Gears of Halo - Video game reviews, news and cosplay

Halo and Destiny - news and reviews.

Sunday, February 28

Reach campaign mission play-testing under way

Marcus blogs:

"Today marks the second day of our first full campaign mission play-test, where participants get to play through every mission of the game and provide feedback. It’s always brutal getting feedback at this stage of development, because the game is really just now coming together, but it’s invaluable for us and allows us to make course corrections if needed. At this stage, AI are still doing really silly things, the environments are not complete, and we still have “robot voice” providing much of our mission dialogue."

Marcus also notes the change for this stage of Reach's development from the original Halo CE game - from 20 people to 150 plus.

Aside: am away in another country for work this week so no posts for at least 3 days. Don't cry, I'll bring you back some duty free OK?

Saturday, February 27

You drive me crazy, Bungie

The Guys at Reach Actual are not exactly the most eloquent of bloggers are they? First they gave us the soon to be classic when we know what it means "Indian Ocean: Present Day" and now we get this one line post:

"steve cotton is working on one of the craziest things ever in a halo game"

Hmmm, if that's not a tease, I've never been tickled, nor watched a Britney Spears video.

Friday, February 26

Oh, it's the interior of Power House!

The Bungie weekly update made it clear the above picture is an  interior screen capture shot of the Powerhouse mulitplayer map and is not concept art as I said earlier.  Here's the other Powerhouse image that was released at the recent X10 event:

Urk says "Technically, the top image above gives you a glimpse into “Powerhouse Level 1.” To get a better look yourself (assuming you’ve spawned in at Green Residence), you’d have to tread lightly through the Rock Garden, head straight past the Boiler Room, skip over the Concrete Walkway (unless you want to drop down into the Upper Spillway to snag some big firepower), and head across the Lower Powerhouse Bridge. While you’re in there, go ahead and smash up all those futuristic monitors. That’s what I do. It makes me giddy. In fact, Tung was trying to give an OMG Serious Face Presentation in Redmond yesterday morning and I made myself quite the nuisance by busting the room up real good while he was droning on and on about all kinds of important adult stuff like “The Production Cycle.”

If you choose to follow in my childish and destructive footsteps you might want to watch out for enemy fire. This little jaunt leading into the lower level is already becoming a well worn path for folks slugging it out in multiplayer. If you make too much noise, you’re gonna draw some well-deserved attention and the Lower Powerhouse Bridge isn’t the only way into this multilevel interior space."

I say, bring on the Beta.

Thursday, February 25

Forerunner Novel in 2011? Probably

Greg Bear has confirmed via a fan on his face book page that the first Forerunner novel will not likley see the light of day until next year (2011).

Here's the exhange between F1rsTxLas7 and the novelist himself:

"Hi Mr. Bear, I'm a huge fan of the Halo book series and was incredibly excited to hear that you were writing a series of Forerunner novels for Bungie. I've heard the first one was supposed to be released sometime this year, but do you have any idea of a more accurate date?"
Bear replied with:

"Working away right now, and enjoying very productive meetings with the Halo folks in their new digs. Lots of revelations being discussed. Take a look at the new HALO-themed short subjects on HALO LEGENDS DVD! Not likely to see the first book until 2011."

Greg Bear has written plenty of his own science fiction stories (notably (Blood Magic), but this Forerunner trip across the universe is not his first telling of a story using another person's IP - he's written for Star Trek (1980!) and Star Wars previously.

Hat Tip: HBO

10 Ten Halo People to Follow on Twitter

Cortana was no twit. 

So Halo Reach Game News got it's 200th Twitter follower this week which I'm pretty happy about. I take every new follower as a small vote of confidence that HRGN is do the job it intends to do - sharing the Halo Love. My 200th follower was a dude who has cramps. I hope you get better soon buddy!

Any ways I thought I'd share who I think are the 10 best people to follow on Twitter if you want Halo news. Obviously, Halo Reach News is the best account to follow but I accept sometimes you need more than my leet blogging skillz to get you through the day. Right? Right*.

10 Teen Halo Twitter Accounts:

Bungie Tweets. They incorporate tweets from and seemingly Halo.Bungie.Org news. Are those guys close or what? Hey Mr Wu - get your own account!

