Anger, Sadness and Envy Episode 12: Miscellany (MP3)

Blackstar of Blackstar Productions and Narcogen of Bungie fansite wrap up some loose ends from Halo 3 and look forward to Halo 3: ODST.

Also in this episode: special guests, Bungie's official #1 fan, Miguel "Freewill" Chavez of Bungie fansite Bungie Sightings and Cody Miller of High Speed Halo.

Show highlights:

  • Is Halo Too Easy?
  • Why ODST is Better than Halo 3
  • VISR, VISR Burning Bright
  • Campaign Forge
  • Best Confrontation
  • It's Not Easy Being ODST
  • Fade to White
  • Reaching For Higher Difficulty
  • Retconning Reach in Advance
  • Halo 3 Warthog Run
  • Foe Hammer
  • Forerunners == Humans
  • Babysitter
  • Parting Shots

This is the MP3 version.

File Format: 
Audio file: 
ASE Episode 12 Miscellany


Quick quibble: you only restart the entire Halo Warthog run if you are playing on Legendary.

Hi Narcogen & co!

First off, thanks for being so responsive in regard to my feedback. I appreciated the greater focus on gameplay and discussion of the hog run at the end of Halo 3. Secondly, apologies for taking so long to comment! But here we go at last, with approximate timestamps for reference.

13:02: Narcogen says "I don't know, every time I get nailed by a Jackal sniper in ODST I feel like it's Halo 2 again". Yes indeed. This issue of Jackal snipers is quite a big factor for me in comparing the enjoyability of H1 with the sequels. Carbines, ok, that's not so bad, though I still don't like them in Jackal hands (or claws). But I really wish there had never been any Jackals with beam rifles. For me they've always been a major fun-killer. They were the main reason I never really got into playing H3 on Legendary. Getting snipered is just too unpleasant for me. And sure you can be careful and tentative, but part of what I liked about H1 was the freedom to not have to worry about sudden instant death from afar. If there was any of that to be done, I was the one who'd be doing it, thank you very much. It's not just that snipers make things harder, it's that they force you into a significantly different style of play, which is part of why none of the sequels have felt like H1.

19:11: I didn't mind the highlight drawn around enemies in ODST's VISR mode, though I think I would've preferred to just have stronger street lighting so it wouldn't even be needed. But I really don't like the map business and other database stuff. The reason is, using it takes you out of the game. Well, not completely, but you're shut off from your normal view of the environment. I don't want anything like that. With the motion tracker you get information on nearby enemies, but it's conveniently on the screen and you don't have to step out of the action to view it. Things are more 'run and gun', if I can put it like that. I hope they go back to that original recipe for Reach. If I need to be switching to a map display to be on a level playing field with everyone else, and to have fair chance at being able to deal with what the game's going to throw at me, that would be depressing. As a side note, the first time I played ODST I didn't use the map much, and didn't actually notice that enemies were marked on it anyway! If I had, maybe that would've saved me eventually getting killed by a Jackal sniper, with crushing inevitability.

28:04: I'm like Narcogen in feeling a need to get to cover once the redness starts up. From what Cody's saying, it sounds like maybe I could afford to be more gung ho. Well, I haven't played enough ODST to be sure if I can agree with that, but the feeling I've had so far is one of being very frail and having to be very cautious. Very unlike how I feel as MC, and lowering my potential enjoyment of the combat. Even if I could continue to fight for quite a while, I wouldn't be enjoying it so much because of the beeps and the redness. I dislike the redness effect; that got annoying quite quickly, and unfortunately it's a regular part of the gameplay.

28:11: Yes the heartbeat sound in H1 got annoying after a while, but so do those beeps in ODST. A lot more so in my books, so I'm not with you there Narcogen, when you say they did a good thing with the beeps. It seems silly to have the beeps continue. Once you've heard the warning, ok you know you're in a bad way. But after that, the beeps are a positive distraction to you and serve no logical purpose. It's not like you're going to forget about the state you're in are you? The continued beeps make it feel like you're being treated like a child (by the UNSC boffins who designed the suit - or by Bungie, depending on how you want to view it), continuously being admonished to go and get a health pack. It's dumb, and also annoying. Your equipment is supposed to make things easier for you, not interfere with your concentration.

