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Points on your H3 review (long)
Posted By: RocksliderDate: 4/20/08 8:46 p.m.

In Response To: My Halo 3 review (finally). (Gravemind)

Looks like I visited the forum at an opportune time. I've read through a good deal of your review and have various comments, but let me say in advance that I'm only concerned with campaign mode here.

: but since I'm known for really, really ridiculously long articles

Yes, maybe you could just rename yourself 'Mindwoffle' and be done with it. Plus it would stop us confusing you with that giant pot-plant!

: I was thinking of adding a table of contents that skip down to the various subsections for easier navigation. I'll add one if anyone recommends it.

Consider it recommended! If you recall, I urged you to do that for your voluminous H2 yammer critique. I don't know if you ever got around to it, but I remind you that I had to do some work to create my own contents table just so I could tackle that H2 article properly. With articles of such length, the lack of any contents list that shows the structure and allows you to jump to sections of interest is a nasty omission. So please, do yourself and your poor readers a favour!

: another place Halo 3 excels at is its draw distance

I don't know if you ever read my own H3 article (not a review as such), but my biggest gripe was what I called the 'draw distance flaw', basically the bizarrely low draw distances which so adversely affect my immersion in the game (some places more than others), and which sometimes even give combat hazards (when an enemy suddenly pops into view close enough to fire on you). So I spluttered somewhat on reading your above words. You do briefly mention the "phasing-in" of things in your subsequent paragraph, yet you apparently consider it a minor issue. Any further comment on that? I went into quite a bit of detail in my article and gave examples; maybe you can respond to some of that to help me understand how this issue is failing to irk you as much as it irks me?

: In Halo 2, Regret's sermons never started until the player had eliminated all the nearby enemies.

This brings to mind a general point I've been meaning to raise. In quite a few places, actions are artificially prevented until you've done a particular task. For example, when you get up the first tower in The Covenant, you can't operate the control panel at the far end until you've killed all the Brutes. That's a complete nonsense of course, and I find it very annoying. I remember the first time I tried it. I did something nifty to get past the Brutes, but did the control work? Hell no. Fat lot of use my nifty bypassing technique was! Artificial things like this weaken the illusion of reality of course. Care to comment on this shortcoming? I can't remember how H2 fared in those respects, but how about H1? Nothing's coming to mind; or at least, nothing as jarring as that H3 example (I'm sure I've encountered others - maybe you can think of some).

: The death animations are overall well-done

I discussed death animations in my own article (see Alien animation) but there a matter I only noticed later, which I see that you also have not commented on, despite it being a rather bad aspect. A few seconds after an enemy has gone into an initial realistic-looking pose on the floor, there's a tendency for the body to then sort of pop up into a far less natural pose, which sometimes makes it look as if you'd toppled a fairly rigid plastic figurine. They're not lying flat on the ground any more. The realism has gone, and the pop itself is distracting and frequently audible. I first started noticing this when slaying masses of enemies on the ground floor of the first tower in The Covenant (as described in my 'Battles in the first tower' piece). Why on earth does this happen? It seems a terrible shortcoming.

: There is one new feature to the rockets, and that is the fact that they can be deflected by explosions, the shockwave from a gravity hammer, or a sniper rifle round. I thought that was a nice touch.

In a recent piece about forming a Mass assault on the AA gun in The Storm, I mentioned something very surprising I'd seen. Namely, rockets getting wildly deflected by other rockets when lots of squad members rocketed the AA gun at the same time. Sometimes the rockets got bounced back to detonate over the squad, which made for fine comedy! Anyway, from what you're saying, it sounds like people are more aware of this deflection capability than I thought. Mind you, I also saw a rocket getting blown away and spiralling off into the distance a heck of a long way, leaving a trail of exhaust. So that's another feature to watch for, if you haven't already seen it for yourself.

: The fuel rod cannon (or "FRC" for short), the primary Covenant heavy weapon, makes its return in Halo 3. It functions pretty much the same as it did in Halo 2, and even has a very slight tracking ability when used against vehicles.

Isn't it listed as the 'fuel rod gun' in the HUD? I thought that was the name for it, not fuel rod cannon. But anyway, the main thing I wanted to say was that I've noticed that when enemies use it on me, the shot exhibits homing. And yet, I think I'm right in saying that when I fire it, there's no homing at all. Not fair!

