Last year, around about the time that Killzone 2 hit the world, I posted an article titled Killzone 2: The Best Thing To Happen To The Xbox 360 . While the title confused people at first, it made sense once you read it and my point was made. Many people agreed with me and I even had the honour of having my article discussed on the great 1UP podcast.
I have always believed that Halo 3 was never what it should have been for the Xbox 360. It was the next-gen Halo, the first ever of its kind to grace the HD era of gaming. While the addition of forge mode as well as the replay theatre definitely added a great deal of depth to an already popular formula, the game really felt like it was lacking in the technical wizardry department.
The marketing slogan for Halo 3 was “Believe”, and I believed that it could have been so much better. I was right.
I just want to make it clear that this article really is only pointing towards the technical side of things. Great controls, stories and so on can make a game legendary, but I am looking at it directly in terms of the “wow” factor used to show off your consoles power.
To summarize the original article, I basically said that Killzone 2 was such a heavy hitter in terms of console power and such a technical masterpiece that the ball was now in Microsoft’s court to fight back and bring something special to the plate. I also said that this would eventually work in Xbox 360 owners’ favour because we all know that competition breeds innovation and advancements.
One look at Halo Reach and you can see it all falling into place. Halo 3 was good, it looked ok and played well but Microsoft needed something better, something to make people say “wow, look what the Xbox 360 can do!”. I don’t know about you, but one look at the new footage and screenshots from Halo Reach and it’s easy to see that Bungie are really trying to push for something special now, something better than just another Halo game.
^ The jump from Halo 2 on Xbox to Halo 3 on Xbox 360 was not as large as many fans of the series had hoped
To be completely honest, I have to say that I don’t think that Halo Reach does look as good as Killzone 2, but to be fair the art styles are quite, with Halo going for Sci-Fantasy and Killzone 2 really hitting on realism. Either way, it’s easy to see Bungie have finally gotten off of their butts and put some real effort into making a true spectacle.
Halo 3 made a huge impact when it released and continues to be one of the most played games on Xbox Live week after week. For a moment though, looking at the bigger picture, could you imagine how it would have blown people away if it had already looked as good as Halo Reach did? Sure developers learn more about systems over time, but I truly believe that this level of tech was possible back then already.
Gears of War was the big graphics showpiece for the system, but Halo is the franchise that made the Xbox what it was, the flagship franchise. It was and still is the big name for the console. While any level-headed gamer out there knows that graphics aren’t everything, they make a big difference when you are trying to woo gamers over to your console and seeing Halo 3’s visuals after Gears of War was a little underwhelming.
We have finally reached a high point in this generation of gaming, with both consoles playing host to some fantastic, deep and good looking games. I don’t see Halo Reach as a return of fire, more like the arrival of balance in the force (young Skywalker).
At this point in time, it doesn’t matter if you own an Xbox 360, a Playstation 3 or both, because you can be guaranteed that you already have, and will still be getting some really amazing titles.
Unless of course you are one of those people who decided to stick to their roots and only buy a Wii. Sucks to be you.
Last Updated: February 18, 2010