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Review: Halo Wars

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the now-for-something-completely-different dept.

Real Time Strategy (Games) 177

The success of the Halo franchise is unquestionable. Bungie's trilogy of first-person shooters established a standard against which most similar games have been judged for the past eight years. Thus, when Ensemble Studios picked up the task of bringing the Halo universe to real-time strategy, they faced two separate mountains to climb: maintaining the high quality demanded by fans of the series and developing for a genre that traditionally translates poorly to console play. Fortunately, they had a head start on the latter, bringing in a wealth of experience from the Age of Empires series. Creating an intuitive and dependable control scheme was a top priority, and their success in doing so makes Halo Wars a worthy addition to the series. Read on for the rest of my thoughts.

  • Title: Halo Wars
  • Developer: Ensemble Studios
  • Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
  • System: Xbox 360
  • Reviewer: Soulskill
  • Score: 7/10

A solid camera system is the foundation of a good control scheme, and here Ensemble gets off to a running start. The left stick pans around the map at a variable speed determined by how far you push the stick. You can scroll slowly or quickly, and you can also change the maximum speed in the options menu. It's very responsive and easy to get from one place to another. You can hold the left trigger for even more speed, going all the way across the map in about a second. The right stick controls the zoom function, which is largely irrelevant — you'll probably want to keep it zoomed out as far as it will go most of the time — and pushing the stick to the sides rotates your view. You won't need to use this very often, but it's convenient and useful if you want to see things from a different angle.

The other way you can move around the map is with the directional pad. Hitting left will cycle through your base positions, and pressing down will cycle through your unit positions. Occasionally you'll get an alert — for example, a few of your units will be under attack somewhere on the map — and pressing right will take you immediately to the position of your latest alert. Getting around the map is definitely not a problem in this game. It's about as close as you can get to the ease of use that comes with a mouse and keyboard.

The next big hurdle was unit selection, and again, Ensemble did a fine job, giving you all the options and speed you're used to in these types of games. The A-Button selects units individually, but if you hold it down, you get a good-sized circular area which you can then sweep over multiple units to select them at the same time. This takes the place of the typical click-and-drag rectangles on the PC. It's slightly slower, but not by much, and you get the added benefit of being able to grab everyone in a circle around a unit you want to stay put. On top of that, double tapping the A-button on a unit will select all of that type of unit nearby. The right shoulder will select everything on screen, and the left shoulder will grab all units period. The only notable missing function is the inability to save certain groups and switch back to them, and even then, if your groups are spread out, it's not an issue.

If you have multiple unit types selected, the trigger buttons will cycle through the different types, making it very easy to send all your marines in one direction and all your vehicles in another. Once you've had a few missions to get used to the myriad selection options, you won't even need to actively think about what buttons to press. It's a good system because it doesn't get in the way of the actual gameplay. Finally, the means of controlling your units and buildings are simple and intuitive as well. The X-button is your standard "go here," "attack this," "grab this" button, and the Y-button activates any special attacks your selected units have. One nice feature is that you can hold down the X-button for a few seconds and a unit will finish walking to where they were already headed before they go to the new location. This lets you set up paths to take the long way around if the short way isn't safe. Buildings have a radial context menu through which you activate upgrades or pump out new units. You can queue up multiples at a time, and you can cancel an order before it finishes. Essentially, all is as it should be, and you're left to focus on what's important.

Halo Wars starts you off about 20 years before the events of the first Halo game. They send you to Harvest, the first planet to be taken by the Covenant, to establish peaceful and cooperative relations with their leaders and diplomats after five long years of combat. Just kidding — they want you to kill stuff. You get to see cinematics after every mission, which are largely responsible for driving the plot of the game. Visually, they're quite impressive, though the first few are a bit slow. As the game goes on, the cinematics become progressively cooler and more exciting. The writing and the dialogue is less than stellar, but it's serviceable, and it provides some good context to the Halo universe. There are also minor plot points shown during the mission, rendered by the game engine. Those are usually what determine your specific objectives.

There are not many missions in the campaign — just 15 — but they're very diverse. No two are alike, and Ensemble does a decent job of creating interesting objectives and differing levels of resistance. In one, you have to defend civilians as they head for their evacuation shuttles, and you need to take care of the shuttles themselves. The mission is timed, waiting on a countdown to launch. Another mission has you faced with a large energy shield that needs to be taken down. Certain positions on the map are good attack points for a type of long-range tank, so you have to take each position one at a time and hold them all long enough to knock down the barrier. Later you fight a Covenant super-weapon (a Scarab), dodging its main attack while taking out its power supply. And, of course, you get a mission to just build a massive army and annihilate everything else on the map.

They give you a good mixture of offense and defense, though in some cases the amount of resistance you're likely to encounter is unclear. Decisions made early in the game in terms of build order and unit production can effectively eliminate your chances of winning if you guess wrong. This is important because of the way Halo Wars deals with building bases. The bases themselves can only be placed in particular spots. Once a base is built, a number of empty construction bays spring up around it, and you're only allowed to build additional structures where there are construction bays. This means that you're only allowed a maximum of seven structures per base. On top of that, resources aren't something you go out and farm; you build supply pads, which slowly get deliveries from your ship in orbit. So, you're given a tough decision early on whether you want to develop your army or your economy. If you throw down five supply pads, you'll get resources like crazy, but you won't have enough space left to build all of the other things you need to win.

On the easier difficulty levels, this works out decently well; a ton of early resources means that you can pump out enough basic marines to handle most threats until you get fully established and perhaps take a second base. On the harder modes, you're attacked earlier and with stronger forces. Another decision they give you is what type of enemies you want to defend against. Several units are particularly strong against one type of enemy — infantry, vehicle, or aircraft — and not as useful against others. When in doubt, diversify, but if you're playing at an appropriate difficulty level, you can expect to fail a few because you just don't know what to prepare for. The timed missions, in particular, force you into early decisions that simply may not work. Since there's only the UNSC campaign, it's worth going through and doing the side missions, and also trying for some of the difficulty-related achievements.

The AI in Halo Wars is solid; pretty standard for this type of game. Your forces are reasonably smart about picking a target to focus, but not too smart; they won't switch off a full-health tank to drop one that's already almost dead. The pathing is pretty good; you won't have to spend much time micromanaging where you want them to go, but the option is there if you need it. One complaint is that when defending, your troops like to chase attackers too far, spreading out your forces and making it easy for a smart enemy to score some easy kills. There are four difficulty levels — easy, normal, heroic, and legendary. If you're just looking for a quick play-through of the game, go with normal. If you'd like to work for it, go with heroic. If you're pretty good at other real-time strategy games and/or enjoy being punched in the face, legendary will fit the bill.

