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Chatlog: The Halo 3 Beta: Two Weeks Later

Halo 3 teaser Master Chief

The Beta has been available to the public for nearly two weeks, and with well over a hundred games between the two of them, editors Chris Pereira and Kyle Ulrich have a discussion about the experience thus far - what they like, what they don’t, what needs to be changed, and more.

Kyle: First off, the graphics. While the beta looks good, it’s absolutely clear that what is there is merely a foundation for what the finished product will become. A lot of people have been quick to criticize the game for looking too similar to Halo 2, without taking into consideration that the majority of the assets that we’re seeing in this beta - the levels, weapons, and character models - have been finished for months, as early as last October. Particle effects are nonexistent - grenades and muzzle fire lack flourish. From my perspective, we’re going to be looking at almost an entirely different game come September. I’d imagine that there are layers and layers of polish that have yet to be implemented. Believe.

Chris: You’re right. is the type of developer that waits until the last moment to slap on that extra layer of gloss that makes everything oh-so-pretty. And unlike many games, gimmicky bloom effects aren’t what make Halo look good. And after all, this beta isn’t a tech demo; don’t expect it to wow you with its graphics.

Kyle: The gameplay is an entirely different story, though. Even in this early, unfinished stage, the balance is remarkable. Nothing feels particularly unusable and the power weapons are exactly what they should be: hard to use, one-hit skill kills. Everything from the recoil of the sniper rifle to the shortening of the Shotgun’s ammo chamber make major strides at leveling the playing field. The even smattering of spray and prays and one-shots coalesce and riff off each other beautifully. For my money, an unfinished product has never played so marvelously. Also, the tweaking of the objective game types shakes things up well. Territories is simply awesome.

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Halo 3 Beta To See Maintenance And Playlist Update

Halo 3 Master Chief

This week will showcase the first substantial change to Halo 3’s matchmaking playlist. Team Training is going bye-bye in order to be replaced by Big Team Training – 6v6 games of the objective and slayer variety on High Ground and Valhalla. Luke Smith also stated on Bungie.net, “… we’ve made some slight tweaks to the Team Skirmish playlist that should add greater variety in the opponents you’ll face.” If only that meant no slayer games in the skirmish playlist. Slayer is not an objective game! Go play Team Slayer if that’s what tickles your fancy.

In unrelated news, later today (May 23), some sort of proverbial flip will be temporarily switched between the hours of 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. PST. It supposedly should have no impact, but Frankie warns of what may potentially happen:

Should your game encounter a rare crash, your Xbox 360 will give you an alert screen, explaining that it’s uploading data to Bungie servers. We actually need this data, and we need your cooperation too. Although you probably won’t see that screen, if you do, let it finish uploading the data. It may take some time – upwards of 10-20 seconds and perhaps longer. So we beg your patience. When the process has completed correctly this is the message you’ll see, “File upload complete. Visit http://www.bungie.net/forums/halo3beta for more information (safe to reboot).”

Read More | Bungie.net

Finish The Fight On September 25; Halo 3 Release Date Announced

Halo 3 Mountain Dew Game FuelWith the Halo 3 beta just hours away from release comes this bombshell: will be headed to retailers on September 25 (26 if you’re unluckily living in Europe). The beta alone has caused a tremendous whirlwind of press coverage and buzz among the community, and the release of the game is only going to be bigger.

“‘Halo 3’ is much more than a video game release; it’s the biggest entertainment event of the year,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business. “On Sept. 25, we intend to deliver a finale that will go down in entertainment history and leave people around the world with an experience that will be shared and enjoyed for years to come.”

Previous proclamations from Microsoft and Bungie placed Halo 3’s release this fall, which September 25 certainly qualifies for. Many people, myself included, predicted the game would launch in November, as to avoid the October release of Grand Theft Auto IV, and to be on store shelves by the holidays. Apparently, Microsoft is instead opting to ride on the initial wave of sales in September and October, and then benefit from the holiday shopping season.

Halo 3 will no doubt be working in tandem with Mass Effect in order to counter the onslaught of PlayStation 3 titles that will be seeing release later this year. Expect to see plenty more Halo-branded things in the coming months, too – another Halo novel, the Halo 3 Zune and that limited edition Master Chief Mountain Dew can you see on the right.


GamerAndy Live! Episode 80.5: Halo 3!

Edie, Andy and Sherveen from MyGamerCard.net (who went to the NYC Halo event) discuss at length their impressions of Halo 3 after about seven hours of play.

In addition, they give away the last of the Halo 3 Beta keys they scored at last night’s event. Well, more like they gave you an opportunity to enter into the pool of those who might win. Make sense? Well, listen in and you’ll understand.

By the way, IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THE HALO 3 BETA GIVAWAY: SEND YOUR CONTEST ENTRIES FOR THE HALO 3 BETA KEY TO ANDYTHEGAMER@GMAIL.COM - NOT THE EMAIL MENTIONED IN THE SHOW!

