Review by punkducky
"Avid Fans, Beware - This Ain't Pretty"
One day, out of sheer curiosity, I went to my nearby Video Game store and asked, "What good game is there out right now for the XBOX 360?" And they flashed me the newest Halo (at the time) - sleek, sexy box with a trim and a lovely price tag of seventy dollars. Well, I'd heard all about the hype and decided to see just what in the world everyone else seemed to think was so magnificent.
Shelling out the measly $187 (for taxes, and the first two games) I immediately went home, and popped in the first one. Sadly, Microsoft is really stupid, and made it so that the 360 isn't backwards compatible with the original. "No matter," I thought, "I'll just play the new one when I have time and only multiplayer so that I don't miss out on the story!"
The plan had gone smoothly, but for one missing factor - there was no one around to multiplayer with, since my internet was, at the time, nonexistent. So I put on my game face and read the Wikipedia plot entries on the first two games. With the very vague idea of what to expect in terms of character growth or something, I started playing and my jaw dropped.
I paid just under $200 for a cheap, thrill-less Metroid knockoff. Okay, to be fair, the graphics were stunning and the enemies were kinda...well, alien-looking, but it was all there - running, shooting, more running, a little jumping here and there, more shooting, and lots of green pus blowing out of some dude's head.
I was dismayed, dissatisfied, and discouraged from opening the other two games for fear that my brain would melt out of sheer plagiarism. Taking the game back to the store, I soon discovered the $20 and under bin and guess what I found? You guessed it - at least 30 copies of the game, barely touched. I wanted to return the game, but had to settle for 3 trade-ins that barely covered the purchase of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
I never looked back, until that same curiosity came upon me again two years later, and I somehow managed to bring myself to pay someone $10 for a used copy that had just been collecting dust on their shelf - and now, I remember why. Let's go over it in detail, shall we?
It delivers what it promises - a guy, dressed in a green helmet so you never see his face (just one of many rip-offs from the Metroid series), and aliens so...similar that they all share the same dying sequence, shooting each other to the death in free-for-all gun battles that no matter what turn eventually into battles amid Jeeps, Tanks, and even a weird helicopter-ish thing. And it gets better too! The guns are, while somewhat original, a pain in the butt to keep loaded, forcing you to change from one to the next constantly doing less damage as the only ones that appear all the time are little pea shooters that couldn't keep a duck from killing you. The problems with the game, as far as I can tell, only starts here, and it keeps getting worse.
Running with the left control stick while targeting with the right - very original idea, that one. And what's worse, is that if I'm turned to the left and something comes up on the right, I can't turn fast enough to kill it, or turn too much and miss entirely. Try and back up, and you hit some wall that you didn't know was there; run forward and you die.
Difficulty is a joke on easy, semi-easy on Normal, insane on Hard and you'd need to have reflexes of a computer and the training of a real Navy Seal to attempt Legendary. Some might read this and think "Well, you obviously suck at FPS's." Maybe so, but still - why make it simple for the entire game on Normal - crank up the difficulty! Crank it to eleven! Do what Fallout 3 has done and scale so that aliens are always a grind to kill, no matter if they are the first ones you face or the last...oh, right.
That's right folks - there are no boss fights! None, whatsoever. You basically run, jump, shoot and destroy everything in your path, to watch a short in-game movie, to repeat. You 'could' put the Scarab fights as boss fights, but those are seriously pathetic - shoot the legs a few times, run up, grab a big turret, mow down everything and fight is over.
Why a zero, you ask me; why not at least an 11/10? Because, even with my severe lack of knowledge about what you are shown in the game itself, what is left is the bare-bones of a scarcity of a plot. It's like watching a terrible re-hashing of Independence Day, where Will Smith is a gun nut (who is also dressed in green for most of the movie) and goes around shooting anything he sees, including his 'wife'.
I read the synopses, watched the clips on Youtube, pieced together what I could and re-read every last little nugget of information, and it still came down to "Aliens land. Shooting occurs. Oh, and here's some guy who is, like, a hero that everyone calls 'Chief.' " And the thing is, even after all that reading, the story still doesn't get any better. There's no character development, no scenarios that get changed behind the scenes in a dark room; there's not even a decent twist to the whole thing. M. Night Shyamalan could do wonders with this story, and at least he has a following of people who aren't completely dense.
Wow - such a change from the abysmal scores beforehand, huh. Well, it's because the graphics are just amazing - there's nothing wrong, apart from a few hands that when fried or blown off keep wriggling as though trying to escape of their own volition up a mountain's side. I spent a good ten minutes taking my sniper scope(s) and just watching the background for nuances - stars twinkling, fights happening in space, the individual hair follicles on some guy's chin - all remarkable. The downside? It's all plastic.
In a free-roaming FPS, like I believed Halo 3 to be at one time or another, needs to have definite boundaries, sure - but let me find them by walking into something that can't be walked in to, rather than falling off the edge of the world or being sent back by some stupid voice that won't shut up. The faces (of the people you could see) were all rather bland mockups of every game so far made by a non-Japanese based company, and the Arbiter's race, whatever they are, all look 100% the same, except for differences in skin and boot colors.
A zero? No, he must have made a mistake! The music is just epic! Right?
Unfortunately, no, it isn't. There just isn't any - not in the sense of what I'd call 'music' anyway. Most games, even bad games, have some sort of Creeping music, or Fighting music, or Skinning That Guy's Head Because He Looked At Me Wrong music. But this, this monstrosity, had music coming in from nowhere, on a tinny sound system that made me think we had somehow gone back in time to the N64, and that the developers had put so much effort into making the game LOOK good that they had forgotten to make it SOUND good.
Oh sure there's some cool fighting music and running away music, but at least put in some ambiance or something - listening to the sound of things gurgling, hacking, sputtering, and shouting repetitious insults (Eat some of THAT) and the overall nauseating sound of guns going off every second is enough to make someone playing this game think wrongly of it - IE, me.
PLAY TIME/REPLAYABILITY : 0/10
You'd think that wrapping up a trilogy of games would be somewhat more climactic - it all ends after a car race through a series of platforms? Good grief. And what's worse - where the heck is my time limit? "Hurry up, the planet is exploding - but before you do, study the surrounding landscape in detail for a good minute or so - you won't die, or even get hurt."
The game is also ridiculously short - 8-10 missions? Finished the entire game, start to finish, in one sitting. It was like playing Super Mario World on the SNES, and just about as boring and simple as well. There is no reason, NO REASON, for the game to finish so poorly. Is he dead, is he not dead - does it matter? You'd think that with two well known games behind them and multi-million dollar paying fans out there awaiting the exciting ending of the captivating story the people who wrote the game script would at least have the Aliens (the bad ones) rise again in a surprise cutscene or something.
Do I even need to explain why this game can't - nay, SHOULDN'T - be played again?
FINAL RECOMMENDATION: Avoid at all costs, like the plague, or the United States Healthcare System. It just isn't worth your trouble - I recommend playing something, ANYthing, else. But, if like me you have this game, just go and trade it in for something more worthwhile - you aren't missing anything.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 11/24/10
Game Release: Halo 3 (US, 09/25/07)
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