Halo 3 may not satisfy all gamers, but Halo fans will be pleased
Hype, it can make a game, or break one. Sometimes it can make a game seem like an amazing achievement, then eventually disappoint. Lack of hype can make a game seem better than it was supposed to be, and can even just make a game better overall. Halo 3 is the most hyped game ever created. Halo: Combat evolved is considered the game that kept Microsoft into gaming, and if it wasn’t for it, Xbox wouldn’t be here. It’s also one of the best rated games ever. Since then, the Halo franchise is the most hyped series ever with millions and millions of fans. After the amazing online play the Halo 2 had, everyone drooled for what would come next. But what did come next? Nothing much.
At the end of Halo 2, Master Chief was heading towards Earth to stop the Prophet of Truth and his army of Brutes from taking the universe by storm, and utterly destroying it. Gravemind, a creature tied to the Flood, has captured Cortana. The Arbiter and his Elites had made a truce with mankind, meaning that Master Chief and the Arbiter will now have to try and get along, and no longer be enemies. The story takes place right at the end of Halo 2, and I mean, [i]right[/i] after. The ending is most pleasing by hardcore Halo fans, but for someone like me, I thought it was pretty average, even the Legendary ending.
Halo 3 is a first person shooter, just like Halo: Combat Evolved, and 2. Since the Xbox 360 has one of the best online interfaces ever, Halo 3’s online is even better than Halo 2’s. Halo 3 also finishes the trilogy with a semi-short campaign. It still isn’t as great as Combat Evolved, but still, it beat everything that Halo 2 had to offer. You mainly go through the standard environments like a jungle, underground, bases, beaches, and snow areas. The campaign is a blast to play, and is even better in co-op. The first 2 difficulties aren’t that hard, but Hardcore and Legendary will really take you through hell and back. Co-op makes the campaign much easier though, since the Arbiter isn’t an idiot anymore, and is human controlled instead. On single player though, the enemy AI is great, and can get you without notice, but your partner AI is rubbish. Not only can they not drive worth anything, but they sometimes just stand around and get shot, then die.
The online play is where Halo 3 really shines though. After each completed game, you earn experience points, varying on how good you did and if you won or not. You eventually rank up, and you unlock more armors to wear. You can choose to be a regular soldier like Master Chief, or you can be an alien like the Arbiter. You can also choose your colour and you name which has to be a letter, than a 2-digit number, like D-19 (which is mine, Dig, get it?). There are many different maps, and many classic modes to choose from, but the best kind of mode to play is the normal Slayer, or Team Slayer. There’s a massive desert stage, a small base-like stage, a giant snow level, and even a warehouse type stage. Most stages are fun to play, but some are sometimes either too big or too small.
There are plenty of weapons in Halo 3 that will make you love the game. There’s the normal assault rifle, a sniper rifle, some shotguns, tons of different kinds of pistols, and some melee weapons like the fun (but cheap) sword, and hammer. The sword has been tuned so now if two players hit each other with the sword at the same time, they will both get pushed back and stunned a little bit instead of either killing each other, or someone randomly dying. The new hammer kills you in one hit like the sword, but it makes you opponent go flying in the air, so it’s more fun to use. There’s also turrets which you can take off of their hinges and walk around with them in 3rd person. There’s also a flamethrower, but it isn’t very powerful, nor that fun to use anyways. You also have the normal melee attack by pressing the B button, and it’s even more useful in Halo 3 because it takes off so much damage. The shield metre is still here, when you get hit, but you hide, it will replenish, gone are the days where you had to collect health after you got hit.
Still, with all of the good modes, come even better ones. Forge, for example, is a great new addition to Halo 3 with the ability to move items and such in each level to a certain place. Anything can pretty much be moved, but the level itself cannot. It’s too bad, but it would take way too much work for Bungie to try and make that happen, way too much work. Still, it’s a very fun mode to use, especially since you can make your own levels however you want them to be, and even use them online.
Another great new addition to Halo 3 is the replay feature which lets you see past games that you have recently accomplished. It’s fun to see what exactly happened to use at each point of a game. You can stop and slow down moments where you killed 5 people in one explosion. It’s really fun to use. It’s really too bad they it has an abysmal rewind feature which doesn’t even work that well, and even takes away from the whole experience. Still, it’s a nice addition to Halo 3, and will be remembered for a while.
Another great gameplay aspect of Halo 3 are the variety of Vehicles. Some of the vehicles are a blast to use the Hog and the new ATV-like vehicles. There’s also an alien motorcycle that floats, and can shoot anyone in range, but the vehicles must be level. There’s also some giant vehicles that you can climb on while someone is driving, and actually walk around and shoot people regularly. There’s also a turret on the vehicle too. There’s also a motorcycle-type vehicle that has giant blades on the front for wheels and can cut into people like butter. Flying vehicles are in the game also, but can either be a pain the in the ass to take down, or fly. One mission in the campaign for example makes you fly it to take down massive machine-like enemies, but they are so difficult to drive, that you’ll just land and try to defeat it with your regular guns.
Where the game really disappoints though is how the campaign is really short, and how it really doesn’t change from Halo 2. The same thing can be said about the online. Sure, it’s really fun, but it hasn’t changed an inch since Halo 2. It’s pretty much Halo 2, 2. If you have played Halo 2’s online insanely like most people, then you are getting the exact same deal with Halo 3. It’s so similar in fact, you’ll feel like you don’t even want to go through all of it again, because it’s just too much work. Still, the game is really fun, and playing online is absolutely amazing, but I’m still disappointed that it hasn’t changed much.
The graphics are really quite average for a 360 game in Halo 3. It actually looks very similar to Halo 2, and Halo 2 is a original Xbox game. There’s a good draw distance, and some great bump mapping. There’s also no drop in frame rate what-so-ever, the game plays at a smooth pace forever, and never drops. Still, there’s just something that screams average, and you are never in awe at any point in the game. The soundtrack on the other hand is outstanding, and is really one of the strongest points of the game. The sound effects are also top notch and sound real at every moment. The voice acting is also fantastic with every word coming out of each person’s mouth sounds like they would actually say it instead of saying something ridiculous, Resident Evil anyone? Masterchief on the other hand has a terrible voice actor and I hate when he speaks, it just seems so out of place.
Like Halo 2, Halo 3 has an unlimited amount of replay value, if you haven’t already played the hell out of Halo 2. The campaign is really short, and can be completed in 3 sittings, or even 2, but the online is where the bulk of your time will come from. Mix the campaign and online in with downloadable map packs, and achievements to keep you busy, you’ll be playing Halo 3 for a while.
It really sucks that Halo 3 is pretty much an addition to Halo 2 with nothing much new except a tuned online, a finishing campaign, and some new modes like Forge and the Replay Feature. The graphics are also average for a 360 game, but the soundtrack is one of the best on the 360, the voice acting is also superb, and there’s also some of the best replay value to be had in a console online game yet. Overall, the game is really fun, no doubt about it, but it disappoints in so many ways. The campaign could have been Combat Evolved-like, but instead, it’s just a tiny bit better than Halo 2’s. The online is still one of the best, and I recommend this game to anyone with a 360, but you have to know that the game is nothing different than Halo 2, and will seem like a disappointment to some.