Gears. Halo. One console. Could we possibly be in a better position? Ok, well I know we all want a Viva Pinata MMOG but we have to be realistic...;) Since the start of the Halo 3 Beta, boards have flamed and comparisons have been made at which game is better. After some chatting with Zoso and Papi we have decided to have a first of hopefully many discussions through email. We all remember the N'Gai NPD discussion and so a special shout-out to him for the idea. (If you haven't already, check out his "Monday Morning Quarterback
" article on April's NPD numbers)
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To: Papi Blez, Zoso Fan
Date: May 28, 2007
Re: Gears/Halo - An Honest Discussion
After playing months of Gears of War and weeks with Halo 3 (in the Beta state) I am hooked to both games. Both are fantastic games; however both have their minor flaws. (Let's give Halo a little slack for being in Beta- and ignore the things we know will be fixed.) Gears of War and Halo 3 both had/have enormous amounts of hype coming up to release and both seem to please most that pick them up.
Much like our relationship Zoso, let's start with online. (I'm only kidding...)
Let's look at the positives/negatives of both games online play:
Gears of War
+Easy to find Ranked matches with people you don't know. (although getting the map you want can be tedious)
+Player matches are laid-back and fun with your friends. (which CAN be set to whatever map you want)
+Overall quick-paced strategic fun.
- Unique Guns (Ahem, the Chainsaw)
- Team Chat
- Lag can be a pain
-No ranked play with friends
- Both overall ranking system (RP points) and game ranking system that works well.
- Awesome matchmaking system that pairs you with people of similar skill. (However this obviously needs work before the games release)
- Ability to create a party of friends and join any (save one) game type both ranked and social.
- A ridicules amount of game types.
- Ability to save "Films" of memorable games and send them to friends
- Comprehensive stat analysis on Bungie.net
- Guns, guns and more guns! A huge variety of weapons with different combinations.
- Pretty graphics
- Only "pretty" graphics.
- Finding matches can be a pain
- Must "Hump" the D-Pad to talk to your team
Whew. Now, given this is a rough list, in your opinion which game edges out?
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Fr: Papi Blez
Date: May 28, 2007
Re: Gears/Halo - An Honest Discussion
It's somewhat silly to be discussing which game is better since one is a final product and the other is a beta, but heck, I imagine that most of the core game play of Halo 3 is probably there. So take what I say below with the fact that I'm talking mostly about game play in my comparison between the two.
It's not that I disagree with your assessment of the positives and negatives of both games at all. But to me it's the above-mentioned game play which is what's very different and what makes Gears a better MP experience. Halo is a blast, but it feels like playing a game of laser tag in a bounce house at a 4-year-old's birthday party compared to the strategic, much more realistic feel of Gears of War. You can approach a Gears of War match with a very specific and strategic plan in mind. In my experience in Halo, it's almost always every man for himself and the only strategy then becomes let's just stick together. For example, Zoso and I often work together as a team in a clear way. One of us will be the mouse to lure the cat out of hiding and come charging at the prey. Meanwhile, the dog is lurking for either a Torque Bow, Sniper, grenade or Boom Shot kill.
Guys in heavy armor should feel weighty. They shouldn't jump around like they're Kate Moss on the moon. And I know that Spartans are tough with their shields and MJOLNIR armor, but would it hurt them to use a little cover now and then? To me, the game play of Gears feels solid. You can go into a sprint when necessary and because you're a big guy with a ton of armor on you don't bounce around. Plus, the characters in Gears actually have personality. It's great being able to choose a character and not just a color and a logo.
That's the biggest difference to me. If you're talking single player campaign, I would probably still take Halo over Gears for the complex storyline, but when it comes to killing your friends, Gears is head and shoulders above when it comes to game play. Not a question in my mind.
[In order to keep the topic fresh, Zoso Fan will be posting his response tomorrow in the afternoon]
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Fr: Zoso Fan
Date: May 28, 2007
Re: Gears/Halo - An Honest Discussion
I hope I am doing this right.
I think I should start by pointing out that I have played Halo vigorously and Halo 2 compulsively. Both were in my opinion the best games the original Xbox had to offer in terms of online gaming. But this is where I have my problem. Opening up Gears of War and playing online for the first time was amazing. Not only did the game look better than anything else ANYWHERE, but the gameplay was new, original and fresh. Also, the same can be said for the mood of the game which was gritty dark and covered themes like "destroyed beauty" which was badass. The thing is, when I play the halo 3 beta, I do not get that sense that I am playing a completely next-gen game. It plays beautifully, but just like it was supposed to on Xbox 1. The graphics are very Halo and honestly not as bad as people say, but there are A LOT of things I am expecting from final product now that I am not so sure I will get. It is freaking' Halo 3 for crying out loud, as a gamer I wanted it to blow my mind with visuals I couldn't see possible in any other game. (Also, remember that all halo's visuals can still change since its beta). But my biggest problem is the gameplay. At this point, in a new consoles cycle, I believe there needs to be an overhaul that makes the game play better than before. But I think the devs knew that there would be a HUGE backlash from crazy 10 year old fatties who would cry if the sniper wasn't the easiest used in a game. Hell, I will actually breakdown all of my problems with halo/gears and state which has the better.
Halo 3 (beta)
-The sniper is the easiest damn gun in the world. And I am not saying this because I am only getting pwned by it. There are games where I can EASILY get a killing spree on Valhalla with the sniper within the first few minutes. I am constantly running out of ammo before dying with the gun. With Gears, snipes are hard but with the difficulty comes rewards. Every kill makes you feel like a badass, in contrast to feeling like an 11 year old with halo ;).
