E3 '07: Halo 3 Updated Impressions - Single-Player Campaign

Bungie shows off the first single-player gameplay for Halo 3, and yeah, it looks great.

With 11 weeks to go before release, Microsoft and Bungie showed off Halo 3's single-player campaign for the first time at the E3 Media and Business Summit. The demo, held behind closed doors, showcased the graphical improvements in the sequel, which is one of the most highly awaited games of the year.

Bungie showed off the first level of the game, titled Sierra 117. Not wanting to spoil some of the plot developments revealed at the beginning, the action picked up about one-third of the way through the level. What's interesting is that the Master Chief and the Arbiter have now teamed up, and they and a small escort of Marines must make their way through a Covenant-infested gulch to rendezvous with Sergeant Johnson and a couple of Pelican transports.

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Though the opening level lacks what Bungie's Frank O'Connor said are the large-scale vehicle battles of later levels, it still packed an intense amount of action as the Master Chief and his friends battle their way through waves of opponents that included grunts, brutes, and what looked like to be some elites. The presence of the grunts and elites alongside the brutes is a bit puzzling considering the fractured state of the Covenant at the end of Halo 2, so we imagine that the answers are to be found in the exposition that we skipped over.

A number of things just stuck out to us as the battle unfolded. First, the combat looks to be as wild and dynamic as in other Halo games. The artificial intelligence of both the enemies and your allies pretty much guarantees that each battle can unfold differently. Second, the amount of intelligent chatter going on does a lot to add atmosphere and humor to the game. You hear the alien grunts cry, "What a world!" before a grenade explodes next to them, or another remark "I'll revenge my brother!" as he throws a plasma grenade at you. The chatter is constant and with the cacophony of gunfire and explosions, it makes for a symphony of battle. Speaking of symphonies, the music was missing in the work-in-progress version that we played, though it has been composed and recorded and is awaiting insertion.

So how it looks is a question that's undoubtedly a question on millions of Halo fans' minds. Keep in mind that after some grumbling by fans about the graphics in the recent multiplayer beta, Bungie stressed that what was seen did not represent the final look of the game. Well, what we saw wasn't quite final, but the graphics were undeniably better and more advanced than those seen in the beta. The game pops out right at you. The visuals are clear and crisp, as well as bright and colorful. There's a lush quality to the forest gully, with lots of ground clutter and towering trees. Most noticeable is the almost lifelike sunlight poring through the forest canopy. Halo 3 makes considerable use of high-dynamic range lighting so that shadows look dark, but at the same time, sunlight looks almost saturated. The animations and character models are also well done. The Master Chief encountered alien brutes in green camouflage armor that looks really cool and plausible, and it's possible to strip a brute of his armor with gunfire or explosions.

After battling through a section of the forest, the Master Chief and allies make it to a riverside clearing where the Pelicans await them. Unfortunately, a horde of Covenant is also there, so a desperate battle erupts to clear the landing the zone. However, it's all for naught as one Pelican, looking to avoid ground fire, collides with another, sending one crashing to the ground and the other spinning in a different direction. Your new mission: locate Sergeant Johnson's crashed Pelican; so it's like Black Hawk Down, only with aliens. An alien Phantom suddenly appears and hovers over the river, laying down suppressive fire, so O'Connor, playing the Master Chief, grabbed a canon off of its mounts and used it to shoot down the alien craft. Another large-scale battle erupted between arriving brutes and the Chief, and that's where the demo ended.

Bungie next showed one of the neat multiplayer features of Halo 3, which was the ability to record and play back gameplay movies of both multiplayer and the single-player campaign. While this was a feature that was somewhat crippled in the multiplayer beta, we got to see the all-but-final version of the film system. Basically, Halo 3 records game data as you play, and then when it plays it back, it reenacts all the events. Only now, you can move the camera around anywhere to change the angle, as well as pause and slow the action

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To demonstrate, Bungie showed off a five-versus-five multiplayer match that was recorded last week on the sand-trap multiplayer level. We watched as the battle was reconstructed and replayed. The members on one team boarded Warthogs and Brute Choppers, which are basically hoverbikes on steroids and had a head-on clash with the opposing team on their vehicles. The action was then paused and explosions were caught in all their fiery glory. It looks awesome, and even better, you can take high-resolution screenshots of your finest moments. You can then take screens or movies and upload them to a special shared space on Xbox Live so you can show off. This is going to be a great feature because it has implications for everyone, from whether you want to rub it in to your friend about a certain kill or you want to make machinima to or user-created movies.

Bungie has the next couple of months to polish and bug fix, though what we saw looked to be almost ready for primetime. All we can say is that it's going to be a long 11 weeks until September 25.