The selection of units is interesting. You often get a leader and a group of three Spartan soldiers. In addition to being quite powerful, these units are essentially unkillable in the single-player campaign. When they take lethal damage, they drop to the ground and slowly regenerate health. Once they've healed enough, you can revive them by bringing another unit close by. It can lead to some surprising shifts in power. Most of the units are upgradeable to a high degree, becoming significantly more powerful late in the game. For example, the standard UNSC marines begin as a squad of four men with machine guns and grenades. Successive upgrades will: add one man, trade the grenades for long-range rocket launchers, add a medic that will heal the squad after a battle, and finally upgrade all of the marines to Shock Troopers. Each side even has "uber units;" Scarabs shoot giant lasers that fry UNSC forces in seconds, and Vultures are airborne behemoths that can eradicate Covenant buildings almost as quickly.

It would have been great to get a campaign of Covenant missions, but you can still use them in multiplayer. Their buildings are similar to the UNSC selection, but with minor variations. They get shield generators of questionable utility, and their infantry are the ones specialized to fight against particular units, rather than the vehicles. The two factions are similar enough that they'll be well balanced. You can play multiplayer maps against the AI or online with other humans, and you can also play cooperatively with your friends. You select the faction you want to play and then the leader you want, each of whom brings a different unit, ability, or potential upgrade to the table. You can expect to see players using strategies that work in other RTS games. Rushes work well, but they can be dealt with. Selecting your opening strategy tends to be more important than out-managing your opponent in battles. You don't have to have a ridiculous number of actions per minute to do well.

Ensemble succeeded quite well at establishing a control system that is powerful yet doesn't fight for intellectual real estate with the actual playing of the game. It's not a ground-breaking new entry into the real-time strategy genre, but, in a manner similar to the first Halo shooter, it demonstrates how well this genre can work on consoles. And it does well by the Halo franchise in the process. It's too bad Ensemble themselves got split up after completing this game — DLC involving some Covenant missions or making the Flood a third playable race would make this game even better. Fortunately, a team of Ensemble members now going by the name Robot Entertainment will be providing "support." If they're proactive about tuning and balancing the game, Halo Wars multiplayer could become quite popular indeed, in part because there isn't much competition. While it's not likely to be suitable for the hardcore, competitive RTS players, Halo Wars is definitely the fun and easy-to-operate console RTS many players have been waiting for.

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177 comments

In other words... (5, Insightful)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136879)

...same exact formula as a million other RTS games, just branded with Halo; ergo, if you like Halo, this is probably an excellent game - otherwise it's like many others that came before it. If you've not played many RTS games, this one probably has polish, so pick it.

Re:In other words... (2, Interesting)

Onaga (1369777) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137121)

Umm.. how? I like Halo. I don't like RTS games. Will my love of a great FPS all of sudden make me love an RTS game just because ZOMG, I can create units that are based on the same units in the FPS? Dual wielding needlers and jumping into a fray is far removed from selecting a few units and telling them to explore north.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137251)

Will my love of a great FPS all of sudden make me love an RTS game just because ZOMG, I can create units that are based on the same units in the FPS?

I do believe that is what Microsoft would be banking on with this game to help boost sales. Much like how Nintendo hopes adding Mario to the mix makes customers more interested in buying a racer or sports title.

Re:In other words... (2, Interesting)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137269)

Ummm... how - what?

If you don't like cars or offroading and someone produced a perfect warthog replica, I would certainly think you wouldn't be interested.
Of course you won't like an RTS based on Halo if you don't like RTS games... I would think that this is so obvious that I didn't need to make mention of it.

The whole point of my post is that this RTS isn't doing anything new, it's simply rebranding the stardard RTS experience with 'Halo.'

Re:In other words... (2, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139485)

I think it is doing something new, though. Not really on the RTS front; it's a bit simplified and small. But it's a genre that has never really succeeded on a console, and it sounds like they've really tweaked this a lot to be an introduction to RTS games in general. A playable RTS on a console would be a new thing.

I just wish they would come out with some for the Wii; that console would be perfect for RTS games, but none have been made yet.

Re:In other words... (3, Interesting)

Meneguzzi (935620) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137551)

Well, that's usually the way it works in the market of overhyped games, you create a game that is about the same as all other successful games in the genre, being careful at not attempting anything creative in gameplay, pour a ton of money on marketing to get people to say that this new game will be a breakthrough (even if it's an average game), and people generally buy it. It's a proven formula for the majority of commercially successful console games. In the case of FPS and RTS games for consoles, you also need to dumb it down a bit, since there's no way you can control these games with a game controller with the same precision and speed that a mouse would afford in a computer.

Re:In other words... (1, Interesting)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139937)

"No way to control these games with a controller with the same precision and speed that a mouse would afford" ?

Sure there is!

Mouse and keyboard are horribly limiting interfaces for RTSs. All that stuff about dragging a selection rectangle, assigning keyboard shortcuts to groups, selecting units onscreen, ... It's a mess.

Imagine a voice-controller interfaces. "All tanks, attack target". "Grenadiers on screen, retreat." "Large factory, build tanks then missiles."

These games can make do with a tiny vocabulary -- and the technology for voice recognition with a tiny vocabulary is already there.

Re:In other words... (4, Insightful)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140241)

Attack where? Go where, following which path? What if you want tanks on the left to perform a certain task and the ones on the right to run away? You really think you can say that out loud quicker than you can point and type a few keystrokes?

In fact your suggestion reminds me of some japanese live-action, where the good guys would cry out loud each and every action they were doing. The bad guys/monsters had to stay in the same place waiting for them to complete their speech. Ok, your idea is not completely wthout merit, but voice recognition is overrated. That's why it is not more widespread, since, as you noted it, we already have the tech.

Re:In other words... (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140597)

All of the voice control examples you provide can be done in a few keystrokes/clicks in most modern games, so I don't see how they're an improvement over the current system unless you start with an already crippled controller. Still, what you're describing is already implemented in Tom Clancy's Endwar. It works, but at best it provides no advantage over m/k whatsoever. I mean besides freeing up a hand to masturbate with, of course.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27139899)

In other other words, it fits perfectly into the Halo series, which are mediocre FPSs that have achieved success among people who had never played FPSs before.

Myth II (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27139915)

I really want to like RTS games, but was ruined by playing Myth II. Managing resources always feels like doing chores rather than engaging game play - the tactics side.

Now, if someone would come out with a Myth II mod [projectmagma.net] for Halo, that would be perfect.

Can I say... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136899)

Halo everybody!

HAHAHA yeah right (-1, Flamebait)

pnuema (523776) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136917)

I'd have to lose 30 IQ points before I'd try an RTS on a console. The only people I know who think HALO is a good game are the ones that have never played Half-Life. Do yourself a favor; buy a PC, and try a real RTS.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1, Insightful)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136953)

I'd have to lose 30 IQ points before I'd try an RTS on a console. The only people I know who think HALO is a good game are the ones that have never played Half-Life. Do yourself a favor; buy a PC, and try a real RTS.

*sniff sniff*

Do I smell an opposing fanboi?!

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (0)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137077)

In this case he's actually right. Even with a mouse Halo is still questionable.

Bungie's trilogy of first-person shooters established a standard against which most similar games have been judged for the past eight years.

Yeah right. Actually the gave which most similar games have been judged is Half Life and before that Quake!

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137107)

Yahtzee: "Back when Wolfenstein could still call itself '3D' with a straight face!"

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

el3mentary (1349033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137257)

and before even Quake was DOOM.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (5, Insightful)

Deag (250823) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137347)

He is only half right. Halo is actually quite good and I only really played PC FPS before I started playing it.

I have only played the third one and it is easily one of the most polished games I have ever played. The mouse is a better controller for FPS, but the Halo is a lot slower than say quake so it doesn't make as much difference (I played Quake III one day after playing halo and it was like flying, the speed didn't feel as right as halo does).

It is one of the few games of this type I have played where strangers actually communicated and planned properly in team based multiplayer. People actually talked!

Also the theater mode was fantastic. It was very interesting to play through a flag capture from numerous angles (I once replayed one where I thought I had done all the work, where in the replay it showed a sniper and others keeping people of my back).

So I would consider getting this if only for the polish, Halo doesn't break any new ground but from what I have seen what it does, it does well.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (4, Interesting)

chadplusplus (1432889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138101)

I was going to mod this up, but thought I would add some additional thoughts instead.

I've been playing computer based FPS since Doom II. I didn't play a console based FPS until SOCOM 2 (or was it 3?) and then Halo 3.

The campaign of Halo 3 was good enough to captivate me through completion, but the campaign for HL2 was better; however...

Halo shines with respect to multiplayer. Not because of its controls. Not because of the multitude of 12 year old mic hogs. But because of its matchmaking.

I tried playing Team Fortress II, but felt like an idiot screwing over my teammates because I had no clue what I was doing. I tried playing L4D, but only rarely got a good evenly matched team together. The ranking system in Halo matchmaking, which is loosely based upon chess ranking system (IIRC), works fairly well. Pretty much every game I play in is competitive.

That's what keeps it interesting for me. No particular match is too easy and only the occasional match is completely overwhelming. And then there's grifball...

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138177)

In TF2 it happens that in my clan when we play together somehow I become sort of a Lieutenant for all the offensive classes since I'm a doctor I end up commandeering them around. It happens naturally without we planning it. Though i see how you can feel like you're screwing your team when you've just started playing TF2.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

Minozake (1227554) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139907)

I personally didn't like matchmaking. I personally liked going into pubs ala PC FPSes. Trying to find a match at midnight (CST) was usually hell because nobody could be matched with me. It was slow when I was already falling asleep.

Not to say that matchmaking doesn't have its pros, but I want to play a quick big team battle game on a specific map with a specific setting or goto a custom setup quickly, but not necessarily need to have any pals on XBL. One plus, though, is that if I climbed the ladder up, there would be natural communication between mates, and I'd say in some instances it does outweigh the cons.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138819)

I have only played the third one and it is easily one of the most polished games I have ever played.

.

Of course you'd feel that way, it is their third try. I hope after the first two they would have gotten better.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27140595)

It is one of the few games of this type I have played where strangers actually communicated and planned properly in team based multiplayer. People actually talked!

Also the theater mode was fantastic. It was very interesting to play through a flag capture from numerous angles (I once replayed one where I thought I had done all the work, where in the replay it showed a sniper and others keeping people of my back).

Yeah, Tribes 2 was awesome. You could jump into a game, see what was needed, and pick up that role. Spotting a wingman behind you when you were going for the flag was awesome. And the replays really helped when we played competitively.

But why are you calling Tribes 2 "the third one"? Oh, you were talking about Halo? They copied that too? Well that's cool, I guess.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137089)

No, he's right. If you want a real RTS, go with Warcraft 3 or Starcraft. Halo Wars is just a fanboy franchise.

The article above said Halo is a game that has been used to rate other FPS's for the last 8 years. What it FAILS to mention is the only FPS's that it's compared to are CONSOLE FPS's. HL1, 2, Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein, etc are all far superior FPS's. The 2 standout console FPS's, IMO, are Goldeneye (Perfect Dark, too.) and Halo.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137255)

"If you want a real RTS, go with Total Annihilation or Supreme Commander. Blizzard games are just a fanboy franchise"

Fixed for you.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137325)

Supreme Commander was fucking shit packed up in an intestinal bag and force fed to leper midgets before being re-excreted and sold to the lowest common denominator.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137623)

There's a reason Korea's economy is based around Starcraft. It is that good. Saying a game is amazing for it's genre isn't being a fanboy, ya know.

Starcraft/Warcraft made the RTS genre (fighting style, not Sim2000 style). Respect your elders.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139991)

I think you're exactly wrong. Halo Wars is specifically NOT made for fanboys, but for the general audience, while Warcraft 3 is specifically for a niche audience. So is Starcraft, but it had a weird breakout.

All three are 'real' RTS's. Just different types.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (5, Interesting)

Saige (53303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137389)

Having played both... Halo is the superior game. Yes, blasphemy, I know, but really, is there a story to Half-Life? No. I was amazed when playing HL2 that people make it out to be such a big deal. Most of it was listen to a couple minutes of conversation that suggests that there may be a story somewhere, OMG, something happened, you're separated from Alyx, now go through 2 hours of story-less FPS gaming to meet her somewhere else. Then it happens again. Oh, and occasionally there are massively long and boring vehicle sections.