Grunts R Us. For once these boys are noobs at something....

Thel Vadamee. Look, the Arbiter would have my guts for garters if I didn't include him OK?

Achronos. I think he's a ninja or some thing.

Major Nelson. This is the guy that proves Halo is played more than Gears of War, week in, week out. Take that Clif!

Stosh. You know how that Urk dude on always blames Stosh? Now you can too!

BS Angel. A Queen of the Halo community. Also has a filthy bent...

Marty. He makes Halo sound like Mozart.

Waypoint. These guys are forging the Halo community from the Microsoft side.

Empress Cortana. Another Good Keen Halo fan.

Extra for Experts: AI Cortana. Another, another Good Keen Halo fan....

There's more good Halo twitter's out there, and fans too - who are yours? Leave some names in the comments! If the Lone Wolf is on Twitter, lemmno OK? I have questions about that Pegasi operation.

*That was an R.E.M. reference for all you EMO kids. I KNOW WHO YOU ARE! STOP RUNNING ACROSS MY LAWN!

Monday, February 22

Grifball to have a permanent home in Reach?

 A superdope home boy from the Oak town

So rumour has it that Halo Reach will have some kind of game variant of Grifball. What the heck is Grifball you may ask?

Set in an empty forged room, players run round with gravity hammers and swords trying to stop the other team from ‘scoring’ by way of arming the bomb that they've been luggin' around. In other words, it's mayhem.

I also think its really boring but hey, it’s spawned it’s own community so each to their own pwning.
How do we know there might be some Grifball in Reach? Urk placed an MP3 in the recent Bungie Weekly Update with 'Halo Announcer' Jeff Steitzer saying “Grifball!  Steitzer is the announcer that makes 'Slayer' sound sexy. He also very kindly informs me of the many, many overkills I make. Included in the update where some smarmy calls too such as 'Cool Spawn Bro' and 'You Suck'. I doubt they'll be placed in Reach....

For those extra curious amongst you, here's the official Grifball website, how to play Grifball and the Halowiki for the game if nothing much makes sense.

So, what are your thoughts on having Grifball as a standard game variant matc making? Fly or Die? Ham or Hammer time?

Hat Tip: Grunts R Us

I realise this is old news, I somehow forgot to press Publish...

It's time for Dawn

There's a new kid in town with a mission to give us some in depth thinking on the Halo Universe.

Forward unto Dawn's purposes is to "provide insight, analysis and speculation into the huge, dynamic Halo franchise and foster a community that is willing to maturely discuss and enjoy the franchise together." I say good luck with that maturely bit!

To kick off Forward unto Dawn has tackled the 'Winter Contingency' in a long discussion about Reach, it's existence before the Covenant found it, and the events that happened on the planet. If you want a comparison of the style of writing, think the exploratory / explanatory articles that may be found at Ascendant Justice.

Here's a taste.

"Light years into deep space rests a blue sphere nestled in the stars. Speckled with swirling white clouds dancing slowly across the planet’s surface. Beneath them, familiar blue oceans surround land masses big and small, mountainous areas shoot up from the lush green forests and grasslands across the planet’s surface. Thunderstorms of crashing rain and howling winds form and disperse, frozen snowy tundra’s lay undisturbed and rivers meander peacefully down various valleys spilling into the seas.

There are farmers working diligently on their farm lands tending to the harvesting of their crops and there are miners coming to and fro from their deep mines where an honest wage is earned extracting valuable metals from the crust. Construction workers laugh and joke as they work hard on their latest construction project, eager to laugh away the hours until they go home for the evening.

It looks rather similar to Earth when viewed from orbit and down on the surface things appear quite familiar. This world is not home, it is Reach, an alien world. Humans have only begun to harvest this world’s rich untapped resources. The oceans’ bright blue seas largely untarnished by pollution or human interference, the green forests lush with trees and vegetation and the brown soil is rich with minerals and organic matter."

Check out the full essay.

A Halo Poem

A Halo Poem

We fell
Then I slipped through space
Memories came flooding back
Checked out the Library
I couldn’t turn the key
The price of Charity was too high
It was a brute of a situation
Lost to space
I’m finished now?

