TV Shows

Halo (Ongoing)

Will post updates at the top as episodes come in.

Episode Nine

Well that was quite the emotionally satisfying finale! The story of Makee and John was short lived, and tragic in so many ways. Some don’t ever heal from the wounds of the past, and the indoctrinations of their future. This timeline’s John 117 was lucky enough to let go of both, and became the unstoppable Master Chief from the games. But now, I’ve formed a deep connection with the soul inside the shell and I wish to see it return.

The action was middling because the guns for his allies had seemingly infinite ammo while yet again Chief is switching it up. Hopefully this improves for the second season. And yea, finally I had the reaction of “please, you are in unknown space with your ship, them helmets should be on at all times.” Yet, I wouldn’t get to experience the actors and actresses’ faces as they delight in the possibility of the spectacle unfolding. So, I’m willing to forgive that detail.

The soundtrack was soaring, epic, and right on cue for the emotional bits. The CGI certainly improved in certain spots such as the prophets. Speaking of, reading people complain that they would never bow to a human… Oh wow, look, it’s as if the villains are capable of having long-standing plans to achieve their goals.

Overall, it was good ending to the first season. Characters are developed, heroes are defined, anti-heroes and villains as well. Worldbuilding has been established, hints have been dropped for more potential places. And the story now has a new jumping point: the possible location of the Halo ring.

Episode Eight

Could you imagine hating a TV show because the main character, god forbid, kissed someone? And then had sex? Wow, way to announce to the entire world that you, as a critic, are a sexless, virgin. Oh no, your science fiction character gets more action than you? Time to draw the line, this is a bad show! If this is what drew the line for you, then you haven’t been paying attention to the very show you’ve been hired to critique!

Imagine you’ve had no emotions your entire life, and, for the first time ever, are experiencing the chemical imbalance known as lust and love. Imagine you’ve been chemically castrated by the government, by those you live to serve. Imagine you’ve realized you’ve been indoctrinated for years and years. Imagine you now found someone who has gone through much the same experience, albeit for the enemy. The other individual knows what it’s like to be special, and in that, you find a solace together. God forbid, your show has character development.

Imagine you’ve been raised by the so called enemy and they’ve shown you more compassion than any human has. You’ve been indoctrinated for years and years to be the savior of that so called enemy, the covenant. You’ve been tasked now to infiltrate and earn the enemy’s trust. You’re a honey pot. And your target just so happens to be experiencing emotions for the first time since being chemically castrated. You achieve your goals and in that moment, experience the magic of sex for the first time. The influx of emotions you now feel are greater than the indoctrination forced upon you. You truly connect with the person beside you. (If only someone would connect with the maiden-less critics, then maybe they’d possess the knowledge to understand this episode).

And then, just as you’ve formed a connection with this other person, you learn that the masters of humans are just as bad as the aliens that have indoctrinated you. They both seek the same goal: to be as gods.

Spoiler Shoutout to a Certain Critic

The critic over at Forbes is a special, maiden-less breed who wrote “So in conclusion, Master Chief is about to cause the Fall of Reach by having sex with a Covenant spy.” All I can politely say, is, did you actually watch the show you are paid to review?

I don’t get paid, but I actually watched the show.

Because if you did, as you claim, then you’d know that his act of sex had little impact on the fall of Reach. Catherine and her hubris is what contributed. Catherine and her special projects, Catherine and her ‘killing of communications’. Or perhaps Makee getting tortured once again causing her to experience a traumatic flashback to getting tortured by humans as a child. All Master Chief aka John 117 did was show her that humans can love, can care, can change. He was the only one that tried to connect, to find hope.

Everyone else, yourself included, showed that humans are ugly. That they don’t care about a person as an individual, they don’t care to learn the intricacies of being. They merely judge and pass judgment without knowing the whole of events. Pro-tip: try actually watching the show you claim to review.

Episode Seven

This episode was a nice relieve from the focus being on Master Chief, and helped tell Kwan Ha’s story some more. She got a minor conclusion to her story by wrapping up the rebellion against Vinsher on the planet Madrigal, and setting the plot for what’s coming next.

We got a glimpse at the AI such as guilty spark from the games, in a drug induced vision. And hints that there’s some sort of technology hidden under the planet, powered by the fuel in the soil.

All in all, as usual, I’m excited for more episodes.

