Monday, November 12, 2007

"Halo Killer"

Halo, wow, 7 or 8 years ago, if you said that very few gamers would know what you were talking about. Nowadays it's hard to find any gamer that hasn't at least heard of the game, with each game making record sales, and bringing less employes into the work place for a few days.

In general, the Halo series, is one of the most well known video game series, and has influenced many other games and pop culture. It can be found with Halloween pumpkins, machinima and various other areas.

Since the release of Halo: Combat Evolved, a phrase was invented by the press and gaming community, this phrase became increasingly popular towards the release of Halo 2, with the most famous game for receiving it was Killzone.

A number of months before it was released, Killzone was labeled by a gaming magazine as "The Halo Killer." The press for the game blew up considerably with people flocking to previews, trailers, and screenshots of the game. The game was finally released, and was met with lukewarm reviews, but was generally considered vastly inferior to Halo. With news of it's bad reviews, and public opinion, the game became regarded as somewhat of a joke to a lot of gamers.

But when looking at the game by itself, it's an amazing experience, it may have it's problems, but in general, deserves better scores then received, so then, perhaps it was the title "Halo Killer" that killed the game, rather then Halo, with expectations blow out of proportion with the hype the was gotten along with the title.

What did the company think of the title? "You can't buy that kind of publicity. Anyways, who is going to say their game is not as good as another game. That is a matter of opinion. "Killing" a game is a ridiculous concept and it is not possible."

So their game given a title that was not wanted, made the game meet lower reviews and public opinion. Not a "Halo Killer" indeed.

But then, what IS a "Halo Killer?"

What could "Halo Killer" mean? Does it mean superior gameplay? Does it mean more sales? Does it mean better story? Does it mean better review scores? Does it mean that everyone will drop Halo and buy the "Halo Killer" instead?

Let's break these down, in terms of gameplay, many PC users will say they've had their Halo Killers around for years, with games such as Half-Life, And a large number of people will agree that the 2 Nintendo64 smash hit titles from Rare, Perfect Dark, and Goldeneye, far surpass Halo.

In terms of Sales, Halo is not the best selling game ever with games like The Sims, Mario, Grand Theft Auto and more far outselling Halo. Also, what do sales have to do with a good game? A lot of the time it can be a guider, but with games such as DRIV3R, and Enter the Matrix, which sold well but were hated among critics and gamers, yet games like Psychonauts, and Beyond Good and Evil, which were both critically and publicly acclaimed, sold horribly. So do sales really mean all that much?

People talk about a better story often, and yet, what defines a better story? Mostly it's all up to personal opinion, but once again, there are first person shooters with much more in depth stories, like once again, Half-Life. But people have different opinions, and some people may find the story of Mario better then the story of Halo, and that is their opinion. So what are we left with?

A big point is review scores, but again, this boils down to opinion, with Halo 2, and Halo 3 scoring lower on review sites such as Gamespot. Yet many people believe them to be superior, leading back to the fact that reviews are opinions. Another problem with reviews, is that most of the time they are measured up against what is out at that time, not for the game to stand on it's own, with examples like, the PS3 version of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, coming out a year later, but with better loading times, more content, and better graphics, yet it received a lower score. This all leads to the fact that reviews are not solely the reason compare games.

Lastly some people expect a game to come out that makes everyone drop Halo and pick it up. This will not happen, even if the game IS better then Halo, because of the cost of a new game, or the having to learn new controls and gameplay, when you already know the game you play the most. Maybe it will be on a system that they down own, regardless, there will never be a game that will make people suddenly drop Halo.

So is Halo really that good that nothing will touch it?

I am not saying that, Halo is only as good as your opinion of it. And lots of people already have games that they have higher opinions then Halo, So does that mean we have found our "Halo Killers?"

Maybe, but that would mean that "Halo Killer" is a personal description rather then a general one, leaving the game Killzone to take the blunt of the blade, one of which it couldn't have defeated.

So what would people want a "Halo Killer" to be like?

Different people would give you different answers, and yet, most people would have it be a game like Halo, which leads to another problem, because in this world of video games, people would argue that it is a blatant rip off of Halo, even if it's better. But what if was made differently? Would it lead to a game so unlike Halo it wouldn't be in the same ballpark, and would that mean it still has a chance to be a "Halo Killer?" Or does it only apply to first person shooters? Even so, the first person shooter genre has multiple sub-genres, such as the amazing amount of World War II first person shooters, realistic modern first person shooters, Sci-Fi Shooters, and other categories.

