Allow me to preface this editorial with a little history. I worked at EB Games, now Gamestop, during college with Jsun, which is how we met and thus became friends and now some 15+ years later we are doing a podcast and this website. But I digress. While at EB, I was fortunate enough to work during the launch of the original Xbox and its killer app Halo. That was November 15, 2001, before many of you were even born, which makes me feel old as shit. Getting off-topic again. If you were to ask Jsun, even up until the launch of Halo 5, is Mike a Halo fan? He’d probably scoff, laugh and say something like, “Fan? Nah, he’s the poster boy for Halo. He rides Halo’s dick.” Seriously, ask him, he’d say that. He was probably right, with the exception of the dick part, it’s a game, it has no dick… I’m fairly certain it has no dick. Nevermind, let’s move on.
It’s true, I was a massive Halo fan. I talked that game up to anyone who would listen. Halo this, Halo that… it got old, even to me. But I loved that game so much, I didn’t care. Halo 2 came out, the same thing, with the exception that I was “forced” to play the Arbiter, which I didn’t care for at all. But I liked the mechanics of the game and “for the time,” it looked great and the multiplayer sucked me in like a tractor beam. This was the game that got me into playing multiplayer shooters. I loved Xbox Live, talking shit and playing online with my friends. Since that game, I’ve never looked at online shooters the same way.
Skip ahead, Halo 3 and 4 were okay games, 3 being better than 4. I remember thinking to myself, man, Halo 4 is being made without Bungie for the first time, I hope this game holds up. Visually, it didn’t. Keep in mind, Halo 4 was released in November of 2012, in a post-Gears of War era. We’d seen what the Unreal 3 engine was capable of and it was glorious. But by Halo 4’s release, we had just gotten Gear of War 3, a year before. A game that made Halo 4 look antiquated, almost indie by a design and production level and it was a year older than Halo 4. I couldn’t fathom this and was just stunned that 343 Industries, the new developer behind Halo would let that happen.
I thought long and hard about what may have happened. Microsoft wanted a new Halo game, Bungie didn’t want to do it (Google: Destiny) and so they separated and Microsoft took all of the Halo assets from Bungie and put a new team in charge, called 343 Industries, after 343 Guilty Spark from the first Halo. This team, not sure where to go, just took all the assets from Halo 3 and built a new campaign and story around those elements that Bungie created. Push a game out the best they could. I’ll even forgive that, I’ll let 343 slide, that is until Halo 5.
Halo 5 once again forced players into playing another game in the Halo universe as another character other than Master Chief. Mistake number one. I’m not sure when 343 or Microsoft will understand, that Halo IS Master Chief and Master Chief IS Halo. You don’t have one, without the other. While Reach was okay, it wasn’t that great, thankfully it was a prequel. Where 343 fucked up was introducing other Spartans that were not Master Chief. By doing this, it diluted his importance and appeal. (Think of the CW Show, The Flash, they have like 3 or 4 speedsters on that show, it makes Barry seem less special and dilutes his importance). This is the guy that survived the Reach Invasion and saved Earth, this is the guy who was the best overall Spartan, never the best at any one specific thing, but the best overall. He was the last Spartan… until he wasn’t. 343 made Commander Locke (aka Mike Colter aka Luke Cage), who was painted as just as good, and he was tasked with hunting down Master Chief for reasons I won’t get into here with a team of, yup, you guessed it, more Spartans. Point is, who wants to play as him?? NO ONE, he’s not Chief. This is why I never picked up the game until this past February, despite the game being released in October 2015. That means the game is about a year and half old, that’s all, just a year and a half.
When I did finally pick it up off of a Microsoft Store sale for $25 bucks, I was like sweet, I only paid $25 and it’s no big loss. But as anyone who listens to the podcast (Go Frak Yourself) knows, a tree fell on my house during a really bad storm and I have been out of my house since January 22. We just received our insurance check and I purchased a new XBox One S and begin to download all the games over again, which included Halo 5. After downloading 93GBs, yes, you read that correctly. With all the patches and extra content, the game install was 93 fucking gigabytes. After the install, I finally popped the game on during lunch today and played for an hour and WOW, was I blown away … by how shitty and clunky this game looked and played. I was blown away by how flat everything looked, with just simple bump mapping techniques that Bungie pioneered back with Halo 2, but this game was released just a year and half ago, not 13 years ago. What … the actual fuck … happened?
I seriously felt depressed playing this game. Certain boards were just flat grey walls with almost no texture or design. The dirt/rock walls came down and met the ground like how really poor computer animated character’s shoulder/torsos looked back in 1996. There was no gradual change, no rock turning to grass or stone, just one ends and another would start. It has the same geometry used for rock faces that Bungie used over a decade ago. There’s no way to say it, other than this is a piece of shit, that 343 is passing off as a next gen title.
I could keep going on this topic and complaining all day, but as the age old statement goes, pictures speak louder than words. So, below I have created some images to show you a comparison between Halo 5, Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered. The Halo 5 images where taken with my phone, so colors may be off, but the graphics, details, textures and design are all there and show off the “shittiness.”
Keep the following in mind: Battlefield 1 was released only a year after Halo 5, but on the same console, with the same processing power, RAM and support. Second, keep in mind that Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered is a 10 year old game, with refreshed textures, ALSO running on the same hardware. COD is also smoother, faster, and more realistic than Halo in every way.
USE THE SLIDER AND SLIDE LEFT TO RIGHT OR RIGHT TO LEFT TO SEE THE COMPARISONS. CAREFUL AFTER VIEWING 3 OF THESE, YOUR BRAIN MIGHT EXPLODE BY JUST HOW BAD HALO 5 REALLY IS…
CALL OF DUTY
343 Industries, you should feel like shit and be embarrassed that Halo 5 looks like that on the Xbox One.