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The Master Chief Collection out now; Halo 5 details revealed | (Twitch stream)

343i wants to ensure a balance to the arena-style multiplayer in Halo 5.
343i wants to ensure a balance to the arena-style multiplayer in Halo 5.

HaloFest 2014 and the launch of the Master Chief Collection is bringing tons of new announcements with Halo 5 multiplayer details and other tidbits to know about the release of 343i’s continuation of the series.

Every weapon zooms, but the devs ensure that it won’t alter the style of game too much. You won’t need to aim down the sights consistently to remain competitive.

Many fans have disagreed on whether sprinting fits into the Halo games as well, but 343i looks to balance that as well with sprinting now tied to your shields. In order for your shields to recharge you must move at the normal pace.

The devs clearly are trying to find that perfect balance to gameplay to keep such an acclaimed series on good terms with fans.

The first few episodes of nightfall will be revealed tonight and evidently Agent Locke and his story will be keyed on. Check it out on twitch.tv/halo and check out our own stream at twitch.tv/zombie_xsp

More details to come later.

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The Master Chief Collection — Gravemind gameplay

The work put forth Blur seems to always be incredible, and the opening to this level of Halo 2: Anniversary, and the rest of the game as a whole may be their best.

The visual effects and animation company have done a remarkable job in the re-imagining of gravemind and their ability to match the same spirit and style in which Halo 2’s original CGI scenes were built.

The CGI is one thing to admire, but the gameplay itself looks just as good.The upgrades in nearly everything is awesome, but it still has the same basis for design that Halo 2 originally had.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary edition, and its recreation of the slightly older Halo 1 game, were able to tinker a bit more with the exact looks of things to match the contemporary style that games have now.

Halo 2: Anniversary edition looks better relative to the rest of the games in the Master Chief Collection, but Halo: Combat Evolved shows a jump that is just as significant relative to the original game.

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Halo 2’s Bloodline – the recreation of Coagulation and Bloodgulch

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Some new screenshots and a closer look at one of the most popular maps within the entire Halo series, Bloodline.

Bloodgulch was without question the most inconic multiplayer map of Halo 1, and Coagulation (Bloodgulch’s successor) was arguably the most popular of Halo 2. Now we get to see the beloved map remastered again in the Master Chief Collection under the title “Bloodline.”

The classic dual base setup promotes a very balanced game that promotes all game types, and almost all party sizes.

Halo fans new and old can expect to see all versions of this map (Halo 1’s Bloodgulch, Halo 2’s Coagulation, Halo 3’s Valhalla, and Halo 4’s Ragnarok) very frequently upon the exclusive Xbox One release of the Master Chief Collection on November 18th.

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The Master Chief collection goes gold | 20GB content update on day one

The Master Chief collection brings all of the core Halo story in beautiful 1080p 60 fps.
The Master Chief collection brings all of the core Halo story in beautiful 1080p 60 fps.

Pre-order and pre-download is now available on the Xbox One. The Master Chief Collection will take up a whopping 65 GBs of space on your hard-drive — but it definitely looks worth it.

In his “going gold” post on Halo waypoint, Dan Ayoub (Executive Producer of 343i)states that “this is literally going to be the biggest Halo experience so far,” but even that statement doesn’t do the true magnitude of the game justice.

(Almost) Everything Halo from one menu with any combination of maps and missions at the players' fingertips.
(Almost) Everything Halo from one menu with any combination of maps and missions at the players’ fingertips.

The Master Chief collection goes above and beyond any other comparable value collection. Every map, every gun, every mission — all included on one disc that allows players to seamlessly transfer from one game to the next.

The disc contains a total of 45 GB of the initial content, but a day one update adds an additional 20 GB.

343i’s Franchise Development Director, Frank O’Connor, explains the update.

“That’s not a patch. It’s content. The game is designed to run as a single, unified product, digital is seamless obviously, but we also wanted disc users to have the same experience, without swapping discs. Since the bulk of it is MP or MP related, the logic is sound.”

“If fixes were required for Campaign, they would be very small, but that’s not the case. All four campaigns will run directly from the disc without the content update. As will some custom game features. Again, the bulk of the CU is MP and MP related.”