About 25% of HL2 was actually interesting and fun.

Halo, on the other hand, has solid story throughout. Sure, there's nothing as cool as the gravity gun in the play, but the tank-driving sections are far more fun than anything in HL2.

In fact, the section of Halo 3 where you destroy the scarab with the tank was more fun than the entirety of HL2.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (5, Insightful)

stinkyj (300739) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137881)

Having played both, you are a fanboy. Fun != Story. I had a heck of a time figuring out what the heck was going on in Halo. Halo 2 was even worse. The only thing i figured out was everyone was a wuss but Master Chief, and he had to backtrack so many times I almost fell asleep. My challenge to any halo player is to explain the flood, halo, and all that religious gibberish to anyone that's never played and ask them if it makes sense afterwards.

HL2 story wasn't the best either, definitely overrated, but at least I could kinda understand what was going on.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138185)

You couldn't understand the story in Halo? Seriously?

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (2, Interesting)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138791)

I'm not a fan of Halo... I HATED that whole Flood part, it's one of my most hated game scenarios. You go from fighting one kind of enemy, which look alright, to a grotesque ogranic thing with either worse AI.

All-in-all, it is over-hyped.

That being said, the storyline isn't that much gibberish.

- Aliens are attacking Earth's colonies, fortunately they don't know the location of Earth.
- Aliens are VERY religious, to the point of being zealous. They believe in ancient gods that left on a great journey, that they are chosen, etc.
- While escaping, MC and company come across a large ring-like world with its own ecosystem.
- We come to learn the Ring is actually a weapon. Several are spread across the galaxy and when activated release an energy way that destroys all biological matter.
- It was activated once before, when the rings' creators couldn't stop a parasitic organism called "The Flood" from absorbing all life in the galaxy.
- For SOME reason, samples of the flood survived on at least one of the rings and are unleashed by the humans/aliens when they explore the ring.
- Now humanity is fighting aliens that hate them, and aliens that just want to absorb them.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27138913)

If Fun != Story then all those people who read books must be crazy!

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (3, Informative)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139601)

Wow, I can't believe someone found the Halo story hard to follow. I haven't played the original Halo in almost 3 years, but I'll give your challenge a shot from memory:

1) Humans are at war with covenant (bad guys)

2) Story starts with Pillar of Autumn (a big colony ship) being pursued by covenant. The ship comes out of hyperspace in an unknown location, and covenant are still in pursuit. There is a large ring shaped artificial planet nearby.

3) Covenant manage to board the ship, and you (Master Chief) are asked to take Cortana (the ship's AI) to protect it from capture. You are to flee from to ring planet.

4) Once on the planet, you regroup with everyone else that escaped.

5) You learn your captain was captured by the covanant, so you rescue him and several other shipmates.

6) While captive, the captain learned that the covenant believe Halo is not just a planet, but a super weapon. He also learned the covenant are attempting to gain control of Halo so they can use it.

7) You try to find out where the control room is

8) You head for the control room so that YOU can get control of the weapon first.

9) On the way there, you run into the flood, which is a sort of parasitic creatures race. They were apparently in containment on Halo and accidentally released by the covenant in their attempt to get control of Halo.

10) You run into Guilty Spark, who is a service bot responsible for caring for the installation (ie: Halo). When he learns you are there to activate Halo, and he wants to help you because he needs to stop the flood, and activating Halo will do that (he can't activate it on his own because of security protocol).

11) He leads you to recover the activation index...the key you will need to activate Halo.

12) You then proceed to the control room to activate it. However, as you activate it, Cortana discovers that Halo is not a weapon, but a device to purge the galaxy (or maybe just some large portion of it) of life.

13) You try to abort, but Guilty Spark tries to stop you by sending Halos defensive system against you. You succeed anyway.

14) You now decide that leaving the Halo intact is too dangerous (in case someone else activates it) so you are going to destroy it. You head back to the crashed Pillar of Autumn to have it self destruct (taking Halo with it).

15) You then escape in a small ship before Halo explodes.

That's just from memory. Might have missed a few points, but that covers the basics. Nothing very complex or confusing there. If you want to argue that the story is lame or otherwise not compelling, that's fine (your choice). But to say it's difficult to figure out what's going on....well, if that's the case, I suggest "Hello Kitty Island Adventure" is probably a better match for your intellect.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (0)

kuzb (724081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140031)

So ... They accidently come out of hyperspace near a massive doomsday weapon? Why are the two factions at war? When does the story actually have any kind of substance?

The problem with the storyline is they give you a tiny piece of something that seems much larger and fails to elaborate on anything. Now, in Halo's defense, HL2 is just as bad. Trying to grade either of these games based on plot is ridiculous.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27140699)

HL is just as bad about the whole mystery thing, but it's still a hell of a lot more interesting. Something about "Oh shit, the world just exploded around me at work leaving aliens all over the damn place and all I have is this crowbar" is a bit more compelling than "Me and this army have to fight those aliens."

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27140147)

Having played both, you are a fanboy.

"You are a fanboy" has never, ever meant anything other than, "Your tastes do not match up with mine completely, therefore my vast array of crippling mental deficiencies demand that I apply a childish label to you in the vain hope that it will distract me from my lack of confidence in my own tastes".

This time was no exception.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138203)

Agreed. The gravitas of the Halo story (and music!) really put it a cut above.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (0, Flamebait)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138281)

Most of it was listen to a couple minutes of conversation that suggests that there may be a story somewhere

WTF... if you want a story go to the library and check out a book. You can look at the cool illustrations while your mommy reads it to you.

The only reason companies pander to you low-lifes is so they can sling replica Halo helmets and overpriced collector's editions, hahaha. Enjoy your stories and glossy inserts losers.

Games are about game play first and story second. Give me a polished shooter and I'll make my own stories... COD4, nuff said.

The stories I have from hunting people in COD4 are better than any boring pre-rendered crap with cheesy dialog.

BTW HL2 kicked ass. Let me guess, you couldn't appreciate Portal either?

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139853)

It is perfectly natural to want a story to be there. Why are books the sacred realm of stories? What is so special about a book that they should have a story, but not a video game? Some people don't enjoy reading (I generally don't), so we'd like to experience stories differently (interactively). It's not a necessity for every game, but it helps.

