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How to play the Halo Games

If you are a hardcore Halo fan like myself, you probably played every Halo game many times and more. But do you play them like they should be played? Like I say they should be played? Let’s see…

First of all: Play the goddamn campaign. Nothing frustrates me more than seeing people only going for the multiplayer. You are missing out. BIG TIME! The campaign is what makes Halo so freaking great. True, the multiplayer does that too. But to me, the campaign is the cake and the multiplayer is the icing. The icing alone is delicious, but only combined with the cake, it reaches its full potential. You need both.

You should also play the campaigns in a chronological order (see below: Release Date order or Timeline order). I played the games in the release date order. Halo: Combat Evolved was my first Halo game. And yes, it’s old. But it aged like a beautiful woman…with grace. It is THE Halo game. Trust me, you need to play it. Then I went up, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST (don’t even think about skipping this one. It is such a good game. The atmosphere is fantastic and it has one of my favorite soundtracks), Halo: Reach, Halo 4, Halo 5. I know I didn’t mention Halo Wars. I didn’t play either of the games. I can’t bring myself to do it. It is just not my type of game. I like FPS and not RTS. But if you want to play all of the Halo games you should of course play Halo Wars and Halo Wars 2. Then there are 2 smaller top-down Halo games called Spartan Assault and Spartan Strike. Those are very special. I tried Spartan Assault and couldn’t finish. The controls were just too weird for me. So if you really want to be a Halo specialist and show off you should consider either playing the games in chronological release order or to play the games in chronological timeline order.

Release Date Order:

Timeline Order:

I didn’t include The Master Chief Collection and Halo: CE Anniversary. But since the big update for the MCC, you can of course go and play the Halo games on there. At least Halo 1-4.

What else do I consider important when playing the Halo games? Hmm, let me see. As I said before with the icing and the cake. The icing on the cake is pretty important. So yeah, play some multiplayer. It’s so much fun. Even if you are not a pro you can have your moments and most importantly you can get together with your friends and play a few rounds. But! Please be a good teammate. Don’t abandon your team in the middle of a game. Don’t be a d*** about losing a game. Have some honor. If you beat somebody in your skill range in a fair gunfight, go ahead, teabag the shit out of them, but don’t ever go about teabagging someone who is going 2 against 4 or is way below your skill. That my friends is not the Spartan Way.

Another important how to is to play the games on Legendary difficulty. Of course, this is only possible if you have enough experience with the games. If you are a noob you should start by going with Normal difficulty. But if you want to call yourself a true Halo nerd, you need to at least try to play the games on Legendary. It can be a pain in the ass but if you succeed, you belong to the 1 % (maybe the 5 or 10 %…). The most difficult Legendary campaign is definitely the Halo 2 one. It’s so hard! But trust me, try to play Legendary. You will feel Legendary.

Be it during the campaign or while playing the multiplayer, use all of the weapons. Try all of the weapons. You will be surprised how good some of the weapons work. Don’t go through the campaign with only your DMR or BR and Pistol. You are missing out. If you decide to play on Legendary you will be forced to use whatever is left on the ground anyway.

If you are playing a game where you can turn on skulls during the campaign, turn on the Grunt Birthday Party skull. Nothing is more satisfactory than popping a Grunts head with that sound.

And to conclude this How to I strongly advise you to enjoy the soundtrack while playing the campaign. Especially the original Halo trilogy and Halo: Reach and ODST have amazing soundtracks.

And as always, have fun!

 

I played – 7 Days To Die

This is the first game I will be giving a review on that I played on Playstation 4. I am playing this game with two friends and we are having a blast every single time. It is like Minecraft for older people. And I would never have thought of myself as a Minecraft player.

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7 Days to Die was developed by the Fun Pimps and came out in 2013 on PC. In 2016 it was published by Telltale Publishing on Playstation and Xbox One. It is called „The Survival Horde Crafting Game“.

In 7 Days to Die you build/craft and you fight zombies. During the day the zombies are slow and easy to fight but at night they are pretty fast and numerous. Your goal is to survive as many nights as possible. So you best search for shelter fast or build one yourself.

The three of us play very differently and that is what makes it so extremely funny. I am the gardener and builder. I love to plant potatoes and trees and I want our house to look great. Kathy is a mix of an explorer (most of the time she just runs out into the wilderness without bandages and food) and a builder. She creates explosives and weapons. She sweats a lot in the game. Her character is constantly close to a heat stroke and so she runs around half naked. As does Ben, the thorough and well organized explorer. He never leaves our house without proper gear. Most of the time without saying goodbye as well.

Our first move in the game was to occupy a random house and start to fortify it slowly. It really was so random. I think Kathy said „Oh, look guys, there are a few houses. We should pick one.“ Ben and myself: „Hell yeah.“ But as the game progresses we realized that we need a more advanced fortress. I have to admit that we are not very good at the game. So far we haven’t mastered the art of crafting weapons or more precisely ammunition. We are working on that at the moment. I think our final goal is to finish the new bunker, Ben’s baby. We dug a tunnel that connects our main house with the bunker. And we are very proud of said tunnel. Then we need to craft ammo and shoot the hell out of some zombies. We believe that after we accomplish that, we can call it quits and move on to Wildlands. Recon the shit out of those drug infested cartels.

The trailer below is pretty cool. I first saw it while writing this article. It makes the game look way better than it is though. I still love it. It really is best when playing with a group of friends.

