Last night, I was minding my own business, fruitlessly attempting to get the Marathon achievement in Trials, when BionicWhiteJedi sent me a message asking if I'd help with Halo 3: ODST's Vidmaster Challenge: Déjà Vu. I glanced at the clock and figured I'd have plenty of time. I joined his party and the first thing I heard was some brat saying he didn't want to help anymore and that he had only joined to laugh when Jedi failed. First of all, that's a rather distasteful thing to say, and second, Jedi don't fail.
This kid subsequently left the party, but Jedi must have really wanted his help because he joined the brat's party and invited me in. The kid cried and moaned some more and then I got kicked. At this point, I was starting to feel bad for Jedi, so I was determined to help him get the achievement before the night was over. Eventually, the two of us met up with czerz1er (who has been patiently waiting for my help with Endure), and BLUE DEMON o0. The crying and moaning was over and our team of four was determined to complete our daunting mission. We loaded up Coastal Highway on Legendary, flipped on Iron (and grunt birthday party), and started the mission.
Our team had never fought together before so our strengths and common roles were unknown, but that didn't matter. A teammate and I proceeded on the ground level while the other two double timed it up the stairs to the sniper position for the first encounter. Grenades womped, sniper rifles cracked, silenced SMGs purred, grunt heads popped with confetti, and children cheered as we rolled right through the weak Covenant ground forces. We clicked.
Virgil got us to the highway and we quickly seized the unyielding rocket launchers and mongooses. Four soldiers with highly explosive projectile weapons is a force to be reckoned with, however, when uncoordinated, they are more deadly to themselves than others. After a few "oops" moments, we settled on a rough strategy and kept out of each other's way (for the most part) for the remainder of the mission.
We cut through Covenant forces with ease, hit every checkpoint, and made it to the final building with only a few minor trouble areas. Once at the building, I headed to the raised parking lot on the left, just a few yards from where the majority of the phantom drop-ships unload their personnel. From that vantage point I was able to hit them hard before their feet even hit the ground. The others stuck near the building and hit them at range. The Covenant didn't have a chance. After a few minutes, our fellow ODSTs flew in with the hijacked phantom, and we escorted Virgil up the gravlift. Tier One asset secure. Mission Complete.
We completed the mission in exactly one hour. Uncoordinated teams spend hours on this mission and never complete it. Jedi said he's failed the mission several times before, so I'm so glad I was able to help him and the others through it. I hope he sends his "friend" a link to our game history, and rubs it in real nice and thick. This is the type of experience co-op gamers strive for. Even though I personally did not get any achievement, or progress through the game, I helped three others, who were discouraged by previous failures and obnoxious "friends", get one of the most difficult Halo achievements of them all. And we had a blast in the meantime. That is enough for me.
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.
Arguably one of the most difficult achievements Halo 3 has to offer is the Vidmaster Challenge: Annual. I've never had a big motivation to try it since its 0 points and I don't really care about getting Recon armor, but a bunch of people at Co-Optimus have been looking for help. I figured I might as well give it a try, so Saturday night, Erika and I joined up with Bakken Hood and husky trooper and gave it a try. Actually our first attempt was with Bakken Hood and DSiJanCarlo but it was so embarrassing we won't talk about it. We did take one thing from that failure though, do not try the grenade jump shortcut. Its a waste of time and extremely frustrating.
With husky trooper, we managed to get up to the top of the structure without too much trouble. It took two tries to kill the tin can but only because I got too close and he launched me off the bridge with his wind attack. On our way out our own deployable turrets took us out a few times (note to self: destroy turrets before going inside). Husky trooper informed us to clear the ice path before getting the ghosts, that probably saved us quite a bit of time. The part that took the longest was the final stretch where you're racing to the ship while the Halo is falling apart. After a TON of respawns we finally made it to the ship. We probably would have had better luck if Erika and I hadn't been lagging so much.
We had some pretty amusing moments. Being killed by our own turrets multiple times made us laugh every time. There were also a few jumps that we completely missed. The one that cracked me up the most was when I clipped the wall while going off a ledge because my ghost turned to auto-aim at a flood enemy. I rolled out of my ghost which stayed on the ledge while I flew off the ledge along with my team mates (note to self: turn off auto-aim).
At the end, it was a fun hour and 37 minutes. I'd do it again if anyone needs help. I must warn you though, the two of us aren't the greatest on the ghosts!
- Vidmaster Challenge: Annual
- Date Earned: Sunday, September 20, 2009
- After 9/25/08, completed Halo on 4-player Legendary LIVE co-op, with Iron, and everyone in Ghosts.
Just give it to me! This game looks fantastic. Releases Oct 20th on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. More info at Co-Optimus and the Borderlands website. My only beef is you can't go online with splitscreen! It should still be a ton of fun though.
Video games seem to have such a bad rep when it comes to kids. There has always been a lot of a lot of controversy over ESRB ratings, violence, language, and addiction. Most of that friction comes from parents who have no experience with gaming, have no interest in gaming, or has a child who they think is addicted to gaming. Parents who take the time to understand gaming and its effects are much more prepared to help their kids have a good experience and probably learn something from gaming. Yes, you can learn a thing or two from gaming. This quote is pretty powerful and sums up my response to any parent who opposes video games for their kids.
What was ultimately reinforced for me is a simple truth that all the legislation and media hand-wringing often misses: if a parent isn't doing their job, then no law will fix that. Don't worry about understanding the newest study or crunching numbers on the latest gaming statistics: if your gut says your child isn't old enough for a game, or that they're playing too much, listen to it.
Thanks to txshurricane for the article!