Today's date is 7/7, that means it's my favorite gaming holiday of the year. Bungie constantly recognizes how important the Seventh Column is to their success, but Bungie Day is a special holiday they created to highlight that recognition, and to say "thanks" by giving the community something special. This year is no different. Bungie teamed up with Rooster Teeth (makers of Red vs. Blue) to bring us this video packed full of Reach goodness:
Bungie Day has also become a day for communities to say "right back atcha." While not exactly Bungie Day themed, Co-Optimus posted a Vidmaster Guide written by your's truly. That's my very first post at Co-Optimus!
Bs Angel asked for the Hawty McBloggy community to pitch in and help create a very special bungie day project. There's a TON of goodies to go through there and obviously a lot of hard work was done to create that.
I'm keeping my eyes out for more Bungie Day goodness but haven't seen any other notables yet. Happy Bungie Day! Thank you, Bungie, for bringing us such great games!
E3 brought a lot of exciting news for Xbox 360 fans this year. Possibly the biggest announcement was the unveiling of Kinect (formerly Project Natal). Many have picked on Kinect for several reasons but I think most of those complaints are unfounded. In it's current state, I don't think anyone had hardcore gamers in mind, yet the only people complaining are the hardcore gamers. Let them perfect the technology with casual games, it will be in everyone's best interest in the end. It's kind of funny because I bet if there was a hardcore game being released with Kinect compatibility, gamers would be complaining that they have to buy Kinect or that gamers with Kinect would have an unfair advantage, etc. etc. In the end, the implementation would not be perfect and there'd be millions of complaints about that. I think Microsoft is making the right move by focusing on casual games first. There won't be much of a backlash when things aren't perfect. Personally, I'm looking forward to Kinect since it will have some fun games for kids and the control it will offer in the dashboard will be very cool as well. I'm not counting on playing any hardcore games with it any time soon.
Another huge announcement was the new slim Xbox 360. This had a "meh" reaction from me. Yes, the integrated wireless is nice, but I wouldn't use it. The smaller form factor is pretty minimal, the current model is small enough in my book. The best part about it is that all the current Xbox 360's got a $50 drop in price and stores are pushing to clear out their stock. I just picked up an Xbox 360 Arcade for $130 and got a $50 gift card! Basically, I got a brand new Xbox 360 Arcade for $80. I'll be selling the two games and controller that came with it so that will sweeten the deal even more. It will be nice to have another Xbox for those games that don't offer split screen. So I guess the new 360 is cool in some respect ;).
For me, I think I got more excited about the game announcements. Bungie announced Firefight for Halo Reach which is insanely customizable and has some cool new features. I figured it was coming but actually seeing the trailer and hearing about all the new features was very exciting. The little bit of space battles they showed was pretty cool but I'm a little bit weary about it. I hope it is included in multiplayer and I really hope it is not over-done in the campaign. I also hope it is not too generic. I would be very excited if it has a Star Wars Battlefront feel to it where you can land inside a station or large ship and attack or go after some sort of objective.
Another set of game announcement I am very excited about is everything Epic announced for Gears of War 3. Beast Mode (basically the inverse of Horde mode) sounds absolutely fantastic. I can't wait to get my hands on that mode. The new weapons and enemies are looking awesome and Epic has really seemed to hit the mark with female gears. They're not too fragile and they're not too buff. They look tough while still retaining their womanhood. They found a good balance.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is looking good. That will be a fun game to tackle with my wife. I'm also looking forward to Dungeon Siege 3 and Hunted: Demon's Forge. I've been keeping an eye on Crackdown 2, although since there's no couch co-op, I'm on the fence. There are so many games out there and not enough time to play them all.
All links point to Co-Optimus, because I'm a whore like that.
Bungie set the Invasion and Invasion Slayer game types loose on Friday, and I couldn't put it down that night. Both game types put six Elites up against six Spartans with weapon/ability loadouts that progressively get better. The special weapons and vehicles also improve as the match goes on. The final minutes are usually quite intense.
Invasion Slayer is basically Team Slayer with territories that, when captured, drop heavy weapons and vehicles. Teams still compete for the highest kill count, but teams can gain a strategic advantage by capturing territories. Can is the key word here. When a territory is captured, the bonus (a weapon or vehicle) is dropped at the territory after ten seconds. Smart teams that arrive late to the territory will gang up and attack just before the bonus is dropped. In my experience, the team that captures the territory rarely reaps it's benefits very well. Either the opposing team takes control of the area before the drop, or they destroy the vehicle faster than the other team can escape. At first I was really focused on controlling territories, but after a while, I found it was better to just sit back and pick off anyone that ran for it. Nice open targets are my favorite. Occasionally, I'd hit a territory if we had a tight group but usually I just felt like an easy target. Overall, it's a refreshing game type, but it's yawn worthy when compared to Invasion.
Invasion... This is almost the game type I've always wanted to see in Halo. Elites are attempting to steal a data core from a decommissioned UNSC ship, but first they have to take down the shields blocking access to the ship, and security measures protecting the core itself. Elites have four minutes for each objective, if they run out of time for any objective, Spartans win. Invasion plays out very well. Most games make it to the final stretch which makes it pretty exciting. The game is very well balanced even though Elites are obviously more powerful. I've been having a lot of fun with this mode and I had a hard time calling it quits early this morning.
