In search of the heart of Halo in the best of Bungie

In search of the heart of Halo in the best of Bungie
I have had some extremely enjoyable moments revisiting Halo 3 but you can have equally enjoyable ones simply by reading what was said about it in 2007.

Halo 3, and this is new to me who was fifteen at the time and I ignored it beautifully, it was apparently one of those games that sparked fights, debates where the line was drawn sharply and the chosen faction with no middle ground when dealing with the discussion of what the title would mean for the future of the medium.

In 2007, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was being considered that future of high-budget video games because, as a good half of our pleasantly distressing retrospective claimed the following summer, "experiments with storytelling mediums that are specific to the nature of videogames and not of films ". Call of Duty's storytelling was interactive and Halo action "old", its archaically passive cutscenes.

Watch on YouTube. It's great to see how cyclic everything is. Start from that thought to date and Call of Duty's progress seems to have hit a pretty irritating wall, something to do with pressing F to pay homage. And in the meantime today's tastes are if ever obsessed with the systemic aspect; Storytelling is now considered best when it is emergent and player-directed, as opposed to the occasional QTE section that breaks up what is minutely scripted. This is what the mainstream has rediscovered with games like PUBG and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and with that playable and editable hangout area that is Fortnite. I would also believe that this is what gaming "intellectuals" particularly love about works by studios such as Arkane (Dishonored, Prey), IO Interactive (Hitman) and Larian Studios (Divinity: Original Sin II, Baldur's Gate III). As a result, in an effort to recapture some of their magic, both Call of Duty and Halo have looked to the past: CoD with Modern Warfare Remastered and Modern Warfare in 2019. Halo with Halo Infinite, which seems openly proposing itself as a return to vivid and colorful sensations of Combat Evolved.

Anyway let's go back to Halo 3 and marvel with me, if you like, at the realization of how little he cares about all these talks. While modern sequels increasingly feel like a playable existential crisis, Halo 3 is a masterful lesson in willpower. Absolute self-esteem, Bungie as a team that plays with the freedom created by self-confidence, if you prefer the sporty comparison. The result is a kind of immaculate clarity. It's pure and continuous gratification: yes, you can carry the gun turret; yes, you can have a bigger laser; yes, you can drive the tank. Only the turret is a real novelty among those listed but the point is not the novelty, it is the generosity of everything. Of all the biblical nonsense in Halo history, the way recruits like to call you "the Demon" is at least spot on. The generosity of Halo 3 gives the feeling of power gained through a great deal with the devil.

Behind all of this is a work of genuine ingenuity regarding the pure playable action aspect. There's a seen and revised but nonetheless perfectly sloped power curve that begins with what is actually one of the most difficult levels in the game, the African jungle-like section of Sierra 117 crammed with snipers and brutes, growing through every single one. mission between dual-wielding and Mongoose to snipers and Warthog, and then Scorpion and Wraith to arrive at seemingly endless supplies of plasma swords, spartan lasers and gravity hammers. Enemies you start with by moving side by side in a dance of death (entire groups of Covenant captains) become little crackling specks when hit by the Hornet stage (Machine guns! And rockets! And fly!) Or when observed by a raised platform of a Scarab. It involves a remarkable mastery of dimensions and proportions, overturning and reusing in a great variety of circumstances and contexts what is actually a rather limited set of types of enemies knows how to convey the feeling that they are new, fresh.

There is still a lingering feeling of life in those enemies today. The way they chat on their own, living peculiar little lives before you arrive. And the life they instill in Halo 3 when they die, when a single enemy carrying a single grenade often turns into one, two, three, four explosions with ragdolls and bounces triggered by barrels, grenades, and clumsy brutes that fire rockets at the moment. inappropriate. How many times have I died not from an enemy's perfect hit but from his mistake, a grenade smashing a metal box into Chief's head from miles away? Call of Duty is known by all for its pomposity but count the explosions in Halo 3. Notice the booms per second in a mission like The Covenant and then Cortana's absolutely hellish, bullet-filled claustrophobic crash to the ground, mission straight after. Halo 3 goes from one extreme to the other providing you with everything you need to find your rhythm (for me two SMGs please so I can hypnotize myself into some healthy action in Floodgate) and then rip it off from the widest of open spaces to the narrowest and darkest corridor. Come microcosmo is a strange and jarring mix, an album that jumps from ballet to thrash. In the right context it's operatic.

There's a wonderful rhythm in dual-wielding that makes those infamous and cloying Flood levels some of my favorites: you shoot with your left, reload with your right; shoot right, reload left and so on endlessly. A glorious and intimate carnage after a detached level of death from above. This, the chaos under control, the "innate instability" of the fighter jet, as Oli ingeniously wrote in the much prettier half of the retrospective, is the trick of Halo 3, a trick I'm extremely happy to repeat. Bungie lines up enemies like small piles of dynamite and gives us players, seven-year-olds with a passion for pyromania, a box of matches, a lighter, some flint, a magnifying glass and a real flamethrower . You can't not play. Even if you reduced it to basic shapes and functions without its structure, thinking about what this game would look like if nothing had been colored and you were playing with stylized and simple shapes still positioned where they were and able to always react in the same way then everything would still work. You would shoot again, not to respond to enemies but because they would explode anyway.

But what's more, Halo 3 does a million things well but the more you focus on it the more you lose sight of the point: sure, it is brilliant but you must never stop thinking about why. Bungie is a master of so many things, but in Halo 3 she masters them through unparalleled detachment, a kind of indifference and utter demeanor that maintains the instability of her balance and the integrity of the illusion.

The more read now

Video games and journalism amid extreme crunch and poor working conditions: the GameXplain case explodes

48 hours of play without sleeping or washing for a review.

PS5 e the army of exclusives! Druckmann: Naughty Dog is working on something very 'cool'

The studio is looking for developers for the next project.

PS5: new stocks available from today, but only in the USA

Sony's announcement.

Most of all, the action in Halo 3 is brilliant because it's free. It is possible to feel the total absence of worries due to expectations or pressures. Halo 3 was a big hit in 2007. The biggest game of the year if not the decade. "Before, no other game had ever been advertised as an event so confidently and loudly," thundered Edge in the opening of his 10/10 review. And it was all done without a shred of doubt. Self-awareness, certainly ("Don't you think this is all a little ... unjustified?" A Marine chuckles before wiping out a few Floods) but the crucial aspect is the fact that it is self-awareness without being presumptuous, never self-referencing, never ceasing to worry or wondering how everything should be done, philosophizing in vain about what is really central. It's that thing that makes you keep looking at the row of explosives without ever wondering who placed it so prominently. Put simply, being in a concert while it is being played. From us players but also led by another invisible hand. This, I believe, is the secret of Halo 3.

Powered by Blogger.