The Monster Month: Halo 3 Edition

Welcome to the second Monster Month. For those wondering what in the world they’re looking at, this is simply a look at what some of the Console Monster staff members have been doing this past month.

It’s set out in a semi-blog, semi-review style of writing. We’ll include little mini reviews on any demos, content or games that we have played. The rest of the article will be made up of whatever else the staff member wishes to include in his own sub-section.

This month will of course feature our own views on the recently released Halo 3 BETA, also on the agenda is the all new Console Monster design and recent 360, PS3 and Wii Release. To start this Monster Month we’ll take a look at what ArtG has been playing on the 360, PS3 and Wii.

Shootin’ Dudes Month – Art Green

Even though Chris doesn’t want to talk about Catan, I will. As I said in my review, Catan is a board game that mixes deep strategy with social elements. I’ve used it plenty of times to talk with my friends, while having a pretty deep gameplay experience. It’s not something you can get in a game like Halo 3, which I’ve also been playing a ton of since I got my beta key yesterday. Before I move on, you’re wrong about Catan Chris! You’re wrong!

Much like everyone else, I’ve been playing the Halo 3 beta and it’s been a ton of fun. The biggest part of why it has been so fun is because I’ve been playing with friends rather than random Xbox Live types. (You know, the type that swear all the time for the sake of swearing and being ‘cool’. You know who you are, and you suck!) As for the game itself, graphically, I’m a bit underwhelmed. It definitely looks much better than Halo 2, but you would think for a landmark title, it would blow you away. Keep in mind that this is the beta and they could definitely add more textures and what-not to really spruce things up. Last note about the graphics: Water looks and moves incredibly. Best water ever!

As for the actual gameplay. It is Halo. They haven’t messed with the formula too much. All of the fundamentals are right there, and it will be a game that you will sink a lot of time into once it comes out September 26th, 2007.

I’ve played my PS3 a bit, but mostly only for reviewing PS3 titles for the newly launching Console Monster. Played some Def Jam, Need for Speed: Carbon and Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom. The reviews for the first two should be out by the time this is posted, so you can see my impressions there. As for Untold Legends…a preview: Mindless, stupid, corny, but somewhat fun – surprisingly.

Fall 2007 for PS3 cannot come soon enough. I need games, Sony!

The Chiefs’ Month – Anthony Barker

As the development of Console Monster draws to an end, gaming time has opened up a bit wider and what better time than the Halo 3 Beta launch week. Luckily I was one of what seems to have been a limited bunch of selected Press and Community sites to be given a Halo 3 beta key early. After pulling the Beta email out from my junk-mail inbox (a lucky escape!), I had the Beta downloaded and installed pretty swiftly – to the annoyance of many viewing my gamer card that evening!

You can read my impressions by viewing my hands-on preview of the Beta, but overall the multiplayer side of Halo 3 is shaping up just nicely. There are a few too many powerful weapons here and there but with a group of friends in the matchmaking arena it’s a blast, although far too much tea-bagging going on over my dead corpse I might add!

In other gaming news…LIVE Arcade has been lukewarm for me. Highlights would probably be Eets: Chowdown and Pinball FX. Didn’t purchase either but I might do if the Arcade doesn’t heat up soon. There’s been some promising Arcade announcements flooding in over this past month, best of all being Speedball 2 with Live support too, whoot! So with this, Bomberman, Streetfighter 2 HD, Pocket Fighter HD, Prince of Persia Classic and Sensible Soccer out this year; it’s looking great for the Arcade.

I still didn’t get round to completing R6 Vegas. That opera house level still haunts me, to a point where the game’s been cast aside and replaced with GRAW2; which I have recently completed. I was a little disappointed with the ending (just like I was with the first one come to think of it). Throughout the game I didn’t feel like I was playing much of a role in the story to really care what I’m doing. I think the helicopter transitions are meant to gel each mission together and keep some illusion of progress, but for me it failed to do that.

Crackdown has also been making an appearance in my drive tray this past month, still grabbing those orbs and thinking ‘can I be really bothered to collect all of them?’ One more island to go for me and that game will be complete, and then I might try the recent additional content pack or maybe revisit another uncompleted gem – Dead Rising.

At the beginning of May I picked up a ‘bargain’ PS3 to see what that has to offer (and increase the staff PS3 count by one). For someone with a 1080p LCD screen I have to say it IS superb! Sure the games are limited at the moment but that will soon change. Exclusives…? Who cares?! visually via the Digital HDMI and 1080p dash menu, everything has a new level of sharpness when compared to the 360’s dash and its games via VGA, even Virtua Tennis 3 which also runs at 1080p. At the moment if it came to a multiplatform release, visually a PS3 version would get my vote, but the balance is tipped the other way when you look at online multiplayer. Xbox LIVE on the 360 sways things over to the other side sadly and this is something Sony really needs to address quickly if they want to gain some kudos points, and I see it could do this in the European market, where Microsoft are currently taking a hit, but I really can’t see this happening. Yet again just like Xbox Live – the PS3 UK/European Store is being limited to its online content. “Calling all Cars” has appeared in the US Store recently which as a Micromachines fan I’m looking forward to and it shouldn’t be too long until that pops up on our shores I hope. So until then Motorstorm will have to keep me and my PS3 dust free for a wee while longer.

