When I first found Halo: Combat Evolved all those lovely years ago, I was young and foolish and considered it to be the best first person shooter since Half Life. A few years later Halo 2 came out, and I awaited it again with anticipation and when I finally played it, I finished it, played multiplayer with my friends for a while, and then finally put the controller down and returned to Halo: Combat Evolved. The problem with Halo 2 is that it took the same storyline as the first Halo and editted it and added the Gravemind into it. Then there was also the cliffhanger ending that could have been so much better if they just added on to it and actually left it like a proper chapter. It took me seven hours to complete Halo, and only four to complete Halo 2.
Needless to say I was then dubious about Halo 3, although willing to play it just to complete the storyline and actually finish Halo 2 as I saw Halo 3 as more an extention of Halo 2 rather than it's own game.
It did, in fact, take me by surprise. The graphics were better than what I'd been led to believe in the trailers, but unfortunately the constant bright light throughout levels could have given a lesser man a migrain. Playing next to the Arbiter was okay I guess, and in multiplayer I was the Arbiter rather than a nameless Spartan that didn't appear in any of the cut scenes. The campaign took me about four hours to complete on Heroic and it really did feel like an add on to Halo 2. With that out of the way and the poorly acted campaign gone, I tried online a few times with my brothers.
I didn't like it. Okay, you had Sword Slayer and Rocket Slayer and Team Slayer which were all either pretty cool and new or still pretty cool but honestly I found it tiring and frustrating to the point where it felt like a chore to kill people.
Not only this but driving controls were clunky and the Warthog was still as tricky to drive as ever and the new Mongoose was about as easy to steer around maps, although a pretty cool idea. Ghosts are about as overpowered and underarmoured as ever but at least you get more chance to splatter people with them now and it seems that the sword is even more unbalanced than before because you can B-tap it rather than Trigger-tap it and allows you to strike about twice as fast although without the extra speed lunge of the Trigger-tap, but on a sword on sword fight B-tapping allows you to win if you can pull it off.
The gravity hammer was really appalling as far as I could tell and I felt it was too slow to be effective, as was the Spartan Laser which is like the Redeemer + BFG 9000 forced into a single shot. The weapon may actually be useful if you got more than 5 shots with the weapon but then again it does destroy vehicles in a single hit of which there was only one decent vehicle and that was the Chopper which unfortunately is regarded as the worst vehicle in the game by a lot of people but I rather like it.
Weapons like Sniper Rifles were the same as always and weapons added in Halo 2 have been balanced a bit more with the exception of the Sword. The Battle Rifle is a viable option for me now as is the Carbine if I can be bothered to play the waiting game rather than just run gungho into a horde of the Covenant and start kicking stuff like the power armoured super soldier that I'm playing.
By far the most fun I've had from Halo 3 is Forge mode by making small traps and zombie maps and having to run around like a headless chicken in an effort to kill the zombies but ultimately failing miserably.
I can enjoy the game if I play it once in a while but the players often spoil it with their whining and moaning about when I kill them and their constant jeering and taunts when they win, but let's face it; it isn't Call of Duty 4 which has a much better online mode of play, but I suppose having a plasma gun is a redeeming factor no matter how crap it is.
Okay, it's playable and you can have fun if you enjoyed Halo 2, but personally I felt that Halo 3 was the weakest game of the series despite being the one that added so much game play to it, which in hindsight is probably why it's the weakest. If I had played Halo 2 and enjoyed it I would have enjoyed Halo 3 a lot more but I guess that because I felt that Halo 2 was such a failure and that Halo 3 had less enthusiasm about it's release, but then again you can't stop fan boys and girls, or hype.