Episode Six

That beginning was so satisfying. It’s rare to give your masters a taste of their own medicine. The episode brought much needed answers and emotional satisfaction. I was just along for the ride, stopped thinking about the show. That ending was the cherry on top. Our first look at a halo ring. I really hope they renew this show for more seasons.

Episode Five

That episode ran the emotional gamut culminating in rage. Understandable pent up anger, and a glorious fight to behold with UNSC vs Covenant. Despite Kai never reloading, or anyone for that matter, and Chief somehow always picking up different guns instead, it was quite enjoyably to watch.

The dangling threat of John’s mental freedom is still in the wind. CGI has improvement as the show has gone on. That ending bit was a nice tease of more to come. And it was lovely to hear John call out Cortana, and those naysayers out there too, with his line about the game. I’m, as usual, excited for more.

Episode Four

Another episode depicting the tragedy that befalls individuals brainwashed by their superiors or agency oversights. That to take away somebody’s memories is to remove who they are. And to quote Soren, “There are no more heroes.” Nobody has the strength to stand up and fight for what they believe in. They’ve seen what happens to those that do, they meet death’s door. The entire episode is a slow psychological horror at both knowing our beloved characters could be wiped out by an evil mind, and that such events actually happen around the world daily. Rebellion is snuffed out, brutally and utterly, and the minds of the civilians continue to praise the heavens that their leaders walk on. If they aren’t brainwashed, then they live in fear. Time to go see the mystics and free our minds.

Episode Three

Oh look, the first medium to accurately portray Hunters and not shy away from the sheer horror of their existence! And y’all whined that it didn’t follow the lore. Anyways, the opening was pure horror for me, with needles and surgeries, but I still liked that inclusion, I felt that their world could show us anything. I half-expected to see nudity, and they delivered on that front too! Cortana was awesome, as was hearing the voice actress from the games. I can’t wait for the next episode.

Episode Two

What an interesting type of programming shoved down the throats of millions. The show seems to have a self-awareness of the meaning of the word, that the government programs individuals into corrupting their morals and ethics to become slaves and thralls. But there is a stronger code inside all of us, to know when something is simply wrong. This is what Master Chief is representing. That dull ache at the back of your mind that’s sickened by everything those in power ask of you, except he is the fantasy made real, the one that acts. He takes action. And through him, we get our vicarious victory against the powers that be. Yet therein lies the trap. We get pacified, and our ability to act for real gets further diminished in our minds. We continue to be complacent. For all that Halo is worth, and for all that antigovernmental sentiment, it is still a tool against us. With all that in mind, there’s a chance individuals might be inspired to be better. To do better. To know that some commands are wrong and should never be carried out. That being said, episode two is off to a great start.

No action to be found in this episode. Lots of worldbuilding, always enjoyable. Soundtrack is one of those I’ll be listening to outside of the show. I love the sound work overall, the thumps of the armor as they walk, the clank and rumbling of the train cart through space.

Showing John’s upbringing was a lovely touch, as was making our point of view into the UNSC’s raising of the Spartans as negative. Immediately you can tell that John is indeed a victim, as is his friend, Soren.

Overall, I liked this episode as well.

Minor Spoilers

That closing arc of going willingly back into the fold knowing that you may be destroyed in doing so is poetic and yet, I feel a pang of worry for our hero. That he’ll be brainwashed, and overrode, reduced to being the faceless mask of the video games. It’s a nice change to actually worry for the protagonist instead of knowing everything will be okay due to plot armor (like Marvel’s most recent outing, Moon Knight).

Episode One

Around 40 minutes in, I suddenly understood all the middling reviews. The parallels to current governments is strongly on the nose. Yes, the government would kill you, distort your message, and lie to the general public all to keep the black gold flowing into their pockets. You cannot interfere when they decide to ravage the landscape and local populace for natural and heavy minerals. Rio Tinto knows this well.

Halo as a show is off to a great start. It’s jam-packed with goodies such as the radar from the games, and the ammo counts, to the sound of a shield recharging. There’s even a Mass Effect reference at 34 minutes. We get to see all the old favorites besides Master Chief, like Dr. Halsey and Commander Keyes and his daughter, Miranda Keyes. With all that aside, and watching it with no expectations nor preconceptions, or comparisons to the source material, I am thoroughly enjoying the show. In fact, I didn’t want the first episode to end; I want all the episodes now.

