Friday, October 03, 2003

I picked up Halo yesterday from CompUSA.
I had to wait in the store at lunchtime until the delivery truck turned up, as they had no copies on the shelves.

By the time I'd checked out, at least 5 other people had dropped in and bought it too.

I picked up the Z-Board with a generic First Person Shooter overlay. (Free after $20 rebate)
I haven't used it yet, review to come. I was too busy instaling Halo.

I've played for about 3 hours, and here is my inital review of the single player pieces.
(Multiplayer to come)

Now if anyone has a machine which is less than my specs, good luck in running it. This is a very demanding game on your hardware.

I have P3 800EB, GF2 GTS, 512Mb, Win2K.
This rig plays most games very well at 1024x768, I've only had to turn Ghost Recon down to 800x600 on a couple of really busy maps. Otherwise I get very acceptable frame rates for everything.
Except Halo.
I've turned Halo down to 800x600, turned off lots of the GFX extras, but it still slows down a lot when a few guys are on screen, shooting at me, at the same time.
Its still playable, and lots of fun, but I am looking forward to getting my new rig set up (sometime before Christmas - I hope) and turning all the pretty options to max.

The GFX of people (especially their faces) is very poor by todays standards. It's very "two years ago". But then again Halo is 2 years old.

Really fun parts

Plasma grenades are sticky. Which means if you land one on an enemy with a good throw, it sticks to him. He then proceeds to run about in a panic before he explodes
The small enemy guys also shout "Get it off ! Get it Off ! Aaahh No !"
And there are lots of grenades in the game, but you can't 'cook' them. Throw grenades everywhere, enemies drop them all the time.

Your team members will run up to aliens you've just killed, shout "Get up so I can kill you again !" at them and fill the already dead body with more lead.

Driving a Warthog is so much fun, & shooting the rear mounted cannon off is great. Also its so much easier to drive with a mouse than that damn controller.
Don't forget to try to run aliens over.
Also drive your Warthog over a jump, and watch and listen to your passengers whoop and scream in delight

When you are outside, the vista is very pretty and very detailed. Except for a few spots which are almost bare (normally beaches).
Drive youf warthog through the water, and there is no splash, and the wheels drive on top of the water. (Maybe thats just my settings though).

In the single player game, there are a few times so far where I'm thinking what am I supposed to be doing now ?
But there are always lots of enemies to kill, and after you've wiped them all out it triggers the continue script. So if in doubt - kill everything.

The enemy weapons are very interesting. Do not discount the pistols, they have useful secondary fire modes. For instance there are a set of guys who carry a plasma shield and they deflect nearly all shots. Use the "crappy" plasma pistol to charge up a round (hold fire down) and it disrupts their shield. You can then simply shoot them anyway you like. They also do this to you BTW. Having your shields down can be very worrying - run for cover so they can recharge.
Also the really big guys with spikes out their backs seem to be more susceptable to this charge pistol attack too.

I like the rifle butt hit. You can sneak up to someone, and smack them over the head with your rifle. Very satisfying.

You can also get into gun emplacements and shoot hot plasma and death all over the place in a very satisfying way.

All in all, 2 thumbs up.
Be aware that you need at least a semi-beefy system though.

I'll be playing multiplayer this weekend (a lot I feel).
I'll post a review of that next week.

So far my recomendation is "go buy a copy".

Monday, September 29, 2003

Facial fuzz world championships !
This is too funny......