Introduction to Halo

Halo was first released for the original Xbox back in 2001. It was also some years later released for PC. First person shooter fans had already seen some games of this genre released for consoles. As you can easily figure FPS games were first designed to be played with a keyboard and a mouse. Nintendo 64 already had a game or two that can be categorized to be first person shooters. One of these games is Golden Eye 007.

So Halo brought a strong feel of FPS gaming to the Xbox. I think it worked really well and I have enjoyed this game for a long time. The game play is structured so that it is easier to play with a controller of that generation of gaming consoles. You had to move with left thumb stick while you had to aim with the right thumb stick. You could fire with the shoulder button on the right. This was, for me especially, a strong and a positive experience as I had played Half Life and Return to Castle Wolfenstein with a PC setup using keyboard and mouse.

I have to say that I didn’t play Halo until it was about 2006 or so. As I have told in some of my earlier posts on this blog I had some other things going on in 2001. So I got my original Xbox in 2006 and it was about four years ago, 2017, when I started moving towards original Xbox again as I got all my games back from my brother and bought the console again from flea market for a very low price. My Xbox broke just last year. After that I have utilized my Xbox 360’s backward compatibility and I gladly found out that Halo and Halo 2 also work with the 360.

This blog post is named “introduction” because I wanted to introduce the game because it has it’s own and original game play that is a bit different from the FPS’s of it’s time. Also I just some days ago started to play Halo 5. You can start from whatever Halo you have available. I know that there’s a package sold in online stores for Xbox and PC that contains Halo’s first  four games. This four game compilation is called Master Chief Collection. There’s also the next Halo game soon to be released. I think it it’s release date is in December this year.

I have completed Halo 3. I am not sure if I have completed other Halo games totally but I do have tens or even hundreds of hours of experience from this great game series. It is possible to play Halo with your friends. The original Xbox enables up to four players to play with a shared screen and from the first game it was also possible to play online. This brought the hardware and design and features of the first Xbox to their maximum. That was basically how the game was designed.

Halo is a first person shooter. You have health level. If your health level drops to zero you die. After that you start from the last save point. The health increases back to maximum level when you stop receiving hits from shooting enemies for a long enough time. So there are no health packs at all. You have many different weapons. You have a limited amount of ammo. Some weapons are from enemies that are aliens so they also have a limitation that makes your can like burn in your hands if you fire too many rounds. When this happens you have to wait a while as your player regains the ability to shoot again. You have to change weapons often. Different weapons have different abilities. Some weapons have less ammo than others and some weapons shoot faster and some are more accurate to shoot with or have a way to zoom to the target that you are trying to shoot.

This is the basics. The weapons are very uniquely designed. I think you cannot find similar weapons in any other game released before the first Halo. Maybe the first Half Life is the most close to Halo if you want to think about games that are similar to it. I was very disappointed in the Half Life’s release for PS2. In my opinion the controls were horrible. This was corrected in Half Life 2 when it was released for Xbox later.

Halo has a certain science fiction feel to it. It has been for a long time one of the most popular games. It has been exclusive for Xbox for a number of game console generations. There is no end in sight. I am a big fan of Halo games. The controls made it easy and fun to play FPS games with Xbox. It helped to bring game pads to be used more and more in gaming in general. After Halo was released for consoles many other same kind of games followed it. I could name some titles that I liked but that list would maybe be too long for here. I know many PS3 and Xbox 360 games and also games for PS4 that have taken influence from Halo. The image you see as the featured image is a screenshot I took with my Xbox Series S from Halo 5.

The legacy of Colin McRae Rally

Now that Dirt 5 is coming to us later this year it would be nice to think about how Codemasters started this whole rally game thing. So it was 1998 and PS1 was the best and most popular gaming system out there. We had already seen some really good racing games. Gran Turismo was released early in 1998. The first Colin McRae Rally game was good, but in my opinion, the second game was even better. It had some awesome physics modeling that made it the most realistic rally game of its time. Back then racing games were mainly played with gamepad instead of a wheel and pedals. This made playing not so realistic but also really fun and it also demanded a good concentrating.

Two first games were popular. Third game, Colin McRae Rally 3, was released on the next generation of gaming consoles. It was released for PC, PS2 and original Xbox. I really liked this game also. Graphics are better than in the first two games but the feeling and controlling is very much like in these first two games. Colin McRae Rally 04 and Colin McRae Rally 2005 followed some years after. It tells a lot about this games popularity that there were so many games released. It actually had competitors. One really good simulation rally game was Richard Burns Rally. Some players thought that Colin McRae games weren’t actually the most realistic racing games that existed. That was about to change. But it took several years for Codemasters to develop its most realistic rally simulation game yet. I am talking about new games that were released to PS4.

Dirt series started with Colin McRae DiRT. It brought nice rally driving experience along with some other kinds of vehicles for players to drive with. It was a good racing game. It was followed by Colin McRae Dirt 2 and Dirt 3 that were both released, also with the Dirt series’s first game, on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. I talked about how Codemasters were also beginning to develop a racing game that would be more realistic. The game, which also has a sequel, was Dirt Rally. It was released for PS4 along with PC and Xbox One. It brought realistic driving experience to players that could even use wheel and pedals to play this racing simulation.

Surely there are many racing games and even series’s of racing games. Colin McRae Rally is still very important to me and close to my hearth. It introduced me to rally games. I also played other racing games, but not really any other rally games. With Dirt Rally 2.0 and Dirt 4 released already some years ago rally game fans will know where they are turning their heads to as they need some more rally gaming experinces. The saga continues as Dirt 5 will be released later this year.

What to expect from PS5?

Sony is releasing their next gaming console, PS5, some day later this year. It contains very fast SSD hard drive that has capacity of 825 GB. Although this is much more than PS4 had when it was released this brings to mind that you may havet to upgrade the hard drive to install more games.

When PS4 was released it had 500 GB of hard disk space. Many users upgraded their disks to for example 2 TB which makes it four times bigger. If you install games that take 50 GB space each you have room for ten games. So after upgrading you have space for 40 games. There will probably be also external hard drives available to purchase.

How powerful is this device going to be? For optical media it has a newer before seen format, in gaming, that is Ultra HD Blu-ray and one disc has more capacity than one PS4s Blu-ray. CPU included is 8-core AMD Zen 2 with variable frequency. PS5 has 16 GB of GDDR6 SDRAM and Custom AMD RDNA 2 as a graphics processing unit. It is clear that you could build more powerful personal computer but PS5s price is still not yet certain.

What about games? Will PS5 have games that are not released on any other competing gaming platforms? These PS5 games are already confirmed: The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, Watch Dogs: Legion, Gods and Monsters, Rainbow Six Quarantine, Outriders and Godfall (which is the first game released on PS5).

We are waiting and already there has been a decrease in sales of PS4 and Xbox One systems as people are saving their money to the next generation of gaming consoles. Also backwards compatibility will include most of PS4 games. We are not going to see PS5 to support earlier consoles games which is a little bit sad.

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