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ASE Special: Destiny Alpha Gameplay

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ASE Special: Destiny Alpha Gameplay

Cody Miller of HaloReachIsNotCanon.Net played the Destiny Alpha on PS4 last week and came on to talk about the footage with Blackstar and Narcogen. In this first segment we cover three areas of the game: character creation, a story mission, and the Tower.

Further segments later this week will show exploration, multiplayer, and a strike.

Jason Jones Talks Destiny

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Official Gameplay Experience

Jason Jones tells you everything you need to know about Destiny (almost) while also showing off a few new character designs, environments, enemies, and map locations. There's a shot of a Venus map, and a location in the overview map called "the reef" which I'm guessing is the asteroid belt.

Destiny Concept Art Slideshow

The first sixteen concept art images from Destiny, set to the track "Eighth" by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori, released as a reward for completion of the alpha lupi ARG.

Polygon Previews Destiny

Destiny ViDoc - Pathways Out of Darkness 0433

Polygon has now done a follow-up on their earlier piece about Destiny. In Bungie's new game, humanity apparently aren't yet galaxy-roaming colonists, and the action seems centered on our own solar system.

ODST Is Your Older Brother's Halo

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Okay, I admit it. After the announcement of Halo: Reach, set to come out in 2010, only twelve months or so after this year's Halo 3: ODST, I was set to bash Bungie for being unoriginal and Microsoft for upping the production quota on the goose that laid the golden egg(s).

I had a piece all written, with a pleasantly unpleasant pun in the title, about how this was only to be expected; that Microsoft almost certainly extorted... I mean, exacted from Bungie a promise to continue on with at least X more Halo titles after receiving their independence. This would appear to be true for all situations where X is two or larger. Originally I had thought perhaps ODST would be it; that was probably naive of me.

Of course there's always every chance that there are people in Bungie who want to continue with Halo. Just like Id software nearly split in half over the decision of whether or not to revisit Doom with Doom 3, one might imagine that some old-time Bungie devs want to go back to doing a game and a sequel and let the spinoff studios handle the third game, a la Marathon and Myth. It also seems possible, though, that there are Bungie devs who have not worked on anything but Halo, and perhaps some of those want to keep doing it because they like it, and others want to do something else because they're tired of it.

ODST, I figured, would be an expansion pack: some new campaign and multiplayer levels to tide us over while Bungie works on the Next Big Thing. In some ways, perhaps that's true. However it also looks like we're getting a lot more out of ODST than just that, and the design team have made some intriguing choices, many of which were on display at E3.

Kotaku: Halo Wars Looks Good

Halo Wars Human Base

Of course fans expect that a Halo game will look good. Maybe it won't be the absolutely most edge-bleedingly, envelope-pushingly, buzzword-compliantly beautiful game on the market at release, but it will look good.

According to Kotaku, then, Halo Wars is a Halo game, and it looks good:

Halo Wars has some impressive visual pop to it, more colorful than when we last saw it. The game's visual effects, in motion, look spectacular. It may not have the immediate visual sex appeal of something like Halo 3, with it's micro-sized units and overhead perspective, but it looks good.

Of course, how an RTS game controls on a console is really the central issue, and Kotaku says that's another area where Halo Wars excels:

Halo plus real-time strategy plus gamepad controls may sound like a recipe for a franchise misfire, but Ensemble Studios has polished Halo Wars to the point of an immediately playable console title. While some may argue that, like first person shooters, RTS games should only be played on a mouse and keyboard, Ensemble has done an admirable job of nailing the controls. We got a chance to go hands-on with the game at E3 and came away surprisingly pleased.

That does sound pretty good. Those of the faithful who won't be able to stomach games in the Haloverse outside of Bungie's watchful eyes might have problems with some of Ensemble's choices (indeed, some are already, including myself) but the bottom line should be whether a game is fun and interesting to play, and it sounds like so far Halo Wars has a good chance of rising to that challenge.

Hail To The Chimp Seriously Fun, Seriously Funny

Hail to the Chimp Logo

WorthPlaying has a quick preview of Wideload's upcoming Hail to the Chimp party game, and despite a couple flubs ("GNN" instead of "GRR" for instance) they did like the game. Story includes a half-dozen screenshots as well.

Halo 3 Is A Chore

Penny Arcade doesn't hate Halo anymore (well, at first they loved it, then they hated it, then they sort of... well, at any case, now Tycho says:

I'm not sure people understand that the time to bag on Halo was years ago, when everyone liked it, as opposed to now, when they've finally delivered a cool draught of its deep promise. I have to say that I'm done hating things just because idiots like them, a state you might call post post post hip. Unless you bought a more expensive version of the game whose abrasive collector's case scratched your disc, in which case your rage is just and proper.

