Halo Reach

I finished Halo Reach yesterday on Heroic, because that’s how the game is meant to be played.

Wow it was hard, many sections I died 30+ times before inching my way forward or I had to resort to just running around the monsters especially hunters, to trigger a switch to achieve the stage task.

I played for about 30 minutes at Legendary, but I’m not sure how long or much I want to achieve that honour finishing the game at that difficulty.

For the first full Halo game, I thought it was awesome. I loved the drama of the team laying down their lives for mankind. Stuff true heroes are made of. I also liked that as you changed your armour the cut-scenes had you in your new armour. Very nice touch that one.

Halo 3: ODST

As my first introduction to the Halo world, Halo 3: ODST was awesome fun. I brought it second hand so the short length campaign play was not too disappointing, but I really enjoyed the dark stalking around the city, searching for clues, and then the more action orientated sub-missions to complete the plot. Very enjoyable.

I really struggled with using the controller to move and shoot, compared to mouse and keyboard combo, as said previously, all the buttons are on the wrong side of the controller once you switch the look and move sticks.

After completing the game, and doing a few levels with some skulls turned on, I tried the online multi-player mode. Very fun, but very much more intense compared to the slower stalking play of ODST. Also the buttons being misplaced is even more pronounced. I did find a different layout “Bump and Jump” with the melee and jump buttons of LB and RB which is better, but had to learn to twist my right hand, to bring my fingers on top, to reload (A or B) while using my thumb to move.

Now that I’ve played the ODST, I’m keen to play a more classic Halo, to get a more grounded Halo experience. Not sure if I should play Halo 3 or move to Halo 3 Reach, any opinions?

Also I noticed the fire fight mode of ODST on Wikipedia, so now I’m going to have to try that out, to collect the achievements. Achievements are such a great way to hint that you’ve not experienced all of a game, I love them…

Xbox 360 with Kinect

After a year of planning to buy a Playstation 3, two weeks ago we purchased the Xbox 360. What changed? Kinect, it just looked so cool, and you can have multi-player without needing to buy yet another controller.

Dance Central is killer application in our house hold, my daughter loves the game, and the rest of us enjoy it greatly, but we get beaten mercilessly by her.

The reasons I was leaning towards the Playstation originally were:

  • Region free games. This was a big issue for me, as our New Zealand Wii does not play US games and paying $90 USD for a NZ new game, which costs $55 here is annoying, waiting for shipping from NZ and not been able to pick-up cheap second hand games adds to the frustration.
  • Free online gaming. I’ve seen lots of PS3 vs. Xbox fan-boy arguing over this issue, and I’m just not sure what $60USD gets me, or $99 to allow the family to play online.
  • Xbox prior quality problems.

Now we have the Xbox, there are little things that annoy me:

  • The endless advertising on the menu’s. I guess 50% of the panels on the system menu are advertising, and the start screen is always the ad’s
  • Home game development cost $100 a year. It’s almost like Microsoft want $100/year from me one way or another. What with the online game fees or this, if you plan to get more than 20 hours of fun from a game (thus avoid buying another) MS wants their share of the lost pie
  • The Facebook application is crap. Just show it in a freaking browser, the Group feature is missing and that’s the only way we use Facebook, thus it pointless and ugly.
  • Movies costing 4-5 bucks to rent. No thanks, I’ll drive to Red Box and pay $1 thank you. I’ll admit that penalty/late fees involved with normal rental operation discounts the upfront movie cost, and it convenient not having to move from your sofa, but surely not by $3 dollars per movie.
  • Being a southpaw, the buttons are on the wrong side of the controller in shooters. But I’m guessing this problem would have been present of the PS3 also.
  • I really dislike my avatar’s name being my Xbox Live handle. We had four users with each person’s name, and now it’s ‘AttrachedSpore3 vs. Mahalia’ in dance central, nice touch. How about using my online handle for online stuff, and my chosen name for in game stuff. Please!
  • MS Point, 400 for $4.99, but 800 is $9.99, so either to just took an extra cent of me for doubling the points, or the real price is more, and your just generously gift me one cent. Oh how nice, or maybe you’re playing the .99 price game. Also there is not volume discount, why not? It just seems very backwards.

But I’m mostly over that now. I had been keen to make some homemade games, but not two new games a year keen. Not sure where I sit on the pay to play online, it’s fun, other than I suck and I’m really struggling to adjust to not using a mouse and keyboard in FPS games. I’m completely ignoring the region locking of the games, which is so pointless, as the games are all playing on HD TV’s so it just about price control. Grrrr.

The reason I’m over it, the family has so much fun playing on it. In fact I can hear them arguing who’s turn it’s next, and I need to enforce the ‘Dad’s Time’ rule, like ‘Daddy Tax’ but for games, instead of food.