Halo: Reach was a great success, however some wonder if bring Master Chief out of stasis may be a mistake. With the Covenant defeated, and the Flood destroyed, what more does the story of John 117 have to offer for us?

The Story that we Know

The teaser trailer revealed little and less about Halo 4, save for the fact that it is indeed a sequel with Master Chief as the main character. However, this year after numerous leaks and announcements by 343 industries, we have a better idea of what is in store for us with Halo 4. One year after the E3 announcement, this years E3 conference treated us with a live-action trailer for some context, as well as a chunk of sexy game play.

If you are too lazy to wait for the trailers to load, here is a brief synopsis of Halo 4. Master Chief is presumed to have perished with the last halo ring; the UNSC marks him as ‘MIA’ to keep with tradition (There is a saying: “Spartans never die, they only go missing in action”). Even though earth is shattered by the loss of their heroic savior, they know that they must push on, and so the UNSC commissions a disarmed warship, known as the ‘Infinity’, is sent into the unexplored regions of space with the mission of colonizing uncharted worlds through peaceful means.

Of course you all know it wouldn’t be a Halo game without it’s healthy chunk of violence!

Something goes drastically wrong on Infinity’s journey, causing the ship to crash on an unknown planet (later revealed as Forerunner world ‘Requiem’), which also happens to be where Master Chief is located. As Master Chief watches, a gigantic mysterious metallic orb rises behind him, and takes off after the crashing vessel, beckoning Master Chief to give chase. That is when we see the covenant. Most people grimaced at this part. The most common thought in gamer’s minds was “What the hell, didn’t we already kick their asses?” Well don’t worry my friends, 343 has much more in store for us than Elites, Grunts and Jackals.

As he gets closer to the crash site, Master Chief is spotted by a scouting party. While Master Chief out the bulk of the scouts, he witnesses an elite get incinerated as if he was nothing more than a noob grunt. That’s right, we have a new enemy in Halo 4, one that makes the Covenant Elites look like play things. Wielding forerunner weaponry, these metallic beetle like creatures seem to prove to be a challenge in a fight. They can teleport and dish out as many hits as they take.

Known as the Prometheans, these beings were members of the highest rank in the Forerunners’ Warrior-Servants caste. They are mentioned before, in the Anniversary edition of Halo: Combat evolved and Halo Forerunner novel saga. Due to a disagreement with the builders, the Prometheans are cast from the council, which is why we do not see them until Halo 4.

Along with the appearance of the Prometheans, there are rumors of other Spartans in campaign mode. Rumor has it that these Spartans are from the new Spartan-IV program, and are assigned to the Infinity for its new mission. Dubbed as Majestic Sqaud, the Spartan-IVs will be seen in the campaign, as well as be the central focus of the new multiplayer form, ‘Spartan Ops’. This combination of a new enemy and an old story gives the new campaign a promising edge.

Multiplayer

Most of the information on Halo 4’s multiplayer came from leaks, such as the leaked multiplayer-beta footage. This multiplayer looks much different from its predecessors, as we see new armor, weapons and maps. While there are some familiar halo elements, the new textures cause most to sooner assume that this multiplayer belonged to some other space oriented FPS. 343 is playing at a dangerous game here, with so many new features added to the game that most played with die hard loyalty. Will the new fans like it?

As Halo was made famous for its great multiplayer experience, most gamers are critical on the footage that has been released for the multiplayer, however the scales are tipped towards positive feedback for the new multiplayer systems, which include familiar features such as ‘Slayer’ as well as new features like ‘Spartan Ops’, which will replace ‘Fire fight’ which is seen in Halo: Reach. Halo 4’s multiplayer promises to be an integrating and enthralling new experience for gamers (old and new).

Reservations

Multiplayer looks just as promising as the single player campaign, and with the integration of the two through Majestic squad, 343 is welding Halo 4 into a great game. However, there is a catch to this greatness, as 343 industries has announced that gamers will either need 8 GB of free space on the X-box hard drive, or an 8 GB USB in order to use the multiplayer settings. WTF 343, really? 8 Gigs?  What the hell do you guys need 8 gigs for? This had better be worth it!

Anyway, Halo 4 does look enticing. Maybe enticing enough for me to buy a new hard drive. Look for the game in stores in the distant future; it is scheduled to hit shelves on November 6th, 2012. Until then, satisfy yourself with another teaser trailer that the game released recently:

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