PS. I'm not the person you replied to but: I didn't like HL much but I loved Portal.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

Saige (53303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139855)

Oh, Portal was absolutely incredible. One of the best games I've played in a long time.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (0, Redundant)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138335)

If you didn't think there was story in those two hours you weren't looking around you

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139303)

Totally agreed on this comment.

It may be because I didn't play Halo 1 (though I didn't play HL1 before HL2 either), but when I went through Halo 2 I didn't think the story was that good. IMO, HL2's story is way better.

HAHAHA Halo had a good story - yeah right (2, Interesting)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138707)

Halo/Halo 2 had some of the DUMBEST, most boring, and most repetitive cutscenes in any game I've ever played. I can't even begin to describe how simplistic and boring the story in these games was. Actually, I never really figured out too much of what was going on aside from various retarded looking aliens hissing at each other and posturing to show off how tough they are.

Halo/Halo 2 are some of the most overrated games ever in my opinion. They have fun moments but are so ridiculously repetitive. In each game you go through the same exact levels multiple times, just in different directions each time (and sometimes not even that, sometimes it's just 'do the exact same thing you did an hour ago over again'). That's how they filled out the content of those pieces of crap. My friend and I never actually finished Halo 2 because we got so bored playing it.

Actually.. (1)

relguj9 (1313593) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139025)

Throwing a guy off of a balcony with the gravity gun is more fun than the entirety of single player HALO 1-3.

The only draw for HALO is the multiplayer with friends in the same room and that it's an FPS that sort of works for a console. CS and TF2 are and always will be infinitely greater multiplayer FPS games than any flavor of HALO.

Being able to shoot people accurately and not feeling like I'm playing the game while stuck in a pool of mud makes the HL series infinitely better than HALO.

I didn't state "IMHO" or "IMO" to counter your statement of opinion as fact because well... you stated your opinion as fact.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

bevoblake (1106117) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139259)

Well thought out position, but I'd have to give them a more even ranking on most merits.

HL2 Highlights:
  • Modified Gravity Gun during the end-game
  • Entry into Ravenhome - I'm a sucker for pseudo-horror
  • Alyx Vance - better companion than Cortana

Halo Highlights (from 1 and 2, unfortunately don't have a 360):

  • Introduction of the Flood in the first game (good foreshadowing)
  • Arbiter invisibility - this created some fantastic stealth opportunities
  • Covenant sword
  • Creative level design - the outdoor environments were very cool

I would tend to give Halo the edge due to multiplayer being so fantastic, but I haven't given the HL2 partner games a fair shake - CS or TF2.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

Minozake (1227554) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140001)

Not very many highlights for Halo 3, unfortunately. It's also home to the worst level design ever (Mission 8, AFAICT). Shallow story, but it wraps it up in the least. Well, there's also killing more Scarabs, which is awesome.

Both the Halo series and the HL series have their merits, but it's hard to compare them, imo.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

Ifandbut (1328775) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140367)

Thank you OP!

While I enjoy HL2 and the Episodes that follow, Halo 1-3 still win in my book.

I guess it could be because the one thing I CAN NOT STAND in a game that is supposed to have a story is a mute protagonist. On top of that you are forced to watch all the events from the same first person perspective.

Gorden Freeman just felt so empty. I would not even know what he looks like if it were not for the box art.

Both Halo and HL's story is fairly typical. Aliens invade earth. Some aliens are good, some are evil. However the way it is presented in Halo is much better. I actually disappointed with Halo 3 and not being able to see things from the Arbiter's point of view. It really added some perspective to the series in Halo 2.

I had to force myself to get through the water boat parts in HL2. It just felt extremely pointless. At least in the backtracking parts of Halo Cortana would sometimes reveal some more story (intercepting a transmission or what ever).

Personally, HL2:Episode 1 and 2 were much more fun then HL2 and I'm looking toward Episode 3 but not nearly as much as I was looking forward to Halo 3.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (3, Funny)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137499)

It's comments like this that prove how PC gaming is on a decline. Otherwise, it's proponents wouldn't be so sensitive and bitchy about anything that threatens the PCs homogeny over certain genres. These sorts of comments are like what we saw written about the original Halo. I'm sure the whining of 'you cant play fps/rts without a keyboard and mouse wtfbbq' are generally drowned out by the ringing of millions of tills.

Btw the parent comment is a lot funnier when you read it in a comic book guy voice.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137895)

Btw the parent comment is a lot funnier when you read it in a comic book guy voice.

In fairness, that goes for pretty much everything. Every post here, Lincoln's second inagural adress, love letters you wrote back in high school...

I'm sure the whining of 'you cant play fps/rts without a keyboard and mouse wtfbbq' are generally drowned out by the ringing of millions of tills.

I've wondered this too before. People who crow about the mouse and keyboard being far superior often seem to hate console gamers, even if we are playing it with an inferior control scheme, why do they care so much that we get the best? I don't come into their houses and yell at them for eating cheetos and taco bell rather than steak.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137905)

Trolling consolers was fun for the last decade but they are so pathetic nowadays it is not fun anymore.

Re:HAHAHA yeah right (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138141)

Halo 1 & 2 were infinitely better games than Half Life when it came to gameplay (multiplayer mostly) Half Life does win when it comes to story as they never really fleshed out Halo's storyline as much as they should have though

Intuitive and dependable control scheme... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136951)

So they've switched to a keyboard/mouse?

Re:Intuitive and dependable control scheme... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137039)

Nope, but if you can hammer a square peg into a square hole, you can easily come to grips with this game.

Of course, the whole "square peg into square hole" thing pretty much rules out the entire Halo fanbase, but still! Halo - Combat Devolved!

I thought it sucked - horribly.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136989)

Traded it in a couple of days after release... It's just cheap-ass Halo branding on everything. It's got the typical Microsoft hype machine running it, and little else...

A wonderful, original game (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137007)

This game takes a new, totally novel, 'Humans', 'aliens with advanced tech' and 'aliens with organic tech' approach to sides that I totally have never seen before in any space-based rts. It's good to see microsoft finally coming out with concepts that aren't direct copies of anything else.

oh wait

PS3 Warhawk is better than Halo. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137013)

Warkhawk for Sony Playstation 3 is a better game than Halo.

Re:PS3 Warhawk is better than Halo. (1)

relguj9 (1313593) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140011)

Warkhawk for Sony Playstation 3 is a better game than Halo.

haha, I used to love Warhawk for the original Playstation, amazing game. That and Wipeout.

