Halo 3 Is GameSpy's Number Six. Who Is Number One?

GameSpy wants you to know they love Halo 3. They really do. It's just that 2007 was just too good a year for the console, and well... a game that executes really well on a known formula while tinkering with details and adding some new features just isn't quite enough to make the top half of a top ten list this year.

Halo 3 is a carefully tuned refinement of one of the most successful game formulas of all time, and innovative gameplay mechanics don't really figure into that equation. So, while Halo 3 accomplished amazing things in terms of its impact on the burgeoning Xbox Live community by introducing the Forge (object-oriented level editor) and an impressive set of video-editing tools, the frenetic multiplayer remained mostly the same, with just a few tweaks (HD graphics, deployable equipment, new guns) to bring the experience into the new generation.

Ironically, the Halo game even Halo lovers love to hate-- Halo 2-- got comparatively more accolades than either the original or the final chapter, despite the fact that many fans like both of them better.

Oh well. So Halo 3 takes the #6 spot, behind Mass Effect ("brilliantly stylish"), Rock Band ("magical balance between musical experience and videogame"), Orange Box ("best gaming deal of 2007"), BioShock ("a beautifully designed and wonderfully thought-out world") and Call of Duty 4 ("It isn't set during WWII!").

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"Ironically, the Halo game even Halo lovers love to hate-- Halo 2-- got comparatively more accolades than either the original or the final chapter, despite the fact that many fans like both of them better."

This isn't true at all. They qualified it, and you repeated it, when they explained it was more about the rest of the games that were released in their respective years. Everyone will have their opinions, but it's not like the 5 games that placed ahead of Halo 3 are absurdly out of place. These are fair rankings.

I've only played COD4 and Halo 3 of these six games and I definitely agree that COD4 is better.

Brian

[quote=Anonymous]"Ironically, the Halo game even Halo lovers love to hate-- Halo 2-- got comparatively more accolades than either the original or the final chapter, despite the fact that many fans like both of them better."

This isn't true at all. They qualified it, and you repeated it, when they explained it was more about the rest of the games that were released in their respective years. Everyone will have their opinions, but it's not like the 5 games that placed ahead of Halo 3 are absurdly out of place. These are fair rankings.[/quote]

I think you misunderstood my statement. I'm saying it's ironic that although most people prefer either Halo 1 or Halo 3 over Halo 2, Halo 2 ended up winning awards and Halo 3 ended up a runner up. The reason-- the qualification they gave-- is irrelevant. It's a fact that Halo 2 was GameSpy's Xbox game of the year for 2004, while Halo 3 places sixth in 2007. That it is because, at least in part, 2007 had more good games isn't the point. A game either wins an award or it doesn't.

It can be rephrased such that a relatively weak Halo game, in 2004, was a gamespy game of the year overall winner and an xbox game of the year winner in a relatively weak year for games, whereas a stronger Halo 3 doesn't finish quite so well in a supposedly stronger year.

And believe it or not, Halo 1 didn't win game of the year in 2001. That award went to GTA 3.

The game that literally made the console worth buying wasn't considered the best game out in the console's first year, at least not by GameSpy. That best Xbox game award that year went to Madden 2002.

That's ironic as hell; the fact that the only Halo game to win a GameSpy GOTY, either overall or in a platform category, is the one considered by most fans to be the weakest of the three, even if that weakness is primarily being overambitious.

It's all the same thing however you phrase it. It is ironic. That doesn't mean unfair or wrong.

In any case, was 2004 really that weak? Katamari Damacy? Ninja Gaiden? Metroid Prime 2? World of Warcraft? GTA: San Andreas? Half-Life 2? I think this is really more an issue of franchise fatigue and revisionist history on GameSpy's part. In other words, having given a Halo 2 GOTY that turned out to have some warts and got pegged with the tag "overrated", and became the game it was cool to hate, there was no way they were going to give the Next Available Halo Game top honors, even in a platform category.

[quote=Anonymous]
I've only played COD4 and Halo 3 of these six games and I definitely agree that COD4 is better.

Brian[/quote]

I haven't played COD4 so I can't comment on that, although I would also say it's ironic that in an industry that seems overly conscious of the dearth of true innovation, the only game out this year with a number larger than Halo 3's after it wins GOTY.


Rampant for over se7en years.

how many games can you make your own map one halo 3

[quote=Anonymous]how many games can you make your own map one halo 3[/quote]

Actually that's not true.

Pariah on the original Xbox also included a map editor, one that was actually a bit more extensive than Halo 3's as it allowed for changing the actual terrain.

However, as a game, Pariah was not nearly as well thought-of as Halo, and it was said in reviews that the only thing wrong with user-created maps in Pariah was that they could only be played in Pariah.


Rampant for over se7en years.

"The reason-- the qualification they gave-- is irrelevant."