Until next time – Happy Gaming!

The Retro Gamers Month – Chris Taylor

Well we’re back and this month for me has been a great month for gaming. April has seen some quality Arcade games such as 3D Minigolf Adventures and the recent Centipede & Millipede. But there’s also been some rather rubbish ones such as Catan, which i didn’t really like due to the fact i don’t really have much love for board games such as this. The main highlight of the month though was obviously the Halo 3 BETA. How great is that!? Although I did have the problem of actually finding my BETA key (finally found it in my junk box). It is rather satisfying to teabag your own boss over and over again. Poor Ant. Although i was a bit rusty with the Halo controls I still managed to do quite well. The BETA is, in two words, amazing fun! The ability to record the matches is really intuitive. In other news, I decided to purchase Perfect Dark Zero – which I’ve been playing quite a lot recently and it’s brilliant. Online isn’t all that great, but the single player is superb, especially for a launch title.Also this month i decided to play on a Wii. Personally i like to use a controller to play my games, but playing wario ware with the wii mote was extremely fun. I was flapping my arms around like a ninny, trying to balance an imaginary broom and chugging some water. Great fun!

The Bored Gamer’s Month – Scott Webber

To be honest, I’ll be very pleased when May draws to an end and June kicks in. That’s not to say that May has been a pile of horse excrement, there is, of course, the Halo 3 Beta (more on that later) and the Console Monster launch, but apart from that…zilch, nada. Well, not a lot that appeals to me at least.

This month has been spent plugging away through old games and downloading demos. So, on the 360, I’ve been playing a little bit of Brian Lara Cricket 2007 – bizarrely since the World Cup finished a while back – Rainbow Six Vegas, I finally got to the very disappointing end (something tells me Vegas 2 might be in development, sorry for ruining it Ant) and Gears of War, no not the new maps, I just finally decided to try out Annex…which I’m dreadful at.

I want to give a quick mention about the Forza 2 demo, which is pretty good. Not as good as I’d hoped, especially graphically, but still enjoyable. The full game with it’s amazing customised liveries and (hopefully) decent online play should be a blast.

My Wii has once again had a quiet month as has my PC gaming wise. I’m going through S.T.A.L.K.E.R. a little bit every now and then, but those crazy Chernobyl monsters seem determined to ensure I don’t find and kill Strelok. Of course, the game hating Vista doesn’t really help.

So on to Halo 3 then, which as has already been said, is great fun. For those of you who don’t know, it’s my first taste of Halo since I’ve never owned an Xbox and didn’t try the PC version. I’m not exactly amazing at the game, but considering I’m a n00b to the game, I think I did OK against some very good players, including some of our very own Monsters.

So despite the past few days courtesy of Bungie, I can’t help but still feel a little disappointed this month. Next month should be an improvement though with Mario Strikers Charged, Tomb Raider Anniversary, Shadowrun, Mario Party 8, Forza Motorsport 2 and Colin McRae: DiRT all out before or soon after the next Monster Month.

Oh, and I’ll be going to Wembley Stadium on May 26th…Come on Rovers!

And it’s my birthday on June 21st, Happy 19th to me. Feel free to send cash or cheques (no preference) to me via Console Monster

The Schizos Month – Lee Matthews

A new Monster Month has hit us and there’s quite a lot to talk about. Firstly there’s Spiderman 3, which everyone was saying is superb, so I wanted in on the action. Upon receiving the game I realised just how much of a washed up pile of crap it really was. Definitely a bad choice on my part listening to other peoples views.

The other was Command and Conquer which is simply awesome. Damn, I still remember my Red Alert 2 days and although Tiberium Wars is a good game it doesn’t even touch Red Alert 2. Even so it’s great fun offline and despite the occasional screen freeze, online is a ball an’ all.

The Halo 3 BETA was the next game on my agenda and despite its ever so slight delay I have managed to bask in its awesomeness and damn, it really is good. Spartan M47 didn’t take long to rip apart his opponents; with imperative ease it must be said. Already fallen in love with the Missile Pod, it’s one chunky son of a gun, but damn it makes lots of pretty explosions. I’m just brinking on the 100 game mark with a K/D ratio of close on 2.0 and to add, out of about 15 rumble pit matches, I’ve come first in like 13 which makes me feel all happy.

Already found gripes, the biggest being that stupid noise when you press team speak. It sounds like there’s a cat on the other end of the mic – being drowned, set alight and strangled (yes it’s that bad). Maybe after a while I’ll zone out and not notice, but for now a definite annoyance.

One other major annoyance is no one leaves me the Spartan Laser. Bungie if you’re listening ban anyone taking the laser before me, I mean seriously it’s unfair.

Also on another sad note my Madden luck has run out. I had a 10-2 record on my old account and now am at 1-5, two of my losses had me 21-0 down within 60 seconds thanks to ridiculous turnovers. Thank god for the BETA or I might have gone mentally insane. On a lighter note I got tickets to see the Gints play the Phins, so whoop for me.

That’s all for now as we wrap up another Monster Month. Tune in next month when we’ll be talking about Forza Motorsport 2, Shadowrun, Colin McRae: DIRT and no doubt the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Arrivederci for now.

Originally Written By: Lee Matthews


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