Thursday, May 17, 2007

Halo 3 Beta (XBOX 360)

High Ground: Yeah I suck but I do get in an air melee kill near the end.
(sorry for the crappy shaky cam with even worse audio. I was very short on time.)

- Download size is just under 1GB.
- Lots of good info here. View my embarrassing stats here.
- I only got to play two slayer games so far: one in High Ground and the other Shotty Snipers on Valhalla. I haven't played multiplayer halo 2 in about 2 years so yeah I suck.
- Overall the beta is very polished, game play was very smooth, no real issues at all.
- Matchmaking seemed a bit faster than halo 2 and games lasted 15min each. This was always my main issue with Halo 2 and why I never really got into the multiplayer. It would always seem like it took forever to get into a game (searching for other players.....) and then once in I would get to play 5 min (of mostly dying). Just when I start to figure out the map it would be over. The ratio of waiting to join vs playing was stupid bad. So far halo 3 seems a bit better and more tolerable.
- Graphically it didn't blow me away like Gears or R6 Vegas did. Graphics are clean, ran at a very good framerate, texture detail was mostly good, terrain mesh seemed a bit low still (very halo 2 ish IMO), character/vehicle models were very good, weapon effects are nice, trees eh, water shader is very nice. I'm hoping the campaign will look even better since they often tone down the multiplayer stuff for scaling purposes.
- I like the new weapons. I got to try the beam weapon once. Yeah ummm not so good against infantry. The grav lift is cool. Things seemed pretty balanced to me in my very limited play time. I especially liked how you can pull off the mounted guns and take them with you though I don't recommended it in a Sniper level. Your walking speed greatly drops and makes you a sitting duck.
- Default controls suck! I know intuitively sticking reload/pick up weapons in LB RB made sense but actually playing that way is worthless. Having jump and melee attack on face buttons is just stupid. Those two things you use a lot in CQB and you can't aim when you are using those face buttons. I'll try moving jump and melee attack to LB/RB and maybe the reloads to the face buttons since you usually reload between battles.
- I love the replay movie feature. Basically after every game you just hit back and X to save the entire game which you can watch later at any time. They said camera controls will be in the final version. You can save multiple replays.

Overall it's about what I expected. I was never a big fan of Halo multiplayer (loved the single player), and I'm not sure if this will change my mind. The new weapons, vehicles, and equipment seem cool. I can see myself enjoying this more if I get into a party of friends and jump from game to game. By myself in random games it still has some of the long join times vs shorter play time issues though better than halo 2. I'll try and put in a few more hours to get a better feel.