Thursday, 27 September 2007

Halo 3, I hardly knew yee.

Being an unemployed graduate makes you a lot of things; bitter, resentful and cynical to name but a few. However, the lack of money that my status brings me also makes me quite discerning when it comes to my game purchases. With this in mind, from the beginning, I had relegated Halo 3 to the 'maybe pile' with my eyes firmly set on picking up EA's exceptional Skate, and that alone. Due to much pestering from a certain Bojack and the unavoidable hype-juggernaut that surrounded it, I eventually decided that I would pick it up, if only for the multiplayer alone. Whilst there were a lot of outside influences that may have worked towards me eventually deciding to get it, the responsibility for my purchase lies solely with yours truly. I could have said no, thought it out a little more and spent my Tesco clubcard vouchers in a more productive way. But I didn't, and now I'm living with my own mistakes.

I understand that much of what I say in this post places me squarely in a vast minority of people who simply don't like Halo 3, and believe me, I want to be like you, I wish I could enjoy this game, but lines have been crossed and trust has been lost. We aren't fans of negativity here at Split-Screen, or at least, we try to avoid it as much as possible, so, just to get it out of the way in the most clinical and professional manor, I present to you a small list of my Halo 3 gripes:

1. I get lost in the menus.
2. I can't play custom matches with strangers.
3. The environments are dull and bland.
4. Retracing my steps makes me want to rip out my eyes.
5. If I ever, ever have to confront The Flood again, I will kill. In reality.
6. Pushing the d-pad every time I want to talk for 10 seconds becomes an unnecessary chore.

Compounding my issues was the fact that after level 2, my health meter simply stopped recharging, making the game totally impossible. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, and I promptly returned the game for a full refund.

My brief time with Halo 3 taught me a lot about gaming in general, especially when I make a direct comparison between it and Cooking Mama on the DS. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to spend a good few hours with this game, and I quickly fell in love. For those of you not familiar with the game, it is a simple cooking simulator in which you chop, peel, cook, stir and fry your way through hundreds of Mama's delightful recipes. I had an incredible amount of fun playing it and it reminded me of the importance of grabbing your audience, making them feel comfortable and rewarded and challenging them enough to come back for more. It is gaming in its simplest and best form, pure fun. I'm all for deep and involving, believe me, but its when I tried to place Halo 3 into either of these categories that I realised that it just wasn't for me. It is too dull and repetitive to be any fun and far too shallow to be considered involving. I kept telling myself that if I persevered, I would start enjoying it, but should I really have to do that? Just to make myself agree with the hundreds of sycophantic reviewers out there? Hell no.

In a lot of way, I envy people who enjoy Halo 3, because I so badly wanted to feel part of that community and to enjoy with my friends. I guess I'm just destined to be a Skate loner.........

The Faux-Bot

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