Halo 3: Combat Perfected
I was one of the few people who was not expecting to like this game. Much to my delight, however, Bungie has more than sold it to me. Halo 3 is one of the finest fps games ever. Which is not a big shock since Halo: Combat Evolved is one of the best games ever. So what makes Halo 3 so great, and for that matter what makes the franchise so great. The answer is simple, fundamentals. These are made up of controls, AI, level design, pacing and balance. All of which Halo 1 and 2, but especially 3, nails right on the head.
The aim has an automated help. This combined with the natural feeling speed differences between varying degrees of tilting the right analog stick makes Halo feel better than almost all other shooters. An exception might be the Rainbow Six Vegas series. Jumping also feels really natural. In the past, fps games kept the targeting radical in its spot or the jump occurred somewhat fast. In Halo, the jumps are more floaty and the targeting radical fallows the jump. All of this is reprized in Halo 3 and not changed too much, which is a good thing since there is not much room for improvements.
Halo 1 and 2 had outstanding AI and level design as key elements for its intense fire fights. Enemies take cover, attack, and are sometimes suicidal all at the players most inconvenient time, and the levels are designed to accommodate all of this. In Halo 3 the AI is made better by giving the enemies what Bungie calls a pack mentality. Basically they are organized noticeably better than in previous games. The Brutes are much more brutal (pun intended) than the elites ever were. However one major problem was the redundancies of the aesthetics, meaning the chances of getting lost in a level were especially high. This is not as much the case in the multiplayer levels (which were symmetric) as they are in the campaign. Halo 3 fixes that and almost completely eradicates this pester some problem. There is one point during an organic level where you might encounter such problems, but this is no where as severe as the previous entries. There are also different types of ecological levels this time around, snow, desert, luscious forest. All of them are detailed and run at a brisk frame speed.
The other two major elements Halo created was a user friendly balanced weapons system and the elimination of the health pack by Halo 2. The regenerating shield (or health) from the original game continues through out the sequels. This works because there is never a time when you can take only one more hit. The player is only allowed to hold up to two major weapons at a time and two types of grenades. Halo 2 also introduced dual wielding certain weapons with the ability to fire each weapon separately. This is also balanced by the inability to throw grenades. Other weapons are balanced by either their firing speeds or the amount of ammunition they hold. Halo 3 enhances this by re-introducing the original assault rifle (Halo 2 took out) and allowing the ability to rip of gun turrets.The ladder is balanced by limiting the ammunition which if left mounted is unlimited. In addition to this, all the weaker weapons have been made stronger for a much more balanced experience. Its sounds complicated, but it is these small details that make the game work so well. While other games choose to focus on premise or a gimmick, Bungie focused on tedious boring details that translated into this beloved franchise.
Last but not least is the multi player. Take all that’s great in the campaign and apply to matches with human controlled adversaries. Halo 3 enhances this by allowing the player to change gravity, damage and shield traits. It also allows the ability to place items, weapons, and vehicles in the multi player levels and save the variant with a new feature called forge. Another fun element is that the player can capture the action on a video file, while fully being able to move the camera anywhere on the map. This can also be done in the campaign.
There are too many reasons to love this game One to which I didn’t even touch on is the story, but I am going to let the reader discover that on their own.