29:02: Did Cody just say "nice big white flash"? I'm pretty much with Blackstar on the matter of white screens, particularly in regard to the whiteout you got with the H1 medkit. Like Blackstar, I generally close my eyes for a few seconds to wait for it to pass, else it's just painful. Or at least, it is if you're playing in darkened conditions and relatively close to the TV for immersion. I hadn't really noticed whiteness so much in cutscenes, but I was in Silent Cartographer today and noticed one at the start of the cutscene at the main shaft, where MC kicks something off the platform. But far worse than either of those two things is the flare. Have I told you how much I loathe flares? Sheeesh… don't get me started. Suffice to say, they were another painful fun-killing element for me in H3.

33:22: I'm surprised to hear Narcogen talking about the difference between Brutes and the original Elites being "cosmetic". Yes Elites "weren't that smart", but the smartness level is only a small aspect of things, and I don't think it has much to do with why I enjoyed fighting them (in fact I never particularly considered them very smart anyway). As Blackstar says, "it was how they did it, how they sounded" and so on. They were very different characters from Brutes. They also had the great benefit of not looking like monkeys, and of not repetitively saying things that make them sound like buffoons. The near absence of Elite speech in H1 was a major plus in my opinion. I know we won't be going back to that state for Reach, but I have been encouraged to hear that Elites are going to be more animalistic (which doesn't mean less intelligent, I hasten to add; think Predator). That almost makes me wonder if someone at Bungie noticed the stuff I've been writing, in past criticisms of H2 and H3! It's exactly what I wanted to hear. I never did like the way they became so human-like with H2 (though I know people into the books tend to have quite a different perspective on this whole issue of Elite character). So here's hoping Reach will make them scary again.

33:50: Cody says "The only time an Elite would charge at you is if you stuck it with a plasma grenade". Narcogen starts to take issue with that, but doesn't go far enough. Elites also charge when down to extremely low health with no shield - i.e. practically on death's door. But I wouldn't characterize it as a suicide charge. The way I conceptualize it is, they're not thinking about "one last attack", they're just in a mad rage at you. A bit of the animalism taking over, you might say. Within the context of the slightly cartoonish nature of the H1 characters, I find it nicely believable - and it makes for a lot of amusement of course!

35:30: On the matter of cranking things up to eleven for Reach, yes I'm with that, but I'd like to be more specific. We need to be fighting larger collections of enemies! Not just small gatherings you meet scattered here and there along the map. There's been nothing to rival the thrill of the H1 megabattles I get such a kick out of, in which you've got masses of enemies coming at you. It's something I talked about in my old piece on H3, and a few places elsewhere. It seems crazy how they've continued to miss the opportunity to step things up. I should emphasize that I'm not just saying more enemies, I'm saying more enemies coming at you (as opposed to passively holding some territory), because that's when things get really intense. I also primarily want battles I can fight on foot. If they're designed for vehicles just because they're big, that ain't gonna be much good for me. Vehicle combat can be fun sure (if somewhat chaotic when you throw dubious driving AI into the mix), but foot soldering has always been my main enjoyment.

38:31: My feeling on the Warthog run at the end of H3 was that it was a trial-and-error thing you had to learn (i.e. to get used to what tiles were going to drop out etc.), just as with the H1 run which I still consider a blot on the game. I did learn the H1 run and it became more enjoyable after that (aside from the lottery of the final crazy jump), but still. The H3 run I've never actually learned, but maybe I'll give it some attention one of these days. I don't doubt that it's a lot more fun once you've learnt it. But for Bungie to be having such a run at the end, seemingly just to mimic H1, that seems really weak. Certainly not something I appreciated at any rate. After all, the first one ruined the end of H1 for me, so why would I welcome the same thing all over again? Ah well.

Thanks for your discussion everyone!

I can't seem to stream the podcast, and when I download it, it refuses to play!! Help please?

[quote=Anonymous]I can't seem to stream the podcast, and when I download it, it refuses to play!! Help please?[/quote]

This is the AAC version-- it doesn't stream (unfortunately I can't get the flash widget to go away even though it won't work).

It'll play in iTunes. Later there will be a plain MP3 version that will stream and play in any player.

Rampant for over se7en years.