What did we talk about specifically? Well, here ya go:

  • No anti-aliasing but nice looking
  • Not a game to for a newbie to the series
  • Button changes for the new Halo versus old Halos (context-sensitive button, communications button)
  • New weapons (spartan laser, buffed needler, buffed plasma pistols)
  • Changes/new vehicles (mongoose, warthog, ghost)
  • New game modes (VIP)
  • New Maps (Snowbound, Valhalla, High Ground, etc.)
  • An in-depth discussion of the relative value and proper use of grenades
  • More weapon discussions (melee, shotguns, return of a nerfed assault rifle, spikers)
  • Man Cannons?? MMM…..
  • New class of weapons: Really Big ####### You Can’t Run With

New Halo 3 Beta Video Available; Spartan Laser Pwns

A new video titled Betalicious has made its way onto the internet. It showcases a Mr. Jukes’ foray into the 3 beta. Mr. Jukes is a Microsoft employee, and using his fancy video editing skills, has put together what is easily the best Halo 3 video the public has had a chance to see. It offers a good look into several of the game’s levels, the man cannon, Spartan Laser, and more. One thing is for sure: the Spartan Laser can be absolutely dominant in the hands of someone who knows how to use it, judging by the montage near the end and the scattered clips throughout.


Head to Bungie to download the video and read an interview with Mr. Jukes.

Read More | Bungie

Being A Halo 3 Extra

Master Chief Chris Anderson, Editor-in-chief at Wired Magazine, and GeekDad recently got a chance to record some of the voices for some of the “extras” in Halo 3. The GeekDad blog has full details, including a short video with Marty O’Donnell, audio director for Halo 3, but one can also get a glimpse at a couple of redacted script segments for the game. Of course, nothing major is revealed in the scripts, but there Commander Keyes and the Flood both get a quick mention. While the multiplayer aspects of Halo 3 have been getting a lot of attention, the storyline for the third game has been held very close to the vest by Bungie. With the cliffhanger ending of Halo 2, Bungie would seem to have a bunch of storylines to resolve if the upcoming game is to complete the trilogy.

Read More | GeekDad

Top Ten Improvements in Halo 2 for Windows Vista

Halo 2 Vista

So, Halo 2 for Windows Vista is launching on May 8, 2007, and we have been able to spend some time reviewing the title. Since everyone is familiar with Halo 2, we felt a full review wasn’t in order. Instead, we wanted to clue you in on the ten best improvements we experienced while reviewing the game. These ten features raise the bar for Halo as a whole, and may be a foreshadowing of things to come in Halo 3:

Achievements: If you are looking for something fun that adds another level of fun and challenge to the Halo 2 world, this is it. We have said it before, and we will say it again - Microsoft hit a gold mine with the notion of achievements. No sooner than when we finished a multiplayer deathmatch did we rack up a total of three achievements. Meleeing five people from behind (and thusly earning the Ninja achievement) was nice, but Meleeing someone who already had the Ninja achievement (and thus earning the Flaming Ninja achievement) was even better. We have the achievement to prove it. For those wondering, yes, the achievements you earn in Halo 2 for Vista (or any other Games for Windows game) is counted towards your Xbox Gamerscore.

Click to continue reading Top Ten Improvements in Halo 2 for Windows Vista


Halo 3 Beta Details Announced

Master Chief Bungie today announced the details of the Halo 3 beta for qualifying gamers; those that either got into the original registration period, those that won spots during the “Rule of Three” contest, or those that bought copies of Crackdown with the golden ticket inside. At midnight May 16th Pacific Time the beta goes live and will continue through the end of June 6th. Bungie is currently promising three maps for the beta program, Valhalla, High Ground, and Snowbound, available through the beta version of Bungie’s matchmaking service. Some of the new weapons and vehicles will be present in the beta, including the Spiker, Spartain Laser, and the Spike grenade. It sounds like some of the mysterious functionality of the “X” button will be revealed; from the video Bungie has released, it looks like the button will act as a “deployment” function for some of the new equipment in the game. Further details and information on the road leading to the beta can be found in Bungie’s new Vidoc, linked from their beta announcement.

Read More | Bungie

Bungie Dropping “New” Maps For Halo 2

Halo 2 Map

Bungie today announced that coming in April, two “new” multiplayer maps will be available for download in Halo 2. The maps, new to Halo 2 are recreations of original maps found in the original Halo: Combat Evolved. The two maps, “Hang ‘Em High” and “Desolation,” will be downloadable on both the original Xbox and Xbox 360 for $4 on April 17th; luckily, original Xbox hold-outs won’t be left in the cold for this content update.

The full press release continues after the jump.

 

Click to continue reading Bungie Dropping “New” Maps For Halo 2


Bungie Releases First Video Documentary For Halo 3

   

This morning, Bungie made the first ViDoc (video documentary) available for Halo 3. The video documentary focuses on the Brutes in the game and runs approximately seven minutes. Bungie is cautioning that the graphics in the documentary are not final, but the feature should give a good idea about where the company is heading with these creatures in the new game. English language Standard and High Definition versions are available on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and the company will be making localized versions and a non-Marketplace version available later. The feature is also currently available on GameVideos.com

Read More | Bungie

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