Sunday, February 21

Face Guy Artist is a U2 Fan?

The above picture is an Easter Egg of sorts from ODST's Windward Firefight map. I call him Face Guy. To find him, one must jump off the player zone just beyond where the rocket launcher is housed. As you fall, look towards the wall you just jumped from and you'll spy him. This is the only Easter Egg I found in ODST!

Face Guy has been bugging me for ages as it reminded me some thing. It's nagged me for months. Was it Frankie? Was it a Bungie employee? Someone's self portrait? As I was walking home from work today, I figured out who it was. U2's The First Time came on my iphone - and with it, the album cover of Zooropa.

And there he was, Windward's Face Guy on the album's artwork:

Now, I'm not saying Face Guy is U2's logo but the resemblance was enough for me to go, "ooohhhh!!"  You can argue they are nothing a like but they must surely be from the same family, they have the same ears!

Reach in alpha, new concept art to celebrate

Marcus Lehto put a short note up on the Reach Developer blog:

"Yes, the alpha is done, and everything is getting better day by day. Why else would I be working on a sunny Saturday afternoon. :) The actual MP beta that we release to the public is undergoing massive improvements!"

Released with the note was the above concept art. Note the Spartan hiding in the left of the image! What else is their? Is there one on the far right in the steam? (Probably not..)

Saturday, February 20

Here's how to buy Halo Reach early

How to buy your copy of Halo: Reach early!

Pre book your copy of Halo: Reach online with Amazon. It’s simple as – clicking on this link and buying it. Of course you are only buying Reach early, not getting it early! ;)

Here’s 5 Reasons to buy Halo Reach:
• There’s a Spartan with one arm. That mean’s they are awesome.

• There’s an untold story in the Halo universe with your name all over it.

• It will help you get over the post ODST Blues.

• There’s gonna be some sweet music.

• Two words people: More Halo.

So, if I’ve convinced you, go preorder Halo: Reach  now!!

Full Disclosure: I make some coin if you purchase the game through any of these links.

Latency. It's a bitch but like your ex, you can do something about it.

The Ark 1

Latency. What the fuck Bungie? It's patent your game is broken. Fix your game! Or not. But's it's been a common call through the years when playing via XBL, on any game. Latency can be a pain in the ass, disrupting game play and leading to a losing streak. This has some thing Bungie has acknowledged before - here's a wee guide they put toghether for Halo 3. It's full of obvious, yet sensible advice such as making sure your wireless router is properly connected (as an aside I swear my Kill Death Ratio went up a percent or two when I went from a wireles router to a cable connected to the modem).

Urk has brought this issue of latency up but with a new twist. Read on Halo fan for something a little surprising...the problem is your flash tv.

Latency "it’s almost always been couched in the networking side of things. And while your broadband gear is a major player when it comes to smooth and seamless online play, there’s also some other hardware in your A/V rack that can impact your individual performance. Like, say, your television set."

“The perceived change in sensitivity is likely caused by lag in your HDTV. This causes you to over-correct and ends up feeling like the controls are "too fast." Sounds strange, but it’s true.

Here is a simple test to see if your HDTV has too much delay. Flick the look stick quickly to one side and listen for the 'click' when it hits the side of the controller. Simultaneously watch the screen and see how long it takes for your character to start turning. If you can hear the 'click' before you start turning, your HDTV (or component chain) has too much lag due to post-processing the image. "

That's a pretty odd thing to have to be worrying about this 'plug and play' era eh?

"Now go and try this same test on an old SDTV, you may notice a big difference between them. To fix this problem on the HDTV, Look for a 'Game Mode' in the menu, or turn off extra image processing, and then try the test again. Could be you're SOL, but most modern TV's have a few things you can do to decrease the lag. Google your TV specs or consult your manual for more information.'

I have no idea what SOL means in this context. NE 1? How heavy a factor does the tv have in your game play? It seems really odd this is an issue but if Bungie thought to make a note, it's certainly something to think about taking care of before the Reach beta starts!

FYI. I'm listening to the Superman theme as I write. Just letting you know, K? Oh U2 just came on. Awesome. I bet Adam plays Halo.