I must be completely missing what your point is, if that is irrelevant. GOY awards only compare games against others in that particular year. There is no comparison between the 2004 GOY and the 2007 GOY. It may be kinda interesting or ironic to think about. But, it means nothing. If that's all your saying, I'm sorry for reading more into your post. It just seemed like you are trying to point out an irregularity in an attempt to knock the integrity of this award just because Halo 3 didn't win. It looks all the more like that when you say that their "mistake" in 2004 is REALLY what is keeping them from giving the same award to Halo 3. I don't think this about a make-up-call.

I love Halo 3. What they've done with the all of the peripheral components, such as forge and saved films, are things that other games will be taking YEARS to catch up to. But, as awesome as that stuff is, there are bigger factors in deciding which game is "better".

I don't care which iteration a particular game is, as long as it's compelling, interesting, and fun. Halo 3 is, but not as much as other games this year. Honestly, as much as I criticized Halo 2, in terms of multiplayer gameplay, it is probably better (to me, of course) than Halo 3. Of course, it was only made that way after the first major update to Halo 2, so maybe the same thing happens when they put out the first big update for Halo 3. Personally, i learned the most about my feelings for Halo 3 when my dog ate the game disk, and I wasn't TOO upset about it. I'm already playing COD4, which I'm having more fun with, and there are several other games that I'm interested in playing that may also be better. I might drop another $40 on Halo 3 at some point. But, right now, I don't feel all that compelled to.

Brian

[quote=Anonymous]"The reason-- the qualification they gave-- is irrelevant."

I must be completely missing what your point is, if that is irrelevant. GOY awards only compare games against others in that particular year. There is no comparison between the 2004 GOY and the 2007 GOY. It may be kinda interesting or ironic to think about. But, it means nothing. If that's all your saying, I'm sorry for reading more into your post. [/quote]

Yup, that's all the post said-- that it was ironic that the better game didn't get an award, and the weaker one did. That's all.

[quote=Anonymous]It just seemed like you are trying to point out an irregularity in an attempt to knock the integrity of this award just because Halo 3 didn't win. It looks all the more like that when you say that their "mistake" in 2004 is REALLY what is keeping them from giving the same award to Halo 3. I don't think this about a make-up-call.[/quote]

Well the original post was not at all attempting to knock the "integrity" of the award; although frankly as the entire thing is the opinion of the staff of that site, integrity really isn't an issue unless you're suggesting somebody is paying them for awards. I'm not suggesting that. This is GameSpy after all, and not GameSpot.

However, if I were inclined to be suspicious, I'd not necessarily say that Halo 3 deserved GOTY. I might suggest that Halo 2 did not deserve it, and that Halo 3 perhaps deserved a slightly higher ranking than it got, and that yes, human beings being the subjective creatures they are, emotionally the feeling that perhaps Halo 2, in retrospect, did not deserve GOTY, combined with the apparent strength of the field of games this year, might have led people to put Halo 3 a spot or two lower than it might otherwise have gotten, had Halo 2 not won in 2004.

That's not a particularly strong accusation, and in no way impugns the award process-- GameSpy is free to use whatever criteria they like

[quote=Anonymous]I love Halo 3. What they've done with the all of the peripheral components, such as forge and saved films, are things that other games will be taking YEARS to catch up to. But, as awesome as that stuff is, there are bigger factors in deciding which game is "better".[/quote]

I don't know. Those are pretty massive things, if you ask me. Like I said, though, I haven't played COD4. I didn't even play COD3. I played COD2 and wasn't terribly impressed, and at the moment my 360 is broke so I'm not playing anything.

Could you articulate, perhaps, what it is that for you makes COD4 the better game?


Rampant for over se7en years.

"Could you articulate, perhaps, what it is that for you makes COD4 the better game?"

This is very tough. I've taken a lot of time talking about this with my friends to try and verbalize what it is that makes us like COD4 better.

One thing that is key, is that for some reason (and I'm still not sure why this is), I can get really pissed of when playing Halo 3. This is very rare in COD4. If I lose in COD4, it's not big deal. But I CAN'T stand to lose in Halo 3. I really can't figure out why this is. Another problem I have with Halo is that the maps generally seem too big. All too often, on standard maps such as High Ground, you get spawned at one end of the map and have to make a long walk to get back into the battle. You can either go out of the way to pick up a BR or try to just head in with the AR. But, for the most part, the best you are going to do is pick up one kill before getting finished off. Then it's back to the long walk again. And if you took the BR last time, your in even worse shape this time. I'm actually one who prefers a bit more tactical approach, so I'll take time trying to perform an effective flank or sneakier play than just running in. But, when it doesn't work for me, that just means I spent more time not accomplishing anything before heading back to the long walk. It's not ALWAYS like that. But, it happens enough that there are just too many points in the game where I'm just bored. Especially in TS, which unfortunately, is what most of my friends want to play. I prefer a game with an objective to focus the battle.

