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 firstĀ  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.

How Halo changed gaming?

First game of Halo series was released in 2001 for Microsofts Xbox console and also on PC. Gamers all over the world had already seen some amazing first person shooters that were made for PC. It was thougt back then that you just couldn’t make such realsitic and accurate shooting game for console since it didn’t even have a mouse on it. Halo changed this situation totally. It was the first really, I mean really, good first person shooter game and the first one that could be played with gamepads that had only thumb sticks.

After the release of Halo there were many to follow its path. Suddenly you just could do it. You could play FPS game with your gaming console instead of your regular PC setup where you had to have keyboard and mouse. We had already witnessed many games that were more than playable on consoles. The first PlayStation had many genres of games. It had racing games, like Gran Turismo, it had fighting games, like Tekken series. Metal Gear Solid was very good on PS1. Who didn’t like to play Tony Hawks Pro Skater? I remember everyone liked it. The point here is that we really had these games that were played on PC and some games that we only played on consoles.

There might be some debate on how you feed your reactions to the system you are playing on. There has to be a streering wheel for a driving game. You have to have joystick for Street Fighter. You can only play FPS with a mouse and a keyboard on professional level eSports. But I think some games are best, and there’s lots of them, played with a good gamepad. I haven’t even tried to compete seriously but it makes sense that you have to have a controller that is capable to sense your reactions effectively. This varies as games are very different. You could play Colin McRae Rally 1 or 2.0 and Gran Turismo with a gamepad. You still wouldn’t seriously try to compete with this method of control. But the point here, once again, is that Halo brought some difference to this matter. FPS games were now able to be played with a gamepad. And theres still exists games that are at their best when played with a gamepad.

I personally just love games that are designed mainly to be played with a gamepad. That has something, propably, to do with that I played lots of Mega Drive and PlayStation as I was growing up. That was the beginning. I was used to play these kinds of games. I didn’t play so much PC back then. Nowadays you can even play real time strategy games with a gamepad. That was once thought to be impossible. Would you play for example Populous, a strategy game released in the end of 1980s, with your Mega Drive or with your PC if you had to choose? I would go for the PC version and I think so would many other gamers. But now you can consider any game to be played with a gamepad. And that’s where we are going. Gamepads have evolved and they will keep evolving. Take a look at Mega Drives gamepad. Then take a look at PS4 gamepad. Now you can see the difference. So, this is how Halo brought this whole FPS genre, and maybe some other genres also, to consoles.

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