Review by Longsword24

"A fun and brilliant end to the trilogy, though again not quite able to live up to the hype."

And so, one of my favourite trilogies finally comes to it's end, and in most ways Halo 3 does not disappoint. The multi-player in particular will probably be played for generations to come, and Bungie have managed to get the game just right (and I mean, PERFECTLY, just right) to make this game fun whatever the situation you're in, be it the campaign on your own, playing through it with a friend or three, and of course, fighting it out over over X-Box Live.

Obviously, as with nearly every game, Halo 3 does fall slightly short in some places, but not by enough to ruin the game, and for the first time, I believe the opening price of an Xbox 360 is more than justified.

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Story
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Strangely, this is one of the few areas where I actually was slightly disappointed. The story is very linear, and not very enthralling. It's decent enough, sure, but often seems rushed and not thought out very well. The Elites have sided with the humans, which we already knew about from Halo 2, but the Grunts and Hunters have strangely returned to the side of the Brutes and Prophets, without an explanation. I don't feel the story is explained very well in places either, as I often found myself wondering what, (and more importantly why) I was doing.

While the missions on the first and second games all had clear objectives that progressed and explained the story as they were completed, Halo 3 seems to purely be based on one thing in each level. (i.e Stop the Brutes, stop Truth, stop the Flood, stop Gravemind), and doesn't deviate much from this.

I don't want to spoil it (and there isn't much to spoil anyway), but don't be expecting it to blow you away.

Final Score - 7
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Gameplay
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Now this is where the game outshines everything else. Halo 3 is easily the most fun game I have played in a long time. Nearly all previous weapons have returned and we still have some new ones, although in the campaign I often seem to not use many of them. These are all fun to use and are often unique in sending an enemy to a grisly death. There are new grenades as well, the Spike Grenade, which sticks to pretty much anything and fire of tons of spikes making them perfect for planting in a vehicle, and the Incendinary Grenades. You can probably guess what they do. Remember the turrets form Halo 2? Great fun and easy to rip things to pieces? Now you can break them off and take them with you! Any previous problems with balance have been completely fixed.

Combat is just as fun, if more simple and straight-forward than before, and it never gets boring or repetitive. There is a wide range of enemies, with some new Flood forms as well. In fact, fighting the flood has never been more fun, but be careful. That Elite that's cutting a sword through them better not lose his shields when the infection forms are around, or he might be "enlightened" into changing sides.

Most, if not, all, previous vehicles have returned and once again some new ones appear. Just wait until you get to fly a Hornet, you'll never want to play another game again. I have to say though, I was slightly annoyed at the fact that damage doesn't seem to show up very easily on them any more. All vehicles basically look quite healthy until they explode. All in all, there is nothing to be said against the gameplay.

Final Score - 10
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Graphics
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Oh wow. Stunning! Completely stunning! Many people say they are just Halo 2 upgraded but that's quite frankly isn't being fair. Just looking at the scenery and lighting on some of the levels should impress even the worst of skeptics. And best of all, no sign of the slight glitches that were present in Halo 2. Everything looks fantastic, especially explosions and destruction of vehicles. The interaction between weapon fire and scenery, and more importantly enemies, looks brilliant. No complaints whatsoever.

Final Score - 10
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Sound
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Sadly, the sound and music is actually a bit of a let down. Many of the sounds seem to be either completely re-used from Halo 2 or just poorly recorded. The music is good as ever, but again the new tracks (and their isn't very many) aren't anything to be impressed with. the voice acting is still brilliant, and enemy quotes are sill as classic as ever. They react to who you kill ("We went to Nipple Academy together"), they react to what weapons you use ("Who lost their Hammer?"), and of course, you're allies can get pleased or annoyed with the weapons you give them ("I shall name my next child after you Demon!").

Final Score - 7
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Control
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Basically the same as the previous games updated for the 360 controller. Simple to get the hang of, after all, why fix something that works? No complaints whatsoever.

Final Score - 10
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Location/Scenery
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Mixed feelings on this one. On the whole they are very good. Certainly they all look fantastic, and Bungie have finally managed to fix the repetition problem. You no longer feel like you're travelling through the same places over and over, but the locations themselves have all been seen before in the previous games to be honest. Thankfully, due to the updated graphics you can overlook this without too much of a problem.

Final Score - 7
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Characters
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The characters are interesting enough to keep the game flowing nicely, with some fine voice acting helping here, most notably Steve Downes and Keith David again. Sadly, there isn't any new major characters at all, and the Arbiter has a slightly smaller role than before, but that's not really much of a problem.

Final Score - 9
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Replay Value
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Campaign
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The biggest problem with the playing time, is just that. The campaign can be finished within a matter of hours. Whoever said that 80-90% of Bungie's time was spent on the campaign was telling porkies I suspect. The good things going for it however, ar the fact that the gameplay never gets old. Skull Hunting is back as well, although much easier than before, and you only need to find the skull once as after that you activate it from the menu. This still boosts the replay value and certainly I still find that the single-player can still entertain me for a good hour or so, even more when playing co-op.

Score - 7

Multiplayer
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Just go play. Nothing I can say will tell you how good it is. You can now play 4 player co-op over split screen, system link or Xbox Live, or play the good old fashioned multiplayer games over Live. Sniping some 10 year old from the other side of the map and then listening to him spit and seethe insults in your direction just hasn't got old, and never will. The only reason I make the Multiplayer lose a point is due to Bungie once again leaving out the addition of bots!

Score - 9

Overall Score - 8
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Rent or Buy
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If you like Halo, then obviously it's a must buy. A sad, but fantastic end to a fantastic trilogy.

Conclusion
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Pros
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+ Good Fun
+ Beautiful Graphics
+ Amazing Multiplayer
+ Variety of Weapons
+ Great Vehicle Combat

Cons
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- Poor Sound
- Disappointing Story

Overall Reating - 8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/02/07, Updated 10/04/07

Game Release: Halo 3 (EU, 09/26/07)


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