Review by Chronic_Apathy
"A fitting end to an amazing trilogy"
Halo 3 is the best-selling FPS (First Person Shooter) for the Xbox 360. It features some of the best graphics, audio, controls, and yes: gameplay on the Xbox 360 and indeed any console. With over 1,000,000 sales on the first day, no-one can argue that it will go down in history as one of the biggest games ever. But is it going to down as one of the most over-hyped games, or one of the best? What is it really that made the game sell like that to begin with? Graphics? Audio? Gameplay? Multiplayer? The answer is all of these things, and a whole lot more.
The gameplay is pretty straight-forward. Using a variety of different weapons you must kill people. Simple right? Correct. One of the things that has made Halo so popular is it doesn't take more than 10 minutes to learn and use proficiently. The guns all have a different use and most are worth using if used right. Veterans from Halo: CE will be glad to see the Assault Rifle is back, while Halo 2 vets will notice nearly all of their companions from Halo 2 are making the transition over, though many of which have been altered. Along with both of these, more than a few brand new weapons are being introduced.
The two biggest new features are Forge and Theatre. Forge is Bungie's version of a level editor. Instead of making brand new ones however, you can place items and weapons anywhere you please on the map. It's fun to add say, a pile of fusion coils next to a Sniper Rifle and see what happens. The other feature, theatre, allows you to view the last 25 matches you've played. You can also save screenshots and clips from those movies and add them to your file share, which lets all your friends and recent players download them to look at.
With this being the third game, it's no surprise that Bungie added a few new items to the gameplay. First and foremost, equipment. Using the X button, you can now use different kinds of equipment for a variety of different uses. These range from the famous and popular Bubble Shield to the not-so-popular Radar Jammer and Flare. Though I've heard a few complants, they've really added a new layer to the gameplay that many people love. This is probably the largest difference in the gameplay between Halo 3 and Halo 2.
One large change is the HUD (Heads Up Display). Bungie's moved some stuff around just like they did in the Halo to Halo 2 transition, and it might take a while to get used to. There's a few new enemies (that I can't give any details on without giving out spoilers), but for the most part the campaign has stayed the same. One massive change in multiplayer is armor varients. Ever feel like you want to shed that clunky ol' armor from Halo 2? Well now you can! While they don't change the gameplay itself, armor varients let you customize what your Spartan's armor looks like in multiplayer.
There's not too many differences between the controls of Halo 3 and the other two, but there's one huge one. The X button no longer picks up weapons, reloads, and interacts with computers or terminals. Instead, those roles have been given to the RB button (with the exception of reloading the left weapon when duel-wielding, which is LB). Other than that, "A" is jump, "B" is melee, "Y" is switch weapons, "RT" is fire primary weapon, "LT" is throw grenades or fire duel-wielding weapon if using one. To crouch, click the left thumbstick, to zoom in use the right thumbstick. See? Nothing much has changed.
The graphics are simply spectacular. Though not up the stardards set by Gears of War or Bioshock, they're still beautiful and deserve some recognition. When looking at the shadows you can tell that that's where Bungie put a lot of time and effort into making the game look pretty. The humans are detailed and look realistic, the Brutes still look furry and in general, pissed off. More attention to detail has paid than previous games, and things like creases on uniforms can be seen if one looks close enough.
The audio is good, but slightly disappointing. One thing that impressed me (as it did in H:CE and H2) was the sound of a gun firing or bullets pinging off metal. It's amazing how you can use sound to find that pesky guy in multiplayer. I am a huge fan of the music from the Halo series, and was shocked to find that during the campaign, there was rarely a powerful track played loud enough to get something out of it. Such an occurance happened every 10 minutes in the previous two games, so this was a major let-down. Most of the voice acting is spot-on, though there were a few bogies here and there. The Grunts and marines still say hilarious things throughout the campaign as well.
The replayibility is superb. Halo 2 was the most-played game on Xbox Live for almost three years, and now Halo 3 takes it's place on the podium, and for a good reason. The multiplayer is fun and addicting. The campaign isn't overly long, but the meta-game mode and skulls will keep you coming for more. Forge and Theatre are also two features that you'll spend hour upon hour screwing around with. Though the achievements aren't much for keeping you from moving on, the rest of the stuff listed should more than do the trick.
All in all this is an amazing game. New features like Forge and Theatre are great, and the new additions to the gameplay keep it fresh for a long time. The addictive multiplayer is what will really bring you in and refuse to let go for years on end. The campaign is a fun and memorable experience as well, and you'll want to go through it again off and on throughout Halo 3's life span. There's certainly no doubt about it: Halo 3 is a fitting end to an amazing trilogy.
Gameplay - 9/10
Controls - 9/10
Graphics - 9/10
Audio - 8.5/10
Replayibility - 10/10
Overall - 9/10
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/29/07
Game Release: Halo 3 (US, 09/25/07)
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