Halo: Nightfall Trailer

The goodies are coming thick and fast today. Below is the first proper Halo: Nightfall trailer ahead of the shows launch in November.

Halo: Nightfall focuses on Jameson Locke, a playable character in Halo 5. In Nightfall, he’s part of a squad investigating a biological weapon that only affects humans. It’s being produced by Ridley Scott, and the president of Scott Free Productions, David Zucker, has previously said that Nightfall “represents an origin story,” where Locke will “go through some profound changes.”

Halo: Nightfall Teaser

The San Diego Comic Con is in full swing and as always there’s a deluge of coolness flooding the room. One year I’ll have the money and the wherewithal to go.

As usual the guys at 343 Industries don’t disappoint. Aside from all the awesomeness of Halo 5: Guardians & Halo: The Master Chief Collection there’s also a Ridley Scott produced series in production called Halo: Nightfall.

Details from news.xbox.com:

Taking place between the events of Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, Halo: Nightfall follows the origin story of legendary manhunter Jameson Locke (Mike Colter) and his team as they are caught in a horrific terrorist attack while investigating terrorist activity on the distant colony world of Sedra. Led by Locke, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) agents are forced to coordinate with a Sedran commander with a remarkable history and deep-rooted mistrust of ONI. As the plot unravels, they’re drawn to an ancient, hellish artifact where they’re forced to fight for their survival, question everything, and ultimately choose between their loyalties and their lives. Agent Locke is a new character in the Halo universe poised to play a major role inHalo 5: Guardians releasing on Xbox One in 2015.

And just coz, here’s a still of Ben Affleck as Batman. I’m sorry but he’s the most Batman looking Batman ever.

BtVnM_xCAAAydY8

Halo 2: Anniversary WIP Gameplay

And no sooner have I seen, drooled over, and shared with you the announcement trailer of The Master Chief Collection does a video hit the interwebs of work in progress gameplay footage of Halo 2: Anniversary.

I reported on this as a possibility for the 360 quite some time ago and it’s great to see that it wasn’t without foundation, albeit as a collection on the XBox One. It does look a little bit XBox 360 but it is in development and it’s the updating of a 10-year-old game from two consoles ago so it can be forgiven. For me the biggest problem was the shaky story which was supposed to be the Empire Strikes Back of the story but never quite delivered. Here’s hoping the re-release will be up to snuff…

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Ever since Halo 5 was announced for the XBox One, rumors have been abound that an emulator would be made available so the previous Halo games could be played on the next-gen console. It looks like this was halfway to the truth. Revitalised versions of Halo: CE, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4 will be made available to buy as Halo: The Master Chief Collection. There’s already been grumbles that Halo: ODST and Halo: Reach won’t be included but seeing as the Master Chief isn’t in those games, as great as they are, it would seem a bit daft. Plus it’s churlish to ask for Mars when you’ve been given the Earth. And four games for £50 is pretty tidy.

This is all adding up to one inescapable truth…I’m saving up for an XBox One as of now. It was always going to happen: I wanted an XBox One anyway but throw in Halo 5, Batman: Arkham Knight and now The Master Chief Collection and I’m about to be very poor for a very long time.

Anyway, enjoy the trailer. For the die hards out there this is a very familiar scene remastered beautifully.

Halo Mega Bloks: Infinity Armour Bay – A Review

121110megabloksHalo isn’t for everyone. There I said it. It isn’t for everyone because some people don’t like sci-fi. And some are more interested in bullet porn than plot. I am not one of those people. I love sci-fi. I love a game driven by a story – a story, I might add, I’ve invested more than a decade following – and I love Halo.

I mention this because I’ve played the Halo 4 campaign start to finish a lot. And every time the story drives me to do better. To make more efficient kills, to move faster, be better. To be more…Chief. I’ve raced to the top of the tower to warn the UNSC Infinity about approaching the Forerunner planet, secretly hoping that if I’m just that little bit faster I’ll catch it in time. And every time I get to the end a part of me always hopes that I can somehow change the outcome. So by the time we see the Chief on the armour deck it’s a solemn and lonely moment for the Chief. Amongst a deck of supermen the Chief is a giant. Alone in a room full of equals. It’s a very powerful scene.

It also aptly demonstrates how far the UNSC had come in the years between Halo 3 & 4. The deck and the armour bays are a testament to the size of the Infinity, the number of Spartan IV’s at its disposal, the disparity between them and the Chief, and the sophistication of the UNSC war machine.

megabloks-unsc-infinity-armor-bay-97262-6824

The Amrour Bay kit is for the fan and for the collector. It’s not for the kiddies or the idle kit builder. It’s for those that look upon that moment in the game and marvel.

It’s a very cleverly designed kit. It does a good job of conveying functional aspects of a warship and the next-gen armour removal system. The kit is also a pain in the bum. The hateful flat black used in the manuals making some of the parts indistinguishable and one part I had to rebuild three times before I was using the right parts. Now, I’m a pretty bright guy so I know it’s not a general lack of mental acuity. A fractionally lighter shade would make all the difference.

The kit is also beyond fiddly for the first few steps and doesn’t gain any stability until the deck plates are down. If you build it on anything other than a table it’ll fall apart more times than an Oscar Winner giving a speech. However, once the deck plates are down the kit comes together very rapidly. The whole thing was done, with the Spartan in place, within 40 minutes or so. Which is odd considering how much back and forth there was.

