Halo is like taking a Deathmatch out for a road trip. It is not about a fight or a series of fights, it's about a journey of war, one where enduring soldiers hit the ground running and do whatever is needed to reach a protracted end.
They drop from airships, riding in all-terrain vehicles until the ground no longer allows it, then in groups and over hills, a blazing wall of fire against armed bunkers, and then surviving loners roaming underground tunnels with low ammunition and tight-beamed flashlights until they are desperate commandos with improvised weapons doing their best to get back to the surface alive.As i first glance, Halo has the look and feel of a PC game. Although rendered in high detail, its colour range seems muted in tone. It lacks the high gloss and wet surfaces that permeate most console games, allowing its military its drab motif. But as you play the game, you'll begin to see the telltale hints of a console's specialty. The searing lens flare of a vibrant sun, the rush of water through a riverbed creek, and the rippled transparency of a warrior in cloak amongst others. The other telltale is that the game renders and smoothly flows from one mode to another with such speed and fluidity that had this been released as a PC game as initially planned, it would be a completely different game, one perhaps less effective.
This is an action game, and perhaps because of that, it has a simple visual design. The human forces closely resemble today's military and the battle zones look remarkably like Colorado. Even the alien architecture is composed of simplistic stone configurations with streamlined layouts. The only extravagance in the game is a majestic sky and the aliens themselves, which range from strange, European dwarves and dog-like lizard men to jackal dogs roaming about on their hind legs and large, porcupine-like beetles in full body armour. They are definitely strange, sometimes cute, but at other times menacing.
Soldiers, in general, are not trained to think, but to take orders and kill. Playing as the Master Chief, you'll need to be a thinking warrior, one who gives orders and kills according to a plan. You will be constantly surrounded by AI (artificial intelligence) characters, both enemy aliens and soldiers from your own side. Both will watch and react to your movements and you'll need to be aware of what you do to achieve your goals.As the last of a secret line of cyborgs, you're a military celebrity and soldiers will be quick to join you, support you with their fire, and follow you wherever you lead. It's an interesting element. You don't have that feeling of having to take on the world by yourself. You can "lean" on your fellow soldiers, allow them to defend you while you take a breather to plan your next action or look for more ammo.
Halo is a game that rarely blinks, making its transitions from one element to another in mercurial smoothness, attentive to one or two players traveling side by side or an entire party of four on the hunt for each other.In the year 2520, our exploration and colonization of space reaches its first hostile conflict through an alien civilization called The Covenant. Encountered by a distant colony at the far reaches of the human frontier, the Covenant take extreme exception, not to the presence of humans in their corner of the universe, but to the existence of humankind, period.
The suspicion is that it has something to do with their belief system, that our existence upsets it in some way. Imagine how a race of aliens who turned out to be living proof that there is no afterlife might be received here on Earth and you'd get the idea. Whatever the reason, The Covenant immediately start to exterminate the human race, beginning with that first colony and then working their way over thirty-two years towards the Earth itself.Warships are sent to intercept, but offer only a poor defense and as the years pass, the resources dwindle, military tactics become desperate and orders are given that all ships facing defeat shall either self-destruct or retreat away from Earth in an effort to keep the planet's location secret. The Pillar of Autumn is just such a warship, in fact one of the last standing in between the attackers and our green and blue planet. A last ditch effort, it randomly jumps light years away in retreat, hoping to lead the Covenant away.
The maneuver works and The Covenant follows to finish them off. Fate, however, has other plans, choosing that the maneuver take both forces to a ringed planet called Halo, which as it turns out holds a tremendous amount of religious importance to The Covenant. So much so, that it becomes apparent that the war could easily change directions should the human forces discover the planet's secret. After crash-landing on Halo, the marines of The Pillar of Autumn are lead by a special military cyborg simply known as The Master Chief in a tight race to uncover the planet's secrets and turn the tide of the war before the Covenant succeed in wiping them out.
When you find a jeep and jump into the driver's seat, your support soldiers will jump in with you, taking up the gunnery position and passenger seats. While you drive they aim and fire on their own. No soldier in the world can maintain both a constant offense and a defense and having soldiers who help in the ways that player characters would adds a completely new dimension. Not that they are geniuses, expect the odd soldier to walk into your line of fire or enter a room you're trying to keep closed, but come to think of it, that might be realistic too.
As a soldier on your own, you have the ability to run, crouch, jump, and toss grenades amongst firing a range of weapons. You begin with a sidearm and an assault rifle, but as you progress you'll be able to pick up other weapons such as shotguns, sniper rifles and missile launchers. You can also pick up alien weapons, in fact you'll need to as missions can be long and ammo supplies short. Many of the weapons feature flashlights and zooming scopes and while you will automatically reload when needed, you'll be warned when your gun is low to give you the chance to duck behind a pillar and make change in ammo yourself.
Your body armour has its own shield generator and when it's shot down, it can recharge over time. You can also pick up alien shield systems as well as stealth camo-packs that render you almost invisible. This comes in handy with another ability, a melee attack that allows you to sneak up from behind and bash your opponent with the butt of your gun.
All of this allows you to fight and react smoothly, which is the theme of the game, and the result is an adventure that is more than just a "running and shooting" distraction. You also have an onboard computer personality, a slim and smart hologram named Cortana. She accompanies your action with a constant stream of information. She monitors alien communications, building blueprints and can even tell you when an enemy is sneaking up on you from around the next corner. Her job is to keep you thinking, to give you focus and it works incredibly well. Again this helps to emphasize that there is a bigger journey at work.While Halo is mainly intended as a solo adventure, it does offer a multiplayer feature where up to four players can go at each other using the game's wide levels as arenas for a range of set-ups that include Capture-the-flag, King of the Hill, Team modes, and others. You can play this out with a split-screen system or link up a collection of Xbox systems for an even better experience. As good as the multiplayer mode is, the two-player co-operative mode is even better and the real gold hiding in the game. In this mode, two-players can actually work together through the game's story in the place of one. It works incredibly well and really is a great way to entertain friends.
Halo is a captivating action game that truly brings the first-person shooting genre to the console format successfully for the first time. It is a great launch title for the Xbox system and I can recommend it with flying colours.
The defeat of the Covenant in the first Halo game was only a temporary victory, as the alien attackers have renewed their mission to wipe out all of humanity. Despite the human military force's and Master Chief's efforts, the Covenant have breeched the Earth's defenses and have left its inhabitants in a dismal situation. In the midst of desperation, players assume the role of Master Chief and lead the resistance against the Covenant to save the people of Earth from a gruesome demise. Halo 2 will feature an immense and epic single player mode, as the story picks up where it ended in the first game. In addition to the single player mode, Halo 2 will also feature a redesigned multiplayer mode. While the first game limited players to LAN connectivity, Halo 2 takes multiplayer missions online by way of Xbox Live.