"Final Fantasy Tactics" and "Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions" are also better than HALO, wtfamazing games.

I will say, HALO is the best single and multiplayer FPS I've ever played for a console, by a long shot. Whatever that means.

console RTS (2, Informative)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137219)

Redalert 3 was not a very enjoyable experience. And why should this one be any different?

I'll just wait for SC2.

Re:console RTS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137879)

RA3 was built for the PC and then ported to the console, this was built for the console. They redesigned some of the camera controls so substitute for the lack of a convenient minimap, and they used a design similar to Battle for Middle Earth for the units and structures which works well with a console controller.

This is the first RTS I know of that was built for a console, and judging it based on previous RTS games for consoles is ignoring that fact.

Meh. (-1, Troll)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137225)

I still take great pride in the fact that I've never played any member of the Halo series.

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137311)

With as much crap as I give Halo (and LOVE giving Halo fanboys), it's not a bad FPS, just generic. Fanbois make it out to be some revolutionary leap in gaming, which is laughable, but on its face it's an ok time killer.

Re:Meh. (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138061)

Disclaimer: I don't care for FPSs in general, and absolutely hate FPSs on consoles. If you're going to play FPSs, keyboard + mouse is the proper control scheme. Period. But with that said, the original HALO was leaps and bounds ahead of any other FPS available for consoles at the time. That was what created the HALO fanboy club. /Didn't really care for HALO, played only because a friend was such a damn fanboy I had to see if it was really all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips //Didn't care enough to give -2 or -3 a try

Way to felaciate Bungie, reviewer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137279)

Bungie's trilogy of first-person shooters established a standard...

Yes, they defined for us the exact bottom of the barrel.

How can you trust this article? (3, Insightful)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137295)

It starts out with: "Bungie's trilogy of first-person shooters established a standard against which most similar games have been judged for the past eight years."

Uhm, no. Halo is a console game which was based on the rich and varied offerings from the PC world. To say that Halo is a standard really shows how little the reviewer knows about first pergames.

Re:How can you trust this article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137473)

see that word SIMILAR? A PC only FPS is not as much as people like to claim SIMILAR to a console FPS the control scheme is too disimilar to compare them even when transfered to the other as you run into problems translating that control scheme.

Re:How can you trust this article? (1)

relguj9 (1313593) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140249)

see that word SIMILAR? A PC only FPS is not as much as people like to claim SIMILAR to a console FPS the control scheme is too disimilar to compare them even when transfered to the other as you run into problems translating that control scheme.

I disagree. The only real difference is the control input. Game modes, perspective, weapons, etc... are all exactly the same as any basic console FPS. There really isn't any trouble using the same control scheme for a PC shooter, I've read reviews by HALO players going from mid 20 ranks to mid 40 ranks just by switching to a keyboard and mouse.

Where they differ is the pace and maps have been designed specifically for a console.

Gameplay wise, they are groundbreaking in a few very small and distinct areas, and in those areas ONLY groundbreaking in the arena of consoles.

For an FPS, they ARE groundbreaking in their ladder ranking system, but they didn't actually invent anything. They just ripped off Blizzard's match making and Yahoo's ranking.

So I agree they are groundbreaking in very distinct areas but the title is misleading. Not that it really matters at all lol.

Re:How can you trust this article? (1)

relguj9 (1313593) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140289)

And uhh.. they definitely aren't a "standard" game play wise in the arena of PC FPS's, which are similar. Their ranking system should be used as a standard though IMHO. I'd love to see something like that for CS or the next big PC FPS.

Re:How can you trust this article? (2, Insightful)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137771)

Like it or not, Halo is the most popular FPS out there by numbers, despite being on a console, and as a result it is the most common standard people use to compare by.

Note that I can say this without making any type of a judgment on gaming on PCs or consoles.

Re:How can you trust this article? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27138231)

Note that I can say this without making any type of a judgment on gaming on PCs or consoles.

Then allow me to restate your post in a manner more befitting of a flamewar.

The iPod, by virtue of being the most visible, has become synonymous with "MP3 player". Someone doesn't ask, "hey so-and-so, have you seen my MP3 player?", they ask, "have you seen my iPod?".

But the iPod lacks much of the functionality that is regarded as standard in every other player on the market. The iPod, despite being the inferior product, is the dominant player.

The Halo trilogy follows suit. Just by being the most visible it had become the 'standard' for most other FPSs on the market.

Re:How can you trust this article? (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138287)

It's not despite, it's because. The PC FPS market is widely fragmented across a wide number of games, and the console FPS market is...Halo.

It's easy to be the biggest fish if you're the only fish.

Re:How can you trust this article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27138817)

And when your handed out as the game that comes with the damn consoles the numbers are understandably inflated.

Re:How can you trust this article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27139571)

We're talking about Halo, not Super Mario Brothers

Re:How can you trust this article? (1)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139583)

Halo 1/2/3 didn't come with the consoles except in later special Halo edition variants as I recall. They know people will buy Halo, so they purposefully did not pack it in.

Re:How can you trust this article? (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140091)

Wow, so you mean Bungie were some huge visionaries that realized there was this huge untapped market on the console that nobody had ever thought to attempt to grab onto before? Everyone before them was completely oblivious to the opportunity that existed?

No, the reason it is "despite" and not "because" is that implementing a FPS on a console control scheme is just outright difficult, and nobody had yet figured out the ideal way of handling it. Others had tried, but there were very few successes. Bungie stumbled on the correct combination of controls and gameplay mechanics that made it work well on a console.

It also helped that Halo had a huge fan following because of some of the revolutionary graphics they had been teasing for years on the PC, and that followed them over when they switched to be console only (at least initially). However, that wouldn't have helped them had their implementation been as good as it was. A fan following + crap game = no fan following (just ask Romero).

Now there are others, but Halo enjoys the benefit of being the first to get it as right as they did.

Re:How can you trust this article? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27138417)

No, he's right. It's a standard. The question is what kind.

If it's as good as Halo it's average. If it's better than Halo it's above average. If it's worse than Halo it's below average. See, that's a standard.

Re:How can you trust this article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27139435)

Um, to say that the first Halo game redefined expectations within the console market for FPS's would be an understatement.

Of course its based on PC games, its a FPS so therefore it is based on the revolutions made by Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Goldeneye in that Genre.

And yes, almost every first-person shooter released on a console for the past eight years has been judged against Halo, because it it widely regarded as one of the fine FPS of all time. Hence why it gets a 97 on metacritic.