Friday, February 19

Relax Trooper, Mulitplayer were maps made first, then added into Reach Campaign

When the Power House map was announced at X10, Bungie let slip it was taken from the game, and in fact all the multiplayer maps were of that ilk. Cue the wrath of fan boys, all over the Haloverse. 

Bungie have wisely addressed the issue in today's weekly up date. Notes Urk (who's fast became way more entertaining as Lukems):

"Like we noted last week, the process was a bit different this time around. The multiplayer spaces were still constructed separately by a team of trained multiplayer experts, but as each arena came online they were subsequently passed over to the campaign team and injected into the game in progress as small portions of much larger campaign missions (which should explain the information coming out of X10 last week)."

There you have it, maps were made first, then added to the campaign. Ha! We see what you did there Bungie.

"So, if you were worried that multiplayer would suffer from the reuse of campaign ideas and architecture designed for that explicit purpose, you can rest easy. If you were worried that you’d be spending the majority of your campaign play-through in multiplayer-inspired spaces, you can rest easy on that front, too. Not happening."

This image has no relevance to this post, I just like it, K?

Bungie went on to be even more equivocal about the issue.

“Absolutely no sacrifices were made as to the quality of the multiplayer maps for Reach. In addition, the visual experience of each map is now equal to campaign, as they received crazy amounts of polish to makes them ‘super sweet.’

I say, to paraphrase Marcus Fenix, "Bring it!" Ok, I accept that I did not actually paraphrase at all and simply said the quote. Who's quibbling? You got over the maps issue right?

Thursday, February 18

Tekken a look at this!

No decent Halo News today, unless you count motion capture technology for Reach  or something about Halo Reach nearing Alpha readiness - so you get some gratuitous pictures of the ladies from the new Tekken Movie. I reckon that Tekken is a video game and this is a video game blog, ergo I can post these pics!

First up is Tekken's Mrs Nina Williams. Pretty in Purple. She is one of only four Tekken characters to appear in each game.

Christie Monteiro is the granddaughter of the Capoeira master who taught Eddy Gordo the art of Capoeira during his incarceration in prison. While in prison, Eddy swore an oath to the Master to pass on the art of Capoeira to his granddaughter.... Christie is played by Kelly Overton.

Anna Williams is Nina's sister, a badass and Nina's enemy! Tekken Girl fight!

Oh look, a mini collage:

Ok, here's one for the ladies...

Regular Halo Reach News programming will resume shortly. Come back after you've had a cold shower.

Does Frankie have a balloon fetish?

Does Frankie have a balloon fetish? I only ask because I'm concerned for his health.... I heard the red ballons are his favorite. Now before get all clever and think you'll rush off to the internet and type in 'ballon festish cure' to try and find Frankie some assistance for his disease, be warned, it aint exactly a family friendly environment out there!

For, the dear readers who actually look up ballon festishes, something may interest you at the Love You Long Time page that we offer....

Also, what the heck is that duck doing in the bottom right corner?

Cortana: Everyone's favourite A.I.

"Fancy a look?"
Everyone's favourite purple A.I., Cortana doesn't appear in Halo 3:ODST, instead we got a guy that liked to Keep it Clean and talked a little weird.

This doesn't mean Cortana is gone forever from the Halo series, she'll be back in all her nude glory when Microsoft surely does a sequel to Halo 3. Her very brief but significant cameo in Halo: Reach hardly counted I reckon...
This doesn't mean we can't relive the past with some pictures of Cortana. She's a sex pot to all the 13 year old Halo players didn't ya know? And then some. There's a reason Cortana's body and boobs got hotter and bigger with the release of the Halo games. It wasn't because of the improvements in coding technology... or was it? Compare the picture at the top of this post to the next:
The mind boggles at what this Halo 3 cut scene was all about.
Contrast is key.....
Not tonight dear, I have a head ache...
Cosplay is a really popular past time with all the Conventions that happen across America and the ROTW, so it's no surprise Cortana is a popular costume choice. Only second to Princess Leia. bikini outfits...

Cosplay at its finest

Here's another popular costume play outfit:

What's the appeal of Cortana? Why the big deal? Let's face it, she's the real Hero of the Halo series, if it wasn't for her, the Master Chief would have unleashed the might of the first Halo Ring on the universe, destroying everyone.