-The Spartan laser is my favorite weapon, but it is also WAY to easy. After you hold the trigger you can still stop at any time. It controls kind of like a torque bow, but is a lot easier to use. Torque bow pwns it.
-The trip mine is awesome, but would be better if it actually worked when you drop it. I mean, remember the beta trailer where they showed it for the first time? A warthog was darting toward a Spartan and he dropped it right before the bastards ran him over, and he killed them both. Ha! I have literately dropped it down and had a warthog slowly drive over it with out it going off.
-You guys remember the three keys to halo? Guns, grenades and melee. Well, my favorite of the three (grenades) don't really seem to be effective much anymore. Did you know that 2 plasma grenades DONT even stop a warthog? Did you know a Spartan laser most of the time doesn't kill the gunner? How about throwing 2 frags next to a guy and he doesn't die. One of the biggest problems with gears weapons in the past was the boomshot BEFORE the patch. But now all grenades and really all explosive guns in halo have that VERY problem. ESPECIALLY the brute shot which Bungie boasted about being powerful?
-My biggest problem with Halo is the idea of (here you go grymm, who says that he copyrighted the term :)) "Garbage Picking". You want to be the halo master with the most kills? Sit back and wait for people to get into a firefight and when they are weak... Kill em both. Yes it is a strategy, but it completely terrible gameplay which should not be rewarding since it involved no risk or skill. With Gears, you are always in doing what I would call duals when you are not working as a team against another. There really isn't any garbage picking (stealing downs donít count).
-Mongoose is cool for traveling short distances, but really needs to be more powerful for splattering. I have gotten it before but he already had almost no health. There was a time a few days ago where a guy was away from the game and I hit him at full speed dead on. No kill. Lame.
-Warthog is monstrously overpowered.
-Man cannon was in halo 2
-Matchmaking still takes about 30 min to get into a game sometimes. Connection issues.
-I can't talk to sweetea during a game in Halo (glitch) then I get put on the other team from my party (and a random guy took my slot) then everyone on my team got booted. While I was getting the black screen of death. Best system ever! ;) (All in one game btw)
-game lag (and lots of it!)
(And PLEASE NOTE: I AM ONLY LISTING THE NEGATIVES FOR THE GAMES WITH SOME COMPARISONS; there are PLENTY of BADASS things about new halo, like the needler and almost all the equipment)
-No matchmaking, which I hope to see in GEARS 2.
-Bullet Lag when a host sucks.
-4 on 4 max (matter of perspective though)
-only 4 game types (but personally I only play slayer in halo anyway)
-host advantage more visible due to gibbing effects in shotgun and chainsawing.
-melee'ers / active reload whores.
-Really Doe and his friends. (aka shotgun)
-slide glitch (but come on, Halo will have an assload of glitches when it first launches)
-no in-game map changes/weapon swaps
-no starting weapon swaps
Most of Gear's negative aspects really are just exploits, which all can be countered pretty easily and avoided all together. (Boot em or play with people who aren't 11)
I am sorry if this response is a little ramble sounding because I am pretty tired. But collectively, I think Gears of War has better core gameplay. And to everyone who complains about host advantage and bullet lag and such... I NEVER HOST. Honestly, ask anyone I play with, it is only on rare occasion and I don't have a shitty connection either. I prefer not hosting and have no problem taking the host out a lot of the time. Do you guys like it when a player jumps around from point to point in the air (in halo) because of lag? And you can't shoot him. This happens to the players and all vehicles commonly as well. Normal game lag is just as annoying if not more. But itís the business of online gaming. I think people use host advantage as an excuse WAY to much. I mean, yes its there, but the opposing team of the host can win easily. Itís not that much of a factor.
Halo 3 is gonna be an awesome game. I have legendary pre-ordered for crying out loud. Single player with 4 player co-op is gonna rock my world and I am giddy as a school girl to finish the fight. But once it is over, I will go back to GEARS with out a problem or a doubt in my mind. This wasnít something I was expecting from the biggest game on the consoles.
Basically, my main feelings are this:
- Halo is a great game, but the WOW factor isnít there that I have been anticipating. Personally I think that some of the core problems with Halo is in its gameplay which is most rewarding when you sit back away from the action and pick off two people in a fight. Also, I find that it is not really anything new. For example, look at Splinter Cell: Conviction. By now, another splinter cell with the same gameplay would suck, thatís why ubisoft is making some changes to freshen up the series. Also, as you all know Tony Hawk games suck now. Yep. They used to be some of the best games, but after playing the same thing over and over again it is not as fun at all as when you originally began playing the series.
What halo needs is a whole new class of weapons, characters that are playable in multiplayer, and more varies in map design. There are like 3 styles (from what weíve seen) of halo maps and it is honestly getting old. Innovation is needed imo to make a game lasting and fun.
-Gears is the classic example now of next-gen done right. It is a completely fresh and original environment and honestly it has an unfair advantage because of this. But thatís the point. Just like Assassins Creed has the potential to pwn Splinter Cell. New experiences make better games.
Along with this is that Gears brings a whole new style of gameplay. To a PC gamer who doesnít have an Xbox, Halo seems like a ďbeen there, done thatĒ kind of thing because that style of game has been done numerous times before Halo even came out. Gears was created thinking outside of the box and because of it helps push a whole new genre.
In most basic terms: I prefer GEARS OF WARís gameplay over Halo. Easily.