Review by Galactus21

"Finishing the fight has meaning."

Halo had a great single player, but it didn't have an online multiplayer option. Halo 2 had online multiplayer, but its cliffhanger ending left a lot to be desired in the campaign. Halo 3 merges the best aspect of both Halo and Halo 2 to form one of the better experiences in recent memory. By meshing a solid storyline, a dynamic single player campaign, and the frag-filled mayhem of an online multiplayer - Halo 3 is easily the best game in the series. Backed by one of the best musical soundtracks in a first person shooter, it gives users an incentive to finish the fight from the opening onset of Halo 3's them song playing.

The Real Deal

Halo 3 starts off with the chief lying lifeless on barren rock. A soon revitalized chief makes his way through the land along with a newfound ally in the arbiter. Betrayed by the Covenant, the Arbiter joins MasterChief to face a common enemy. The story this time around was well thought out. Rivaling that of Halo's, Halo 3's storyline is able to draw people to the fictitious universe that is Halo. It forces you to commit and relish the feeling of being of being the MasterChief. It forces you to rally behind the Arbiter and his Elites as they prepare for battle. It makes you hate the prophets with unbelievable passion. While not as story driven as other genres, Halo 3 foretells a story that is just as good, if not better than any first person shooter out there. It was like a immersing yourself in a nice sci-fi film. The only difference of course – you get to finish the fight from your point of view.

From the very start of Halo 3's epic and fantastic single player, the player is immediately thrown into the fray of things. The battles against the Covenant from the very beginning were intensive and long drawn out. Fragging and shooting down the Covenant scum was all the more sweet by game's end. Halo 3's game play felt tighter and more intuitive. The single player was much more varied this time around. You'll get your nice dose of shooting of course, but there are also plenty of vehicles for you to partake in. One of the segments in the middle of the game even lets you control a new aircraft into battle. This was especially appealing because not only was it fun, but the aerial view really showed how nice Halo 3 looked.

By introducing several new weapons and items, the game play was unsurprisingly more varied as well. Some slight tweaks to different weapons have helped balance the game as well. Dual wielding is still as fun as ever. Playing on normal seemed like the best fit for me, but that was mostly due to my inadequacies and unsuccessful attempt at heroic. Even so, the enemies are still fairly smart on normal. The Brutes also took the center stage this time around. Engaging a small unit of Brutes flanked by grunts was the focal point of many areas. The amazing part about that was Bungie's ability to make it work without making the single player repetitive. The reason – the large and diverse amount of vehicles kept the game interesting. However, the driving A.I could have used further tweaking. There were times where it forced you to drive because the computer couldn't make a turn correctly. This was quite apparent when one of Chief's fellow soldiers with intensive military training kept running into the same block over and over again.

There was one particular instance, where the player takes hold of a flying vehicle. This further brings the player into the fictitious world of Halo. Although a bit short, the aerial battle added a different perspective to the war. Furthermore, the amount of firefights and vehicle battles were reinforced with an epic tune that got my adrenaline pumping. While not perfect, these two aspects alone made Halo 3 one of the better experiences in recent memories. And make no doubt about it, Halo 3 is bar none the best in the series. One of the reasons for that is Halo 3's enemy A.I. One particular instance that showcases this brilliance in design is the flood jumping out of the way as I tried my best to run them over and turn them into road kills.

With a much improved and cohesive storyline to reinforce the intense battles seen throughout Halo 3's single player campaign, Bungie was still able to deliver an addictive multiplayer. Not too big of a surprise, as Halo has always been known for its incredible multiplayer capabilities. This time however, the multiplayer felt even more balance and more intense. The player can choose between a plethora of game types in ranked and social play lists. Within those, there are designated maps for each category. So don't expect to play a big team slayer battle to be on a small map. Before every match, players can veto the map. This gives each player a say on the map.

Although preferring large team battles, Halo 3 has other game modes that are quite addictive. Multi-team games are especially fun and chaotic. My main focus on multiplayer was the game's immersive and insane big team battles that can be found on the social play lists. On one such map, the land is covered and filled by sand. The only break from the dullness is the roaring engines and sound of gunfire. One unique thing about this map is the ability for players to drive this huge vehicle, where numerous can hop on board for a joy ride.

Perhaps the best thing about Halo 3 is its musical soundtrack. The soundtrack is lively and epic. With orchestration that rivals any game. There are numerous moments where a big battle was looming and the music begins to pick up. In Halo fashion, the music enhances the game and gets you pumped up. This time around though, the music is even better than previous editions. Voice acting was also incredibly enacted. The graphics on the other hand are a bit underwhelming. Although the smooth frame rate and physics are quite impressive, the character models felt kind of sluggish. With that said however, the lively environment for the most part makes up for this deficiency.

With the single player being a solid length, coupled with the newly introduced online coop, Halo 3 prevents plenty of play time from a story perspective. Now add in the vast amount of hours you will spend with the online multiplayer and Halo 3 suddenly becomes the type of game where you will be playing for months and even years. Halo 3 is incredibly fun and there is plenty to do. What more can you ask for?

Finishing the fight is full of meaning

In the end, Gears of War may still be my favorite Xbox 360 game, but Halo 3 isn't too far behind. Halo 3 provides plenty of longevity. It's hard to live up to the hype that Halo 3 generated. In fact, no game could live up to the massive hype that this game received, but Halo 3 was close to achieving it. I'll definitely settle for close. On its own merit, Halo 3 is a fantastic game that should not be missed by anyone. There are plenty of online game types, the single player is as solid as can be, and the inclusion of incredible attributes like music makes for a fantastic experience. Halo 3 is the real deal.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/02/07

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

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