Halo: Anniversary

Yeah, yeah, I know: I’m late to the dinner table. Anniversary has been out for nearly a year, and I just now got around to buying it. It wasn’t for lack of desire, but for lack of money and priority. Alas, I have it, and I started playing it last night with my buddy, Erik. It was really cool to play this game in the updated graphics and with the modern physics engine. Very enjoyable and fun, especially with Erik’s unlimited ammo skull (grenades and plasmas aplenty). It further solidifies my decision to stick with the Halo franchise from now on; it also  keeps me very encouraged about Halo 4 this fall. If you are a Halo fan and haven’t purchased Anniversary, you are missing out!

Saying Goodbye to Video Games

Video games are expensive. They are also time consuming. And, recently, they have been subpar. Modern Warfare 3 is good, but it isn’t as good as Modern Warfare 2. In the words of Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank, “You’re dead to me.” Street Figher X Tekken is cumbersome, clunky, and crappy. Again, “You’re dead to me.” So, if I’m no longer going to partake in the Street Fighter or Modern Warfare franchises, I’m pretty much done with video games.

Except that there is Halo. I love this franchise. So, while I’m saying goodbye to Street Fighter and Modern Warfare, I’m saying hello again to Halo, embracing this franchise for all it’s worth, and moving forward.

Anyone want to buy my Street Fighter or Modern Warfare video games for Xbox 360?

Halo 4 Music

Halo 4 Music

Neil Davidge is composing this next installment in the Halo Saga. He has worked on Unleashed, I am Legend, Blade 2, The Jackal, Clash of the Titans, CSI, House, West Wing, and more. He has been a Halo fan since it was originally released in 2001.

I’m excited, unlike Kotaku’s Kirk Hamilton. I wasn’t really a big fan of O’Donnell’s work on Halo: CE, 2, 3, ODST, or Reach, so it will be interesting to see what Davidge brings to the table.

Why I’m Looking Forward to Halo 4

Halo 4 Halo Official Site

Halo 4 Halo Official Site

Halo 4 is due out this fall, and it is the start of a new Halo trilogy. This game and its trilogy is something that I am desperately looking forward to.

I started playing Halo: CE in college. It was a delight, especially playing snipers with a roommate or two. Then Halo 2 came out, and I was introduced to Xbox Live. I spent a lot of time playing Team Snipers in Halo 2. Halo 3 came out, and it was a bit disappointing by comparison to Halo 2, but it was still a lot of fun. Halo: Reach came out, and it was fun, but it just wasn’t as enjoyable anymore. I had lost interest. I turned to Call of Duty, which promised a much more realistic experience that was very enjoyable.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (COD4) was a lot of fun. I came to it late in the game, but what I did play was fun. Shortly after getting into COD4, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (MW2) released. It was by far the best game I had ever played for first person shooters. The sniping experience was unparalleled. Call of Duty: Black Ops later released, and I hated it. The sniping experience was severely hindered by the so-called “features” in Black Ops. I anxiously awaited Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (MW3), which came out in the Fall of 2011. I have played the multiplayer for a considerable amount of time now, and I have to say, it still pales in comparison to MW2, because it shares a lot of the “features” from Black Ops. It’s just not that fun anymore.

Now, I believe Halo 4 will spark my interest, because it is something fresh. Halo 3: ODST was interesting, but who wants to be a weaker ODST instead of the stronger Spartan? Halo: Reach was interesting, but we already knew the outcome. Halo 4 will provide a fresh story, scintillating graphics, and cutting edge game play. I think that the Halo franchise is altogether a better story than the Modern Warfare series, which is part of the reason for my longing of its release. But I am lashing out against MW3 for its Black Ops “features,” which has in essence ruined the sniping experience for me.

In the mean time, I guess I will have to play Halo: Reach to get back into the Halo swing of things, while still playing the new maps of MW3. Speaking of which, I need to get Call of Duty: Elite to save some money on those maps!

Which Video Games Are You Most Anticipating?

Some of my favorite video games are all do for a new installment. I am looking forward to MW3 the most, but still want Halo: Anniversary and SFXTK. Which one of these three are you must looking forward to playing?

Modern Warfare 3, available November 8, 2011

Halo: Anniversary, available November 15, 2011

Street Fighter x Tekken, available March 6, 2012

Cast your vote and flame away in the comments below!

Halo: Anniversary

Halo: CE was the ground-breaking Xbox game when I was in college. It was awesome. It originally released in 2001; it remained a popular game through 2006 as some die hard fans did not care for Halo 2 or 3. Halo: CE is now being remastered and released under the title Halo: Anniversary. It’s no longer a Bungie product. Now it is from 343 Industries. Here’s the multiplayer:

Fascination with Snipers

What is it about snipers that makes them so cool? I love the idea of a sniper. But I can’t determine why. I’m not in the military. I have no professional reason for this fascination. I am not a marksman. I have no fanatical reason, either. The only experience that I have with sniping is from Hollywood and video games, especially Halo and Call of Duty. Why the fascination? I don’t know, but I can tell you what I like about sniping.

