Impressions: The Heretic

Although this is listed as a level, it's really just a cutscene. As the game itself does later, this switches between the story of John 117, the Master Chief, receiving a hero's welcome on Cairo Station with Sgt. Johnson, Cortana and Lord Hood, and the Covenant Elite in charge of chasing the Pillar of Autumn from Reach to Halo being punished for his failure to protect the ring or destroy the human craft.

Like many players, I'd heard rumblings in advance from those disappointed with the game: about the texture pop, about the inconsistent level of detail on many items, on the length of the levels, which while large, can be played in a relatively short amount of time on any difficulty other than Legendary. I was determined to keep an open mind, but the first time I saw a texture pop in a cutscene I had to wince. It was so noticeable, and so at odds with the high level of polish that was in the cutscenes of Halo 1, which while certainly not as detailed, had a kind of unassailable professionalism in their execution. I also couldn't get over the impression that, while the scenes were apparently done in-engine, there was something still quite different about the way everything looked between gameplay and the scenes.

In Halo 1, they were nearly indistinguishable; and when there were any differences, they nearly always provided just a little bit of extra detail in the cutscene that spilled over into your impression of the gameplay.

A revealing comparison to make comes between a shot from the Pillar of Autumn cutscene in Halo 1 where you meet Captain Keyes on the bridge; the camera pans behind the Master Chief and you can see the black pits in the green armor; slightly shiny, gritty and grimy looking. It was beautiful.

I felt compelled to compare that to the Master Chief's chest as he gets out of the shuttle with Sgt. Jonson in the Cairo Station cutscene; in comparison the texture looks shiny, cartoonish, garish almost-- and in addition, there is noticeable pop there-- as if the Chief had been wearing a rather Teutonic black diving suit and then all of a sudden put on a chest plate that looked like children's Halloween costume version of Nightmare Armor.

I've read what Bungie has said about the pop-- that it was a design tradeoff in order to get faster loading times. That makes sense, and I believe it. I'm not a conspiracy theorist. However, I think that the effect of this pop may have been vastly underestimated. For a company that built its reputation in paying closer attention to important details than anybody else, this is a detail that screams out against everything that fans love about Bungie-- a bit of "good enough" in what is supposed to be a crowning masterpiece.

At any rate, that's the last I hope to have to say about texture pop.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Loads

Loading times are a fact of life for everyone else, so I'd have to say Bungie chose poorly here.

narcogen's picture
narcogen
Offline
Joined: 05/26/1999
seamless world

Quote:

Loading times are a fact of life for everyone else, so I'd have to say Bungie chose poorly here.

Well, it occurred to me the other day that perhaps this was done to live up to the promise of a "seamless world" that was part of Halo's original press release. They obviously spent a lot of time on both games getting load times down, and reducing the number of times you get load interruptions.

However, I think that the division between the Arbiter and Master Chief storyline ruined the impression of this. If you played through the entire game as the Chief, moving seamlessly from location to location, either by walking or in vehicles, with no jump-cuts or load screens, I think that would have had the desired effect, and perhaps have made the game seem even larger. However, the change of setting from Earth to Halo to High Charity makes this difficult.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
STUPID

I Clink on "HALO" Mac Version, and i get here to YET another Halo for X-Box page. A.— there's nothing in common with the Mac Version. I buy a game— It starts and i'm immeadiately TRAPPED inside a shut room. In the X-Box Game— you g et out of the room ONE WAY, and in the PC Version, you get out of it in ANOTHER way- and only GOD kows how to get of it in the Mac Version. There are 900 web pages all about the X-Box version, and ZERO on the Mac Version. The gamne is STUPID- there's no help for you and there is only you being Trapped again and again with no clue to any COMPLEX method of getting out. it's NOT ABOUT shooting aliens, it's about fightng with a GAME MAKER— who can't understand that you want to drive jeeps. shoot aliens and not get trapped inside rooms when you have no hands and can't open a door. This is a STUPID game, aned deserves to go where it belongs— in the TRASH CAN, and never buy anything else from these IDIOTS.

narcogen's picture
narcogen
Offline
Joined: 05/26/1999
Re: STUPID

wrote:I Clink on "HALO" Mac Version, and i get here to YET another Halo for X-Box page. A.— there's nothing in common with the Mac Version. I buy a game— It starts and i'm immeadiately TRAPPED inside a shut room. In the X-Box Game— you g et out of the room ONE WAY, and in the PC Version, you get out of it in ANOTHER way- and only GOD kows how to get of it in the Mac Version. There are 900 web pages all about the X-Box version, and ZERO on the Mac Version. The gamne is STUPID- there's no help for you and there is only you being Trapped again and again with no clue to any COMPLEX method of getting out. it's NOT ABOUT shooting aliens, it's about fightng with a GAME MAKER— who can't understand that you want to drive jeeps. shoot aliens and not get trapped inside rooms when you have no hands and can't open a door. This is a STUPID game, aned deserves to go where it belongs— in the TRASH CAN, and never buy anything else from these IDIOTS.

I don't know what game you're talking about, but it sure as heck isn't Halo for any platform.

The campaign (single-player) portions of Halo are identical in the Xbox, PC and Macintosh versions. There are no rooms that it is even possible to become trapped inside. Most doors open automatically. There is nothing "complicated" about getting anywhere.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
re:stupid

ok dude...you totaly suck for trashing on halo and bungie like that..why dont you just get better at the game and maybe you wont get stuck =P

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Please

Please, this game just sucks period. As a long time halo fan the whole damn series is ruined.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Good Good

Hey, the story line was only okay.. but if you think about it they didn't have much to work with and anyways the multiplayer more than makes up for it. It still gets a 10/10 from me.

Syndicate content