To find out what they think now (sort of) see their latest comic.

Halo 3 Delivers For Fans, Non-Fans Alike

A Hornet in Forge

TrackZero at Evil Avatar got to see a closed-door demonstration of two campaign levels from Halo 3. His verdict? It's a keeper if you like Halo, at least a rental if you don't.

It takes all the best of the series and kicks it up a notch. I never encountered any issues during gameplay at all to speak of. The single player campaign missions that I saw merely came off as a tease, as I wanted to grab the controller and play the whole time. The multiplayer is a large improvement over Halo 2 (which I wasn't a fan of) and hits a great balance that's sure to please people.

Read the full post for more details about Halo 3, as well as impressions of several other games.

GamePro Does A Review Preview

Halo 3 Logo

You may have read somewhere else already that press reviews of Halo 3 (much like Halo 2 before it) are handled in a somewhat different way than other games. Bungie doesn't mail out review copies to journalists in advance; if they did, it's possible the game's ending would have been spoiled by now. GamePro has an article up that details this alternative procedure.

Just as was done previously in Australia and Europe, next week in North America Bungie will be setting up 24-hour gaming sessions on both coasts; one representative from each invited organization will have access to the entire game, but no one will be allowed to publish a word until September 23.

Thanks Louis Wu for the heads-up on this story at HBO.

Bungie Recommends Becoming A Zombie

1Up's latest piece on Halo 3 covers the "Bungie Recommends" feature that will take game variants and Forge map variants from individual player shares and suggest them to the community at large. That'll be how custom community-made gametypes, like Halo 2's honor-rules zombie, or dawn of the dead variants, will spread in Halo 3. They've also continued their Halo 2 retrospective up through the Arbiter levels. You can see all 1Up's Halo 3 coverage on their Halo 3 mini-site.

TVG: Halo 3 Has Next-Gen Finesse

The four coop players of Halo 3

TotalVideoGames has put up a short preview of Halo 3 based on the showing of Tsavo Highway at Leipzig this year. Like a lot of similar previews, they're calling the graphics "improved" since the Beta, probably not realizing that campaign was more detailed than multiplayer all along-- and has been since Halo 1.

H3 Beta Quick Report: Is It Pretty Enough?

Okay, so not everybody is in love with Halo 3. Over at the Hushed Casket, Midnight calls it "fun" and details the changes. Rapture calls it a bigger, prettier Halo 2, and it's most decidedly not a compliment. Of course you can't please everybody, and some things (like Halo) become so popular that the only way for anybody to make themselves cooler is to not like it. The guys at the Hushed Casket aren't like that, though, so if they've got a beef with the game, there's probably something to it. That doesn't mean I agree, but it means there are probably things worth thinking about.

Some people say that Halo 3 isn't pretty enough.

After playing Gears I can see where some people are not impressed. However, I think it's worth noting that there is nowhere in Gears any location that is as large as even a medium-sized Halo map. There are lots of terribly detailed textures you get to look at at fairly close range in Gears; mostly on your own characters, your enemies, and the nearby environment. The path you can travel is predetermined and there is no way to break off from it. Forget trick jumping, in Gears you can't even jump. I don't mind that, actually. In fact, I really wish Halo 3 had implemented some kind of limitation on consecutive jumps to eliminate bunny-hopping, which is an incredibly annoying tactic. The day a game studio decides to make their campaign enemy bunny hop because it's an effective and legitimate strategy, I'll drop my complaint.

To expect the same level of texture detail and lighting effects in an outdoor area like Valhalla where you can go virtually anywhere in the level at any time is simply unrealistic. Epic, in a sense, by restricting you to small rooms and preventing you from looking at thing up close that are far away, has spoiled 360 gamers for any other approach. Halo 3 is incredibly detailed. If you haven't already, download the Red vs Blue Beta PSA. It's got some Halo 2 footage of Blood Gulch right next to Halo 3 beta footage of Valhalla. If that doesn't prove that there's been a quantum leap in the look of Halo 3 from Halo 2, I honestly don't know what would.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while Gears' single player campaign is suitably lovely in its appearance and scope (even if most of it is just unplayable scenery) the multiplayer areas are also toned down. They're smaller than even the small areas of the campaign. There's nothing approaching the size of a map like Valhalla in it; that's the tradeoff that Bungie is making.

Every Time You Play The Beta, God Pets A Kitten

More articles about the Halo 3 Beta around the web:

GamingExcellence likes what they see but think Bungie has taken a "safe approach" to changes in Halo 3.

Hushed Casket has impressions of Halo 3 by Midnight and rapture; they're not nearly as impressed as many others are, and their comments deserve some examination which I'll get to shortly.

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