Think back to the days of the old black Xbox. Halo was the game of choice. It had a wide array of weapons, but one of the coolest was a .50 caliber sniper rifle with a 10x zoom scope and optional night vision. Precision. Accuracy. Stealth. Power.

Fast forward to Halo 2 on Xbox Live matchmaking. The queue is snipers–a specified game type devoted to the .50 cal sniper mentioned above minus optional night vision scope with a secondary alien sniper rifle, an energy beam type, and grenades and stickies amidst a 4v4 grudge match. Cat and mouse. Hide and seek. Solo, pairs, or groups. High ground. Low ground. Strongholds. Scoping. No scope pwning. ‘Twas the gentlemen’s game: evenly matched with identical firepower, but the men separate themselves from the boys through precision, strategy, and team work. It was amazing. Hours upon hours were spent in sniper glory. Win or lose, it was intense fun.

Then came Halo 3. Snipers no longer existed in it’s own Xbox Live queue. The sniper rifle itself was made more precise, requiring even greater accuracy in the hands of the shooter. The four rounds of the sniper could not leave the gun as fast as the predecessors. With the accelerometer speeding up head movement, aiming became much more difficult. When it eventually got its own queue again, snipers simply was no longer the same intense fun. Not to mention, it wasn’t as balanced, because the alien sniper was no longer the secondary weapon. Either the pistol or the shot gun was the secondary, giving a heavy advantage to the combatant armed with the smaller weapon in a close range battle against an opponent who still has the sniper in hand. This distaste lead me to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Before Modern Warfare, I had played Call of Duty 2 and 3. They were fun, because they were nostalgic. They had realistic but classic sniper rifles. Still required accuracy. Still possessed power. But it had an added element of realism. The sniper could hold his breath to steady his aim. Super cool.

Now, fast forward to Modern Warfare. It was as realistic as they could be. But add to all the realistic weapons, steadying the aim, and add in stealth. Snipers could wear camouflage appropriate to the surrounding environment. Bangarang. This level of stealth is unparalleled. However, it doesn’t stop here.

Modern Warfare 2 takes the video game sniping cake. Cool weaponry. Sweet tech. Awesome stealth. But then it added in awesome tactics awarding the solo sniper for his patient and valiant efforts: predator missiles, harrier strikes, pavlo choppers, gunner choppers, and even game ending nuclear bombs. These enable the sniper to go rogue, patiently work to destroy the opponent, and, with the aforementioned perks, become a one man army, a multiplier.

I’m not here to determine which game is better between Halo and Call of Duty. I’m here to declare what I like about snipers. But I have merely covered video games. I have yet to talk about Hollywood.

There are several movies and a couple of TV shows that come to mind immediately concerning snipers. Enemy at the Gates is an awesome sniper vs sniper movie. I love it. I get engrossed in it. Saving Private Ryan has a sniper and even a sniper vs sniper aspect, but it left me wanting more. Shooter is, simply put, awesometown. Mark Whalberg does a great job in that movie. Bad to the bone. Tough. Patient. Smart. The movie shows the versatile but deadly nature of a sniper. It highlights how well a sniper utilizes stealth to attain victory. This movie, like Enemy at the Gates, kept 110% of my attention all the way through.

Movies are not the only Hollywood aspect. Leroy Jethro Gibbs from NCiS is a Marine Corp sniper, and the show relies on his past quite a bit, and I never tire of it. This show demonstrates through fiction how sophisticated the methods and tactics of a sniper really are.

More so than NCIS, the History Channel has had a couple of episodes highlighting sniper stories from Vietnam through the current day. This show is absolutely impressive. Not only does it recount the story of some sniper kicking butt and taking names, but it offers reasoning, strategy, science, and replicated experiments. It is superb.

So, there you have it. I’m fascinated by snipers. I love the power and precision of a sniper rifle. I am drawn to the stealth strategy of a sniper. I applaud the sophisticated methods a sniper uses. It’s similar in many respects to my fascination with ninjas, but that’s for a different time. Maybe all of these things fascinate me because I like strategy and sophistication? Maybe it’s because I like the concept of a lone ranger? Or, maybe it’s the psychological association I have with the fond memories from Halo 2 Xbox Live?

What about you? Are you fascinated by snipers? What’s your favorite sniper game? Sniper show? Sniper movie? Why do snipers fascinate you?