Archive for February, 2008

What did you always want to know?

February 29th, 2008
Luke has posted a note on Bungie.net asking for questions they can answer in tonight's Weekly What's Update. Swing by their forum and add your burning query to the thread!(Louis Wu 19:53:10 UTC)

Surprise!

February 29th, 2008
PEZ wrote to say that halowiki.net has kicked off ANOTHER new page - this one is called 'Surprise Your Enemy'. It will help you identify places where you can use the element of surprise against your opponents. There are a few entries up already, but they could certainly use your help. (PEZ also wanted to thank HBO readers for their input on the Stronghold page yesterday - they went from one entry to ten overnight!)(Louis Wu 19:50:21 UTC)

Friday Caption Fun

February 29th, 2008
Hawty McBloggy kicked off a new feature in her blog - Friday Caption Fun. She grabs screenshots from her OTHER blog, i <3 halo 3 screenshots, and presents them for captioning. Go check out the first one - and add your own witticism!(Louis Wu 19:44:35 UTC)

Frag a Friend Rebroadcast

February 29th, 2008
Trigger119 let us know that the first Frag a Friend night (mentioned a couple of days ago) went down as planned last night - and though it was broadcast live, it's up now for anyone who wants to watch it. (Louis Wu 19:42:15 UTC)

Questions for the Weekly Update

February 29th, 2008
We're taking questions for the Weekly Update find out where to ask them inside.

Taking The Helm.

February 29th, 2008
I wonder what the most common question Bungie is asked on a daily basis? Stuntmutt has an idea - check today's One One Se7en.(Louis Wu 17:53:51 UTC)

ForgeHub Video Tutorial: Effective Spawn Placement

February 29th, 2008
TheShadyGnome pointed out the newest ForgeHub Video Tutorial - #6 covers Effective Spawn Placement. Tons of good information to help you think about when to spawn (or respawn) your players WHERE... but I never, ever, EVER want to see an armed Elite doing the Macarena again. Ever.(Louis Wu 15:28:49 UTC)

Fyreballin’.

February 29th, 2008
Bungie played their Halo Humpday Challenge against the crew from Fyreball, a startup founded by a number of Ex-Bungie employees. They planned to whip the Fyreballers soundly... and the plan worked out. It's not all bad news, though - read the writeup for details on how you can snag a suit of the elusive Recon armor, simply by helping out the Fyreball Beta! Thanks to LackOfKnowledge for the heads-up. (Louis Wu 14:58:47 UTC)

FFA Slayer in Roanoke next week

February 29th, 2008
OS eco419 stopped by with word of a Halo 3 FFA Slayer tournament in Roanoke, VA on March 8 - $20 to register, top player wins $200. For full details, visit the GameUpNow website and click on 'Events'.(Louis Wu 14:58:04 UTC)

Friday’s Fanfic

February 29th, 2008
Five new pieces in the Fan Fiction section this week - go read!(Louis Wu 14:56:52 UTC)

RT: Sucker Punched

February 29th, 2008
I cannot legally comment on today's comic due to court injunction, but I can direct you to our adorable little sponsor comic. It's getting so big! dggeoff

Humpday Challenge: Fyreball

February 28th, 2008
Fancy-pants Internet start-ups apparently aren't requiring Halo skills as a hiring prerequisite!

Turok

February 28th, 2008

Opening

Turok is back in the game with a new developer and publisher trying a reboot to the series as the protagonist’s name and race is the only connection with the previous installments. While it’s a competent end product, it fails to impress or be anything other than a rental in comparison to the other FPS juggernauts already available. Find out why after the jump.

Platform

PlayStation 3

Publisher

Touchstone

Visuals Score

6

Visuals

The game’s look is on par with its average gameplay. Powered by Unreal Engine 3, the game makes good use of lighting and particle effects and while uninspired, the gun modeling looks and animates well.

Unfortunately the outdoor environments (where most the game takes place) doesn’t hold up as well. The foliage scattered throughout the environment is impressive initially until gamers move through it and realize that the grass rotates with the player which wouldn’t be all that bad if not for the fact that the game predominately takes place in environments where this gets noticed again and again.

Dinosaurs however are modeled rather well and animate very fluidly but this is offset by bland character models for the humans that seem out of place in comparison. Human enemies and allies have a hazy look to them as if the developers forgot to include high resolution effects on the models.

Sound Score

7

Sound

As out of place as it seems in an FPS, Turok’s best feature is the sound, specifically the voice work which is both well written and acted. From the grass rustling to the roar of the dinosaurs the sound design in Turok is excellent.

Because the focus of the game’s sound is in its creatures and environments, little was paid to music. For the most part this works but in quite a few encounters having a more fleshed out musical score would’ve led to a much more immersive experience.

