Review by Syst3mW4rr10r

"I'm sorry, what was all the hype about?"

Is there a gamer in the world who didn't notice the release of Halo 3? The Summer 2007 "beta-test", massive advertising campaign, not to mention the fact that virtually all Xbox 360 owners have played one or both of it's prequels. It was basically hyped up to be THE game of 2007. However, having played it a few months after release, I really can't see what all the fuss was about.

Firstly, the most important thing: gameplay. Halo 3 has pretty good gameplay, as far as things go. However, given that it's gameplay is pretty much the same as or worse than both previous Halo games. It is pretty fun to play, with the expected simple run-and-gun action with some lengthly vehicle sections. These are pretty much the same as previous Halo titles, except that because of the plot of Halo 2, the Elites have left the Covenant to join the humans, so they have been replaced by the Brutes, who are bigger, uglier, and wield brute shots and gravity hammers rather than plasma rifles and energy swords. However, I see no real reason for the change, since the plot is a pretty standard sci-fi epic and the vast majority of its players ignore the plot anyway. I happened to like the Elites as the enemy, to me they were as iconic as the Master Chief himself. However, brutes are now the primary foe, so brutes we must kill. Another complaint I have against the game is that the difficulty curve is crazily variable. Starting playing the game on Heroic difficulty (which is the second hardest of four) I blasted through the first few sections, then got died at the same gunfight 10 to 20 times. Following this I then cut a bloody swathe through the Covenant forces for the next twenty minutes, then met another section that had me swearing and getting quite frustrated and bored by for the next twenty minutes. I consider myself a fairly skilled FPS player (though admittedly I use a mouse and keyboard normally) so the difficulty curve is not exactly great. Overall the gameplay is OK, but some things about it are quite frustrating.

The story in the Halo series is pretty standard, to be honest. I could go into detail but that would take a while and it's pretty boring anyway. Basically the alien Covenant have invaded Earth and you must lead Earth's resistance. I have always held that the Halo storyline is average and pretty unimaginative, which is sadly often the case in the current video game industry.

One place in which Halo does shine is in its graphics, though that really isn't anything to be proud of anymore. Just about every next-gen game looks good, and the only real difference with Halo 3 is that there is massive amounts of bloom effects. No, seriously, MASSIVE BLOOM. The bloom effects hav been overdone by quite a bit, but to be honest I don't really care about graphics. I'd gladly play games from the 1990s as long as they are fun. I know many disagree with this view, but frankly I don't care, and Halo doesn't gain many marks in this regard from me.

With regards to sound, Halo 3 is poor. The guns don't sound nearly impressive enough for my taste. In my opinion assault rifles should sound incredibly loud and evoke a primeval sense of destruction and fear, which Halo really doesn't do. The voices of your comrades are basically your stereotypical Marines with their "Hoo-ah" and "Sir, yes, sir" type voices. The Covenant annoy me, it has to be said. I always thought the Elites sounded cool, but now there are barely any of them in the game and instead their are the Brutes who aren't nearly so cool. The high-pitched Grunts are also annoying with their squeaky "Demon!" and "Run away!" Another complaint I have of the voices is that in order to hear them you have to be looking at the source of the noise and be pretty close to it. This means that I missed some pretty important orders from the superiors and didn't really know what to do for a while. Overall the sound isn't great and could've been much better.

To be perfectly honest I have no idea how long it takes to finish the game since I got bored after a couple of hours and gave up. However, I hear that it takes about 10 years. To be honest I don't think it's even worth finishing, let alone replaying. I don't have an Xbox Live profile or a second controller so I haven't played the multiplayer and am judging purely on the single player (which is my usual way of judging games). However, since I am pretty sure the multiplayer will be pretty much the same as Halo 2, so it will be fun to play the multiplayer locally but not online due to the high numbers of pre-pubescent foul-mouthed players with headsets.

A lot of gamers speak of the Halo series like it is the Holy Grail of gaming, revolutionary in gameplay, graphics, story and OMG ITS HALO BY MICROSOFT!!! However, I fail to see what's so good about it. Just about everything in it has been done somewhere else before it has and better. However, nobody ever seems to notice this and just about everyone with an Xbox 360 will buy it/have bought it. Overall I would say that it may be worth renting for a LAN party or something, but not worth £40. Seriously, the massive amount of hype was pointless and false.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 03/24/08

Game Release: Halo 3 (EU, 09/26/07)

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