Review: Halo 3
Halo 3 is finally here, and joyful we are about that. This is the final fight of the Halo series (unless they work some complete utter magic at Bungie) and a good place to end the series, hopefully for good. The thing about Halo is they started the series off strong, with a lot of originality, a lot of “whoa”, and a lot of something we hadn’t had before on a console shooter. Then the sequels came out, which are not bad games by any means, but are overall just the same thing, redone with a shiny new box.
The story takes place after Halo 2, in which the marines find Master Chief buried in the ground from falling out of a space ship. I guess that explained why there’s no fall damage in the game anymore. Your mission is to take out the brutes on earth, and hopefully putting an end to this carnage once and for all. Oh, and hopefully save Cortana, your computer sidekick. Again, it’s time to save earth from an invasion.
The problems I have with the game come from the single player for the most part. One of the worst things the storyboard designers decided to do was have random slowdown instances so you could get a glimpse of Cortana. They overkilled it by having it happen every few minutes at the end of the game. It just slows the pace of the game down drastically and you want to just throw your controller down. It’s always something stupid she says too. “Chief, eat your green beans. They’re good for you!”. Stupid stuff like that. Why the game couldn’t have just did it once or even twice doesn’t make any sense. I’m sure they did it around 10 – 12 times. My second big beef with the single player is the difficulty. On legendary, which is the hardest difficulty for the game, was literally a cakewalk. No one should start on the lower difficulty’s unless they suck really bad. I only ran into a few parts that were almost impossible it seemed. Remember in the original, the Flood almost holds you back the entire end of the game. It’s almost like you’re required to beat it on co-op legendary. Yeah, the Flood is a bunch of chumps in this one. You don’t even need to stop and breath for them. Literally, you can confuse them so easily that you can just zip past them and complete the mission. I really wished Legendary felt more “Legendary” that this. Finally, the ending, which I’m not going to reveal. But let’s just say anyone that’s played Halo has “been there, done that” before. The graphics are clearly beautiful. There’s terrific lighting, great textures on most everything, and really smooth in-game frames. The game, no matter what’s going on, is always running at a 30-60 frames per second. The frame rate does stutter to 10-20 frames during a few movie sequences towards the end, but not for too long. I really don’t have any complaints about the graphics. There’s a few textured character models that look like an old Xbox rip, but other than that, they’re fine. They’re not Unreal 3 engine graphics, but we don’t need that in every game.
The sounds are great. Beautiful music that isn’t through the game really adds to the cinematic of the game as you play. Everything sounds really nice, but the one thing I didn’t like was the way the guns sound when you actually fire them. They’re really quiet, only if you use a 5.1+ surround system. They don’t come out of the center speaker, just the front sides. So when you fire a gun, you can hardly hear it sometimes or it doesn’t feel powerful.
The gameplay is what you’d expect out of Halo. Honestly, if you’ve played Halo before, then just take that exact same creation and beef it up. There’s a few new features for gameplay, aside from a lot of new vehicles, which is nice. The abilities throw down is really cool. It can range from a shield, to a mine, to a health gen shaman looking torch. It really gives you that extra edge in the game. The other really cool thing is the ability to break off turret guns and walk around with them. Overall, it’s useless, but it’s pretty cool you can do that.
The multi player is pretty much the really big gem here. The single player is fun a time or two, but it’ll get really old quick. For starters, it’s the exact same as the previous Halo’s, but for some reason, they did something to make it just extra fun. I can’t even put my finger on it, but it’s really just a blast. If you’ve enjoyed the previous multi player experiences from the Halo series, this one is no different. Aside from the online co-op. That’s a gem. The game also is lagless, which is one of the first games I’ve jumped into a battle with 16 people and haven’t lagged to the point of no return. Great job there. There’s also a map editor, and by editor, I mean you can only edit the maps, not create them as in Far Cry Instincts. However, getting a change of weapons and vehicles is a good addition to the game. Plus, the map editor is fun to play with your friends. You can create the ultimate map for your games. Last, you can actually unlock new armor for your multilayer character by beating the game on Legendary and by ranking up in matches. Loads of fun! The only downfall of multi player is the maps. There’s just not enough to keep us busy for too long. That, or until we get a micro charge for a map pack. Let’s pray it’s free.
Overall, I’d have to say the game is great, and a heck of a lot better than 2. I really hope this is the last game in the series. I just hope Bungie brings us something new and original, like they did with this series, for next time.
TL;DR: Buy for multiplayer. And because Halo is a great series.
Reviewed on the Xbox 360.