“This is Spartan 117, can anyone read me? Over”
“Chief! You mind telling me what your doing aboard that ship?”
“Sir, finishing this fight”
For about 10 seconds that was the most amazing quote ever. And then you realized Halo 2 had finished. F***. The end of Halo 2 left gamers with possibly one the biggest cliff hangers in video game history. Sure everyone was pissed, but everyone wanted more.
The Halo 3 single player campaign starts you off playing as Master Chief with the Arbiter by your side, a first in the series as the two are now true BFF. This is clearly shown as the smile the Arbiter cracks when the Chief’s pistol gets pulled out of his mouth. You’ll quickly familiarize yourself with the controls with the only difference being RB is now reload, and X is for deploying equipment. As you continue through the campaign a good assortment of new and old weapons and vehicles will be available to you. Some new vehicles being the Mongoose and the Brute Chopper, while new weapons include the Gravity Hammer and the Spartan Laser. The Warthog’s back and ready for action this time around with no changes, and the Assault Rifle and Pistol make their second appearance, first since Halo: Combat Evolved. As mentioned earlier Equipment is a new addition to the game. With a wide variety of choices players can throw down a mine, radar jammer, bubble shield, and many others. And finally, Gears of War set the standard with 2 player online co op for console shooters. Halo 3 once again pushes the limit with the ability to play through the campaign with 3 of your friends.
So far with the game being A+ all around, it’s time to get into some negatives. The story itself didn’t bring the same “oh em gee” feeling as previous Halo’s did. Even the last level, maybe the greatest Last Level I’ve ever played, was only good because it was so similar in gameplay the first Halo’s last level. This time around the flood don’t give you that same dreaded feeling that they might pop out at you any second. While playing through the campaign I was wondering when they were going to bring the flood into the game, halfway through my prayers were answered. No detail behind it, no surprises, the flood just crash like 20 feet away from you. And lastly the AI: the enemy AI was as clever as ever in the Halo series, but the friendly AI was definitely lacking. Considering the Arbiter played through Halo 2 on Legendary, he was quite terrible in Halo 3.
And now for the fun stuff, the cause of all-nighters and the thing that separates Halo 3 from any other game out there. Online Multiplayer.
Again, fans of the first two Halo installments will quickly catch on to Halo 3, with basic gameplay being similar, but like the campaign, a few new weapons and vehicles and the addition of equipment. As with most things in Halo 3, the maps bring a good mix of new and old. Favourites like Blood Gulch/ Coagulation and Lockout are brought back and improved upon
as Valhalla and Guardian. While new maps include the massive Sandtrap, and a take off Zanzibar from Halo 2: High Ground.
The Gamplay is what makes the game good, the features are what make it great. A take off Halo 2, the party system in number 3 raises the bar for online play. Forge brings you the ability to edit maps. Tired of not having tanks in Valhalla? Throw ‘em in there. Or maybe that Rocket Launcher should be replaced with a Sword, or a Spartan Laser or a Plasma Pistol? The possibilities are endless, and as included in DLC, Foundry is a Forge only map with a ton of new objects and features. Also, a Meta game has been implemented into the 3rd game in the series, whether it’s for achievements, against friends, or with friends this is a fun feature for the single player campaign. And lastly, the Saved Films feature. You now have the ability to go back and watch a game all over again, and saving part, or the entire film. And intertwined with Saved Films is the File Share. That grenade you stuck the back of your buddies head can now be seen by both parties, from different angles, in slow mo, and watched over and over again. Definitely setting the bar for Online FPS’s
And lastly, a section you’ll only find in the toughest of reviews, Achievements. In Halo 3 there are 49 achievements worth a total of 1000 points. I thought the achievements were really well done in this game although considering the amount of Halo diehards out there, maybe a little too easy. The only gripe I have here being the commonly read phrase in Halo 3, “on Normal, Heroic, or Legendary”. Instead of making you go through on all difficulties, something I’d love to do, Bungie gives you the option to only go through once and get all the achievements. But with 975/1000 points I am very satisfied with the amount, placement, and difficulty of Halo 3 achievements.
And one last point before I end it, relating to the very first point. Unfortunately Halo 3 doesn’t have the Chief saying anything funny as he did with Halo 2. Master Chief won’t be giving anyone back their bomb in this game.