Does that mean that in the first person shooter genre itself, the "Halo Killer" title can only be handed to certain genres of first person shooters, or can it even be given to non first person shooter games? And if it can what does it mean? Can you even compare a racing, or fighting game to a First Person Shooter? How could you ever decide what game is a "Halo Killer?"

At the end of the day, the best way to describe "Halo Killer" is a personal thing, because the only way for a game to "Kill" Halo, is to have it better your personal opinion of Halo, which is only defined by what you personally like to see in games.

The only "Halo Killer" that people will ever drop Halo for, is in fact another Halo game. This is true for other franchises also though, people will tend to stick with what they know, it doesn't matter if there is "better" things. People will only drop "Metal Gear Solid" for another "Metal Gear Solid", same with "Super Smash Brothers."

EDIT: A bunch of people are taking this as a big compliment, saying how nothing will ever touch Halo. That's what this article is about, it's about the term "Halo Killer" not how good or bad you think Halo is.


Action Jack said...

I think a Halo Killer is something that outshines Halo by outclassing it in its strongest areas, thus leaving the series obsolete.

But I doubt there will ever be such a game, because in order to make people put down Halo, it will have to beat the game by such a huge margin that it escapes accusations of copycatting. And while I believe that the world could make a better FPS than Halo, I don't think we can do THAT much better.

-Action Jack

Jon God said...

But that is saying in stone that Halo truly IS that good, where as everyone has opinions, and it cannot be said in fact.

Action Jack said...

A blanket statement can't be made, but here are some individual undisputable facts that make a heckuvan argument:

1. Until I played Halo, I never threw a single grenade or punch in a first-person shooter. But when my circle of friends played Halo, I was considered the best at both of them. Halo's control scheme gave us access to melee and grenades without making us switch weapons, forever changing the way we play shooters.

2. Everybody who plays Halo has a different favorite weapon. This suggests an incredible level of balanced gameplay.

3. The market has spoken. Yes, we all bought Enter the Matrix, but nobody's playing it anymore. Halo still grasps the hearts of millions of people.

And actually, even if Halo was a piece of crap my definition of "Halo Killer" would still hold- good or not, Halo is a widespread phenomenon, and that's only the way to get rid of it.

Jon God said...

1. This is true, I didn't even play FPSes until I played Halo, and now I do all the time.

2. Somewhat true. In Halo 1, anyone trying to use anything other then a pistol is going to get killed. In Halo 2, anyone trying to use like half the weapons, will get killed by people with the other half the weapons.

3. And people still play Beyond Good and Evil, and no one bought it. There are many games that get bought and not played, and many games that were not bought much, but are played to this day.

Nothing will ever "Kill" Halo, the same way that nothing will lill Mario, I personally think there are better platforming games, but that doesn't stop Mario from being the most popular.

Action Jack said...

1. Cool.

2. Actually, I think the biggest thing that unbalanced Halo was the recharging shields. In the campaign mode, it was an incredible tactical factor, trying to find a place to hide and wait it out while your heart races as you hope your enemies don't come charging around the corner. But in multiplayer, it just makes it that much harder to kill the guy who's rampaging. If it weren't for shields, the sword-hog would eventually be whittled down to nothing and there wouldn't be so many killing sprees.

3. We're out of synch here; either we're arguing different things, or we agree but we're still arguing out of habit. I didn't mean Halo was the best game ever because it's so popular; I was just reaffirming what a huge deal it's become.

By the way, last night I saw Beyond Good & Evil in a bargain bin and picked it up. If it's half as good as you're kvelling it to be, then thanks for the tip-off.

Jon God said...

2. It did add something that made Halo more original then any other game on the market though, you have to say.

3. Yes, I know what you mean, but I don't think it's some untouchable god game that so many people think it is.

Well, if you don't end up liking it, it will be to bad, I found it to be amazing, and awesome.

Abe said...

Halo is Halo, Killzone is Killzone.
Personally I love Killzone, and I still play it today. I believe this is a great game. I enjoyed this game(Killzone)from begining to end. It should have gotten better ratings. If every FPS were to be compared to Halo then they may as well make all games Halo.

Jon God said...

I completely agree. :)