For most it does not seem like the addition will be too much of a burden, but some gamers may have to wait a bit longer than they would have liked if they want to get in on the full multiplayer action right away at its 12:01 a.m. (EST) release on November 11th.

Those who pre-download the title on the Xbox store you’ll have to endure even less time and get straight to the exploration of any chapter in the expansive Halo universe.

Some of the most iconic maps of Halo 2 are better than ever with improved visuals and fine-tuned map designs.
Some of the most iconic maps of Halo 2 are better than ever with improved visuals and fine-tuned map designs.

At just $60 the Master Chief Collection is an absolute must have game for every Xbox One owner — whether your experienced with the Halo franchise or not.

Those without Xbox’s that are familiar with Halo (especially fans of the beloved Halo 2 multiplayer) may see this as a potential console-selling addition to the console’s rapidly growing library of quality games.

We’re just weeks away from re-exploring the likes of Blood Gulch, Sidewinder, Ascension, Midship, and over 90 other multiplayer maps — not including the plethora of maps that will be inevitably created from forge on Halo 2, 3, and 4.

 

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Destiny — High ambitions stymie its aspired identity | Review

Destiny showcases some great qualities, but still leaves much to be desired.
Destiny showcases some great qualities, but still leaves much to be desired.

It sounds amazing on-paper and it’s not too bad as a finished product either, but Destiny lack of a core identity prevents the game from ever fully reaching the expectations so many people had for it.

It should be clear — Bungie and Activision did not totally drop the ball with Destiny. It is not a flop or a bust of a game, but with over $500 million invested in the title it’s reasonable to expect more.

A lot of what Bungie has attempted doesn’t fall off to dramatically at any point — in fact almost every aspect of the game is so close to being amazing. But that’s just it — so much of the game is close to greatness, but not quite there.

Here’s what went right and what went wrong, and the ultimate verdict on Destiny:

Visuals

The lighting and ambiance of Destiny does a great job of setting the tone of the game.
The lighting and ambiance of Destiny does a great job of setting the tone of the game.

What went right?

Aesthetics
The game looks beautiful. From the amazing expansive vistas, to the awesome lighting effects and small art details within each environment, everything about Destiny is begging to be explored and experienced. Right as your ghost first awakens you to the desolate Russian lands, the world is shown to be greater than any typical FPS.

What went wrong?

The linear world.
Despite these expansive landscapes that seemingly beg to be explored, Destiny’s free-roam gameplay is unfortunately hindered by invisible walls and repetitive pathways. While the game was broadcasted as an open and shared-world shooter, the progression of each mission is very clear and nothing comes as a surprise or a change of pace.

The other players that you encounter throughout each mission are far and infrequently occurring that make the world much less enjoyable for a solo player than it would be for a person who personally invites friends to play.

Story

What went right?

The plot.
The premise of the entire universe that Destiny occurs in and the lore of the world is certainly not what holds back the story in this game. The concepts are relatively basic, but it doesn’t need to be all too original or unique for a great story to be told. The Traveler is a great idea and the history of the human race is succinctly explained to build the base for an in-depth story. The races are varied enough to each have their own history and they all have the potential for their own great individual story lines –outside of humanity’s.

Destiny presents an expansive world left largely unexplored.
Destiny presents an expansive world left largely unexplored.

What went wrong?

The progression.
The lack of exploration within the core ideas of the story and the lack of development into explaining what exactly got humanity up to the point of the game’s start creates a break in the potential immersion that could occur throughout Destiny. It initially seems as though they game’s writers wanted to have the game as mystery unraveling before you, but the mystery hardly unravels at all. Far too many characters are left undeveloped and too many branches of the story are left hidden.

While their is a clear foundation for something great, there is little progression into the intricacies that the world seems to set from the beginning. The game struggles to get players emotionally invested in the story.

Gameplay

What went right?

Great action-driven engine
The gameplay of Destiny may be the game’s strongest trait. There are clear ties to Halo, Bungie’s last franchise, right away. The experience is very clean and is hardly ever impeded by any substantial glitches or bugs. The combat is well balanced and the weapon variety is decent. A quick-transportation method in the Sparrow offers a great ability to keep the game moving and prevents too many dull points where nothing is quite happening. Players are consistently involved and never lulled while traversing each mission.

