Review by LavaLord
"A truly addictive end to a fantastic series."
After several years invested, playing both Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, I am truly saddened to see the series ending, but nothing short of my 360 dying would keep me from playing this game through and through. It's everything that I've come to expect and love and here's the reason why I give Halo 3 a 9 out of 10.
The graphics were truly flawless and fitting, particularly to a game with the massive diversity of fans the Halo series. People often name the graphics as a flaw to the game, but personally I feel quite the contrary is true, as they feel "kiddy" to some people. I believe honestly that the games design graphically well suits the younger users that the game has attracted for years, though they are still perfect for older audiences as well. The graphics allow for a beautiful world and a fully immersed combat environment allowing people to feel more involved, lending a sense of realism with the way they function.
All the sounds are well designated and properly adjusted to volume, a trait lacking in many current games. The sounds of all the gunfire is realistic, with the exception of the volume which would be earsplitting at realistic levels, and even the Covenant and Brute weaponry is fitting to the weapons that they emerge from. The vehicles sounds are detailed from the screech of the tires as you brake into a sharp turn to the horn you can honk on several of them. Especially so on the flying vehicles, with all of the sounds as you hover and fly through the air and either attack those on the ground or fellow fliers. The explosions from grenades, rockets, and shells from tanks are all loud bursts that suit the mood of combat well, allowing for total immersion.
Then there are the voices of the characters. All are fitting to the design and appearance of the characters, not to mention the situation at hand. There are several times you hear background characters speaking, or someone screaming directions at you if you dawdle too long in one location. There are also the hilarious screams and brutal roars the enemies use depending on which one it is and what you are doing. Merely walking around in an area full of grunts warrants screams of terror whereas doing the same around Brutes will get you attacked viciously over their blood-lust roars.
The controls allow fully for fluid movement and coordination of your actions, something many games seem to shortchange in favor of stronger graphic designs. The camera is fully responsive and adjustable to an extreme. The entire control setup has a refreshing feel to it, with the minor changes from the predecessors, that leaves nothing wanting. The controls are simple to learn and relatively easy to master, though the mastery will vary greatly depending on your personal experience.
For the closure of a trilogy of this magnitude the story left a little to be desired. It continues from Halo 2 though it isn't as detailed as it could have been. While it isn't complicated in the least, it's still impossible to follow without playing the first two, a generic problem for all story continuations that don't sum up the originals in at least part. The plot itself does have several twists and important details that stand out greatly, and several that are harder to notice, but the real focus is the same as it's always been, a post-modern, save the world, sci-fi amalgamation.
The online mode is among the best I've ever seen, from matchmaking and the various modes to custom games the games multiplayer is where the game truly shines. At least a decent portion of the people you meet in the online mode are decent people, despite all the talk of the loud, whiny, preteens screaming their heads off, leading to an excellent experience. Co-op is a very fun experience with well earned reputation for fun, also lowering the difficulty of even the most difficult modes, allowing all people to earn the most stringent rewards.
The difficulty on receiving the achievements varies incredibly, though all can be obtained with relative ease to the skill of the player, ranging from some of the easiest(Fear the Pink Mist) to the hardest(Steppin' Razor) that I've ever seen. The point scale of the achievements seem quite staggered making them one of the most rewarding aspects of the game, as they can take quite a while to gain.
Replay Value: 10/10
While the single player may get a little stale after several runs through the campaign mode, and playing around in the sandbox in the forge mode for hours, the multiplayer never seems to tire. With as much of a reputation as the game must live up to, the replayability is top flight.
One of the top games of the year, and possibly all time, between all of its fantastic features and virtually non-existant flaws it's definitely a game to buy. A true must have for any fan of the series, FPS's in general, or merely an Xbox 360 owner. If FPS's aren't generally your thing then perhaps you shouldn't buy it, but definitely be sure to rent it for all of the fantastic gameplay the single player promises.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 10/01/07
Game Release: Halo 3 (US, 09/25/07)
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