: There is also the new troop transport permutation of the Warthog. It lacks weapons, but can carry up to six passengers. Unfortunately, it is very rare, showing up only twice in the whole Campaign

You were presumably thinking of Tsavo Highway and The Covenant. But in The Storm there's an overturned troop hog in the first lakebed, which you can right and use. Maybe also one at the start, that Marines jump out of?

: Another complaint I have about the Banshee is the fact that you never get to use it in Campaign. You get to fight them on occasion, mainly when piloting the Hornet, but you never get to fly one yourself. You never find one lying around, and you can't board them.

Surprised to hear you say that last bit, because you can board them, by hijacking them. Other players will I'm sure be far more expert in doing that than me, as I don't like the way they fly even when I get one, but you can get one in The Covenant. I've got a bit about that which I was planning to post at my site sometime, but I haven't been in any great rush to post it because I thought most players would probably be even more used to hijacking those things than me.

: Halo 3 has the same damage system as Halo 2, wherein a vehicle's "health" is tied into the health of its operator.

Sounds like you know quite a bit about this. I did some reseach specifically on Warthogs, which I described in my piece on infinitely spawning Warthogs. If you've got time to take a glance at that, I'd be interested in your views on what I described, and in particular whether you concur with my understanding of the situation. Maybe you can help me understand the wider picture, i.e. in regard to other vehicles? I don't know if you've done any research on this stuff. My latest article mentioned the sport of rocketing a manned Mongoose into the sea again and again, and I suggested that you could probably do it indefinitely. Would you agree?

: For example, there's the part on Tsavo Highway where a Covenant cruiser flies overhead

But if you turn around and look up at where it's due to materialize, you'll see it pop into view in somewhat unrealistic fashion! So, better keep those eyes lookin' forward soldier!

: The radar jammer is good for infiltrating bases or for covering your retreat in multiplayer, but it's of questionable use in Campaign, as it seems to do little to confuse enemies (apparently, they don't use motion trackers).

I was under the impression that it had no effect whatsoever. Does anyone have the definitive information on this? Have Bungie said anything?

: Like the radar jammer, the flare is useful mainly for providing distractions, as it affects everyone around. Also, it doesn't seem to be very useful in Campaign, as Covenant units don't appear to get blinded by it.

Ah yes, flares. Whose bright idea was that eh? Ho ho. I hate those things! They hurt and I usually just close my eyes and put a hand over them for good measure. My link with the game is broken and I'm suddenly just a bozo holding a controller in despair, waiting for normal service to be resumed. I kept having to do that in the factory in The Storm when experimenting with setting up AA gun megabattles recently. I came to dread the sound of a Brute whipping out that piece of equipment. Not fun, and I consider its inclusion a terrible decision. Did all the game testers love flares or something? I don't get it. Who could possibly have thought they would be a good idea?

: I also like the fact that you have the ability to select from various "insertion points" at the Campaign menu, which allows you to start a stage at certain points in the middle, rather than having to start at the beginning every time like in the first two games.

The rally points were a nice idea but I feel that their usefulness is greatly reduced by the fact that you have no control over the weaponry you're supplied with. Typically, you get relatively weak stuff, and almost certainly not the combo you'd like to have. For that reason I've scarcely used them for serious play. Also there seems to be a bug in regard to the rally points in The Covenant. Namely, if you start at a rally point, the game doesn't provide all the usual ambient sounds, and that can make things sound rather dead. It's something I commented on in a few of my articles: see Coastal hornet trick and Citadel hornet trick. I'm not sure if there's a similar bug with any of the other levels.

: Things are especially problematic when enemies are in vehicles, though. As I've pointed out before, enemy vehicles are already very powerful, but on Heroic and especially Legendary, the damage and health bonuses enemies have makes facing enemy vehicles a nightmare. Going up against them on foot is suicidal

Well, not quite suicidal, but I'm completely with you on the horrendous overpowering of enemy vehicles (their resilience and weaponry), which was one of my major complaints against H3. You can tackle them on foot, which is something I'm pretty well versed in by now as an ardent practitioner of foot-based soldiering, but it takes serious and careful work that a lot of folk would probably have a hard time considering as 'fun'. Yet if you consider say AOTCR from H1, you could do that whole glorious level on foot and it was lots of fun. I hardly ever do that level using vehicles! It thoughtfully gave you a nice supply of rocket lauchers to help - though you can even do without - and you thus had a nice alternative to tackling things with vehicles. But the H3 designers don't seem to have given any thought to the idea of tackling certain sections on foot. And thus it feels much less flexible. If you do attempt to tackle things on foot, there's a definite feeling of going against the grain, and unless you're prepared for some serious dedication, you're likely to end up very dead and very annoyed.

