Imagine a decimated Halo. The Covenant has conquered Earth. Even light speed travel wasn't enough for Chief to make it back in time...but is it really too late? ... This is what E3 attendees discovered during an exciting "Halo 3" trailer. Yes, it's true -- Microsoft has confirmed that this eagerly awaited sequel should be stocked in stores some time in 2007.
All this "Halo 3" talk got us thinking: If HowStuffWorks ruled the universe, what would we cram into "Halo 3"? Read on to find out.
Starting with offensive weapons, here's what we've got:
There were more than a few moments in "Halo 1" and "2" when a dynamic melee weapon would have been nice. We're thinking three attacks: melee button for a slash attack, right trigger for a stab, and, if the opponent's back is turned and you target them, a stealthy, one-hit kill.
Bungie has been talking about a flamethrower for a while. It's understandable that they don't want to put a flamethrower in the game until they can do it right. Here's hoping that Xenon has what it takes to let us barbecue some Covies.
Next, we'll take a look at our defensive weapon wishlist.
We wanty! Imagine charging into battle with a Jackal shield. Sweet.
The shields should work like a dual-wielding weapon -- you should be able to hold it and fire a second weapon. By pulling the right trigger once, you would turn the shield on. Pull it again, and you would turn the shield off. You should be able to move the shield in the same way you would aim any weapon, so you could deflect incoming fire from different angles. Once the shield turns on, it would have a limited charge that would gradually deplete (taking hits would deplete it more quickly). You should also be able to give someone a charged melee attack by whomping them with the shield.
"Halo 3" needs to integrate more tricky explosives and traps. Remote and proximity detonated explosives, sentry guns and mines could add a whole new element to both the multiplayer and campaign modes. You could set mines by aiming at the desired spot and pulling the right trigger. The same system could be used for sentry guns. Remote detonators could be set the same way, but detonated with an additional pull of the trigger.
Sure, none of these things are groundbreaking new ideas for an FPS, but it seems like they are long overdue in the mother-of-all console shooters. A little minefield around your base would be nice in capture the flag. You could get really sneaky -- imagine watching enemies blown to bits when they try to board a vehicle you tricked out with a proximity mine. Surprise!
UNSC has no answer to the Ghost. Long ago, when "Halo 2" was only a distant dream, and fan boy chatter and questionable screen shots were all we had to go on, the ATV was a sure shot to be a new vehicle in "Halo 2." November 9th, 2004 came and went with no such vehicle. The ATV would make a great flag-running vehicle. Something with the agility, speed and size of a Ghost but with Warthog handling and stability sounds right.
In "Mercenaries," you can grab a bunch of dudes, load them into an armored personnel carrier and take them to a fray. We wish "Halo" had some kind of APC. Think about how cool it would be to roll onto the beach in Outskirts with an APC full of Marines. They pile out shooting, and combat hi-jinx ensues. This would be a great addition to multiplayer too.
Driving a Pelican
Picture it: Capture the flag in Coagulation. You and five of your buddies are en route to the base on the other side of the map. Rockets hiss by, and the ship rocks back and forth as it takes one on the starboard side. As the Pelican banks left and swings wide to avoid another salvo of tracked rockets, you see the enemy base. Two rooftop snipers pour it on, filling the inside of the Pelican with white streaks. Your rocket guy drops behind you. He never even saw it coming. The smoking Pelican belly flops onto the top of your opponent's base in a hail of crisscrossing fire. You and your pals pile out. The pilot is picked off as he exits the Pelican. A flash, and your shields are dropped. You fire furiously to your left and right as you seek cover near the smoldering Pelican. You eye a Ghost outside the base, as you dive down onto the flag. You mutter into your headset, "That's how one of us is getting out of here."
So the Pelican would be a great edition to multiplayer. And you should be able stow extra weapons on the Pelican! On large multiplayer maps, the Pelican could function as a mobile base. There could even be a "capture the flag" variant where the flags are kept on Pelicans.
What if you could clear that beach in Outskirts with a good old-fashioned Marine beach landing? This early Bungie concept art shows that they considered it.
Some water combat would be a nice addition to both multiplayer and campaign. Imagine a multiplayer map that is a series of small islands. The bases would be on different islands, and it would take coordinated boat attacks, beach landings and sniper fire to get things done. Now that's a sweet idea. (Note to Halo guys, you could name the multiplayer map "100 Monkeys.")
Now, let's look at the controls.
