Halo 2 Anniversary Cinematic Trailer

I love the Halo games. Even Halo 2 which was pretty weak compared to its siblings. Even the huge graphics boost the second game got over its older brother couldn’t hide the fact that the game felt rushed and the story a little confused. I’ve played it through many times since it’s release in 2004 and even now, knowing what I know, I’m always left feeling dissatisfied and I rush through it to get it out-of-the-way so I can enjoy Halo 3 and 4.

Halo 2 Anniversary promises not only a complete re-imagining of the cut scenes but a tweak to the story to explain itself a little clearer. Even if the latter turns out to be untrue and it’s still the mess it’s always been, at least it’ll look fricking gorgeous judging by this cinematic trailer.

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 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 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.

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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.

Spartan Ops Episodes 6 & 7

After a brief hiatus, Spartan Ops is back. I’ve been a bit slow off the mark putting up the two new episodes partly because I’ve been working on The Shell Case Shorts Anthology and partly because I’ve been slogging my way through the Spartan Ops missions that can be found as part of the Halo 4 offering.

It’s a brilliant way of fleshing out the Halo Universe 4 years on from Halo 3 as much has changed within the UNSC both politically and technologically, but also expanding the sub plot without detracting from the main storyline. And it probably means I’m going to have to play through the campaign again just so I’m clear in my mind how everything fits together.

But anyway, without further yapping from me, here’s episodes 6 and 7 of Spartan Ops. There is more shooty boomness and shit gets slightly real.