Review by Exodist
"Halo 3 was completely different to what I expected, but in a good way."
I never had an Xbox, and missed out on one of the biggest game series ever only on Xbox, the Halo series. However, now that I have a 360, I decided it would be a wise choice to get Halo 3, thus being my first proper Halo game (a week or so before launch I quickly borrowed Halo 1 and 2 to do single player for story). I truly do believe that Halo 3, is actually an outstanding game.
Story continues just a few hours or so after Halo 2, skip this paragraph if you don't want some minor spoilers. Master Chief has landed on Earth, however his armour seems to have locked down. Johnson and co have arrived and find Master Chief, just as he gets back up. He then meets bad guy turned good, the Arbiter, and they set out to stop the Prophet of Truth activating the last Halo. Some good twists and turn toward the end, and an ending I was truly happy with, the story isn't the best, but it's there and decent enough.
Gameplay is pretty much normal FPS, go to objectives, do them, vehicle levels, next level, it's all the same. However, I really enjoyed the Halo 3 campaign, maybe it was because I started and beat it on Legendary for a challenge, or maybe it was just fun, maybe both. The campaign takes the things that were best about Halo 1 and 2, and puts them together. An amazing scarab battle (with 2 at the same time later on), great vehicle sections, an amazing final level, and of course, a rubbish Flood level (which is damn near impossible on Legendary too). The campaign overall took me over 10 hours, however, if played on Normal, I think it would take about 5-8 hours to beat, since it's not too hard, and rather short. The game is played over 9 different missions, with a few different chapters in each level, and all offer a fair amount of variety and fun, the only bad levels in the game are 5 and 8 (both Flood related). There are also skulls (im not sure, but apparently they were in Halo 2, legendary only), hidden across most of the levels. They're actually hidden quite well, and net you achievements, and gameplay modifications should you find and use them. These modifications make the game harder, but earn you more points for campaign scoring. Basically, campaign scoring is where you get points for kills, dying less etc, and the skulls multiply the points whilst making it harder. The Co Op is great, although I found it to lag a lot online with 3 or 4 players, sometimes with just 2 players.
Also new is the Forge and Theater modes. Theater mode automatically records campaign and multiplayer games, allowing you to watch them back, save them, and take screenshots, which you can then upload to your Bungie.net account. Forge mode allows you to make custom map sets for the maps already on the game, by letting you put weapons anywhere, and different objects, and play them online with friends. Whilst these two modes are nice ideas, they're not particularly great, the forge mode can be rather limited (but fun with friends just seeing what you can make), and uploading movies etc is rather limited in the Theater mode.
The least progress made in the game is in multiplayer. You can play custom games with friends, but it's the ranked matches that you want. Halo 3 has a new Matchmaking system, which is good, but also crap. You select a different mode, like Lonewolves (single online, with up to 4 different players), tactical games, team games, and big team games (for up to 16 players). The game then automatically pairs you with random people, and a random game, which can be quite annoying when it keeps giving you stuff like oddball and crazy king, when all you really want is just slayer. Coming at a high position gives you 1 EXP, which gets your ranks up, where as getting high also gets your skill level up. It's all good fun, however I noticed a lot (and I mean a lot) of lag sometimes, so those with slower connections be warned. Also, don't go looking for much new content, since there isn't any really.
The graphics are more like Halo 2 in HD and slightly updated. They certainly look next gen, however they don't quite surpass things like Gears of War or Bioshock. Lighting effects are good, water, textures, all good, but not great. However due to this, they have more power going into larger environments, levels are certainly huge, as are multiplayer maps, and at the end of the day, it's all good. Musical score is excellent and I certainly enjoyed it a lot, the classic themes, all brought back memories (of experiences from just a few weeks ago), and the voice acting again, was top notch.
Overall, I really did enjoy Halo 3 and I think it's a great game. The campaign, despite being a little short was fun and vaired, the multiplayer is decent (although there isn't anything particularly new), and graphics and sound are fine. Not the best game ever, but a bloody great one. Overall: 9.4
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/09/07
Game Release: Halo 3 (EU, 09/26/07)
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