It's been a wild week for the pirate band that broke Halo Online, a Russian remix of Halo 3 for PC. After launching a new version at the end of last week Microsoft began to issue legal threats and DMCA notices . The community, filled with thousands of new fans, took the only logical course of action: they started at freak out . Now everyone is angry and Reddit and Discord are on fire, but wait, is Halo Online, the game that everyone screams suddenly, really good?
Yes it is. Thanks to the work of the ElDewrito modulation team, the game looks and feels like Halo 3, up to the color of the LED battle rifle ammunition and the warm crescendo of a Gregorian chant on the main menu. As a PC player who has not had an Xbox or a Halo game in a decade or more, feeling the crest of nostalgia over me was sublime. By the sound of online chat, the community is seeing the same pink things that I do. In 2007, Halo 3 was a hell of drugs.
I jumped between a dozen servers on Wednesday, and I saw the same messages again and again: "this brings me back to high school", "God, life" was simpler then "" I used to tie an onion on my belt, as was fashion. "I suspect that these servers are full of adults my age, and we are all having a lot of fun until we retire to pick up the kids from soccer practice.
There is definitely a fetish of authenticity behind the scenes of Halo Online, a servile devotion to recreation the Halo 3 experience it was exactly as it was, regardless of the current context in which Halo Online now exists, that's good for nostalgia, but it's not always a good game.
Here's an example: the balance of the weapon has not really changed, o Halo was not developed for mouse and keyboard configurations connected to the PC. At Ye Olde Halo, sniper rifles had generous target reticles and fast reload speeds. The detection of soft projectiles and the forgiveness of hitboxes helped compensate for the challenge of trying to accurately target a joystick controller, an activity so atrocious that it could actually be a war crime. In Halo Online, however, anyone with a mouse can aim sniper rifles with perfect pixel precision. Sniper rifles are now point-and-click killing machines that block entire sections of any large outdoor map.
The same rigid adherence to the orthodoxy of Halo 3 provides even less reason to use machine guns and spray guns and pray like the humble Needler. Controlling recoil at close range is now childishly easy, and there is absolutely no reason to choose a Needler instead of trying (and succeeding!) Not reaching for a sniper rifle in narrow corridors.
Balancing the damage or speed of the weapon for this new reality is not impossible, but I doubt it is the kind of change that Halo Online is interested in doing. I am ready to defend and defend Halo Online as a categorically good game, but there is no doubt that the hand of nostalgia has a great weight in the whole project. I suspect there will be a direct correlation between how much you loved Halo, and when and where in your life was the last time you had time to play Halo hours, and how much Halo Online will love in the here and now.
Despite his devotion to bringing Halo 3 alive to the PC, there is a direct line to the changes of the ElDewrito mod team that makes it close to the game that hardcore fans always wanted: those fans who lived Three shots kill, with the Halo: Combat Evolved gun on the PC, from the entire Blood Gulch. The same fanatics who insisted on the battle rifle start in all the matches in Halo 2 and Halo 3, because the assault rifle was boring, and they criticized the bullet BR as it spread. They wanted Halo's weapons to have a precision that Bungie's designers never fully committed to. With ElDewrito 0.6, the Battle Rifle is more accurate and deadly than ever. Adopting that idealized version of Halo, of greater skill and with the best weapon appearance, has made Halo Online a draw for so many old fans.
For a free download (although it definitely violates copyrights), there are a lot of things offered here. The famous multiplayer maps such as Standoff, Last Resort (also known as Zanzibar) and Valhalla are in heavy rotation, as are classic game modes like Capture the Flag and Team Slayer. But the whole project is permeated with the enthusiasm of the open source PC community, filling servers with recreations made by fans of older maps and homemade modes like Griffball . I was surprised to find a deep customization menu full of ways to customize symbols, name tags and armor sets.
There is a disconcerting variety of weapons, some of which are extracted from later Halo games, such as the DMR, and many of them can have double hilts. Breaking someone in the back of the head with the butt of a rifle is still absurdly satisfying, and the whistle of the Covenant Energy Sword sends chills down all the nearby thorns.
Because Halo Online is peer-to-peer, it is likely that servers will remain online as long as there is interest. And that will probably be years, as long as Halo veterans think that this is the best way to play. The underlying files of Halo Online can not be distributed legally, but the open source ElDewrito mod remains freely downloadable outdoors.
Basically: this is not a pirated version of Halo 3 It's an unpolished version of the real Halo 3, really enhanced and expanded in many ways, but definitely hard on the edges in its user interface and in other areas. It's full of all the science fiction maps, vehicles and weapons that fans remember from the days when the downloadable horse armor was still a scandal. Those were better days, I tell you. Simpler days All the shots in the head were fast and the NPCs were handsome. You children, do not know what you are missing.