The armour bay is way cool though. It’s a sizeable and substantial kit and the concessions made for the limitations of the figures are nicely done and don’t draw attention to themselves. The articulated arms are really well done: they look the part and with a little adjustment all fit around the Spartan in the harness. The little touches make for an authentic feeling kit. The readouts are reflective of the game and the use of the weapons locker allows for two stories to be told. Liberal use of the round transparent ‘lights’ helps give the impression of energy and action. Considering what the set depicts, there’s a lot of movement to it. It feels urgent and solid. It, basically, feels like an armour bay. And how cool would two or three look next to each other?

I would have liked the Chief to be in the kit and I’d also have liked the accompanying technician be to scale, but I suspect it’s more of a case of the Spartan’s being too small than the technician being too big. But it’s a minor gripe and a child certainly wouldn’t care even if they noticed.

Compared to the Warthog kit it’s more time-consuming for its size and, arguably, it’s less fun for the kiddies but for fans of the Universe and Halo 4 it’s just as satisfying. Again, it feels like it belongs. Mega Bloks didn’t take too many liberties with the composition or the look. And considering the target age there aren’t too many bright and cheerful colours.

Most importantly of all, it feels like a part of the Infinity and Halo. And for what it is, that’s pretty special.
The UNSC Infinity Armour Bay is available from Amazon priced £19.99.

Halo Mega Bloks: Night Ops Gausshog – A Review

121110megabloksThe other day, after I’d finished a review for a certain Y-shaped starfighter for a certain game set in a galaxy far far away, I got to thinking about licensed products and just what a company will allow their name and their IP associated with. It didn’t take me long for my mind to wander to Halo. Halo being the Tony Stark-esque holiday home my brain frequents when it’s not kicking it analogue style in the wonderful world of wargaming.

There’s no shortage of licensed products to look at for Halo but to keep things hobby focussed I thought it best to take a gander at a the sets from Mega Bloks. Fortunately for those lovely people at Mega Bloks obliged me and so I’ve got a couple of kits to take a look at over this review and a second to follow. My interest being this – can a licensed product, especially something like a brick kit capture more than just the flavour, but the feel of that universe?

First up is the Night Ops Gausshog set.

MEGA BRANDS INC. - Mega Bloks Halo Construction

It’s been a long while since I built a kit of this ilk so I’ll say this – things have moved on since I was a kid. The components stretched into the hundreds and the sophistication of the kit impressed me. The designers cleverly built up layers of bricks so the Warthog looks every bit the rugged ATV we all know and love from the game. They even managed to get the independent suspension just so. Plus the overlapping bricks makes for a very sold model should you want to drive it around your living room floor. Which I totally didn’t do.

Moreover, the two tone casting of the bricks is a simple but effective way of making the Warthog seem camouflaged without having to design and produce a precise and ultimately crap looking camo-patterned kit.

The gaussgun is an ugly bit of kit. That’s no reflection on Mega Bloks. It’s an ugly bit of kit. And it’s all very cleverly put together so you get the crude bulkiness of the middle weight tank killer with a little bit of flash with the heating magnetic coils represented by the blue connector pins. My one grumble here is the weapon mount is a bit too flimsy. The gun slides onto a pig that’s too small to take the weight so it drops. And in an effort to make the turret as adjustable as it is in the game the central column isn’t fixed which makes it a pain to position the Spartan on it. Partly because the weapon handles are also a tad too close together for the hands to easily grasp.

Build time was about 90 minutes but do remember I’m pretty rusty on building these kinds of kits…Not enough clippers and plastic glue for my liking. Also the instructions were a bit frustrating. Whilst it was very good that the manual highlighted in colour where the bricks should sit, if any of the components were black the details of the brick were all but impossible to see. And some of the diagrams weren’t as clear as they could be. There was also a fair few spare parts, not to mention some fairly pointless yellow brings that were supposed to life the Warthog ‘up on blocks’ which is a totally unnecessary, if a nice, touch.

The Spartans are pretty cool though. Made up from Spartans from the UNSC Infinity, they boast some of the armour variants you unlock as you play the multiplayer which collectors and gamers will appreciate. The simple paint job works and it’s nice to see figures from a brick system with a bit of depth of colour. Plus the multi-joint approach allows a far more loyal reflection of the Spartans whilst allowing for more faithful kits to fit them into. Oh and the firearms they come with a nicely detailed for what they are.

The Promethean is massive and it’s a nice touch that the back plates move as in the game but overall the level of detail is a bit disappointing. It just feels like a bit of an after thought. But I suppose the Warthog is the main event and when it comes to tearing across the living room floor, gaussgun blazing, one Promethean isn’t going to last long.

And I suppose that’s the point. It’s a Warthog. It looks like a Warthog and feels like a Warthog. It lacks some of the wonder because it’s lifted from the Spartan Ops part of the story so, whilst still cool, it isn’t as cool as the Chief. Harsh but it’s cold hard fact. But you’re still going to drive it around making all the sounds effects that the engine doesn’t do for you. You’re still going to find room on a shelf for it so you don’t have to put it ‘somewhere safe’ and risk breaking it. And you’re still going to make the whit-doooo noise every time the gaussgun fires. So yeah, I’d say it successfully captures the spirit of the Halo games. rather nicely.

The Night Ops Gausshog is available from Argos priced £29.99)