: They certainly didn't sit there like a knot on a log, waiting for death. The only real weakness with Halo 1's AI was the fact that enemies wouldn't react to you past a certain distance.

Then again, I think it's worth suggesting that some AI shortcomings can be beneficial, in terms of the fun they provide. If enemies always went for cover and were as good at using it as you are, ok that's more realistic, but wouldn't you also lose the pleasures of whittling them down at will? Depends on what sort of combat experience you're looking for, but in H1 I've always enjoyed being able to stand back and take down enemies at leisure, thanks to them being so obliging about exposing their assorted ugly noggins to the business end of my pistol or whatever.

: Marines... they provide plenty of humorous banter for the player to listen to.

But there's also that Woss factor I mentioned in my article (Marines giving lines voiced by UK celebrity Johnathan Ross), which has continued to be a serious downer for me. I eventually noticed something else about that, which makes it even worse. Basically, it seems like almost any male Marine is able to spontaneously deliver a Ross line. For example, one moment you've got an Aussie next to you, next thing he pipes up with a Ross line and completely blows his identity. That's just terrible, ruining the atmosphere and realism. At least if only particular Marines were programmed to deliver Ross lines, I could learn which ones to avoid. But it's become clear that not only can I not avoid them, I'm also going to have Marines suddenly breaking out of character like this.

: plus they finally got the Needler right

Well, not for me they didn't - I don't even pick it up! I'm still pining for the glory days of the H1 model...

Bad Cyborg

Message Index


My Halo 3 review (finally).Gravemind 4/19/08 11:04 p.m.
     It was a nice read.BlueNinja 4/20/08 2:32 a.m.
     Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).zethren 4/20/08 2:50 a.m.
           Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).onebitrocket 4/23/08 2:10 a.m.
                 Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).scarab 4/23/08 8:08 a.m.
                       Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).onebitrocket 4/23/08 11:20 a.m.
                             Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).scarab 4/24/08 1:53 a.m.
                                   Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).Gravemind 4/25/08 12:58 a.m.
     Comprehensive!Jillybean 4/20/08 8:51 a.m.
           I'll say...stan 4/20/08 9:11 a.m.
     Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).Louis Wu 4/20/08 9:38 a.m.
     Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).UrsusArctos 4/20/08 10:01 a.m.
     Well written but,Spec ops Grunt 4/20/08 12:37 p.m.
     Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).serpx 4/20/08 3:06 p.m.
     Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).Vandle Valsher 4/20/08 3:16 p.m.
           Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).Gravemind 4/23/08 4:14 a.m.
                 Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).Vandle Valsher 4/23/08 4:56 a.m.
                 Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).Louis Wu 4/23/08 8:07 a.m.
                       Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).Gravemind 4/23/08 10:21 a.m.
                             Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).Louis Wu 4/23/08 11:15 a.m.
                                   Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).Cocopjojo 4/23/08 11:28 a.m.
                             Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).DiscipleN2k 4/23/08 11:13 p.m.
                                   Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).Gravemind 4/25/08 1:21 a.m.
                                         Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).DiscipleN2k 4/25/08 1:14 p.m.
                                               Re: My Halo 3 review (finally).Ragashingo 4/25/08 2:15 p.m.
                 The Melee Isn't All That Different!Ragashingo 4/23/08 11:59 a.m.
     Points on your H3 review (long)Rockslider 4/20/08 8:46 p.m.
           Re: Points on your H3 review (long)scarab 4/21/08 7:42 a.m.
                 Re: Points on your H3 review (long)Rockslider 4/22/08 4:26 p.m.
                       Re: Points on your H3 review (long)scarab 4/23/08 7:52 a.m.
           Re: Points on your H3 review (long)Gravemind 4/23/08 12:10 a.m.
                 Re: Points on your H3 review (long)Captain Spark 4/23/08 8:50 a.m.
                 Re: Points on your H3 review (long)Rockslider 4/23/08 5:41 p.m.
                       Re: Points on your H3 review (long)Gravemind 4/25/08 2:58 a.m.
     Comment on the Covenant in H3reprobate 4/21/08 6:23 a.m.

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