I like that they went with their own reality for the show, it gives creative freedom. It’s not like the games brought anything new to the genre besides the Spartans and their suits. Larry Niven’s Ringworld series would like a word. Aliens attacking humanity ain’t exactly fresh. The graphics for the aliens in the show could use a bit of a touch-up as the feeling of CGI and fakeness was too strong, perhaps a different technology or method could have been used? I enjoyed how they introduced the Spartans to us with the idea that they are cold and unfeeling killing machines. To the people trying to survive without being robbed blind by the UNSC and their black gold demands, the Spartans are essentially boogeyman. The government’s own special hit squad, and you’d be na├»ve to think they don’t have that in our present times.

And now the face reveal! I dig it, and it fits the storyline! Did people not understand that? If you’re raised your whole life with the notion that this Spartan is a killing machine. Unfeeling. Alien to you. The boogeyman. And then you see that it is all together too human? You start to realize things, the gears in your head start to spin. You, who have been raised to question things, will now question this. What happened to him? Who did this and why? You empathize with him. He is no longer this unfeeling thing, but a thing that feels and understands you. And it wants to help you. Now that goes against everything you’ve known, and you want to see where it goes because the alternative is death. Moving on, Pablo Schreiber is excellent and I love seeing his performances.

The opening sequence was another aspect I liked, as it shows the surgical scars on John’s body, and then the cool animation of the armor being sculpted onto his body as if by nanites or something. I liked that the girl was Korean, and the commander lady in charge is Indian as it helps establish credence that the UNSC really is a worldly organization, that humanity has truly spread themselves out amongst the stars.

I loved where the end of the episode went. It gave Master Chief agency over his life, and set him onto his own path. He’s breaking free of the chains set upon him by his corrupt masters – and that message we simply cannot have in today’s day and age.

Overall, I highly recommend it. Once again, I love seeing more science fiction shows pop up. I think that if you watched it without comparison to the grail games on high thrones, you’ll find it enjoyable. And if you are not one of those, and you like sci-fi, you’ll like it.

Random Thoughts

I had read several user reviews in addition to the official critics, and I disagree that this version of Master Chief is a perversion of the character. If anything, this version is the best depiction because he’s finally his own character. In the games, he’s always been nothing but a puppet, slave to Cortana or the UNSC, even to the player. By not giving him a face, the player can imagine themselves as the Chief, and roleplay that way. He’s a great poster boy for militaries around the world – does horrific shit, never questions orders, never rebels. A perfect killing machine. Now I could be totally wrong by later episodes, but it seems to me that he’s realizing to the extent that he’s been manipulated by his superiors and is starting to rebel. He’s starting to think for himself. And that is an imagined world I wish to see more of.

Games

Halo Infinite

The last time I played Halo, was the third game in the series, all the way back on the xbox360. Then I had the chance to play the master chief collection, which was well done. Now this version comes out, and what a pile of steaming trash (there’s only one redeeming quality – the grappleshot). Everybody associated with it should be ashamed. I’m not going to comment on the garbage dump that’s the multiplayer – those that decided to charge 20 bucks for a single cosmetic should be named, shamed, and blacklisted from the industry.

I’m going to address my first complaint. Who the fuck decided that bosses should be massive bullet sponges with no strategy involved other than running away while pumping ammo into them until dead? Secondly, who decided that bosses should kill you in one hit and then, surprise, gotta do it all over again? Fact check, this isn’t Dark Souls, this is Halo. Oh, if you try to use any other equipment than the grappleshot, you’re gonna have a bad time. See, every single enemy runs much faster than you, so in tiny boss arenas, they run you down like nothing, you have to keep moving about, swinging about. If you pause to try and switch equipment (another absolutely idiotic design), you get dead. To switch on a controller, I have to press right on the d-pad and then try and remember which direction is which equipment. I’m not a game designer, but even I know that pressing right on the d-pad to switch between all of the kinds would have been an infinitely (get it) better design option.

My second complaint is the difficulty and awareness of the AI. It is ridiculous that they have flawless aim, never missing any shots, and always know exactly where I am once combat initiates. Using a wasp or any other flying vehicle is instant death, because as soon as they see you, not a single round misses. Such fun! I’m playing on NORMAL, which means, it shouldn’t be this hard, except I’m fairly sure nobody at 343 Industries ever picked up a dictionary to learn what normal means. I won’t even bother seeing what Heroic or Legendary is like, to those that play on that, you’ve got serious masochistic tendencies.

