Halo 3
Halo 3

Posted by SadExchange
11/7/2007
Released on: 9/25/2007
Developed by: Bungie Software
Published by: Microsoft Game Studios

Simply put one of most fun experiences you can have with a console game.

Score

9.06

It seems like decades have pased since the last installment in the Halo series where the developers left their fans off on a huge cliff hanger. Making their fans and community members trudge through two different storylines in Halo 2 playing both the Master Chief and the Arbiter, players were left with questions upon questions on what would happen next. Would the developers finish the trilogy the way that the fans wanted it done? Would the fans be happy with the way Bungie let them "Finish the fight?" Along with the single player campaign, could the developers deliver upon the multiplayer to make it better than its predecessors?

Releasing on September 25th of 2007, Halo 3 hit store shelves, but it was no big surprise as Microsoft spent ten million dollars alone just advertising for this latest installment. Bombarding the masses with commercials, soda, and even cars, all leading up to the midnight release event in New York where a costumed Master Chief drove up to Best Buy in a painted and decaled Hummer to present the first people in line with their own copy of Halo 3, this was indeed, no small release. But we're not here to discuss that, we're here to discuss the game. If you've never played a Halo game before, the story can be somewhat confusing because of the different 'factions' involved including the humans, convenant, and the flood. Basically, to put it simple, Master Chief is trying to destroy the halo rings that threaten to destroy humanity. Simply put, you're there to kill anything that moves, but you won't be lacking equipment along the way. Of course not, you're the Master Chief, Spartan 117. The campaign can be quite long if you play on the legendary difficulty by yourself, but that time can dramatically decline if you're either playing with friends or playing on an easier difficultly. Much like the previous Halo games, you're able to play with a friend through the campaign, but new to Halo 3, now you're able to play with 3 other friends through the entire campaign which can add quite a bit of fun to the mix during certain sequences and playing with friends can always be fun in and of itself, but if you want to play with 3 other people, you're going to need another Xbox 360 and tv for the other two people. You're still only able to have one other person on your screen for the campaign. On the other hand, multiplayer lets you play with 3 other friends on your one system as always. This four player campaign is a welcome addition to the series as you can really create your own strategies for certain situations that couldn't be done with just two people and the driving sequences can be hilarious and advantageous with human drivers and human turret gunners in the back. I don't want to spoil much of the story for you, but to be truthful, there's not too much of a story for this game, but with Halo, there really doesn't have to be. Some would say that it's the best story of the three, but others will complain that the whole two sided story that Bungie had going for Halo 2 was totally left abandoned for Halo 3. Unlike the previous installment, you'll always be playing the Master Chief in this game, unless you have friends playing with you which in turn one of you will be the Master Chief, one will be the Arbiter, and the two other guys will be some of the Arbiter's friends. Long story short, it's a decent enough story for the campaign that's easy to follow and is paced well to keep you in the action. Although it leaves a couple issues of the storyline vague from the previous installment, it does complete the entire arching storyline in an epic feeling sense. There are a couple of lengthy driving sequences which really add to the fun, especially with multiple people and I have to say that the last level of Halo 3 easily beats the amount of fun that was had during the last level of the first Halo, with its driving.

Although your way along the game's nine levels won't be paved with peace and happiness, you won't be left weaponless because along with the regular Halo weapons you've come across in the previous such as the pistol, rocket launcher, shotgun, assault rifle the famous energy sword, etc, there are a few new additions to your repertoire to help you throughout the campaign and many hours of multiplayer you'll be playing with this latest installment. These include weapons such as the spiker, mauler, flamethrower, and the famous gravity hammer that you only saw in the Halo 2, but weren't able to us. These new weapons, plus others add a lot to the gameplay aspect whether you're in the campaign or challenging across the net. A cool tweak to the game is that when you use weapons such as the flamethrower, plasma cannon, or missile pod, you'll be subjected to a third person point of view showing the full detail of your character while you do your killing. The Master Chief looks pretty badass when you're touting around a turret gun on your hip. Something new to the series will be the equipment that you're able to pick up which includes the gravity lift, the bubble shield, the power drainer, and more; all tools to use at your disposal whether it's single player or multiplayer fun. If you have an opponent driving straight at you, drop a power drainer and it instantly stops their vehicle in its tracks and also drains their shields from them making them an easy target for you to take down. Along with this new equipment and weaponry, you'll have some new vehicles including the mongoose, which is a four wheeler for you to drive and a friend to stand on back and gun down enemies, a brute prowler, which is a cool two person vehicle with turrets. These new additions, whether it's a gun, new equipment, or a new vehicle, add a lot of depth to the game whether you're using a strategy in the single player campaign or tooling around with friends on some fast paced multiplayer.