The next image of Cortana is taken from the Halo Legends DVD:

Halo artwork is very popular. I think the artist of the below sketch may have got Cortana's breast proportions all wrong. What do you think?

Shed a tear, cause I'm missing you. 
Sometimes the owners of the Halo IP call in the big guns, and for the Halo Graphic Novel, this artwork was included. You can almost smell the sexual tension between the Chief and Mrs C in the picture below:

What are you looking at? Stop staring at me?

Wednesday, February 17

Reach is on Reach

Just a quicky. You know you like them....
Check out this Youtube vid with Bungie’s Brian Jarrad who confirms that the entire game takes place on the planet Reach itself. Which blows any thoughts of any in game 'side missions' with the Master Chief doing his Fall of Reach novel antics….

Halo Reach News Roundup

It's been a busy week or two at Halo Reach Game News due to all the wonderful news from X10 and a whole heap of interviews from the team at Bungie. Plus some random writing by your favourite Halo blog host. Right? I'm your favourite right?

I thought I'd do a round up of the interesting bits!

Are you a Halo fan or A Halo Fan?
Some gamers can casually play a game of Halo and  simply rather enjoy it. Other gamers seem to take it a lil bit too far and seemingly want to 
become Halo. Maybe they want dress up as Cortana. Maybe they want the Master Chief to Marry them. Maybe these people are more than Halo fans but are indeed Halo Fans

Why Halo: Reach will be better than Sex
This post title speaks for itself eh?

Have you seen Jonesy the cat?

Bungie, have laid on an Easter egg in the new Reach Vidoc which is a replay on the semi-infamous lost cat poster from Halo CE....

Has anyone solved the "whvidldshbyjsdo" acronym/puzzle yet?
It's one of those crazy acronym that Bungie have thrown out over the years. This one was put out in blatant site for all to ponder as the url for their ODST game page...

Is the Master Chief Noble 6?

No. The Master Chief is not the spartan referred to as Noble 6Noble 6 is the Lone Wolf. The Unnamed Spartan. The Ghost Who Walks. You know, the spartan that survived Pegasi, sir. In fact you are Noble 6. You get to inhabit the character as your venture across Reach with team Noble. 

Will the Engineers be in Reach?
In a word, yes. Bungie leave nothing to chance so when you see a picture of an engineer in a Halo Reach Vidoc, you can take it to the bank that an Engineer will appear in some shape or form in Halo Reach. 
Buzz It

Vidoc of Reach finally released

Here's Bungie's first propaganda piece video documentary for the Halo: Reach game we are all dying to see and play. 1 in 7 fanboys wet themselves on viewing. We can play the Beta on May 3 but till then we have to make do with the glimpses that the vidoc gave us.

So Reach will help you find a Co-op Friend?

So. XBL Co-Op games. It seems since Halo 3 came out, that's been the default standard for all games since. Except Gears of War * had it first AND you could find randoms to play with when you found defeating General Raam too tough.

So, has Reach caught up to the standard set by Gears and will allow you to find co-op partners play campaign mode with?  Such a tool in Reach would make getting those 'Road to Recon 'type achievements much more realistic goals to achieve!

Will it happen? I found this line from a website who looked at another website who knew a dude that once hired a game of CE from a vid store who returned it late and didn't pay his fine:

"A source inside the Microsoft X10 event has informed us that while it hasn’t been made public knowledge as of yet, Halo Reach will feature Public Matchmaking for Cooperative game modes."

So, it could be that Reach will have true co-op matching making / find your partner for life tools....

I'm also wondering if Reach should offer a 'Chatroulette' feature for Halo fans. That could make for some interesting matchmaking....

* Yeah yeah, there was probably a million gmaes before GOW that had it....

Thanks for the Support!

You guys and gals rock. All 300 plus a day of you! 

Thanks for your emails of support, comments, retweets and follows via the Mr Halo News twitter account and the Halo Reach News Facebook page. I'm pleased you are getting some satisfaction!

My knowledge of Halo isn't as vast as some of my reader's wise learning so thanks for kindly pointing out pointing out any errors or ommissions. This blog is to inform not disinform! We'll leave the propaganda to the Halo Hype Machine eh? Hmm....

