In the beginning, I had mentioned my dis-taste for Halo, but never explained why. Here's the explanation, you'll just have to forgive the rather angry tone. Over time, I'd grown quite angry with Halo for reasons outside of just playing the game.
Yes, I've played all three Halo games. I don't count Halo Wars because it was said there would be no more Halo games after 3, basically summing up Halo Wars as nothing more than what's best described as a Lucasarts scheme. Anyway, all three Halo games were average at best to me. Everything about it just felt like it had been done before except for the new health system that arrived in Halo 2 ... and this is where the rant begins. This health system was so ridiculously easy, all it took was to hide behind a rock for 5 seconds and I'm back to full health in an instant. The weapons were pretty boring, the vehicle sections weren't anything special, the player floated and performed sluggishly and the Master Chief didn't seem like a badass character in the least. The only thing that made him stand out from the rest of the grunts was his shielding suit. He had the personality of a pile of chewed gum and just took orders from a smart mouthed AI construct. So with my own opinion in mind, I set out to find out why the Halo fans liked this game so much. They've only been able to provide me with one single answer: It took no thought or skill to play. Yes, basically, the Halo fans are saying even the kids who held lit M80 fireworks in their hands could still play this game as long as they could still access the "throw grenade" button. Multiplayer is insufferable because thanks to this game reaching out to the idiots, they FLOOD this game and make every effort to damage your faith in humanity severely. Someone messaged me and assumed I was just playing the campaign on easy mode all the time and must play on super hard mode to get a challenge out of the game. That's certainly not a point in it's favor, because any game can be hard when you switch to hard mode. I never play any game on easy mode, ever, no matter what game it is. I always play normal, then hard if it's worth playing through again. A good example of why I think Halo is so patronizingly easy would be that I've seen these "Halo masters" pick up Half-Life 2 for the first time, and they'd get angry and stop playing because their dumb asses died a lot at the hands of common sense.
I wouldn't have minded Halo and it's shitty game mechanics if it were easy to not play and just ignore. Unfortunately, it had to go on to stomp the shit out of the entire shooter genre. Many have said Halo "revolutionized" the genre, but reducing the inventory to a selection of one boring rifle and one boring pistol in most cases seems kind of a step backward from fun and the health system just made it stupidly easy for the player to get through the game as long as they keep hiding for a few seconds. It also gave the game's level designers an excuse not to balance the levels anymore or put breaks in between the action, which ensured anyone could make a shooter now ... and they do. All that health system did was make it so they could throw in endless cannon fodder enemies and the gameplay length will pad itself out with the stupid amount of hiding behind chest high walls you'll be doing.
Inevitably, someone is going to make the point that the above statements are simply an improvement of realism for shooters. First of all, if you want a realistic health system, I'm sure they can make a game where one bullet lands you in the hospital for 2 months real time. Second, fuck realism altogether. The shooter genre used to be a means to escape reality by being an implausibly strong bastard with an array of over-sized guns that shoots lightning, but still challenged you by urging the utilization of your environment, health, equipment and switching to the desired weapon for varying situations. Why the hell are we trying to simulate real life with our video games now anyway? Will these realism nuts trample some more Wal-Mart greeters when the ever amazingly realistic Cubicle Quest hits shelves?
All that in mind, I stand by the statement that Halo has forever ruined shooters. So many companies are on the Halo bandwagon, it made shooters brutally repetitive, artificially padded and simply not exciting due to the health and weapon system's destroying of urgency. Only Valve seems to not have their head up Halo's ass because they didn't let the sales figures of a game that any incompetent player could pick up drive the force of their shooter. They managed mad sales figures and awards without trying to "fit in" and instead, stuck to what made shooters fun, then expanded upon it without replacing it. There was nothing wrong with health meters and multitudes of guns on hand and it was only made more fun when a more clever player utilized the physics engine to his advantage to conserve his health and ammo.
So with all this in mind, Halo can go suck it and I'll continue geeking out over Valve shooters. At least they still understand what a FUN game is.