Friday, December 30, 2011

Top 50 Video Games: Number 21

Platform: Xbox 360
Absurdly Specific Genre: Friend and Annoying 14-year old Murder Simulator
Difficulty: Legendary was stupid hard, but both games were right around 7 on Heroic (which is what I played them on)
Beaten: Both of them were beaten both single player and co-op

Rather than make the difficult distinction between my two favorite game sin the series, I'm just going to include both of them in one blanket article. I'm cheating. It's my blog. I can do that sort of thing.

Broken down, I'm chossing Halo 3 for the hours upon hours I spent in multiplayer on it, and Halo: Reach for its surprisingly solid single player story and characters.

Halo 3
Ostensibly, it's the end of the main narrative thread (we'll see exactly how true that really is, now that they're moving the Halo franchise away from Bungie), and it does so pretty well. I've already documented my drunken love of the ending car chase, but we all know that simgle player story was never where the heart of this beast lay (though the campaign did feature the voice acting talents of a bunch of folk from Firefly, which endeared me quite a bit to it).

Killing friends who were lying in wait to do the same. That's where it's at.
Branny and I started playing Team Doubles in the beginning of 2008. The idea is simple - your team of two tries to kill the opposing team of two, tactics are a must, actual audio communication is a must. Branny and I played that same mode on and off (but mostly on) for the next two years. The ranking system meant that we eventually settled into a range where we won just about as many as we lost, and most matches were pretty even. We had some absolutely epic battles. We can still recall the time we fought on Epitaph, and he managed to get the grenade stick of a lifetime as he jumped laterally off a platform that was being rocketed from beneath.

Eventually, there were a large number of lamers, and Branny started taking losing way too seriously. I don't think I'll ever play multiplayer quite in that same way again. Those couple of years were prety awesome, though.

Killing a dude with an energy sword does, after all, never get old.
Halo: Reach
It's odd that the mascot for the Halo franchise, and one of the most iconic characters of the last decade's worth of video games doesn't even appear in the franchise's best single-player game. Reach abandons the "go it alone" style of gameplay that the first three games practically worshipped, choosing instead to plant you into a team (sadly, the AI of your teammates occasionally approaches "sentient bowl of porridge" levels, but hey, at least they can't die). Also, the game is a prequel to the original trilogy, set in a famous battle where the home team loses. Failure isn't a scenario, it's an inevitability. Even so, because of the characters, every level, every cutscene feels like it has more weight to it.

It didn't seem possible that a Halo game could come out where I was more interested in the single-player than the multiplayer, Halo: Reach accomplished that.

Besides, it featured space combat. This is reason in itself to love the game.

1 comment:

  1. Are you doing that thing Spooky does and not put two games from the same series on your list? Not sure I could do that. I'd end up leaving out a lot of my favorite games.