This wish is a point of contention among some of us. The D-Pad is just hanging out there, so why not assign some simple context sensitive commands? You know -- "follow," "hold position," "suppress," "cover me."
You could argue this turns "Halo" into a squad-based shooter. Nah, not really. It just provides some control over the Marines when they are around. Who's not tired of seeing them die senseless deaths or foil stealthy plans with their well- intentioned blundering? If you're not into the command menu, no sweat -- don't issue any commands, and the Marines just go about their business. It's only there if you want it.
Using the Elements
Everything is a weapon if you use your imagination. What if you could pick up boxes and canisters with the "X" button and chuck them at people with the right trigger? It's not going to do a ton of damage, but it would be a great option when someone is chasing you or you find yourself low on ammo. It could also apply to guns that are out of ammo. Once you run out the game could prompt you to "press 'X' to throw weapon."
Seriously, wouldn't you like to be able to lie down and fire in the prone position? While we're talking crazy, how about a roll? Bungie could pull this off in a few ways. Holding down the left thumbstick makes you crouch in both "Halo" games. Bungie could build on that. A simple click and release could put the player in a prone position. You would click the stick once more to stand up. Once the Chief is prone, forward and back on the thumbstick would make him crawl forward and back. Left and right would cause the Chief to roll in those respective directions. Think about it -- you could snipe from underneath a Warthog or just change the oil.
Why Can't I?
Fire the Secondary Guns on the Wraith
Why can't you fire the secondary weapons on the Wraith? The left trigger should fire the secondary guns, but instead it gives the Wraith a speed boost. It's a tank -- it doesn't need to be fast. Wouldn't you rather be able to fry some jacker who gets too close than have an afterburner? The NPCs can fire the guns and you can't. What gives?
Another possible use for the D-pad would be a lean function. Hitting left or right on the D-pad would let you peek and/or shoot around corners, while still maintaining partial cover. We fully expected to see this in "Halo 2" and were surprised when it wasn't there. Let's hope it makes it into "Halo 3."
Carry Mobile Turrets
So what's better than watching Johnson lugging that turret, setting it up and cutting loose on the Covenant in Cairo Station? Well...lots of things, but the point is that the Chief should be able to lug turrets around. It would work like dual-wielding. You press "X" to pick up the turret. When you're carrying the turret, you move slower and can't fire, but you can press "Y" to discard the turret at any time. You pull the right trigger to set up the turret. Once it's set up, you operate the turret in the standard way. There are several places in "Halo 2" where it would be great to lug a turret to a nifty vantage point and then cut some fools in half.
Now, on to environments.
Dynamic weather would be a cool feature, especially if it affected game play. Rain, snow or wind could alter the AI's decision-making. Vehicles could handle differently; speed and visibility could be affected. It's just a tiny detail that would be nice.
Hey, how about some zero gravity space battles? A zero-G fire fight would be majestic! Picture a battle in orbit over some planet. Seraphs and Longswords spiral around you in dogfights. Capital ships exchange heavy rounds. Space is littered with debris. The level could have the slow rolling feel of a drift dive. A special unit of Covenant space troopers swarms UNSC ships, and it's up to the Chief to defend them and plant a bomb on the hull of one of the Covenant cruisers. At different points in the level you could have Chief running along the hull of a Covenant Cruiser, drifting through the wreckage of a ship as well as bits of free fall combat. Moving Master Chief in a totally zero-G environment would be tricky but well worth the learning curve to fight in space.
The fact of the matter is that not everyone has Xbox Live. Even if you do have it, sometimes you want to brush up before taking it to some flesh-and-blood chumps. How about some programmable bots like the ones in "Perfect Dark" for N64? In a pre-game menu, you would be able to program skill and attributes to the bots as well as assign skins like, Grunt, Marine, Brute and so on.
A cool spin on co-op. One player is the Chief, while someone goes through campaign jumping from Elite to Elite (also cribbed from "Perfect Dark"). Put this on Xbox Live and you could have several people as Elites battling one unlucky Chief.
If only one wish were to be fulfilled, let's hope it's this one: Co-op on Xbox Live. You and your buddy duking it out side by side, each on your own box. You could work out your own geeky field jargon. How about teams of four? Bungie could weave this into the story by having the SPARTAN program resurrected. Or the game could just let you play as Marines or ODSTs. Let's blow it out -- how about a massive online co-op campaign mode with 16 person teams and Marines? We're talking big, no huge "Lord of the Rings"-scale battles, in big open fields. Man oh man, that would be fun!
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