The Best Gaming Moments of 2010

For those who follow Morality Points on Twitter (@Moralitypts), you probably know that we’re not super keen for best games of any year. Frankly speaking, there’s not one game that I would call the best, as different parts of different games appeal to me for different reasons. So here are my top 5 gaming moments of 2010 (Note: this list is made up of games that I played this year, not every game released):

5. Intro Sequence to Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Intro

Maybe it’s because I replayed Assassin’s Creed II right before starting Brotherhood, but for the first time in videogames, I didn’t mind being stripped of all my abilities and armor. And yes, Mass Effect 2, I’m looking at you. If Mass Effect 3 pulls this “cloned” Shepherd bullshit, I will take the disc out and use it as a coaster. But this opening was cool: racing through a burning villa, fending off the Borgia troops until everyone could escape, and then seeing the “ghosts” as Desmond enters the sanctuary in the modern time. Truthfully, there’s a part of me that likes this sequence because it’s the first time I don’t want to throttle Desmond.

4. Flying a helicopter in Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Here’s the thing about Battlefield games (and PC vets will know this more than anyone): everyone seems to have a hard-on for things that fly. The worst pilots are always the ones waiting for a helicopter (or bomber/fighter in Battlefield 1942/1943. Battle of Britain, anyone?) to spawn. However, there’s a reason for this. It’s awesome to rock the opposition from the air. I’ll never forget the time my amigo Taylor aka TheIrishFox strafed the opposition in Valparaíso. We were gee-dee heroes. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 stands out as one of my favorite shooters of 2010, just for the simple fact that it was the first time console players wanted to work together.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 helicopter

3. The first time you are Player of the Game in NBA 2K11

NBA 2K11 Player of the Game

Honestly, this moment is a tie with the excellent introduction cinematic to NBA 2K11. However, seeing your own personally created character pull off amazing shots, amplified by some stylish camera work and game footage, really makes the 2K11 experience shine above all other sports games for me. I’m not even that much of a sports videogame kind of guy, but NBA 2K11 won me over. Now, will I return for NBA 2K12? That depends if they can top this year’s package. Incremental roster updates will no longer suffice in my book.

2. “Long Night of Solace” in Halo: Reach

Yes, I am a sucker for the Halo series. As I look back on the Bungie tenure of the Halo saga, I have to say that this is the level of Halo I always wanted. From the first time I played “The Silent Cartographer” in Halo: Combat Evolved, I always dreamed of “Long Night of Solace.” I just didn’t know it. That moment of peace in between storming the beach and entering the Covenant super carrier—it just gets me. It’s a chance to reflect not only on what lies ahead, but the whole Halo experience. Of course, the other standout moment of Halo: Reach is the mission Lone Wolf, but as a long time Halo fan, I feel that “Long Night of Solace” is the fan service I had always craved. Thanks Bungie.

Halo Reach Space

Check after the break for the number one moment in gaming for 2010.

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What Video Game Developers Could Learn from Shakespeare

N00b Shakespeare

“A noob by any other name would die as sweet” — xXBillShakespur1616Xx

Let’s face facts: we can stand in our digital ivory towers all day and preach about the artistic merits of video games, but that doesn’t mean that the millions of people who bought Call of Duty, Medal of Honor or Halo: Reach give one lick about plot, character development, etc. I’m not saying that these or similar games are all fluff (some people can make that argument, but that’s not my point here). I’m just saying the hundreds of thousands of people playing Team Deathmatch on a daily basis aren’t exactly in it for the story.

And many (not all, but many) of those diehard fraggers don’t care about games such as Limbo or Braid or Heavy Rain. I know there is plenty of overlap, but the “artsy” games aren’t exactly flying off the shelves like this year’s Call of Halo: Modern Combat Evolved 10. The plot-driven games occasionally do sell well, but what prints the money are novelty experiences. That’s fine, and I’m not hating on First Person Shooters. I love Halo: Reach for its well-designed experience, but it’s not exactly the campaign I’m playing through again and again.

Halo Call of Duty

At ease, fair gentlemen!

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Let Sleeping Spartans Lie

Halo Reach Master Chief

Halo Reach and Halo 3 Spoiler Alert

At the end of Halo 3, we sped on our trusty Warthogs through an imploding super structure and watched as the Master Chief made his typical, death-defying leap into a waiting escape ship. But this time something was different—this was the end of Master Chief’s saga. It could have ended with Master Chief returning to earth triumphant, but he never made it. Bungie decided to put humanity’s greatest warrior into cryostasis, forever to float in the void of space until, as John-117 famously says, “…you need me.”

This is how Bungie left Master Chief, and this is how he should remain.

Recently, Microsoft commented that they would like to see a sped up Halo production cycle, something similar to what Treyarch/Infinity Ward does for the Call of Duty series. That’s fine with me. I like the Halo universe plenty, and I wouldn’t mind to explore more of the rich back story. But I do not want to play as Master Chief ever again.

Master Chief memorial Continue reading

Halo: Reach – Let the Teabagging Begin!

Last Monday just before midnight, I found myself in a Gamestop full of awkward nerds who must have been trying to kill all the employees with the toxic fumes that their un-showered bodies produced in a desperate attempt to get their copy of Halo: Reach early. Upon asking the manager about this, he told me the midnight release of Starcraft 2 had prepared them for this underhanded tactic and built up an immunity to it.

Fast-forward a half hour and I perform my first teabag. My victim was a little kid who became quite furious after I told him he gave me Bieber fever. Kids these days.

The first thing you may notice is that the control scheme has changed a bit. Melee attacks are now more conveniently executed using the right bumper and action command/reload has moved to the X button. The only change that feels awkward to me is the B button, which changes your grenade type.

Physics have changed as well in Reach. Beatdowns (now called pummels) are less powerful, cutting down on the notoriously annoying “double beatdowns” from Halo 3, and you can now die or get hurt from falling too high like in previous games. You also can’t jump like Neo anymore, so you don’t think you can confuse people so easily by jumping over their heads.

Neo...jumping really really high.

One of the biggest changes to the game is the addition of a class system. Some gametypes will offer different weapon loadouts or abilities, such as a jetpack or the ability to create a hologram of yourself to trick enemies. Otherwise, you get to sprint, which can certainly be helpful in gametypes like SWAT when you need cover to survive. I find one ability in particular to be a little cheap as it lets a player become temporarily invincible and avoid taking damage from…oh let’s say a barrage of grenades.

The multiplayer maps in Reach are a mixture of old favorites and levels from the campaign. I feel that there are too few maps, most of which are ripped straight from the story, while a few others look like they were made by the developers in Forge. I would have liked to see much more variety here and am hoping they release a map pack soon. While most of the maps feel well designed, it’s only a matter of time before they get old. All the classic gametypes make a return with a couple of additions that are rarely ever played, like Headhunter.

The veto system has been drastically improved, now allowing players to choose 3 map/gametype options or the high school reminiscent option, “None of the Above,” which generates a new list for players to vote on while insulting each other’s choices over their headsets. Matchmaking in general has been beefed up as well, giving you more search customizations that help you be paired up with the sorts of people you actually want to play with. While this system has nothing on eHarmony’s 29 dimensions of compatibility, it still works pretty well. Unfortunately, you will still run into matchmaking searches that start over constantly as well as in-game connections issues. Nobody likes a laggy teabag, but we don’t have much of a choice, do we?

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Halo Reach Giveaway

Halo Reach giveaway

MoralityPoints.com wants to say thank you to all its readers. We’ve come a long way since we started in 2009. To show our appreciation, we will be giving away a copy of Halo Reach. Sorry Playstation/Nintendo fans–I promise we’ll do something later just for you.

To enter into the free Halo Reach giveaway, all you have to do is:

1) Be a fan of Morality Points Video Game Reviews on Facebook

2) On Sunday September 12, a winner will be randomly selected from the list of fans.

Pretty simple, right? The winner will have to provide a shipping address, and will be receiving a copy of Halo Reach in the mail shortly thereafter. For residents living outside of the US, it might take longer to receive your copy. If for whatever reason the winner chooses to not accept their copy, a drawing will be held again.

The winner will be contacted via Facebook. In the event that the winner does not respond to the message by September 14, another drawing will be held.

Best of luck to everyone!

-Joshua “Neutrally Chaotic” Duke

The Most Anticipated Game Ever?

The most anticipated and hyped game of the year will soon hit the shelves and fan boys everywhere will faint just by holding the box.  Hundreds of thousands will spend the entire night playing and who knows how many millions of combined hours of game time will eventually be wasted on it. I’m, of course, talking about Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned.

Halo Pirates
Yea, right. Anyone that is acquainted with even an iota of current events, either through the internet or television, knows that Halo: Reach is about to launch on Sept. 14. No other game has seen so much hype since…well…the last Halo game that involved a playable Spartan.

Bungie and Microsoft have certainly held nothing back in their quest to remind anyone that uses technology that Reach is upon them. Every gaming website has at least a few articles on Reach and it’s hard not to find a website showing off Bungie’s live-action videos promoting their game.

Legions of uber-intense fan boys have spent months pouring over screenshots, trailers, videos and any other leaked content they can get their hands on. And Bungie and Microsoft just keep on teasing them, letting smidgens of information leak out to keep the excitement level at a maximum.

You would think, no matter how much publicity and advertisement it got, the Halo franchise would eventually get old and gamers would lose interest. After all, how many times can you be a futuristic super-soldier, fight off swarms of alien beings with superior technology and blow up giant rings capable of wiping out all sentient life?

Halo Reach

But Reach is different. This isn’t about surviving and saving humanity. As Bungie so aptly puts it, this is about sacrifice and remembrance. The moment this game launches, Reach and its brave Noble team will fall. So Bungie is successful in playing off all their advertising as a memorial to brave, fallen soldiers.

So is Reach worth all of this hype? Quite possibly. This is Bungie’s swan song to the franchise game that defined the Xbox and they’ll want to go out with a bang (quite literally). As for whether it lives up to its hype…that remains to be seen. There is only one thing for certain: no one game will ever again garner this much attention and publicity again…at least, not until Halo 4 is leaked.

Morality Quickie: The Week In Review

Nintendo

Nintendo announced a ton of release dates at Gamescon, while being relatively quiet on most other fronts. That’s fine though; between the hype surrounding the Nintendo 3DS and the most solid holiday lineup to come out of Nintendo in a long time, the House that Mario Built is finally worthy to pop back up on the gaming radar.

Mass Effect 2 PS3

Sony

Sony did something that I never saw coming: it shocked the hell out of everyone with its acquisition of Mass Effect 2 for the PS3. With promised “introductory” content to introduce PlayStation owners to the Mass Effect universe, it seems that Sony has scored a big victory in unexclusivizing (yes, I just made that up) another big Microsoft franchise. Rumors have also been circulating about a possible new version of the PSP (a true PSP2, not any of this incremental BS) that would feature touch controls on the back of the device. With the release of Move in just a few weeks, it’s an interesting time for Sony fans. Will the Move succeed or will it just be dismissed as another Wii clone? Only time will tell.

Microsoft

Microsoft Dog Poop

Microsoft really stunk it up this week. Relying on its heavy hitters, it didn’t really make any earth shaking announcements. In fact, with the announcement that the Mass Effect series was jumping the S.S. Microsoft, I’d say that Microsoft wished this week never happened.

By the way, Microsoft: your flimsy argument that the Mass Effect series is still best experienced on Xbox isn’t fooling anyone. We all know you’re crying inside, so let it out big fella. You got Halo Reach coming out in just a few weeks. You’re gonna be fine.

Master Chief

Big Daddy Halo gonna come and make it all better

-Joshua “Neutrally Chaotic” Duke

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