- PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- ESRB Rating
- M: Mature
- Release Date
- Tuesday, September 09, 2014
Welcome to One-Hour Reviews, a new feature we're trying on GamePad that's dedicated to you, the sophisticated, pressed-for-time gamer. You don't have countless hours to spend playing games, nor do you have time to read overlong reviews. Here, we play these games for an hour and succinctly tell you what you need to know about the important releases. No scores, no filler, just the answer to one question: Is it worth your time?
Genre: Massive multiplayer online (MMO) first-person shooter.
What's it about: Players take on the role of "Guardians" who protect the last city on Earth from alien threats 700 years in the future. Science fiction!
Why should we care? It's the first release from Bungie, the studio that added vehicles to first-person shooters with Halo. It's also one of the few big games this season that isn't a sequel (technically). Most importantly, it's the first game after a loooong summer of drought.
What happens in the first hour: First things first: pick a character class and race. That role-playing game standby is the first hint of the time suck to come.
I go for the robotic Exo race and the Titan class. Apparently that's like a fantasy-style fighter, except science-fiction.
The intro shows three astronauts on Mars looking at what is presumably Earth. Nice graphics.
We're told that something called the Traveler, which I'm assuming isn't a beer for the road, built some stuff on Mars and Venus and that human lifespan tripled. But the Traveler was hunted by a darkness, and "that was the end of everything… but it was also a beginning." Very poetic.
Shift forward in time to the Cosmodrone in Old Russia. Oh look, it's the Covenant… oops, no, it's another race of alien baddies called the Fallen. Could have fooled me.
It's seven minutes before I get to move. Not bad for an overblown epic.
And so the Halo action begins. Seriously, is this game using the same code?
One big difference: you level up. Level two gives access to a flash grenade; level three lets you double jump. I wonder at what level the Warthog shows up?
After the intro mission, it's off to Tower Plaza in The Last City, where weapon and armour salesman stand around waiting for you to approach them. There are other real human players running around, stocking up. It's Halo meets World of Warcraft.
Everyone is wearing helmets and masks with no obvious eye holes. Because science fiction.
A world map lets you pick missions according to your level. It's Halo meets a non-linear story.
I pick a mission that's too hard for my level and I'm back down in Old Russia, this time riding a Return of the Jedi speeder bike that I can summon out of thin air at will. Again, because science-fiction.
I die a few times, but just like Halo, I respawn. Other players pop up and we go to town on the enemies. That's kind of neat, and definitely not like Halo. I end up acing the level because I played a lot of… yup… Halo.
Highlights: Duh, amazing graphics. Feels like Halo. There are plenty of challenging boss monsters, which are good for group battles.
Lowlights: Peter Dinklage's uninspired voice work as your drone sidekick. The in-game currency is called "glimmer."
Time suck factor: It's an MMO. If you look up MMO in the dictionary, it actually says "say goodbye to your life." This isn't a game for people with things going on.
Worth more than an hour? Did we mention it's a lot like Halo? If you like Halo, then yes.