You may be wondering why I say it's almost the game type I've always wanted to see in Halo. I've always been a huge fan of Tribes and Tribes 2, so when Halo came out, I was hoping the team based multiplayer would be more like Tribes. Deployable turrets, different armor classes, a huge selection of guns, fantastic vehicle combat, and, my favorite, generators that can be destroyed to leave the enemy team crippled. Don't get me wrong, I love Halo multiplayer, but the Tribes series is something special that has yet to be matched. Halo Reach's Invasion and Generator Defense game types have introduced some of the elements I love from Tribes to Halo, so I'm pretty happy. I hope these modes are received well by the rest of the Halo fans, and I hope Bungie has time and plans to add more complex objectives to Reach. I keep thinking the next game will be even better, but I have to keep reminding myself that this is probably the last Halo game from Bungie.
Of course, one huge aspect I love about Invasion and Invasion Slayer, is that you get to play as a kick ass Elite! I always hated how Elites are the same as Spartans in Halo 2 and 3 (besides the player model obviously). Elites are way more bad-ass than Spartans. I don't care that they're enemies blah blah blah, they're fucking awesome. End of story. Elites in Halo Reach are faster, have stronger shields, more health, and they're HUGE. Just as they should be. They are a blast to play and I'm glad Bungie finally served them right.
Overall, Invasion and Invasion Slayer are amazing and I don't see myself ever getting tired of them (especially not Invasion). I hope Bungie has more surprises up its sleeve and, in particular, more co-op modes!
Thanks to Nick, Co-Optimus, and Bungie, I have the pleasure of playing in the Halo Reach Friends & Family Beta (it's super awesome) this weekend! So far, I've only played six games, but oh boy was it fun! I played some Team Slayer, 1 flag CTF, Stockpile, and SWAT. They were all enjoyable minus the one match where the other team was able to lag switch on us (unfortunately, Bungie has not stopped that completely). During the beta (it's super awesome), I'll excuse that sort of thing since that is what the beta is for, catching those sorts of things.
The new weapons are great. I haven't played with all of them but I REALLY enjoyed the DMR and the Magnum. Armor abilities are sweet, although, I was a bit disappointed with armor lock. I'm guessing it will be more useful in other maps and game types, but so far, armor lock just saves your butt for a few seconds and lets the enemy line up their shot for when you pop out of it. We'll see how it plays out. The only thing that really bugged me about the beta was returning flags. Right now, you pretty much have to be standing right on the flag to start returning it. Obviously, that leaves you in a pretty vulnerable position and the flag obstructs your vision quite a bit. I'm sure that will be tweaked as the beta continues. I'm really looking forward to the other game types coming later in the beta (it's super awesome).
Overall, it was a blast. I just wish I had someone to play with. Since last night was also a co-op night for the new L4D2 DLC, Nick and the others were busy (I don't have the DLC yet). Hopefully, I'll be able to hook up with them over the weekend. If not, I'll still play (duh). Feel free to send me requests on Monday when the beta (it's super awesome) goes live for anyone with an ODST disk. Don't forget to stop by Halo Waypoint after playing a few games to pick up your free beta tester hoodie!
P.S. No, I do not have codes.
Cross-posted at Co-Optimus.
Last Friday Co-Optimus hosted a "Halo Collectible Night" as part of our monthly co-op night with Halo Waypoint. We planned on helping people find skulls, terminals, and audio logs from Halo 3 and Halo 3 ODST and hopefully pick up some achievements. I already have everything so I sat around waiting for someone to ask for help. I ended up hooking up with L1GHT3NSTRIKE to pick up all the audio logs in ODST. We hit all 29 from the streets in about an hour, but couldn't find the entrance to Data Hive where the 30th is hidden. Google told me the entrance to Data Hive isn't accessible until you play through all the flashback levels. What a pain! We both already finished the game and started the game with the Mombosa Streets, so why block us from Data Hive?
I was wary of exiting and starting up Data Hive because I had a suspicion that we'd lose the audio logs we collected. On the other hand, we weren't about to play straight through the game just to get the last one, so we took the risk. Well, I was right. We fired up Data Hive and lost all our precious audio logs! Why Bungie? WHY?
Bungie is one of my favorite developers, and has rarely wronged me in the past, so this really surprised me. I know ODST was a small project but it seems like too many corners were cut. The one that really hurts is the lack of matchmaking in Firefight. The excuse was that Firefight was built on top of the campaign engine, which doesn't have matchmaking capabilities. That's such a shame. Firefight could have been huge with matchmaking. I also wish Bungie would crank out some new maps for Firefight. The existing ones are cool but some new maps would really spice it up. ODST could have used multiplayer as well. Just think of playing the current Halo 3 game types in ODST, and all the new game types that could have evolved from ODST. That would have been a blast.
In the end, ODST is a great game and I'm sure I'll be firing it up for years to come. One thing is for sure, I'll never try helping anyone with audio logs ever again! Do it solo. Here's some help: