Halo 3 The wait is over, now finish the fight.
a_chalz wrote this review on .
But that is behind us and what matters now is whether or not Halo 3 reaches the bar that its predecessors has set. Without a doubt Bungie has in fact achieved the impossible; the concluding game of this epic trilogy delivers a truly next-gen experience that surpasses the expectations of fans of the franchise. Halo 3 provides a gaming experience that retains the charm and quality of the Halo series, while at the same time takes it in thrilling new directions.
Halo has been known for its multiplayer thanks to the unparalleled success of Halo 2’s online experience, and every bit of that quality translates here with a lot more that adds to the experience. When I say a lot more I mean A LOT more. From 4 player online co-op to Forge’s map editor, Halo 3’s new content provides endless possibilities for fun with your friends.
There are several online game types from Halo 2 that translate well over here, from “Lone Wolves” – Halo 3’s “Rumble Pit” – to “Team Slayer” and various objective based team games. However, now with Bungie’s map editor, Forge, the options for multiplayer gaming are endless, let me explain. Forge places you the multiplayer map of your choice and gives you a budget – reminiscent of Counter-Strike – to purchase weapons, vehicles, boxes, etc, which significantly impact the gameplay. But what is most exciting is that all of this editing is done in-game. At any time you can become a monitor and freely travel about the map altering it as you see fit. Forge itself is quite hard to explain, you need to experience it for yourself to truly appreciate it.
In terms of weapons and vehicles, several additions have been made, as well the return of all your favorites from previous Halo titles. One important thing to note is the fact that the weapons are a heck of a lot more balanced than in Halo 1 and 2. Your default starting weapon, the assault rife – yes, its back – provides a sense of security that Halo 2’s SMG failed to deliver. Aside from balancing modifications and the return of old favorites, completely new weapons add to the experience as well, most noticeably a completely new arsenal of Brute weapons, including the Mauler, Spiker and Hammer. Other new additions such as the flamethrower and removable turrets are worth a mention as well.
Much like the weapons, the vehicles help add to and create a new experience. Exciting new vehicles like the Hornet (a human take on the Banshee) and the Brute Chopper help to provide a unique game experience. The sheer amount of content in this game is almost overwhelming and impossible to completely cover in this review.
While everyone was expecting the multiplayer to impress, the campaign attracted the most concern after Halo 2’s lackluster campaign and infuriating ending. Fear not, Halo 3’s campaign is the best yet, taking what each of the prior games did right and bringing them together in a nice package. Unfortunately it’s over much too quickly, taking anywhere from 10-15 hours on the first play-through. However, various achievements, hidden skulls and campaign scoring will have you replaying the campaign multiple times and although it’s short, it sure is sweet. The story itself is a step up from the prior two and definitely provides the gamer with a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, but isn’t quite on the same level as today’s RPG’s or Hideo Kojima’s famed Metal Gear Solid series. Was anyone expecting it to? No, probably not. Such an experience isn’t expected out of an FPS, though it wouldn’t hurt.
Another concern of many fans was the graphical quality of the game and let me tell you, Halo 3 is stunning. I haven’t seen better lighting effects in a game not to mention the environments in general. The game conveys a captivating and believable atmosphere that will immediately suck you in. While the locales are great, the character models themselves don’t quite reach the same quality. The Chief and the Arbiter are highly detailed and look great, but the rest of the Chief’s allies could use some graphical upgrades. This really is a very small problem in the overall scheme of things, but a problem nonetheless. What puts this game over the edge in terms of quality is the saved films feature. Every game you play is stored in a list of most recent films for your viewing pleasure. You can then opt to save them to your hard drive and even send them to your friends over Xbox Live. What’s more satisfying than sending someone a clip of you completely owning them? You can also pause, slow down and zoom out using this feature, allowing you to save various screenshots and improve your game.
So, is Halo 3 worth checking out? Absolutely, if there is only one game you can play this year, make it this one. With the multiplayer, campaign, films and forge to explore, you won’t be putting this game down anytime soon. If you own a 360 there is no excuse for you not to own Halo 3. Heck even if you don’t own a 360 you owe it to yourself to go out and buy one now to play this game. It’s worth it.