COD4 has a much shorter path to being involved in the battle. But, most importantly, you spawn with a weapon thats is always in balance with what everyone else is using. I'd prefer to have the BR at spawn (and not just for one "hardcore" playlist). The AR just inspires the whole race to pump up the enemy in preparation for a melee finish. That style of play is rather annoying to me, yet it's one of the more effective methods due to spawning with a bullet hose (much better than spawning with the SMG in pre-update-halo 2, though).

I liked COD2 campaign, but not the multiplayer. I liked the COD3 mutliplayer a little better, but not a lot. I didn't know anything about COD4 until the beta. Which I was just lucky enough to check into right in time to get registered. So, it wasn't something I was looking forward to at all. But, as soon as I played the COD4 beta, I began thinking that it might actually be more fun than Halo 3 (having already played its respective beta).

Maybe Bungie can improve what I don't like about Halo 3. But, I don't hear the kind of complaints that everyone agreed about before the Halo 2 major update. Again, I do like Halo 3. I'm not just trying to flame it, and say that COD4 is the God of all games. But, not since all of the great Halo 1 LAN parties have I had so much fun playing a video game. It's almost nightly that I'm putting up my controller after playing COD4 and I'm remarking to myself how much fun that just was. I just wish it had some of the great things Bungie has done. Even things that they did in Halo 2, like Bungie.net stats.

Interesting.

Any thoughts about the campaigns?

I certainly prefer games that have multiplayer features, but I usually make purchase decisions based on single player campaigns.


Rampant for over se7en years.

I probably enjoy the campaign portions of games more, myself.

I have a hard time evaluating the Halo 3 campaign. I played through the entire thing on legendary with 4 friends, on 2 TV's. So, many times it was hard to keep up with the voice acting and have a good, clear understanding of the details of the plot. Most of the time, I felt like I was on a ride that was going just a bit to fast and had the feeling that I was possibly missing something. It also forced me to play at a quicker pace than I prefer just to keep up with everyone else and make sure they weren't experiencing something that I wasn't. All in all, it wasn't an optimal experience, and I was a bit disappointed by it.

The only level I've tried to replay, is Covenant (I think). Which, I think may have been one of my least favorite levels although I bet it's a fan favorite. Ton's of enemy, vehicles, and big [looking] combat. My problem, is that while the combats seems to be massive, you were generally never actually up against more than one group of enemy at a time. All of the other groups of bad guys just stay in their portion of the battle field and wait for you to bring the fight to them. But, that's just one criticism of one level. I haven't played the game nearly enough to present a full on critique of the entire campaign. Suffice it to say that I thought Halo's campaign was great, a lot of fun, and I'd recommend it to anyone.

But, [surprise] I'd probably have to recommend COD4's campaign first. Just as with the multi-player, I haven't had that much fun in single player since Halo 1. However, that's not to say it's without flaws. The first, and biggest, is that there is no coop option, online or off. While I learned with Halo 3, that the story may best be experienced on solo. There is no doubt that co-op play through campaign may be the best form of multi-player.

There are also other game play mechanics that are kind of irritating. In COD fashion, enemy troops continue respawning from a position beyond yours until your advance far enough ahead to stop the spawning. This really forces some very unrealistic maneuvers by you and your squad. Much of the time, you can't just hang back and pick off they bad guys until they are whittled away. I know this mechanic answers some design challenges, but I wish it would change. That is by far my biggest nit to pick.

The next issue I have isn't as big, but sometimes just as irritating. On Veteran (i.e. Legendary) the enemy is completely focused on you, and only you. And your not even the leader of your squad. If you are behind cover, and your teammates are taking fire, as soon as you poke your head out, the enemy fire IMMEDIATELY becomes directed at you in insanely accurate fashion. This, to me, is a cheap way of making the game harder. Which brings me to my first recommendation. Don't play this game, the first time through, as I did, on Veteran. The challenge of that difficulty is a lot of fun, but it also can get VERY irritating and it really does sever the emotional bond of your otherwise intriguing relationships between the rest of your squad.

On to what I love. The pacing of this game is fantastic. Once you start to feel like you might be getting into a groove, you are faced with a level that is comprised of completely different game play, such as reigning hell from the seat of an comfy AC-130. What's more impressive about these changeups, is how well they are integrated with the story. They are NOT just gimmick levels. The story also presents some situations that I've never experienced in a video game like this before, culminating in the final sequence that you don't just watch, but are a key PLAYER in. It's absolutely and completely satisfying. For my money, it's the best ending to a game that I remember playing, not from the impact of the story, but more for the way in which you interact with the ending. The driving story, itself, is nothing ground breaking. But just like so many movies that all pull from the same formula, some stories just feel rehashed, and some, like COD4, are entertaining and create a substantive bond between you, your character, and the rest of the characters in the story.

I'm not guaranteeing that you'll like COD4 single player more than any or all Halo's. But, it is a game and story that I'm sure will stick with you for a very long time. As Bungie is known to do, IW has upped the bar for single player game design.

I'm really interested in your thoughts on COD4, so I hope sometime next year, you'll be able to find some time and give it a go. It's not a terribly long campaign, unless you are doing it on veteran.

Brian