From submachine guns to laser swords and back again...
Somebody please Kill HALO.
Don't get me wrong, I love the game. After all, I am an "overlord" of a thriving clan D1V1S1ON XX, full of friends and teammates that rock the house and are amazingly fun to play with. So why the statement above?
Well shields and energy swords are losing there luster on me. Now with a expensive massively powerful 360 idling pretty next to my TV, why am I still playing this old xbox game? Why? Well because Bungie got it right, not only did HALO 2 provide an amazing single player game but it provided the best online multiplayer experience still to date. I originally began my online addiction at the insistence of my good friend Ian by purchasing a Xbox and the game Tom Clancy's Rainbow six 3. Soon for me it was buddies, submachine guns and frags all night. Good times, Pete, Joe, Teo, Chris, Old skool memories.
But when HALO came out it was all over, the game played better, had cool vehicles, rocking graphics, and had a VERY good multiplayer lobby and matchmaking system. You could customize your appearance and games to whatever you liked, adding subtracting game options, and create parties of friends with ease. To makes things even better I stumbled across the good peeps at 2old2play.com (a site for mature gamers 25 and older), and found a community of "mature" gamers that hated screaming idiotic kids (Rated "M" for Mature folks) as much as I did. I made new friends, Smoke, Eksessiv, ZeroCD, Ag3nt Or4ng3, Meemoos, Jolly and they saved the game for me. However in the process lost some of my older buddies, who didn't care much for laser blasters and shields. I admit I too missed the realism (did I just say that about a video game?) of the military shooter, where a headshot means your dead.
My older buddies, tried to get me to come over to Ghost Recon also by Tom Clancy and Ubisoft, the game they had switched to since my departure to HALO. I have to admit the game was appealing to me and was excited at first, lush large landscapes, a huge array of weapon selections, and oh yeah "HEADSHOTS"! But mainly a good opportunity to play with the friends, I had lost to HALO.
Unfortunately I had become spoiled, Ghost Recon as cool as it was, had a ton of flaws. The user interface for creating and joining multiplayer games was janky at best compared to the smooth, easy to use HALO lobbies. The edge detection was terrible, throwing a grenade at what looked like a good angle only to have in bounce off an invisible bounding box and take out your entire team was just silly. I tried to get past those flaws for my buddies, but couldn't, and so went back to my comfy, cushy, polished HALO.
Why couldn't other games developers get the Multiplayer right? I mean if Bungie could do it, why not Ubisoft, who had been rocking online gaming before HALO. Wave after wave, new Tom Clancy games came, and even though cool in concept always went back to good old HALO.
Well finally Ubisoft may get its "Headshot". Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (release date March 9, 2006) holds the promise of pulling me out of the laser blaster world and back to frags, and headshots. The 360 may have been what Ubisoft needed, and I think they have been listening and learning from the community of gripers like me. The game is not only stunningly beautiful, is also looks well thought out in the *GASP* dare I say it multiplayer experience. Which, lets face it, should be the main goal for any FPS that wants to make Xbox live top 10. It boasts customizable games, amazing maps, better clan support, a drone enemy spotting system (kinda like Radar in HALO), and a wayyyy better mutiplayer UI so finding games with buddies won't be a such pain in the ass.
Of course, the marketing machine is in full hype, and I may be caught up in the hope, but from the videos, hands on reviews, and such I am pumped for not only myself, but also for my old skool and new skool buddies, who may just get a chance to finally play together.
Overview of Ghost Recon Adanced Warfighter Multiplayer (with sweet movies) -
Multiplayer interview with Ubisoft rep: