Late to the Party: Halo 3 (Part II)

So when we last left off, we had just arrived on Earth and regrouped with the UNSC Marines and the Arbiter, prepared to apply several oversized boots to the Covenant’s collective ass and kick them off the planet.

They will apparently be doing this through the power of over-dramatic one-liner delivery.

See, we regroup with Commander Miranda Keyes and when the the Marines rightfully inquire as to where they should go to rally for the upcoming attack, Keyes racks the slide on a magnum (probably unnecessarily) and grimly replies “to war”.

Here’s the thing, writers: when you have to awkwardly twist a situation in order to force a one-liner then you should probably just abandon it. And if you really, really need to get your ham-fisted badass quip in there then there’s really only one thing to do:

Stop writing.

Luckily all dialogue woes are forgotten momentarily when a delightful cameo from the folks over at Rooster Teeth crops up. As this series can attest, I was not much of a Halo fan in the previous years, but I have however been watching Red vs. Blue since nearly the very beginning. I thought that was pretty cool of Bungie to include them in this final installment.

Near as I can tell, it’s the same shotgun every time, but the front and rear sight have seemingly always changed color. I think they started off as a light blue, then in Halo 2 they changed to a somewhat brighter green, and now finally they’ve changed back to blue. What gets me is that in every iteration they seem to actually glow like LED lights. Lets ignore the fact that a light source on a weapon that shines back towards the operator is perhaps one of the most brain-dead design decisions in the field of firearms I’ve ever heard of and consider the further implications of this little oddity.

Despite the modern-day prevalence of highly advanced and supremely beneficial optics one can mount on their weapons, talk to anyone with any kind of shooting experience and they’ll tell you that backup iron sights are a necessary part of any shooting platform. The reason for this is simple: scopes can get bent or broken and any kind of red dot or holographic display relies on batteries which can run out of juice at very inopportune times. You can carry backups for such scenarios but ultimately you’re going to want a good set of irons to fall back on if all else fails. Yet in the case of the shotgun in Halo, those iron sights are now also reliant on some kind of power source that can fail or otherwise go out when you need it most. Sure, you’ll still have the raised notch and blade configuration to go by, but there’s really no reason to light those up with actual LED light sources when even in today’s world a set of tritium self-powered night sights would be infinitely preferable.

Sorry, once again this isn’t a particular glaring flaw in the grand scheme of things but it’s just one more little quirk of armament that stands out as being kind of nonsensical and so presents a very juicy target for someone like me to aim at… with my completely devoid of LED sights.

Now, on to things that are a bit more concerning narrative-wise, we’re still getting visions of Cortana. I mean, guys are entitled to have a flashback or two about the girls they’ve left behind but this is a bit too literal, if you ask me. I’ve already talked about how this “hallucinogenic vision” stuff feels out of place in the Halo setting, but for now I’m assuming it’s just a kind of software glitch that’s being used for dramatic purposes, but it still feels a bit odd.

Of course, what feels substantially more odd is how Chief isn’t telling anyone that he’s having visions of a potentially antagonistic AI disrupt his ability to fight.

As we fight our way through the Covenant-infested military complex in the jungle, we cross paths again with the Arbiter, who is preaching at the Covenant forces about their faulty allegiances and how the Prophets will eventually betray them just as they did himself.

Of course, his pleas for his flock to repent are somewhat undermined by the plasma bolts he’s busy sinking into the faces of everyone who gets near him. Y’know what my pastor doesn’t do when he talks about forgiveness? Unload on the sanctuary with a Kalashnikov. It sends mixed signals.

The silly bit isn’t the jetpacks, because Halo has already established that such devices exist; rather it’s the image of a huge, half-ton monkey flying through the air while shooting at you. My first thought is that they look like a grown-up Diddy Kong from Donkey Kong 64. My second thought is “OH MY GOD THAT GIGANTIC FLYING MONKEY IS TRYING TO KILL ME.”

I don’t know whether to chuckle or weep.

After having successfully escaped the clutches of the Wizard of Oz minions on steroids, we nevertheless have a bigger problem to contend with: there’s way too many Covenant here and we’re going to lose the base. The plan is to go all scorched earth on them (a rather uncomfortable nomenclature given the scope of this conflict) and blow up the base as we pull back. The bomb we see here is roughly the size of an H2 Hummer and resembles a massive engine block with several bricks of C4 strapped to it in random locations. This looks like the kind of slapped-together explosive you’d see in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, sitting in the ACME warehouse right next to the dynamite-stuffed grand piano.

That said, I’ll still take it over the explosive sea urchin from Halo 2.

When I just helped set up a bomb inside this very facility that has already sustained significant damage, using the elevators in said facility is yet another entry in the “Master Chief Collection of Sooper Smart Choices”. Naturally, this elevator fails and sends me plummeting an indeterminate distance to the ground.

Of course, after falling from orbit in the opening cutscene a fall such as this probably seems a trivial matter.

So I, like seemingly everyone else who’s ever seen the show, am a huge Firefly fan. Nathan Fillion has made it clear in the past that he’s a pretty big Halo fan himself, so it’s nice to see him given a cameo role here, even if it is as a nameless Marine. Really, I love how this kind of thing is becoming more prominent in video games. Like Christopher Walken showing up halfway through the movie for a 30-second scene, suddenly recognizing a distinctive voice in a game role can be a lot of fun.

Yeah, I was pretty much ecstatic at this point. Nathan Fillion is already pretty great, but toss Adam Baldwin into the mix and things become even better.

Well, this is looking pretty good. Halo is putting on a show of being some decent sci-fi and now two of my favorite TV stars are along for the ride. I’m sure nothing terrible will happen to them in the near future.

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