Review by Wman02

"No improvement over the last installment"

So Halo 3 is finally out. I had reserved it at Gamestop almost 3 months in advance, so I didn't have to get in line waiting for the store to open at midnight on 9/25. It has been 3 years since Halo 2; which I thought was a major advancement from Halo 1, and was hoping Halo 3 would continue the trend. Unfortunately, when I activated Halo 3 on my Xbox 360, my initial reaction was "This is it?"; I was expecting more from a big name franchise for its first excursion onto a 7th generation console. I don't play online, so my review is limited solely to the single player game; mostly for the Normal difficulty level.

Graphics: 8. A slight but noticeable improvement over Halo 2. The backgrounds are bright and quite detailed, but I think Bungie could have done slightly better, although it does not detract from the gameplay.

Sound: 6. Mostly regurgatating previous soundtracks, but if you don't enjoy the previous two games soundtracks then you shouldn't be playing to begin with.

Gameplay: 9. If you know how to play Halo 2 then you know how to play this. There are a few new weapons, but only the gravity hammer is particularly useful. The needler can no longer be dual wielded, the assault rifle is back and better, you can rip off turrets and destroy Scarab engines. The beam rifle is practically nonexistent; most Jackal snipers use carbines instead. All the old vehicles are back, along with a few new ones that are largely revamped versions of existing vehicles.
Now for some good news. I did think that Bungie improved the graphics slightly, although it doesn't alter gameplay at all. The Marine's AI is better than before, and they can more than hold their own in fights; you won't have to constantly be involved in combat babysitting. Being able to rip off turrets was a nice twist; allowing for rapid fire barrages of unprecedented ferocity. I liked the inclusion of equipment, but only a few devices are actually useful.

Story: 7. Wraps up most loose ends in the Halo story arc. There is a noticeable gap from the end of Halo 2 which I believe some comic will address (not that many players will actually read it). The campaign mode is somewhat short though.

Replayability/Enjoyability: 7. It essentially boils down to the same shoot-to-kill fun from the other Halo games It will probably take about 7-8 hours to complete your first run through normal, shorter on subsequent plays. The higher difficulties are geared towards co-op, or if you want to unlock achievements, some of which can be used in multiplayer mode.

Final comments: If you are not already a Halo fan this won't make you into one. I am by no means saying that Halo 3 is a bad game, but it is just not an advancement from Halo 2. Unless you are a die hard fanatic, you should probably rent Halo 3 first, then decide if you really want to buy for keeps. It is probably good to play on Xbox Live in co-op or multiplayer, although I have yet to experience that for myself. I still think Bungie and Microsoft should have devoted more effort and originality into their standard bearer series for its debut on the 360.

Final score: 8 (rounded up from 7.5).

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 10/10/07

Game Release: Halo 3 (US, 09/25/07)

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