Some of these pages have been hits, do check 'em out!

Do you have some thing you want to say or share? Think about writing a guest post for Halo Reach Game News.... contact me via the contact page.

Are you dear readers, a final call to action! Keep reading! Use the social media buttons! Keep playing Halo in all it's glory! And may your Great Journey be swift!

Tuesday, February 16

Are you a Halo fan or A Halo Fan?

Are you a Halo fan or A Halo Fan?

Some gamers can casually play a game of Halo and  simply rather enjoy it. Other gamers seem to take it a lil bit too far and seemingly want to become Halo. Maybe they want dress up as a nude Cortana. Maybe they want the Master Chief to Marry them. Maybe these people are more than Halo fans but are indeed Halo Fans?

How do you tell if you're a Halo Fan or A Halo Fan? Here's a handy guide. What side of the spectrum are you on? And hey Halo Reach Game News doesn't judge, we love EACH AND EVERY HALO FAN!

How to tell if you're a Halo fan or A Halo Fan?

You’re a Halo fan if you’ve played Lone Wolves a few hundred times. You’re A Halo Fan if you fret you can’t break that 40 plus ranking barrier in each and every match making variant.

You’re a Halo fan if you like the odd game on Valhalla. You’re A Halo Fan if you pine longingly for Blood Gulch.

You’re a Halo fan if you’ve logged on to a few times. You’re A Halo Fan if you’re a Forum Ninja.

You’re a Halo fan if you check your stats on You’re A Halo Fan if you visit HBO.

You're a Halo fan if you liked the new Halo Reach screen shots.

You're A Halo Fan if you decided the game play had a frame rate of 30 FPS.

You’re a Halo fan if you like Black Out. You’re A Halo Fan if you think Bungie just fucked it up.

You’re a Halo fan if you bought ODST. You’re A Halo Fan if you bought Halo Wars.

You’re a Halo fan if you know who Frankie is. You’re A Halo Fan if you know what soccer team he supports.

You’re a Halo fan if you think Spartans are cool. You’re A Halo Fan if you can list 5 differences between a Spartan II and III.

You’re a Halo fan if you once talked to a girl who played Halo. You’re A Halo Fan if you know what the ladies like.

You’re a Halo fan if you saw the Simspon’s episode where Millhouse wore a Spartan costume.  You’re A Halo Fan if you wore a Spartan outfit to the 2010 Super bowl final →

You’re a Halo fan if you downloaded Waypoint to your Xbox. You’re a Halo Fan if you put a Halo theme on your Xbox

You’re a Halo fan if you can spell L33T. You’re a Halo Fan if you can solve WHVIDLDSHBYJSDO

You’re a Halo fan if you bought an Xbox to play Halo 3. You’re A Halo Fan if you turned your xbox into Halo 3.

You’re a Halo fan if you like the Halo theme. You’re A Halo Fan if you can play it like Steve Vai.

You’re a Halo fan if you liked Mass Effect. You’re A Halo Fan if you noticed some random space ship in ME2 reminded you of a game you played 10 years ago.

You're a Halo fan if you know the Halo is a ring. You’re A Halo Fan if you wear the Halo on your ring finger. 

You’re a Halo fan if you bought a Halo Soundtrack. You’re A Halo Fan if you downloaded Beyonce's Halo song.

You’re a Halo fan if you read Contact Harvest. You’re A Halo Fan if you read to the very end of this post!

Go Buy Halo Legends!

Halo Legends (Two-Disc Special Edition)Halo Legends (Two-Disc Special Edition)Halo Legends (Two-Disc Special Edition)Halo Legends (Two-Disc Special Edition)

The drip feeding of the shorts on Xbox live is over, Halo Legends is available for purchase!

Halo Legends [Blu-ray]Halo Legends [Blu-ray]Halo Legends [Blu-ray]Halo Legends [Blu-ray]

What are you waiting for, go buy it!

Halo Legends (Single-Disc Edition)Halo Legends (Single-Disc Edition)Halo Legends (Single-Disc Edition)Halo Legends (Single-Disc Edition)

Here's a sweet review of Legends.