A Fine End to the Halo Trilogy
What is Halo? Better yet, what makes Halo? When you think of Halo, you think of something huge. It's what put the Xbox on the market. It's an entertainment phenomenon. It's a highly addictive and fun game. It's the most played game on Xbox Live. Halo is a masterpiece.
The Story of Halo has always been a good one, and though some seemed disappointed in the last installment, the addition of terminals really seems to make a long-lasting impression on you. We'll get back to these later, though.
I feel as though Bungie has made a great story. It's their way of telling it that makes you feel as though you're left in the dark. Not only are you "Finishing the Fight!", but you're totally abandoning all in-depth views on the Covenant, the Gravemind, and basically everything else.
From such a transition, you're ultimately left to have to know the storyline on your own. Not only that, but there are plot holes only filled by reading the books. They provide no insight on the Covenant from this point on, and anything Arbiter-related is cast in a shadow.
To be honest, the Arbiter's story was a good one, and losing his side of it made me feel as if I didn't learn enough. Honestly, I don't feel anyone learned enough of anything. It seems Bungie felt that all the fans wanted was a conclusion, so they abandoned the better parts of the story for it.
What redeems this, then? Well, nothing truly redeems it, but it does help avert our eyes from it. The terminals. These Marathon-esque tributes are insights into the decline of the Forerunner civilization and the records of the war between the Flood and the Forerunner. While not answering everything, these combined with the Alternate Reality Game, Iris, give a great understanding of exactly what they created and did. They give a good definite answer of things, but still leave us in the dark on one subject: humans are/are not Forerunners. Perhaps we'll never know, but we've sure got a good start for interesting theories.
All-in-all, the story was good. While poorly told and executed, it does not change the fact that the basic plot line is still good and intact. Of course, many will have a different view, and some just don't care about all those little facts and hated the Arbiter in Halo 2. Either way, you've got a good storyline on your hands.
What's hard to do with Halo, though, is to make it reflect back to what made it so awesome. There have been so many memorable moments in Halo: Combat Evolved that made the game what it was. Halo 2 and Halo 3 couldn't quite reach up to this height.
Halo 2's campaign was a boring dead-weight that did nothing to really ensnare the gamer. On top of that, we were left off with an ending that made us scream at the top of our lungs.
Halo 3's campaign shows a better experience, but not what you'd want. It makes you smile and laugh. You have fun with it. But why can't you feel like you did when you played Halo: CE? Why can't you feel the same rush and fright when you watched the eerie video which revealed the Flood? Why can't you feel as if you're an unstoppable machine as you were on a bridge hundreds of feet in the air with Covenant to your front, and the Flood to your left? Why is there no feeling of excitement as if you were rushing through the exploding hulls of the Pillar of Autumn in a Warthog?
It's simple: the game will never be as good.
As much as Bungie tried, the campaign cannot live up to it's predecessor.
Truly there are memorable moments... almost. Battling through the jungle with the trees letting down a soft ambiance of light was beautiful. Driving a mongoose with scarabs around you and a fight of Banshees and Hornets above you was awe-inspiring.
The level designs are great, and the enemies are intelligent. A grunt kamikaze? Awesome. Brutes use equipment regularly and skillfully while allies will provide covering fire.
Don't let that fool you, though. AI can lack at times... especially while driving. But it's not to say they're horrible, but that they will make dumb mistakes at times.
What disappointed me was the fact that, while going back to Halo's roots, they didn't just emulate Halo; they blatantly took from it. You'll find many fond memories in wrong places. What makes it worse? They weren't very well emulated! I appreciate the effort, but Bungie trying to do it only shows how they lost their touch.
All-in-all, Halo 3's campaign is a fine ending to the series. While nothing too enriching, it knows the ropes enough to make for a fun experience. Any disappointed Halo 2 player will find much joy in the game.
The most played game on Xbox Live. Halo 2 defined matchmaking. They created the greatest online multiplayer game ever created. However, online was potentially declining ever since the discovery of button combinations, "super bounces", modding, and power weapons.
What Halo 3 has done is hone everything to become perfect. Weapons are practically all balanced. Button combinations have been eliminated. Super bounces are no more. Modding isn't even possible on the 360. Everything is at peace.
It's not to say these things can't change, mind you. Already super bounces have been found, but these are practically inaccessible. And it's not like it's all fun and games. There will always be at least one person to ruin your day. The online community is ever changing, and because of that a game will be whittled away.
All-in-all, the only thing you should fear in Halo 3's multiplayer are quitters, bad players, good opponents, and the scum of Xbox Live.
Because this is Why it's Hot:
For everything else in between. This is what's making Halo 3 so fun. Sure, we had luxury in online play; but when luxury is further introduced, you bet your ass we're going to want it. Halo 3 is plain luxury.
Fun, satisfying, creative, and just plain awesome. There are unlimited possibilities in Forge. Wait, no, close to unlimited. But there's still a hell-of-a lot of stuff to do.
Forge is a map editor. No, you can't change geometry or all that fancy stuff, but rather change placement. Don't like that spawn or weapon? Delete it an put something else there!
You have a budget that keeps you in line. So don't think of anything too drastic, you won't get too far before you're shut down. I know, you think it's lame, but try it! If someone can make such fun and cool games as Spikeball or Normandy Beach, then it's got to be worth something, right?
Cool, machinima-maker's dream, kick-ass, and just plain awesome as well. Saved films rule. Did you play a game where you just plain rocked? Save the film and put it up in your file share for all to see!
Want that overused screenshot of a lot of guys with turrets firing them? Make a screenshot and put it in your file share!
Saved films are basically the record-keepers of Halo 3. Though it sounds boring to not even play and watch another do it, it's actually fun. There are so many things that will randomly happen, it's better to have a film than a memory. That's always better, right?
Fun, quirky, and innovative. Custom games are the epitome of, well, customization! Change everything you want... well, in terms of gameplay and players. The other more complicated parts are left for Forge.
Everything is changeable. There's a forced player color. If you're leading, everyone will know. Gravity can be set to 300%, or 50%. Speed can be sped up to 300% or 50% as well. You can change the player's attack power, the amount of shields he or she has, their radar's total diameter of view, spawning weapons, practically everything that is player based.
This and Forge combined equals even more customization. Bungie went all out, and this is the most fun a player could ever have in a game.
A simple, yet kick-ass addition to Halo 3. They're basically a representation of what you've done, while also adding a layer of customization that makes you feel unique.
Have you beaten the game on Legendary? You've got an exclusive chest piece, shoulders, and helmet to prove it. Gotten all the achievements? Congrats, new helmet and torso.
It's not totally game-changing, and it never really was meant to be, but it sure is a nice little perk that makes you feel and look good. Conclusion:
Halo 3 is a masterpiece that combines solid campaign play with perfect online play. Not only that, but it merges them flawlessly into one, compounded, beautiful game. Though the story leaves you to fend on your own and seems to leave you off abruptly, it can't be defined as anything less than a masterpiece. What you get out of the game will be completely up to you; but by a standard such as Halo, you won't find just a game, but a whole new universe to look forward to and limitless possibilities.