Review by DrKlaric
"Finish the fight, then start another one."
In my opinion Halo 3 doesn't live up to all the hype and expectations everybody had for it. It is still however a great game. Many people, including myself, had too high expectations for it because the first two games were so good. Games like Gears of War were good because they were new and original titles and with the exception of videos and demos people didn't know what to expect. Fans wanted alot of things for this game and Bungie did its best to deliver it with only a few minor flaws.
The story mode of this game is were most of these minor flaws occur but again these are minor. It is rather short for my taste but still a good way to pass the time if your internet is down or you don't feel like playing the multiplayer. The graphics aren't perfect but they're still well done for a 360 game and as long as you can tell what an object is or where the enemy's at then there shouldn't be many complaints. The human faces could use some touching up but you shouldn't be paying too much attention to them. The enemies are aliens and so their faces look like what they're supposed to.
The AI of the enemies is definitely a plus. If a brute is on the verge of death he will throw down a shield or if the player is closer he will go berserk and charge you. If the enemy battalion is all but defeated a surviving grunt will sometimes light two grenades and run towards you kamikaze style. Your allied AI is not as great as you'd want them to be. While they are good for distracting the enemy or holding on to different weapons for you I wouldn't put too much faith in them. They also must have got their driver's licenses out of a box of cereal.
The best part of campaign is the four player co-op. Its a great way to play with your friends and get achievements. There is also a scoring system that is available in single or co-op but the latter is much more enjoyable as you can tell who did all the work, who took one for team the most, and who sat back with a battle rifle and stole everyones kills. There are also 13 hidden skulls that can be turned on for little extras (make grunt heads blow out confetti and shout out yay!) or to add some challenge to the game and give your score a bonus multiplier (double the enemies health).
Overall the campaign mode of this game is fun and is a great way to finish off the story. The small flaws from above can be overlooked but the only major complaints I had were the length, the random cortana/gravemind visions, and the final boss. One character who would have made a perfect ending boss was left out and replaced with a floating target. The final part of the last level more than made up for it though and is great fun with 4 players.
Probably what most Halo 3 players are doing, matchmaking is basically everything you know and love (or hate) from Halo 2 with a few modifications. When you first start there are three main catagories to choose from: basic training (for people playing for the first time to get used to the game), social match (for people with guests and others to enjoy non-ranked games), and ranked matches (for people to play seriously to improve there rank and skill level).
There are quite a few gametypes and levels to add a variety of matches. However if there's a game or map which the players don't like then they can choose to veto a map and/or game and if theres a majority veto then a new map and game will be selected. Another interesting feature is that each person has a military rank (private, captain, general, etc.) based on their skill and experience. Players also lose experience points if they prematurely quit a game so people who don't normally quit games are likely to play with others who rarely quit.
Overall matchmaking is pretty much what you would expect. Whether you join alone or with a group of friends your guaranteed to have fun. Although some players don't shut up and bring down the fun, they can easily be muted. Another great thing Bungie did was on Halloween they made a new gamelist entitled "Halloween" which consisted of unique games and maps for that particular holiday. They will most likely do this again for other holidays or other special occasions.
Custom Games and Forge
A very popular aspect of the Halo series is custom games were you can, as the name suggests, customize games to your liking. Like Halo 1 and 2 you can change certain aspects of the game to your liking such as starting weapons, items on the map, and scoring options. You are also able to change things like health, speed, and even gravity. These game variants can be saved and played on any map with friends and can be put up on file share (see below) for anyone to play. Custom games can be enhanced further with the forge feature.
Forge is a way to edit objects and scenery on a map without altering the actual geography. With it players will be able to place weapons and vehicles anywhere they want to on a map, change their respawn time, how much ammo weapons have, and various other things. Up to 8 players can be in forge and they may even battle to test out there new map. With forge people can play with any weapon they want for practice or just plain fun. Players also have the option to place other objects like crates and teleporters on the map.
These two features work very well together to both create an awesome game and a board that goes well with it. Aside from actually playing these features are one of the best features of Halo 3.
The next major feature of this game is the saved films. Your last 25 games are saved on your 360 for you to watch. You can also save small clips of the films, watch them in slow motion, and even take screen shots of impressive or humiliating moments and send them to friends. This is an excellent feature to look at enemy tactics or where some one was hidden. These can also be put on file share.
The final major thing to be listed here is file share. With file share you can share files which basically means let anybody see you screen shots and film clips and play on you maps with your gametypes. This is a good way for people to play someone elses map without having to create it from scratch.
On an overall scale Halo 3 is one of the best games out there. A few minor imperfections chip away its chance at total perfection. Regardless it is probably the best 360 game out so far and if you have a decent amount of cash I would suggest buying a 360 just to play this game if you don't already own one. With lots of cool features and customizable options this game will provide lots of fun for almost any person out there. Downloadable content for this game is a given. I believe that this game will surpass Halo 2 in all aspects and will be played for many more years until the next game by Bungie comes out.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/02/07
Game Release: Halo 3 (US, 09/25/07)
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