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Dante's Inferno in Review

Burn, baby burn! Dante's Inferno! Burn, baby burn!

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Bioshock 2 - In Review

Let's party like it's still 1959!

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Bayonetta - In Review

Those fingers through your hair. That sly come hither stare...

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Darksiders - In Review

War! Uh. Good God y'all!

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VGA 2009

Spike's choices... and ours.

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Dissidia Final Fantasy in Review

I think we have a different definition of the word "Final"...

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 PC in Review

I'm not sure how I feel about being with a guy nicknamed "Soap" in the showers...

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Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 in Review

Seriously, no jokes about my catch phrase. "Flame on!" isn't that bad, right?

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Beatles Rock Band in Review

There's nothing you can do that can't be done.

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ColorZ in Review

Look at all the pretty colors!

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Defense Grid: The Awakening in Review

What's worse? Aliens, smart ass A.I. or knowing your going to be dealing with both?

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Sacred 2: Fallen Angel in Review

You're a fallen diety? Well, so long and thanks for all the fish!

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Rediscovering my love of “Halo”

A long time ago, I owned a heavy black game system with green touches known as the Xbox. And on this system, I had one of the best experiences in my gaming life when I played through the original “Halo: Combat Evolved”. At the time, I didn’t realize that the first person shooter genre had been relatively unsuccessful on home consoles (Goldeneye: 007 on the N64 notwithstanding), nor did I foresee that this game would revolutionize the way that the genre was even thought about in the living room. I just fell in love with the main character, forever known as “Master Chief” and his sidekick “Cortana”, and I was engrossed in the epic nature of their story.


I remember vividly the final stage, that mad dash to safety aboard a warthog, as the ring begins to disintegrate, fighting the Flood every step of the way. I remember my sense of satisfaction at completing the game (on normal. I’m a wuss). And I remember my anticipation of the sequel “Halo 2” which I reserved, waited anxiously for, and purchased, complete with a collectors edition metal tin.

But I didn’t have the same level of wonder this time. Halo 2 had me jumping from protagonist to protagonist, and the ending left me feeling like there was more game to be played, which I suppose is sort of the point. Nevertheless, I kind of fell out of love with the series and it took me until.. oh… about last Tuesday, to really rediscover what I loved about this series.

You see, Halo 2 was designed to be one of the best multiplayer games around. Still to this day, players are enjoying battling each other in a 6-year-old game online. (Too bad about Microsoft dropping XBL support for original Xbox titles very soon. More on that later) I am not big on multi player, or to be more accurate, I wasn’t too big on multi-player, so the real appeal of Halo 2 was sort of lost on me. Eventually, I took a break from gaming, a break that is measured in years rather than months. I only recently bought an Xbox 360. And the first game I bought for it was Halo 3. It only took me 2 years to make it to that party, but better late than never. Ironically, Halo 3 sat on my shelf, basically untouched for months. Honestly, I think I was scared to be disappointed. In the meantime, I played games on my PS3, and took in Gears of War, among other titles. Yet, there Halo 3 sat, awaiting my mood to favor killing aliens with plasma beams. So a few weeks ago, I popped in Halo 3 in an earnest attempt at getting through the series. I set the difficulty to “Heroic” and I settled in.

I can’t tell you how awesome I felt, to see and feel the world of Halo again. Halo 3 was the return to greatness that apparently never really left. Master Chief was my avatar. I was on his mission. The world needed saving and I was the one to do it. It was epic and breathtaking and I was so glad I took the time to fall back in love with this franchise again. Something else happened too. I became interested in the expanded backstory. The whole Halo universe became alive to me. I bought and read the novel “Halo: The Fall of Reach” (recommended for any Halo fan BTW). It kind of reminds me of how invested I have been in other sci-fi universes like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica. This universe that Bungie (the developer of the Halo series) created is bigger, much bigger than the games that carry the main storyline that most gamers will only see. It also really made me see that a compelling story can enhance even a title like Halo where basically all you’re doing is pointing a reticule at a funky humanoid and blowing them to kingdom come.

Now a new Halo game looms on the horizon. Prequel “Halo: Reach” promises to be the killer app of the fall gaming cycle. Highly improved graphics, gameplay changes such as assassinations and larger scale combat on sandbox-like battlefields is awaiting the player. Spartans will work together as a team, and of course, we will be experiencing the tale of humanity’s struggle against an overwhelming foe. The real menace of the Covenant will be felt and really witnessed for the first time since the first game. I can’t wait to see what Bungie has in store for us. Although we already know how this part of the Halo fiction will end (the planet Reach is eventually overcome and destroyed by the Covenant), playing a part in the telling of this story has me greatly anticipating the beta’s release on May 3rd.

I want to touch on another note here. With Microsoft ending XBL support for Xbox 1 games, Bungie has a relatively unique opportunity to satisfy the current gaming community as well as introduce new games, few as they may be, to the Halo universe. Recently Sony re-released the God of War series remastered in High Def on the PS3, complete with trophies and online support, giving new gamers an updated game experience in preparation for the release of God of War III. Bungie could (SHOULD) do the same with Halo. Can you imagine playing through Halo 1 and 2 in full HD with achievements AND next generation XBL support? I sure can, and now I just may be ready for it. Let’s do it Bungie!

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