Gameplay Score

5

Gameplay & Controls

Trying to rekindle the magic of the original N64 Turok, this game takes place almost completely in a jungle environment filled with a multitude of various dinosaurs and rounded out with typical FPS factories and generic armored soldiers which wears thin halfway through the game as the level design and enemy AI is painfully average. Dinosaurs simply charge and run away while the soldiers stand/strafe and shoot.

To compensate for the average AI the game’s adversaries tend to knock off a bit too much damage along with the enemy soldier possessing super-human accuracy. This results in uneven pacing from replaying too many sections over and over as death is commonplace even on the default difficulty.

Turok does feature an optional stealth approach to combat to quietly take out enemies with a bow or knife but this never works as well as intended because there is absolutely no feedback to the stealth system aside from getting attacked after being seen. This wouldn’t necessarily be an issue if not for the enemy placement which hinders the stealth feature as there are just too many enemies too close together to accomplish anything but a single stealth kill before being spotted.

Guns, specifically outrageously designed guns have always been a hallmark of the series. Even the bad Turok games had cool guns but they’ve all been sadly left behind as this one only features FPS standards like the shotgun, machine gun, knife, etc with a few exceptions that fail to impress nearly as much as the previous games have.

Longevity Score

6

Longevity & Drawbacks

In addition to the lackluster single player showing from a technical and visual standpoint, Turok also suffers from zero replay value. Aside from going back through the campaign on a harder difficulty there is no other incentive enticing players to revisit it.

Because of this Turok needed to include a top notch multiplayer experience to justify a purchase instead of a rental. Unfortunately it fails in this regard.

Unlike the campaign, the multiplayer doesn’t suffer from some of the single player shortcomings (slowdown, annoying checkpoints) but it’s still a fairly standard affair with typical FPS play-sets and variants; the only difference being dinosaurs who attack all players which doesn’t affect gameplay all that much. A stock multiplayer experience could have been acceptable had Turok been released earlier this generation but it simply can’t compete with the current big FPS’ and only a month after its release it’s already evident as finding matches takes a long time because the game’s online population pales in comparison to other games.

Overall Score

6.0

Closing

Turok isn’t a bad game, just a slightly above average game during a time when players have 2 great FPS’ to choose from already. In spite of the game’s outcome, it gives gamers hope that a franchise that many people have long written off turned out so decently under a new developer. Bottom line: rent Turok but keep an eye out for the sequel.

Retrospective: Halo 3

February 28th, 2008
Eurogamer has put together a good-cop, bad-cop analysis of Halo 3; Eurogamer staffers have taken up opposing positions to point out the high points - and the lows - of Halo's impact on the industry. It's well-written, though I'm sure that folks with strong opinions will find one side or the other to be full of tripe. Read it with an open mind. Thanks, Max.(Louis Wu 20:57:08 UTC)

Halo 3 Film Festival, from MLG and the US Army

February 28th, 2008
MLGPro.com is hosting a Halo 3 Film Festival, presented by the U.S. Army. There are $3,000 in cash prizes plus some nice schwag, awarded to the top three finishers in each of three categories (Best Skill Video, Funniest Video, Most Creative Video). You've got until March 26 to submit - winners will be announced on April 7. Go read all the rules and regs at the MLGPro site. Thanks, Trigger119.(Louis Wu 20:32:03 UTC)

More Kubrick Chiefs, coming this fall

February 28th, 2008
Toy News International has information and pictures of Gentle Giant's Kubrick Series 2 4-Pack, coming out in September. Green, Steel, Gold, White... with a rare Orchid chase version available. $20 list price.(Louis Wu 20:28:11 UTC)

Strongholds

February 28th, 2008
PEZ let us know that halowiki.net kicked off a new section today - it covers Halo 3 Strongholds. There's information about easily-guarded locations on Valhalla... but the rest of the maps need your help! Go see what you can add.(Louis Wu 20:23:58 UTC)

Your case was a MESS – I cleaned it up for you.

February 28th, 2008
Wow. This is a sad story - mostly because it didn't have to happen this way. Thanks, Hawty.(Louis Wu 20:13:57 UTC)

Making Halo Wars Pretty

February 28th, 2008
The Halo Wars website has put up an interview with Lance Hoke, Art Produer for the game. He talks about how he got to where he is, and how Halo Wars is coming along. Give it a read!(Louis Wu 15:16:47 UTC)

Weebles

February 28th, 2008
Today's installment of Another Halo Comic Strip brings back memories from my childhood. Amazingly, they still make 'em. (They've updated the old song, though.)(Louis Wu 14:37:47 UTC)