Review by Jon_God
"Halo 3 - Review from someone who was not hyped very much. (No Spoilers)"
Ah Halo, the series which brought the original xbox into the console market, and it's successor, Halo 2, which push many people to play online. Finally the Final chapter in the series, does it live up to the standards set by the original games?
Overall, Halo 3 takes place after Halo 2, right after, in fact, probably only a few hours past in game time since the end of Halo 2.
To avoid spoilers, I wont mention what is going on. The game takes a similar path as Halo 2, with the early levels taking place on earth, and the later taking place elsewhere.
The story is told through cut scenes and in game dialog, which really helps the player get into what is going on. Though there is immediately a problem with Halo 3, for anyone that has not played the first two games, they will be completely lost. In Halo 2 there was sort of a summary of what happened, this time, there is non, so if you want to understand what is going on, make you to play an finish the first two games.
The game takes you to many different environments, including forests, deserts, snow covered valleys, and technologic bases and such. Prepare to find yourself visiting many colorful places. Like in the other Halo games, keep your eyes peeled for some familiar landmarks, you might just find them.
The game builds on Halo 2's gameplay, and isn't as much of a jump as from Halo 1, to Halo 2. Not to say that this is a bad thing, as most people will agree Halo 2 had quite amazing gameplay. There are tons of tweaks here and there, so it's not exactly the same, but prepare to see many recycled animations.
The music is still done by the same person, and borrows a lot of songs from the first two games, so prepare to hear some of your favorite Halo tunes replayed, they are all remixed though, and I didn't like a lot of the remixes of some of my favorite songs.
The sound is top notch, but if you've played Halo 1 and 2, there isn't much to talk about, same sort of gun sounds, and same sort of explosions, there are a lot of new ones, but you know what to expect. There was one or two gun sounds that I didn't really like, but nothing that made me want to avoid the guns or anything.
The game includes all the weapons from Halo 1 and Halo 2, so don't worry about missing your favorite gun. Don't worry though, most of the guns have been tweaked at least a little bit, to fix some of the problems or imbalances that fan complained about in the other games. There are also some new weapons, though most of them are kind of bland, I wont go into details, due to possible spoilers.
They've added equipment, which is similar to grenades as you just drop whatever piece of equipment you where carrying, this can be useful, though overall it doesn't change the gameplay much, and most of the equipment, is not something you can use unless it's just the right situation.
The level design of both Halo 1 and Halo 2 had you fighting through some levels that are so memorable that years from now people will still feel like pulling out the xbox to play them. Halo 1 and Halo 2 also suffered from a severe problem in level design, and that is that a lot of levels in the game had very repetitive environments, and levels that took place in the same places as earlier levels. What of Halo 3? Well, first off, the environments in this game are much more varied, don't expect to walk through the same level more then once in a play through, As you will be seeing completely different areas in each level. The new levels do have their drawbacks though, as after playing through the game, I couldn't remember any level that particularly stood out, having the whole game's level design seem somewhat overused and generic. Not to say the levels are bad, but they are not very memorable.
Halo 1 and Halo 2 had many rooms where the combat took place, leaving the battles having enemies barely be in the double digits, Halo 3 breaks this mold by having levels with tons of enemies, don't expect anything lord of the rings style, but sometimes you'll find yourself fighting 20+ enemies.
Halo 3 doesn't introduce any new types of enemies, and the variety has been scaled down immensely, as you will find yourself mostly fighting 4-5 types of enemies through out the entire game. The design in Halo 3 seems to be trying to take all the parts that people liked in Halo 1 and Halo 2 and make them in Halo 3, Though I find that this didn't quote work, and gives you a very "been here done that sort of feel".
Finally the graphics, the part that no matter what I say, people will disagree with me about. Well, first off I have to say that, Halo 3, looks better then Halo 2, some of the time you will marvel at how good it looks, and other times you will feel as though it looks on par, and sometimes even worse then Halo 2. There are many things that help the graphics look good though, such as amazing water effects, motion blur, ect. Overall, the graphics are good enough, but really nothing that will blow your socks off, nor to show off the 360's power with.
I didn't get enough time to try the multiplayer out, though from what I tried it felt very similar to Halo 2. Don't worry people, like I said, the weapons have been tweaked, so it's not the same exact thing, expect to lose many hours of you life into this game.
Forge is another interesting addition, being a map-object editor, allowing you to place weapons, equipment, vehicles, and scenery in game. It's fun to drop a tank on another player, but I can only see this being fun for a little while, however, if you ever feel like adding a weapon here or there on a map, you can now, so I'm sure everyone once in a while it could come in handy.
Saved films is another thing they added, allowing players to save gameplay films of single player levels, or multiplayer matches. I didn't get enough time to play with it, but it looks to be exactly what you'd think.
Story 8/10: The story is good, though it's very predictable, and feels very "been here done that" a lot. Sometimes you get so caught up in the action, that the story just seems bland, not a good thing.
Graphics 7/10: The graphics in this game are not something you will write home about, nor are they something you will constantly be marveling at, it has it moments, but you also get fed up when the graphics look very original xbox.
Audio 9/10: Though the remixed tunes aren't as memorable as their original counterparts, the new songs are very good, and the overall sounds are good enough to make up for good overall sound.
Gameplay 8/10: This one is hard, it does nothing to reinvent the Halo game play, that was done so between Halo 1 and Halo 2, and feels very much like Halo 2's gameplay with tweaks, while Halo 2's gameplay wasn't bad by any means, most players have been playing it for the past 3 years and are starting to get tired with it. It's a disappointment, that bungie did not try out some new gameplay features beyond equipment.
Overall - 8/10
Final Notes: I think that Halo 3 is a good game, don;t let all the criticism let me sound otherwise, but it's not the instant classic that the first game was, nor is it something that stands out as much in the gaming world filled with FPSes, it does a lot less to stand out from other FPSes then the original ones did 3 and 4 years ago respectfully. Halo 3's story comes off as very "standard summer blockbuster" but still is better then a lot of other games available now. The levels are not as memorable as Halo 1 or 2, and the game play isn't all too much different then Halo 2.
But, Halo 3 is an amazing experience, something that if you don't own an xbox 360, then go to a friend's house and play it. It's worth the time. It is fun down the the last grunt you kill, and last warthog you drive. And overall you should be satisfied with the last chapter in the Halo trilogy.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 09/26/07
Game Release: Halo 3 (US, 09/25/07)
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