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789 comments
linkyshinks
linkyshinks

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

aringarosa101
aringarosa101

luwker, let's be best friends and appreciate truly original gaming. triniprince, you're welcome to join us in our group of amazingness.

Luwker
Luwker

triniprince and aringarosa are the kind of guys i'm looking for I apologize if i''ve "offended" anyone. I guess I just expressed myself badly. What I meant is that I'm not able to get fun out of Halos 1 and 2, just that. I'm lookinf forward to this one though, sure sounds like a nice experience. PS: No, i'm not a Halo fan, far from that actually, I'm just another gamer

Luwker
Luwker

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

triniprince1420
triniprince1420

Ok luwker, i won't disrespect you by cursing or anything man, but i gotta get on wat u said bro, Halo 1 and 2 is certainly not a borin game man.....maybe if u had said this is not the type of game u like or that the game has not satisfied you gameplay wise then people might stop giving u such a hard time...but dont go around saying stuff so mindless like halo is borin or u will keep getting stupid comments.....and any way like i said b4 halo is anythin but borin, itz a really awesome game that any true halo fan would agree that it just keeps you coming back for more and now that HALO 3 is comin out itz gonna be CRAZZZZYYYY!!!!!!!!

aringarosa101
aringarosa101

luwker is like, the one rational halo "fan" (don't know if you can be called that. sorry.) who i would be willing be best friends with. he thinks for himself! my goodness!

JEEBUS_BOGONDO
JEEBUS_BOGONDO

you can think whatever you want but to call halo boring?? oookaaaaay then..

yomammadavid
yomammadavid

i didnt tell u wat to do i just called u a jackass

Luwker
Luwker

Thank you for the kind message Last time I checked, this was a "comment", meaning, I get to comment, to express my opinion, and that is that Halos 1and 2 were boring, at least to me Had you been not-fan-boy enough to read through my entire post, you'd see that I was actually complimenting the game. I have to put up with dozens of Microsoft fanboys every single day on Wii pages, and hearing the same "it looks so 2 years ago" comment every goddamn time, and yet I don't go around telling anyone to screw themselves. And also, what would I gain by Halo 3 sucking? If anything, I would appreciate if it were a good game, that way I'll have another nice game to play with my friends who do have a 360. Next time, put people's mesage in context before telling them what to do or where to go

Luwker
Luwker

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

yomammadavid
yomammadavid

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Luwker
Luwker

(I don't own a 360) Every time I played Halo 1 or 2, i just couldn't get why people like this game so much, even though it was nice-looking, for me, the game (even multiplayer) was stunningly boring, felt like a poorly made attempt to copy Battlefield but this one sure looks like it could change some minds

Fuhjem92
Fuhjem92

I am going to die if i dont get to play it soon.

god13g
god13g

how come halo 1 has a higher score than halo 2 will halo 2 have a higher score than halo 3 coz that will be just playing stuped

kalagen
kalagen

This game will be a kick ass on xbox live

Fuhjem92
Fuhjem92

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Fuhjem92
Fuhjem92

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

RudeKen
RudeKen

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

capt_karem
capt_karem

I am looking forward to Halo 3 very much. I love the fact I can buy this game and stick it in my 18 month old 360 and it will be fully optimized and play at a solid 30 to 60 fps. Whereas I buy Crysis for my 12month old PC and it will struggle to play at med settings above 30 fps.

DaRkNeSs2393
DaRkNeSs2393

I don't see why everyone is SO excited for freaking CoD 4. Come on. I mean, they are fun, but Halo 3 will be better, I can almost be sure of it. BUT, I will keep an open mind (wich is hard, considering Halo 2 is one of my favorite games ever, period.)

kittykiller897
kittykiller897

halo 2 was great, even if it was short. when i got done with the campaign, i just went back and played it again. This is halo on the next gen. this will be on a new level and it'll be the best game for 360.

Fuhjem92
Fuhjem92

i herd that there is a new vehicle in halo 3, its called the elephant ,in multiplayer you can fit your whole team in there.there are also new levels called the storm and tvosa highway.

ccstrauss94
ccstrauss94

yes i also agree with skillet505 halo 3 will be the next big game in the gaming community

skillet505
skillet505

wow halo 3 yes will be game of the year i bet!

mingfu
mingfu

I think halo 3 will be one of the top games of 2007!

monkeytoes61
monkeytoes61

the halo haters should leave. what are they doing on a halo topic anyways if they hate it?