So what does the campaign offer that’s worth 80 bucks? Honestly, fuck all. I’m glad I got the game through gamepass because I would never drop money on this. Unfortunately, the whales of the world are going to ruin every single franchise because they don’t care, that’s why they whale. Higher-ups will see that they’re raking in money, and will continue with their morally corrupt ways, milking and ruining longstanding fan franchises. Fans will get it because they love the game, and that will bite us in the butt because we can’t shove it in their faces that we don’t want things this way. All I can do is write a review showcasing my severe displeasure, anger, and annoyance.

The only enjoyable parts of the game are when you’re in the semi-open world, grappling about like a poor man’s spiderman. There is a real sense of speed, and power in that, and it makes it fun to go around killing the enemy. It gives you mobility and access to areas you couldn’t normally reach. It grants verticality. Unfortunately, the base combat is such a chore that you rarely get to experience true fun. Almost every fight is you vs overwhelming odds so you can only shoot a couple times before you have to cower and wait for your shields to regenerate. This slows down gameplay to a crawl. And with the abysmal checkpoint system, sometimes you’d lose upwards of an hour of combat, because I have no idea what triggers it. It seems to be pure luck and randomness to when the game will save.

With such vast empty spaces on this Halo ring, it makes me wonder what sort of content they cut out, because it is such a shallow experience to play. Besides a handful of side content, the world seems to only exist for you to traverse it. But why would you? There’s no reward for it, and the forest biome gets boring quick. I don’t care to explore a random corner, because what would be there? Some random weapon I can find anywhere? Oh, a useless doll that adds nothing but an Easter egg that I won’t even recognize because I don’t know who the doll is of. I only recognized the Arbiter doll from Halo 2. You can save some marines (which doesn’t do anything impactful overall, just gives you some valor points), by fighting waves of enemies. You can try and take out bounty targets by fighting the waves of enemies under their control, and then killing the mini-boss. You can capture a fast travel point that reveals the surrounding area (I didn’t realize I was playing Far Cry) by fighting waves of enemies. You can capture banished outposts by doing specific objectives meanwhile fighting waves of enemies. In short, all you do is fight wave after wave of enemies on a semi-open map. Then there’s upgrade points you can find hidden about, random audio logs for lore, and killing communication towers.

There’s also skulls hidden in the world but for the most part, they are in semi-obvious locations because you look at the spot, and you can’t help but think, they probably hid it there. And you’d be right! The skulls hidden inside of missions however, are nearly impossible to find yourself. And I wouldn’t be surprised if 343i leaked the methods how to do so because there’s no way you’d figure it out on your own, especially in the final series of missions.

I was about to write that not all boss battles are that bad as I reached the final boss. I almost spoke out of hand because nope, just as stupid and terribly designed as the rest. Have to fight it in 3 stages, with waves of enemies between each stage and checkpoints only exist for the first two stages. So when you die against the boss on the third stage, you have to clear an entire wave again before being able to square off against just the boss. I also fell off the map, not just once, but several times. Talk about triple A gaming. If I was shooting the gravity hammer enemy with my sentinel beam, and he hit me, off the map I went. “Wait, there’s something else here… Something’s helping me.” The greatest cardinal sin of all, being forced to hear the same dialogue over and over and over. So fun! The boss teleports around the arena, standing still for a millisecond, before going off to a new spot, good luck shooting her! Oh, and she also shoots beams of death that take out 1/4 of your shields/health, good luck!

Honestly, this game should never have been made. Or rather, whoever they brought on to scrap their previous efforts should never be allowed to work on a game again. I would have much more enjoyed a game similar to BOTW but Halo rings with dungeons, and other new ideas. This is just a rehash of old games to greedily cash in on fan’s nostalgia – seems to be a pattern as of late, fuck originality. Either make it fully open world with no linear corridors, or take out the open world and make it only linear. Why? I absolutely hated being forced into linear areas just to advance the plot so I could get back out into the semi-open world.

Overall, this was an exercise in frustration. This is not my Halo, this is a bastardization created solely by greedy entities wishing to cash in on 20 years of nostalgia. I do not recommend this game.