Do you not even read reviews?

Re:How can you trust this article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27139533)

...because it it widely regarded as one of the fine FPS of all time.

You're funny as hell. Do you do parties or corporate events?

Re:How can you trust this article? (2, Insightful)

saider (177166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140665)

A standard does not have to be a high standard. Just a base for comparison.

Where's my music? (3, Informative)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137429)

I got this game a few days after it came out and while the game mechanics are pleasing and the controls easy enough to learn for an RTS using a gamepad, I must say one thing has me very disappointed. The soundtrack.

Where the hell is my kickass soundtrack going on in the background? The game is visually pleasing, I especially like watching the warthogs drive around. I feel like the music was ignored, but this is just my opinion. That was one of the draws for playing Halo for me, the music that would swell up and seemed to tie in with the situations very well. I just don't have that in Halo Wars. Maybe I am knit-picking. Did anyone else feel let down by the musical score or lack there of?

Ehh... (1)

credd144az (1078167) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137479)

OK review... Could have used more multi-player details.

Re:Ehh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137641)

It left them out as, well, there really isn't much multiplayer to speak of. The MP aspects are almost universally panned as being flimsy, combined with the tiny maps which leave no room for anything remotely resembling strategy. On top of that, the dearth of options available (very few game modes, only two races to select). In short: the multiplayer is crap.

Halo Wars isn't a bad game... (3, Insightful)

lattyware (934246) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137519)

but it remains a console RTS. Yawn.
I want my RTS to be complex, and far more open with more micro-management, I havn't seen an RTS I've liked since Empire Earth 2, since then, everything has been dumbed down again and again.
I've got, played, and liked Halo Wars. I like the Halo franchise, it's got a good storyline, and the games have been well made. This, true to form, is not a bad game. It's just not revolutionary.
That said, I am tired of people slagging off Halo continuously. Sure, I prefer the Half-Life PC games to Halo, but the Halo games remain excellent - and the game type and map customisation have yet to be beaten for a simplicity vs power balence.

Re:Halo Wars isn't a bad game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137989)

The Halo games are good FOR A CONSOLE, but compared to pretty much any PC game they are relatively average. My biggest complaint with Halo (and other console games) is the speed - it is absolutely GLACIAL. I can go to the kitchen and make myself a sandwich in the time it takes to turn Master Chief around 360 degrees. Consoles will never be able to match the control offered by a mouse. I have given up PC gaming for a number of reasons, but the thing I miss the most is the mouse.

Re:Halo Wars isn't a bad game... (1)

marc.andrysco (1173073) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138457)

Who says it's all about the control you have? I play both PC and console FPS games. I consider the "hindrance" of a joystick to be an obstacle that makes the games that much more different. You can't turn around blazing fast, but nobody on a console can. This moves gameplay away from running into the middle of a crowd and picking off people at high speeds. Instead, things like sneaking up behind someone becomes very valuable. For me, I turn the sensitivity way up in order to get an advantage, putting it at 10 for the first Halo, but moving down to 8 for the Halo III (mostly due to lag from somewhere between the wireless controllers or the LCD TV I use now).

So, you really like that control for a PC game that allows you to aim anywhere almost instantaneously? Great. I like it too. I also like console games where aim is more difficult, forcing you to keep your aimer pointed directly at where you expect the enemy. One isn't better than the other. They each have their perks. To each his own.

Re:Halo Wars isn't a bad game... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139821)

but it remains a console RTS. Yawn.
I want my RTS to be complex, and far more open with more micro-management, I havn't seen an RTS I've liked since Empire Earth 2, since then, everything has been dumbed down again and again.
I've got, played, and liked Halo Wars. I like the Halo franchise, it's got a good storyline, and the games have been well made. This, true to form, is not a bad game. It's just not revolutionary.
That said, I am tired of people slagging off Halo continuously. Sure, I prefer the Half-Life PC games to Halo, but the Halo games remain excellent - and the game type and map customisation have yet to be beaten for a simplicity vs power balence.

Actually, it's quite interesting.

Personally, I hate micromanagement in RTS games - it's good during the first stages, but then I feel like I really want to delegate some task or another so I can concentrate on the big picture.

I suppose it's also because Halo Wars is less "base management" and more "just get you to the combat, stat" style of RTS game. Effectively, it's a sorta mix between a first/third person shooter (attack the bad guys already!), and an RTS (OK, now what forces will help you attack the bad guys the easiest?).

I would argue that nothing in the Halo series is revolutionary. The Halo series is popular because it's one of the first FPS games designed for the console, with controls designed for a console controller. Pretty much until Halo, console FPSes sucked, horribly, and many a PC gamer said to take their keyboards and mice over their dead bodies. Halo Wars is similar - trying to take a traditional keyboard/mouse game and adapt it to a controller. The games themselves aren't revolutionary (RTS and FPS games have been around for over a decade, nearly two, and been on consoles as well), just the ability to not require a keyboard and mouse to play.

That said, I enjoy Halo, and turned into quite the Halo fan. (I enjoy the Half-Life series as well, on the PC). I certainly do like Halo Wars. I'm not a hardcore gamer, and I find "normal" quite difficult, but I still enjoy the games. And yes, I get pwned in about 5 seconds, but doesn't mean I can't enjoy the game.

Now, what I really want is a good recording of the "Spartan is down" alert. I've got a few good uses for that sound.

Boxer doesn't care (2, Insightful)

Marquis2 (1027570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137547)

It is clear Microsoft is not aiming for the regular, competitive RTS demographic. No Serious RTS fan is going to pick this up for the reviewers praise of the low APM(Actions Per Minute). I'll stick with C&C3 and Starcraft for now, until Starcraft II is released. :)

Tried the demo, felt like I had a frontal lobotomy (5, Insightful)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137747)

I tried the demo on Xbox 360 when it came out. I realize that not all demos are indicative of the quality of the overall game. I have not played the full version.

From my experience, the game is like playing Starcraft, while drunk, with your toes, after a frontal lobotomy. The controls are dumbed down, as is the general gameplay overall. The "pretty graphics and sound" didn't really add that much compelling to the gameplay. Any Command and Conquer game, Warcraft 1-3 or Starcraft had much deeper gameplay. For the $60 you could spend on this game, you could probably find ALL of these other games in bargain bins, or on eBay.