The graphics have definitely been upgraded since the last installment in the Halo series, but don't go believing this game is entirely next generation in the respect of comparing its graphics to games like Gears of War or Bioshock. Although Halo 3 looks quite nice and has some nice HDR lighting, it still doesn't hold a candle to the latest releases of the Xbox 360, but this doesn't take away from your gameplaying experience. The different environments look unique enough from each other that even when you're subjected to the fateful Halo backtracking, it won't bore to death like it might of in the previous two games. Whether you're in the jungle or making your way through the maze of the flood filled tunnels which seem to be alive, you'll enjoy the time that the developers took to create each of these levels to give them all a different feel. Character models including the Master Chief, Arbiter, and the hundreds of enemies you'll come across all look great with these upgraded graphics and the action flows smoothly throughout the entire game only one or two times dropping in framerates which is quite decent with all the action going on around you. And I'm in no way stating that the graphics are bad, they're just not entirely next generation in the games that we've seen released for the Xbox 360 as of late.As in the past Halo games, music is something that plays a role, but it's not a huge component. A somewhat new main theme has been created for this end to the trilogy. What I mean by somewhat new is that it starts off new, but falls into the regular Halo theme that you've been listening to for the past two games. Although the main theme is quite good, it just seems a little recycled after having to hear it so much throughout the series. Voice acting in the game is again top notch with the same voice actors supporting their role in Halo 3, but the game isn't really about dialogue and you can easily miss all of the cutscenes throughout the game and pretty much still know what's going on.

Now, does the multiplayer live up to the hype that's been built up around it? The simple answer is yes. It seems like Bungie has not only listened to their community about what's been needed in the multiplayer, but they've made quite a few tweaks of their own to bring one of the most fun online experiences to the gaming community. With the addition of the new weapons, equipment, and vehicles, there are just multitudes of ways to experience each hand crafted level that's been created. Some of the maps have been updated since Halo 2 and Bungie has also created some ones to master and play time and again with your friends. There's of course deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, territories, and other types of multiplayer games to compete in whether it's in social matches of ranked matches. Grouping up with friends or with random people you meet online can be quite easy and you'll be able to compete in matches between 2 people all the way up to a full 8 on 8. These matches are intense and you'll have to be constantly moving to keep alive.

Something new that Bungie has brought to the table with have to be the film system. Whether it's through single player, or multiplayer, Halo 3 will save the previous 25 games or so that you're able to view at your pleasure. Now, these aren't actual films, such as videos that you'd watch through WMA or itunes; they're data files that only take up about 6 mb per multiplayer games. Why use data files instead of media files? Because then when anyone goes back to view the file, they can view the action from any angle. That's right. You're able to fly around in every level whether you want to see how your enemy planned out their attack or how you got ganked from an enemy that you didn't even see coming. Think your opponent is cheating? Well, watch that last film and see how they moved throughout the level and try to build your own strategy off of theirs. And another cool feature derived from this filming would be the ability to take screenshots from within the film to share with friends. At anytime, while you watch the film, from any angle, you have the ability to take a screenshot to either show your professionalism while taking your opponent or just some random cool moment that happened during your last online match. The creativity is left up to you with this cool and unique feature. And to add to the fun, Bungie has offered their website as a place to store films and screenshots for you to store and share with your friends. Along with this storage slot, Bungie also stores your stats in the campaign and multiplayer for you and your friends to see whenever you'd like, This information is updated pretty regularly and shows your progression up through the ranks of online multiplayer.

One last addition to the multiplayer would be Forge. When first talked about, it seemed like a mod tool to create your own levels in Halo 3 multiplayer, but after more information and newsbits, it's a tool that lets you place different items, weapons, vehicles, etc in different locations throughout the different multiplayer levels. At first, this doesn't seem like much, but if you'd be surprised what a difference it can make when challenging some things around in some levels. You can use this Forge ability in a game to help out your teammates also, which can be quite useful in certain matches, but that doesn't mean you can just go around dropping weapons throughout the map for your teammates, because you're limited on the supplies that you can distribute based on a point system, but this only adds to the strategy of the overall game.

Overall, Halo 3 is a great ending to a trilogy that's been needing closure since its creation back when Halo: Combat Evolved was released. Finishing the storyline and also leaving it a bit open for future releases, Halo 3 builds upon its predecessors in every way from its epic single/multiplayer campaign to its ever engrossing multiplayer component that keeps you hooked for hours. Halo 3 is extremely polished from the get go as you would come to expect from Bungie these days, knowing full well how much they must have tested out every detail in this game. Just be happy in knowing that this game is simply one of the most fun gaming experiences that can be had to date on a console.
Gameplay10.00
Graphics8.00
Sound8.00
Story/Plot8.00
Replay Value10.00
Stability10.00
Multiplayer10.00
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