It's not a 'demo'. It is a beta. As in, it will be beta when the final product comes out. As such, any gameplay observations are tenuous at best for forming a judgment.
It will be worth getting if you enjoyed the original and the sequel. It will be, as Bungie does with sequels, the same functional core but with the edges fixed up and improved. If you did not enjoy it, it would be best to rent first, as what made it unpleasant to you may not have been changed. If you have not played either Halo game, it is because you are relatively new to gaming, or you are one of the dissapointly-many people who find perverse pleasure in attacking popular games, or you have borrowed an opinion from one of the above. If the former, you should get the first two, since you can do so for very cheap, and then form an opinion as to the third. If the middle, you will not be physically capable of enjoying the game, as your desire to find fault with it will lead you to do exactly that. If the latter, I suggest you form your own opinion, in this case by playing the games.
As for myself, I will be getting the game. I will not play the Beta, as all it will do is create a false impression of the final product for me, and I am quite determined to get as much out of the final episode of one of the most significant series of this millenium. As this means I have deliberately avoided finding out much about the game other than a loose impression, I won't be much help with specifics.
I never really was much of a Halo fan. Too little too late, I thought. Sure, it was an okay first-person shooter, but it didn't really do anything new, and as such, I really don't understand why everyone is so rabid about it.
I have heard, however, from a couple friends, that it is pretty good as far as Halo goes. It, as Uber said, is pretty much Halo 2 with slightly better graphics and a couple balancing game changes and such. In essence, it's more of a patch than anything.
To me, someone completely disconnected from the Halo craze, the beta is a cheap marketing ploy. You need a copy of Crackdown to participate. You have to pay to test the game. So that's another $60 per copy on top of the already astronomical sales that we'll see with Halo 3.
Alternatively, you could notice that it is a GIFT with a game. They are not forcing you to pay for the beta. They are giving it away with a game, which enhances the value you recieve from that game. If people are going to buy a game they were not going to buy already, then it is their decision. The Beta is NOT a marketing ploy, as the Halo franchise needs no further marketing than word of mouth and gaming news media. Your argument, cynical as it is, is horrendously flawed.
As for your friends, I trust these statements precisely as far as I can throw them. You can't trust the graphics presented in the Beta, because it is a beta and will change. It's not a patch, unless you only play multiplayer. As far as those who enjoyed the other two games, Halo 2 with boosted gameplay, improved graphics, and, most importantly, the final chunk of the storyline is all they need.
I can't stand the current gaming fetish with innovation. Sure, it's nice to have new things, but it's getting to the point where unless a game practically reinvents a genre it'll be blown off by the gaming news media, and the vast numbers of people who base their decisions solely on what these outlets say suffer for it. There's nothing wrong with a game that doesn't do anything new, in fact, the industry needs consolidation. All the new games have flaws based on problems that have been solved by previous games, and consolidation would do quite a bit to fix many of these problems.
As for Halo, it was one of these games. A game with all the most liked elements of previous gamers, with enough mechanical innovations to differentiate it and improve the formula, and, most importantly, with a storyline powerful enough to capture the audience. it didn't do anything amazingly new, but what it did, it did very well.
You make some very good points, and I'm going to have to agree with you.
About the marketing ploy, I think we're both right. Yes, it is designed as a gift, but it is inevitable that because it has the Halo name on it, people will buy it for that reason. They know that, and I'm willing to bet that's what they had in mind.
I agree with you on the rush for innovation, but the age of, for lack of a better word, redundancy in the gaming industry is over. That ended with side-scrollers. It seems that a game doesn't get noticed unless it does something completely new. And therein lies the flaw, because there's only so much new that can be done, and with the recent track record of terrible game releases, coders are getting lazy, or games are getting rushed out far too quick.
I'll credit Halo for what it did, because it did one thing very well. It is the perfect game to play when you have friends over. It was the first of that type of game, and only because it was a console release. That's the main difference between PC and console. Accessibility.
I suppose I was spoiled by the original release of Half-Life, when the first person alien shooting romp-around in 3d that wasn't an id game was a relatively new one. And yeah, there's the Halo - Half-Life fanboy war.
Halo did exactly what's necessary to survive in the game war without attempting to ruin itself with anything new. And that's fine. I just cannot stand the people who go on ranting about its innovation, but I suppose I'm no better by ranting about them.
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