I fail to see why in the world consoles have the inability to use keyboard and mouse at least as an option. The 360 has USB ports, the PS3 has Bluetooth and USB. Why can't I just take my keyboard and mouse combo and use it for these systems as an option?

Some people have given me the excuse that MSFT/Sony/Nintendo want 'consistent gameplay' with the controllers that people will already have. If that's the case though, why do we have things like weird huge joysticks for mech games (360), Rockband kits, the Wii-Fit board, or the Duck Hunt stype zapper for the Wii??? These aren't your standard controllers, but are more than fine. I'm guessing that 'most' households with a game system have a USB keyboard and mouse laying around somewhere.

For me, this would make the consoles perfectly equal gaming systems for me that I'd be totally happy with for RTS and FPS genres.

The reason why is (5, Insightful)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137973)

I fail to see why in the world consoles have the inability to use keyboard and mouse at least as an option. The 360 has USB ports, the PS3 has Bluetooth and USB. Why can't I just take my keyboard and mouse combo and use it for these systems as an option?

Some people have given me the excuse that MSFT/Sony/Nintendo want 'consistent gameplay' with the controllers that people will already have. If that's the case though, why do we have things like weird huge joysticks for mech games (360), Rockband kits, the Wii-Fit board, or the Duck Hunt stype zapper for the Wii??? These aren't your standard controllers, but are more than fine. I'm guessing that 'most' households with a game system have a USB keyboard and mouse laying around somewhere.

It has nothing to do with limiting the number of controllers people have. I bet it's actually that most people don't want to have to play against people with an advantage over them. No one reasonable, generally including even die-hard console fans, disputes that the mouse and keyboard is more precise. A lot of people do dispute, however, whether it's more fun to have a mouse and keyboard on your couch in the living room.

I know that as a console game player, I just wouldn't play any game online where a sizable percentage of the population is using a mouse and keyboard. They have an advantage over me, as surely as baseball players that use steroids have advantages over their clean brethren, and I don't want to adopt their tactics simply to remain competitive. I just wouldn't play, and the number of players like me is a lot larger than the number of players who want to use the mouse and keyboard, so it doesn't make sense to include the option.

Furthermore, and I'm not sure how widely held this view is, but at least for FPS, I actually prefer the lower accuracy of the game controller. The mouse makes it too easy to be unrealistically good, bunny jumping down the hallway while sniping people in the head with a high calibre rifle in mid jump. The fact that it's harder to do that on a console is a good thing to me. There's a reason we don't train our soldiers to jump all around while trying to snipe in real life.

Re:The reason why is (1)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138679)

Argh - where are mod points when you need them? Well said.

Re:The reason why is (1)

Frigga's Ring (1044024) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139879)

I understand and agree with your concerns but I put the responsibility on the game developer to take care of those issues that can make someone "unreasonably good". Greatly diminishing the accuracy of a player running or jumping is good place to start. The reason why I don't prefer the lower accuracy of a game controller is that it often gives an edge on spraying an area with bullets rather than aiming.

Clearly, it will vary by game. My game of choice has always been the Battlefield series and, in that series, it's often a lot better to stop, crouch and aim than it is to just spray someone with bullets. Also, although I can't speak for the Halo series, it seems a lot of console FPSes make up for the lower accuracy by auto-aiming. Warhawk for the PS3 is such an example. There's a circle around your crosshairs that represents your accuracy. If your target is within that circle, you will auto-aim at them. In the games I've played, fights come down to who has the bigger weapon with very little depending on skill. Not exactly my cup of tea.

Re:The reason why is (1)

redJag (662818) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139913)

I completely see your point. I wonder how well it would work out if they simply labeled people based on the control scheme they were using. Then when you create a game, you can set up a filter to only allow controller-using players in your game, perhaps. Maybe it just isn't worth the hassle. Due to some physical limitations, I really have no chance when playing an FPS with a controller but can do alright with a keyboard and mouse. Thus far that has meant no console FPS games for me, which is fine, but if they could figure out a way to make it an option that would be great.

Re:The reason why is (2, Insightful)

crumbz (41803) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140715)

The console manufacturers want to sell you high margin accessories.

Re:Tried the demo, felt like I had a frontal lobot (3, Insightful)

Hellswaters (824112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139611)

Its to control the market. They control what controllers the system can use, and because of that they control who makes the controllers. Once you start allowing mouse and keyboards, your opening the door to more third parties making things for your console which means lower profits. Since they can only use the one (or very few) the makers and thus flow of money can be controlled.

Re:Tried the demo, felt like I had a frontal lobot (1)

kuzb (724081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139745)

I fail to see why in the world consoles have the inability to use keyboard and mouse at least as an option. The 360 has USB ports, the PS3 has Bluetooth and USB. Why can't I just take my keyboard and mouse combo and use it for these systems as an option?

The PS3 has keyboard and mouse support out of the box. However, in order to use it in games the games have to be written to use them. A few games do this already - notably you can get Unreal Tournament 3 for the PS3 with out of the box mouse and keyboard support.

The 360 should follow this fine example. They could crush the gaming market if they did this and found a way to make it so you could use the keyboard and mouse for any game regardless of it's implementation. There is a lot of speculation as to why they have not done it. Most people say that the xbox team does not want to hurt microsoft games lab's PC division. Others would say that it has to do with the fact that it would create a gameplay rift - since a keyboard and mouse for many genres is far superior to a gamepad. More still would say that it breaks "ease of play" and "comfort" since having a mouse on a couch is generally not ideal.

I can't say for sure why they didn't do it. What I can say for sure is it does make certain genres of games less fun and more tedious.

Re:Tried the demo, felt like I had a frontal lobot (1)

relguj9 (1313593) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140349)

/. least popular game ever? (-1, Troll)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137795)

Microsoft brand: check
Console game *: check
DRM: check
Halo: check
Positive review that is not 100% undisputable**: check
Game is not perfect**: check

Yup, this is a perfect storm.

*Why is that an issue? Because of the control scheme. PC gamers just want their console-playing peers to see the light and understand that if you're not using a mouse and keyboard, you're basically torturing yourself, and you make Baby Jesus cry. It has nothing to do with paranoia about their gaming medium being endangered, or silly elitism.
**some say that's impossible, I say we have higher standards here

Ripped from StarCraft (1)

Maarek Stele (7770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139775)

Looks exactly like Starcraft 2. I'm not supprised if it's the same engine that Microsoft somehow got their hands on.

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