What went wrong?

No identity
Destiny seems to try and take on as many game qualities as it can. Bungie incorporates many key aspects of a typical MMO in the FPS experience. An attempt is made to combining a well-made story FPS with a highly explorable MMO, but Bungie doesn’t quite succeed at reaching either of those aspirations. The MMO qualities of Destiny — loot drops, a home-base marketplace, class systems, and multiplayer missions are all excellent, but some key features of MMOs change what you would expect from any typical pace of action.

Throughout the game the placement of enemies and where players engage in combat are incredibly off-setting. Re-encountering enemies in the same scripted areas is par-for-the-course in almost any MMO, but experiencing the same in a world that attempts to be so story driven is one of the biggest aspects of the game that breaks any immersion.

Because each level is re-explored with multiple missions there is little the game does to shake things up. While the story of the game tries to alter the gameplay as you face a greater variety of enemies later in the game, it still doesn’t change the predictable cadance that the combat follows.

Sound

What went right?

The Soundtrack
While it isn’t quite as iconic as Halo: Combat Evolved, the soundtrack of Destiny does a valiant job in setting the mood and intended tone of the game. Anyone who has played the game should be able to recognize the soundtrack. Marty O’Donnell’s work is clearly heard though, and it’s similarities to Halo are very prominent.

What went wrong?

The voice acting
It may just be a carry over from the writing and creative direction the game attempts, but the voice acting is another immersion-breaking aspect of Destiny. The speaker, ghost, and the Queen of the Reef all speak in such a bland and PG style. It may be the Activision was looking to ensure a T-rating, but their is a noticeable lack of expressive or believable emotion in almost anything that is said.

Multiplayer (Crucible)

The PvP multiplayer of Destiny is another bright spot. The maps are well-balanced and offer a great mix of close-range and long-range combat. All players being given their own custom loadouts and classes allow for players to play the way they see fit. The weapon-armed vehicles along with your personal Sparrow offer great outside options besides standard on-foot firefights.

The only grievance that could really be filed against the multiplayer is the lack of gamemodes. While the core modes like deathmatch, control, and free-for-all are included, the unique and fun-focused modes from Halo’s franchise (like Infection, SWAT, and juggernaut) seem like they could fit well within the Destiny multiplayer as well.


 

Destiny has the aura of something absolutely amazing, but with every positive comes some type of negative that holds the game back. It presses to be so much and shows incredible aspirations of greatness, but a conservative approach and an overly-cautious avoidance of being too heavily any one genre prevents it from reaching the potential it had.

It certainly isn’t a neccesarily bad game. It is definitely a lot of fun — especially when played with friends, but with so much initially presented Destiny leaves much more to be desired. An excellent marketing team and a highly regarded developer like Bungie created a lot of hype to live up to, and though Destiny didn’t quite live up to it the quality of the game is still respectable.

7.2/10

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New Halo: Combat Evolved speed-run record

After the last record-breaking run was completed under 24 hours ago by twitch streamer, Goatrope, the record (1:34:57) has fallen to another streamer, Sub_Whistle, who has edged out Goatrope by nearly two minutes.

There were some close calls and near deaths, but Sub_whistle posted absurd times on both the Library and Two Betrayals to help him secure his final time (1:33:07). Utilizing nearly every exploit he could think of the Halo connoisseur grabbed the record just after Goatrope had broke his own record 12 hours before.

Certainly a disappointment for Goatrope, his excitement for the record was very clear after he was able to finally jump into the Longsword at the game’s conclusion. A stark contrast to Sub_Whistle, who’s only distinct commentary came just as he ended the video mid sentence — “We fucking did it.”

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Halo 5 Guardians – New trailer

Guardians will have a lot of expectations, but 343i is prepared to surpass them.
Guardians will have a lot of expectations, but 343i is prepared to surpass them.

343i is looking to their past experience with Bungie to ensure a high-quality next-gen Halo for fans to enjoy.

