In 2007, Halo 3 had some very large expectations to fulfill. After the sheer success of Halo 2, fans everywhere were expecting something even more astonishing. Of course, this isn't 2007. From a 2014 point of view, how does Halo 3 fare in the mind of this humble gamer? From a so-so and yet memorable Campaign, a deeply entertaining Multiplayer mode, a decent Forge mode, and the ability to save videos of gameplay in Films, Halo 3 is still an enjoyable experience, even by today's standards.
Halo 3 picks up near where the previous game ended, and it doesn't take long to get into the game. The tutorial is brief, and you are into the action faster than you can shout "sticky grenade." The story starts with Chief, Arbiter, and a platoon of Marines trying to fight their way out of a dense, Covenant controlled jungle somewhere in Africa. The story progresses from there, and turns into an undertaking to find and kill the Prophet of Truth, and to cease the subsequent Flood outbreak both on Earth, and on a massive Forerunner construct known as the Ark.
The plot here is generally quite compelling, with all of the important characters returning, and even expanding their depth in some ways. The story has the emotional impact that it feels like it should have, providing a sense of urgency to the overall epic tale, and this strong tone is due heavily to the superb soundtrack that will consistently provide atmosphere in the most appropriate of times. Truly, few games can match the soundtrack that Halo 3 employs.
Though the Campaign has a strong start, it begins to lose it's footing in the last few levels. You will quickly tire of the "save Cortana" objectives that dominate the entire narrative, and the Flood simply become over-hard bullet sponges that make the latter half of the Campaign a chore to play through, and the repetitiveness of these levels reminded me all too much of the very first Halo game, Combat Evolved.
Of course, even if the Campaign is not to your liking, worry not; the Multiplayer is golden. There are 11 default maps, and 13 additional maps are available through map packs. Players can customize their armor, and can play as a Spartan or an Elite. Emblems are also able to be fully customized to be unique to each player, with many different colors to choose from for both armor and emblems. There is a plethora of game modes, such as classic Slayer, Oddball, King of the Hill, Capture the Flag, Assault, Territories, Juggernaut, Infection, and VIP.
The gametypes are able to be heavily customized, with special loadouts and options on the amount of gravity, movement speed, health, immunities, vehicle availability, etc.
Many gadgets are available in matches, such as ones that regenerate the users shields, or ones that drain enemy shields and then explosively detonate, or ones that flare up, blinding opponents for a short period of time. Many vehicles are still available, such as tanks, Hornets, the classic Warthog, Wraiths, and so on.
The multiplayer is where Halo 3 is at its absolute best, and it represents the finest that the series has to offer.
Of course, there is also Forge mode. This mode allows the player to edit currently existing multiplayer maps with custom weaponry, vehicles and gadgets, as well as plenty of miscellaneous scenery and extras. This mode is certainly clever, and can be utilized in effective ways, though feels rather clunky and frustrating all too often.
There is also a Film mode, where players can save and view their gameplay footage, and easily share it with friends online. This mode is nifty, and acts as kind of a good bonus, complimenting everything else.
Halo 3 offers an experience that has plenty of things to love, but also quite a bit of problems. Luckily, the positives manage to outweigh the negatives and makes the participation in the game mostly fun and a worthy usage of time. The only adequate Campaign is a joy for the most part, but is plagued by a number of blights, and Forge is crafty but clunky. Luckily, the multiplayer is utterly superb and plenty of time will be well-wasted on this addictive mode. In general, Halo 3 is in the middle when it comes to over-all quality of all the Halo games combined, but is a good entry in the series nonetheless.
+ First half of the campaign is quite fun
+ One of the best game soundtracks ever composed
+ Incredibly enjoyable multiplayer
+ Film mode is a nice touch
- Second half of the campaign is tedious
- The Flood are particularly tiresome
- Forge is awkward and clunky