Protocol Snow

Archive for September, 2007

I finished the fight

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The way my med school curriculum is set up, we have a test every several weeks. It sounds bad, but the silver lining is that the weekend after a test is completely stress free. I took full advantage and was able to finish the Halo 3 single player campaign!

Unfortunately, my time with the game was through a 22″ SD TV and built-in TV speakers, a far cry from the masterful audio/visual combo at home. I’ll have to wait until Christmas break for the true experience, but honestly, all I wanted to do for now was complete the campaign so that I can read messageboards and listen to gaming podcasts without fear.

On a SD TV, the graphics are pleasant but not particularly anything to brag about, so I was able to focus on the gameplay and level design without being distracted by pretty lighting. For the most part, the flow and pacing is Bungie at their finest. There are some seriously awesome set pieces where the music, the environment, and the action sparkle in beautiful harmony. In fact, most of the campaign was great, though I felt the opening was too slow and the penultimate level too annoying and frustrating. Levels 3-7… hoo boy, excellence. I also loved the way Halo 3 ended, with a fantastic homage to the first Halo and a very fitting conclusion to the trilogy.

Now I’m off to check out the rest of the modes in Halo 3. With online multiplayer, online co-op, custom games, Forge, Theater Mode, and total integration with Bungie.net, I’m blown away by how polished and complete this game is. It’s not hard to imagine why there’s all those 10/10 reviews out there when you consider the whole package.

One of the modes I’m most impressed by is how replays of everything I play is saved, from single player levels to online skirmishes. I can share those replays with people or just view them myself from any angle I choose and upload screenshots to Bungie.net.

Here’s one of mine:

Halo 3 replay screenshot mode

A more artsy shot from a member at NeoGAF:

Halo 3 replay screenshot mode

Now I’m off to play some multiplayer! I am a perfect 2/2 so far, winning both Slayer matches I played!

Written by Protocol Snow

September 30th, 2007 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Games

Dive for cover!

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I’m starting to sound like a crazed Halo fanatic with all these posts, but the Halo 3 release next week is the talk of the nation so what can you expect, really? A few ordinary people (i.e. not gaming journalists) already have the game because apparently some stores messed up and started selling it early. Internet users are seeking shelter while killjoys rain spoiler bombs about the plot. Some people have sworn to stay off the Internet until the 25th, fearing that they can’t last a week without being spoiled.

I wish I had that luxury. With my Xbox 360 on the other side of the country, it’ll be Christmas before I can play! I don’t think I can hold out for three months. I… can’t…

Now I know how those Harry Potter fans feel before the release of a new book. Someone might as well spoil me right now to get the misery out of the way.

I’m joking, don’t do that please.

UPDATE: If all goes well, I’ll be playing Halo 3 this weekend! It’ll be without the pleasures of a HDTV or a nice stereo system since all that good stuff is back at home, but I’ll take what I can get.

Written by Protocol Snow

September 18th, 2007 at 10:32 pm

Posted in Games

ETA: 10 days

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Halo 3 mania is reaching, well, maniac proportions. Accompanying the enormous promotional campaign is the website of the Halo 3 “Believe” diorama that was used to film the TV commercial. This diorama isn’t like those shoe box projects you did in elementary school. No, it’s a work of art that requires a warehouse to house it. The site allows you to embark on a guided tour of the diorama, hovering alongside a diving Banshee, twisting around a Scorpion tank in mid-fire, soaking in the scale of a pivotal battle frozen in time and preserved for history. Definitely check out the site, it’s among the most impressive advertising vehicles I’ve seen.

I love Penny-Arcade’s strip today on the Halo 3 marketing blitz. I actually remembered to look for the Halo 3 drinks while grocery shopping the other day, but they were nowhere to be found. They couldn’t have been sold out, right?!

Speaking of Penny-Arcade, I’ve come to appreciate Tycho’s regular posts, but I used to be annoyed reading his intentionally wordy and obfuscated prose. In fact, I had what I thought was an amusing joke: after taking the MCAT, I would thank Penny-Arcade for my verbal score on what was then my GameDaily blog. The idea was that after reading Tycho’s writing, no verbal passage on the MCAT seemed intimidating. Of course, I didn’t perform as well as I hoped I would (especially since I had literally aced the SAT), so I didn’t have the heart to make the joke. Which just goes to show: don’t plan ahead for the punchline. Lesson learned.

Written by Protocol Snow

September 14th, 2007 at 8:35 pm

Posted in Games

melody. – Ready To Go!

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I bought melody.’s newest album “Ready To Go!” a couple months ago, but I haven’t had the time to really listen to it until recently. I’m loving the album and have it on constant replay. I don’t have anything profound to say about it because it’s pretty standard J-pop fare, but I like her voice and it’s easy listening.

Instead, I’ll share some photos I snapped while in Shibuya, Tokyo. I started listening to melody. when she first collaborated with m-flo in the “Miss you” single. She was a virtual unknown back then and I still find it amazing to see how far she has come in her career. The heavy promotion for her album (well, in Shibuya at least) was very surprising to me.

Big poster pasted outside the window of the Shibuya HMV.

Posters just outside the entrance to Shibuya 109, the trendy shopping complex for teenage girls.

melody. on the giant Q-Front video screen facing one of the most famous intersections in the world! (By the way, I took this photo from Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu and didn’t do a good job of blocking out reflecting light, which is why you can see hotel lamps in the background)

Written by Protocol Snow

September 10th, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Posted in Music,Travel