Thursday, October 11, 2007

orange box

Gaming related if you have no idea what the title refers to.

With Halo 3 off to get replaced by MS, I had to get something to fill my gaming needs. Ok...truth is, I was buying this one anyway. I understand why Halo 3 has it's appeal. However, after playing through to Ravenholm last night, I now remember why I love Half-Life so much. Immersion. The Half-Life series has it. Halo does not. At least not for me anyway. No flame wars here. This is all IMHO.

I played Half-Life and Half-Life 2 about the time that HL2 came out on the PC. It got me hooked back into gaming such that I played a lot of games non-stop for about a year. I then went on a binge and played every single half-life related game: blue-shift, opposing force, counter-strike, user mods. I've cut back my consumption since that time which is probably unbelievable to those who really know how often I game now.

Obligatory comparison of the console version to the PC version
Graphics: on PC I played on a 1280x1024 resolution with a 20" monitor about 2.5 feet from my face. Now, I play on a 1280x720 display blown up to 46" about 7 feet from my face. It also appears that there isn't any anti-aliasing turned on in the 360 version. PC wins on resolution and detail. However, the 360 version definitely has some changes in the lighting that makes it look better. Did they implement full HDR for the 360 version? I don't know. I'm sure someone out there has figured it out.

Audio: on PC, I played with 2 speakers set to the left and right with a subwoofer. On 360 I play with a full blown 5.1 DD system. I love the surround. Running away from a burning zombie actually sounds like you are running away from a burning zombie. I know you can get this on PC but I just don't have it. One thing to be careful of though, the dialog doesn't seem to maintain a real-world amplitude if you aren't facing the speaker directly. I know my surround is calibrated correctly for my listening spot. The calibration is built into the receiver. In real life, I don't have to be staring directly at my wife to hear her talking.

Controls: PC still wins. You can't beat mouse and keyboard. However, it is a very good control system for a console. My one beef is the auto-aim on the gun for the airboat. When fighting the chopper, it will re-aim to fire at the missiles coming at you. I looked for a way to turn off the auto-aim and couldn't find it.

Comfort: Playing from the gaming chair vs. the desk chair. No contest.

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