I played – Virginia

I heard about Virginia on the Girl Tribe Gaming podcast (Great listen if you are looking for a game review podcast).

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I had not been playing a lot of Indie games until recently. After games like Valiant Hearts or Child of Light I was certainly interested, but now I am hooked. Virginia helped a lot to fuel my enthusiasm.

It was released in 2016, developed by Variable State and published by 505 Games. It is available on all platforms.

It took maybe four hours of gameplay to finish the game. It is hard to tell though because I could not finish it in one sitting. If I remember correctly I played it on three different nights. So maybe around four to five hours.

Because I cannot, for the love of god, create a tight summary of a game, I went to Major Nelson to get a nice short tease for Virginia:

Virginia is a single-player first-person thriller set in a small town with a secret. Experience a missing person investigation through the eyes of graduate FBI agent Anne Tarver. Together with your partner, seasoned investigator Maria Halperin, you’ll take a trip to idyllic Burgess County and the secluded town of Kingdom, Virginia, where a young boy has vanished and nobody seems to know why.“

The game is really weird. It is not like any other game. You hardly act as a player in it, you rather lay back and experience it. For the most part you can not interact a lot. If you can interact with a person or an object you see a circle forming on the screen where you look. That way you know you can do something. The game is mysterious and confusing and to me it seemed like a trip. As the gamer I was hopping on a train and took a ride. I got off and was very confused and happy. Happy, because I love mysterious things. I love when you don’t quite know what the hell is going on. Like in a Kafka book.

Lyndon Holland’s  music helps create a mystifying atmosphere. It is really beautiful music! Especially „Sojourner’s Truth“ is hauntingly beautiful and reminds me of Twin Peaks. Lyndon Holland is also the co-writer of the screenplay.

I don’t want to tell you more about this game because I feel it probably plays best if you know as little as possible. I can only recommend that you play it with an open mind and a bit of time on your hand. I wish I could have played it in one sitting. Afterwards you will have many questions. But there is help for that. There are a lot of answers/interpretations in several game reviews I found. The only question is…do you want answers and interpretations? Or is it sometimes best to let your mind spin for a while?

Next up in „I played“: 7 Days To Die.

 

 

New Narrative Director at 343i?

Brian Reed might no longer be the narrative director at 343i. 2 days ago they posted a job advertisement for the position of narrative director. Brian Reeds LinkedIn and Twitter accounts have also been deleted. I really hope that he is doing ok. cfbrianreedh5gi-a94275f0040c4e1595e9c955c9ab4dcbAt this point I don’t know if he decided to go or if he was let go. Both possibilities would make sense, seeing that he was subject to extreme harassment and didn’t have much fans in the community. His work as a narrative director was criticized a lot, so much so, that 343 shut down most threads concerning him on the Waypoint forums. I personally don’t like the storytelling of Halo 5. I think that it is the worst campaign of all the Halo titles. So yeah, I would not mind if someone else took the position of narrative director. What I don’t like at all is bullying and harassment though. And Brian Reed has definitely been a target of both. Some fans have been real assholes.

Despite all this I am quite excited to see how this unfolds. I wish for Halo and all the lore fans that they find someone capable of this huge task. I would not ever want to fill such a position and be watched and judged so closely. But it’s Halo. We care. Sometimes too much I guess.

If you want read more about Brian Reeds role at 343 and his backstory visit Halo Monitor. Kind of an old article but very relevant right now.

I played – Life is strange

What a game! I had only heard great things about Life is Strange and when I saw a good deal on Xbox I immediately bought it. I have to say I have never before played a game like this. Right from the start I was captured by the music. The atmosphere created by it is beautiful, dreamy and sad. I was intrigued.

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You play 18 year old Max Caulfield, an aspiring photographer who attends Blackwell Academy in the fictional small town Arcadia Bay. Max spent her childhood there and then moved to Seattle for 5 years. After her return things have changed and friendships have suffered.

Life is strange is an interactive, story based adventure game. Throughout the game you are given choices that impact the game and often you have to look for clues and objects to trigger the next sequence. The game consists of 5 episodes. The first came out in January 2015, the last one in October 2015. The studio behind Life is strange is Dontnod Entertainment, a french studio established in 2008. Before Life is strange they did Remember me (2013). Their future project „Vampyr“ is coming out this year. Life is strange is available on all platforms.

So back to the game itself. Right at the beginning of the game Max discovers that she can rewind time, which becomes a well used feature as you can imagine. The gameplay overall is good, not super intuitive (at least for me), but ok. I think the most fascinating part of the game is the amount of emotion generated in the player. I had tears in my eyes not once but definitely up to 3-4 times. The choices you have to make are pretty huge at times. And with huge I mean in a philosophical/moral way. The game puts you in a spot you might not have been before, raises questions you may not have thought about before; in a way it’s a game about life ethics. And maybe the grand „What if“? Is there more than one life? Can I change lives (if given the chance of time travel) or is everything destined to happen one way or the other?

Life is strange is also pretty dark at times. Topics like suicide, bullying, murder, euthanasia and general teen angst are all in the game. At least the latter applies or applied at some point, for a lot of people. And I, although I am in my 30’s, can still remember what it felt like to be a teenager.

I really, really enjoyed the game and I can only recommend it. I am not sure about the upcoming Vampyr game though. It is hard to tell at the moment with only the trailer. Maybe it is the setting that bothers me. But anyway, go play Life is strange.

Next up in „I played“: Virginia.

 

 

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