Halo 2 was known for its incredible competitive multiplayer and their execution of a well balanced online-arena experience.  Halo 5 guardians looks to bring that back with an identical ranking system and the decision to forgo loadouts for your spartan.

With 4v4 team modes and seven maps included, veteran Halo fans should be very optimisitic with the direction that 343 Industries is heading with Guardians’ multiplayer.

The beta, available to those who purchase the Master Chief Collection, is due December 29 and will run until January 18.

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Players’ Destiny beta progress not transferring | Game prepared for smooth launch

Destiny's beta helped Activision and Bungie create a lot of buzz for the game's September release.
Destiny’s beta helped Activision and Bungie create a lot of buzz for the game’s September release.

All that work for nothing? That’s what Bungie is telling those who took part in their recent beta.

Those who played during their select time frame while Bungie was testing their server capacity will be receiving an in-game nameplate for their profile.

Destinynameplatebeta

But Bungie’s weekly update revealed the rest of the character progress, acquired loot, and various collectibles found throughout the game will be wiped away for the full release.

If the rest of you haven’t gathered the painful truth from the eulogy yet, our Beta characters won’t transfer to the final version of Destiny. The vaults have been cleaned out, too.”

While disappointing, it’s not all that surprising given Bungie’s history taking the same action with the betas of both Halo 2 and Halo 3.

Still, the beta was a massive success for Bungie/Activision. Over 4.6 million players played the Destiny beta and the mass amount of preorders for the IP is on a record-breaking pace.

No major changes to come just before release, but some minor tweaks and changes to clean up any issues are being made to tune the gameplay.

One of Bunige’s designers Tyson Green reiterated the benefit the beta has given them.

“Since the Beta, we’ve continued to tune and adjust the game. The way you earn experience has been adjusted up and down a bunch of times. Items have been added and removed. New features toggled. Although there’s no single monumental change, the sum of the tweaks leaves characters from the Beta Build in strange shape that would be confusing at best, broken at worst.”

The servers look capable, the gameplay looks sharp, and the hype is massive. It seems everything for Destiny is set and ready for its September 9th release.

Bungie and Activision’s efficiency with handling the development and marketing of Destiny will likely result in one of the smoothest and most successful major IP launches ever for consoles.

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Halo 2 Anniversary coming to Gamescom

343i showcases their plans and improvements for Halo 2 in The Masterchief Collection.
343i showcases their plans and improvements for Halo 2 in The Masterchief Collection.

While the remastered Halo 2 multiplayer is just a small fraction of what will be coming from 343i in The Master Chief Collection, fans should be excited to hear that 4v4 mulitplayer will be available to gamers who make the trip to Cologne, Germany for Gamescom.

For those who won’t be making it to Gamescom, 343i will be keeping fans in the know with twitter updates, twitch streams, and more updates through Halo: Waypoint.

While Ascension has been confirmed as a playable map in the open 4v4 multiplayer, 343i also mentioned that another un-announced map will make an appearance at Gamescom as well. For those who are even more dedicated fans and want to put their Halo skills to the test 343i is hosting a legendary 4v4 tournament with a grand prize of $10,000.

Those who enter will be able to either piece together a team before hand, or form a team on station as they battle in the “winner stays” game series.

Full rules here:

“If your team wins 10 matches in a row, you’ll take the top spot on the daily leaderboard, and if another team tops your score (and wins 11 in a row), you’ll need to swing back and reclaim your spot. At the end of each day, the top teams will advance to the Sunday finals…”

The developer will be unveiling new information regarding both the Master Chief Collection and Halo 2 Anniversary as a part of the Xbox team’s annual press meeting streaming live on Twitch.TV/xbox August 12 at 2 p.m. CEST (8 a.m. EST, 5 a.m. PDT).

 

 

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Halo 2: Anniversary – Cinematic Trailer

Made by the folks at Blur, the Halo 2: Anniversary trailer showcases incredible visuals and outstanding effects throughout the cinematics of their Halo 2 remake. Blur has worked with the Halo theme in the past with Halo Wars and they clearly have done a fantastic job again.

Blur’s latest cinematic display is without question the best ever seen in the Halo franchise and objectively the best of all of their past works.


For more news and updates