I know that by now everybody and their mother has played Halo 3 who is going to. I know that it doesn’t matter what the title’s solo campaign experience was like, it was going to sell like the Dickens just so we could all frag each other into the next century via the internet. I also know that I’ve played my share of online matches as well and multiplayer aspect of the game holds few flaws. I am not one who can keep playing it forever and ever unfortunately, and at this point I wouldn’t be able to hold my own in the cutthroat battlenet world. It was most definitely fun while it lasted.
I just borrowed the game from RMC because since the first Halo I have been intrigued by the story and I wanted to finally see how they wrapped up what I thought was supposed to be the finale. I must say that I was quite disappointed. Please understand me here. When I first picked up an Xbox controller to play co-op Halo: Combat Evolved I was like that guy in the Maxell Logo. Blown away! The sheer scale of the missions combined with an intriguing storyline made it more than your average FPS. There are still levels of that game, mainly the Silent Cartographer that I could probably play over again until I die.
Then there was Halo 2. The series had made the shift to online gaming brilliantly and by this time Bungie knew what kind of success they had on their hands so it seemed that they didn’t put as much into the solo campaign experience. There are only 2 missions that excited me and they still weren’t on par with the presentation of the original. I felt that the story had lost an element with the addition of all these new characters and brutes that just seemed to distance itself from what made it great. Reminds me of movie trilogies that didn’t know they were going to be trilogies until the first one made millions. Although Master Chief riding the bomb was good. Really good. I’m not made of stone.
Finally, I beat Halo 3 yesterday. I cannot stress enough how disappointed I am with the entire game. Firstly, the way that I have to stop every five seconds so that a vision of Cortana flashes before my eyes to induce a seizure was the main thing that brought me out of the experience. Then when I finally get her back, I’m subject to more of it through that Barry White sounding alien. I mean, I guess it was an alien. Tell you the truth I had no idea what was going on or what it was! If I can’t move while that thing speaks, why didn’t he just record himself doing the HMS Pinafore and play it on repeat so that Master Chief would be stuck in that eternal hell forever. That was by far the worst mission in any FPS that I’ve played. At no time was I having fun. By that point in the game I was just trying to get through to see the ending. I didn’t care one bit about Cortana or the flood. It was just disheartening.
Anything that I found remotely fun in the game was something that was a bad copy of a mission from the previous 2 Halos. There is a beach level where you have to infiltrate a bunker to shut down a shield. There is a highway driving mission where you have to open up a pathway between cities. These were the best missions and they were both rehashed. It was cool having to drive my way out of all the explosions during the final mission… but it just seemed so familiar. And what the hell was I driving on by the way?! Did someone build that just so they could do sweet jumps off these ramps in a warthog?
Then there are some minor bits that I could’ve done without. I miss having to kill the Elites and it’s just not as satisfying to take out the Brutes. Also what’s going on with the Brutes’ armor? It falls of off them leaving them vulnerable after some hits? That just wasn’t how I pictured it. I think I touched a sniper rifle once and the Marine Pistol manages to suck even worse than it did in Halo 2! Like I said, minor bits that just added to my misery.
Now here’s the kicker: the ending. Can someone explain to me how the heck the Arbiter and Master Chief both land on the same ship via the Warthog, but only the Arbiter makes it back? Did I miss him detach an escape pod and fly back alone? What was that all about? It was so very anti climactic that I just couldn’t help but agree with that Admiral when he told the Arbiter that he can’t forgive the elites for what happened in the original game. Me too Admiral! Now let’s go kill those jerks huh?! Their armor won’t fall off them at least! The only thing that could’ve made it worse would be to show us Master Chief’s face because that would be disappointing. “Return of the Jedi” disappointing. Hey, at least we got to hear Chief’s name though… John. John!? Did we need to hear that? It’s the most common name in our recent history! Why couldn’t it be Rutger or Gil? Okay, well now I’m just looking with a microscope for things to complain about.
All in all I guess you can tell that I was unhappy with Halo 3’s solo campaign as a whole. The reason I am so passionate about this issue is because of my experiences with the first title. Now it seems that Bungee obviously knows that they could dump in a box, have online play, and make their millions. They even have a tongue in cheek blurb before the end credits about ass kicking and money making. This decline of the franchise seems unfair to those of us who want more than just another forum to kill each other virtually.
There is no reason to own this game unless you have an Xbox Live account. The next Halo (which it looks like there will be one judging from the ending of Halo 3) should just be a full out online multiplayer game because I can’t stand to have my heart broken again. Obviously, these are just my opinions and I’d like to reiterate that this is a must have for online multiplayer matches, but as a credible story with characters that I care about, Halo has gone the way of the buffalo. If way of the buffalo means crappy.