Caboose7293
Caboose7293

I hope Halo 3 has some crazy long campaign that takes like 30 hours to complete instead of a measly 10 or less...still 10 hours of great fun, but nonetheless only 10.... Halo 3 will rule either way though

PhilElsen
PhilElsen

As much as you may hate the halo series the last 2 games where in the top 5 bestselling games on the old generation consoles with the 3 GTAs. And you can only get all 5 of those games on the xbox. So even though Halo 3 probably wont be the bestselling game of 2007 because GTA IV is comeing out on the PS3 and 360. But Halo 3 will be the bestselling game on the 360.

Red_Flag
Red_Flag

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to agree with IllReadIt. Not entirely, but just a bit. COD 4 is going to be one of the most amazing games, and probably should win Game of The Year (well, we don't know that for sure since the year isn't quite over yet) but I have some doubts it will. Halo 3 is almost defenitly going to be the highest top selling game of the year, and maybe of all time. This being because, yes, all of the marketing, hype, footage, little annoying kids, and some respectable fans (I, personally, love the Halo series). COD 4 is pretty much going to be for fans of warfare, which, with all due respect has less fans than the Halo series and just people who look for a basic shooter. Halo 3 still looks and will be amazing to the fans of the series, but COD 4 will be superior in some aspects. It deserves game of the year, but likely wont get it.

mingfu
mingfu

HALO 3 MUST GET!!!!

aringarosa101
aringarosa101

and you know what? i totally agree with IIIreadit. crysis will be amazing. COD4 will be awesome, but i do think that halo 3 will be up there among the ranks, though not deserving of game of the year award. COD 4 will make halo pant like an obese 11 year old child. most def.

IllReadIt
IllReadIt

Same 'ole sh*t, different box cover, maybe a new weapon or two. NOT impressed. Call Of Duty 4 will blow this away, it's reality not some space fantasy game. COD 4, should and WILL get Game Of The Year, all Halo 3 is, is a perfect example of Mass Media Marketing hyping you up for what, nothing, just like Halo 2 did. The first one was great, the 2nd, and this one, is just an expansion pack, nothing new, nothing innovative (like the1st Halo). See it for what it is .... just another shooter, in which there are better ones. If it get's Game Of The Year, then Microsoft bought that award, gee, microsoft game gets Game Of The Year on Microsoft console system, go wonder. Crysis, will blow it away EASILY for all systems Game Of The Year, for XBOX 360, I still think COD 4 should give it a run for the money.

Shroomiz
Shroomiz

same crap as the second one. id say the only halo game that i liked was the the firt one which was awesome but then came the second one and it really dissapointed me and now you guys are obssesed with the third one? come on people, it looks the same! same **** gonna happen. and twhen theres so many good game coming out there...

ukillwegrill
ukillwegrill

Halo 3 is going to blow all other games out of the water

aringarosa101
aringarosa101

neither will kill the other- they'll puch each other in the face, go crying to their mothers, then run off to their respective corners, and skulk. that's what's gonna happen. they both look incredible. spoken as a halo 3 fan who RESPECTS other systems and their games.

klasco
klasco

@tertianfire i think bungie tried to make that very clear in halo2 with the ending cutscene

Tertianfire
Tertianfire

I was right! Earth is that Ark thing they were talking about at the end of #2.

x_kenney_x
x_kenney_x

hey lower energycycle it wont be the same gameplay as before. halo 3 will be more customizeable than anyorther FPS out there. meanig forge(map editor) equipment power ups with a twist and the campaign is going to be good as halo 1 campaign. and you know halo 3 has the bigest fan base ever. some much that they made thousands of montages machimina videos. i highly recomend get halo 3. or at least try it out.

x_kenney_x
x_kenney_x

@spencer true but if you dont understand why you will never fines out till you finish the fight + its has the best multiplayer ezperience in any game in history. facts just play halo 2 online or offline you'll see.

lowenergycycle
lowenergycycle

@Spencer626 I totally agree. I bet I can pick up 5 copies of Bioshock on release day - a much better looking game, I think. @HALO_MENTALIST Have you actually played Killzone 2 yet? ... No, you haven't. So be quiet.

survivor_of_war
survivor_of_war

halo is the best xbox game i cant believe it is the last one

Spencer626
Spencer626

The Halo series is okay, and i might pick this one up eventrually. But for those poeple that think they're going to buy it the first day it comes out and they haven't pre-ordered it, good luck. Halo 3 will be sold out everywhere for months. Although I still don't understand why.

HALO_MENTALIST
HALO_MENTALIST

i just cant wait 4 halo 3 i hope its better than halo 1 and 2 and no way is killzone 2 better than this in anyway

digdongsegadead
digdongsegadead

they better get the ending right or it will be the next Killzone lots of buzz and sales and critical acclaim but the fans will hate it. It the backlash of success

zedjay
zedjay

do they have a video with ACTUAL gameplay? i clicked on the 'watch it' button but instead i got like a live music sort of thing with halo3 images in the background