|Genre||Satisfying FPS Finale|
|Score||7 Gameplay: 9
Fun Factor: 7
|Buy from Amazon|
Halo 3 probably doesn't need much introduction, being one of the most hyped game of the year and the climax to one of the most popular series ever. For the unaware, Halo 3 is a first person shooter putting you in the role of Master Chief, a super soldier in super armor. The game focuses on fast action and throws hordes of enemies at you. Halo 3 also features a variety of vehicles that are actually fun to drive and add substantially to the gameplay. Let's just get straight to the review.
The Halo series has been fine tuned very well and I believe Bungie has released their best playing shooter yet with Halo 3. The variety of guns is far more balanced than in Halo 2 and the number of vehicles (that all control really well) make the giant levels much more playable and allows for some truly fun boss fights. The multiplayer I did play was fast paced and the game allows for nearly infinite number of game types. Some of the levels though felt repetitive and it felt like I was just fending off wave after wave of bad guys. Online multiplayer co-op was a great addition to the game though and really adds to its replayability (I beat the game twice, once with a friend and once alone).
Fun Factor: 7
Halo 3 suffers somewhat in this category, sometimes the game is simply not fun. Actually, I think the game is bookended with crappy levels: the first level has you being sniped at when all you have to fight back with is an assault rifle, and the last two levels are long, grueling, and an exercise in tedium. In between, the game is generally very fun with lots of variety. My favorite parts were fighting the giant bosses on vehicles, it didn't seem like there were enough of them though! Also the final sequence is really fun and dramatic, especially with multiple people (imagine racing on a track that is getting destroyed through many fiery explosions).
Graphics and Sound: 8
Much like its predecessors, Halo 3 suffers from indoor environmental repetitiveness, but the outdoor areas are generally stunning. The game doesn't really look any better than Gears of War though, which came out a year before. At least the game doesn't suffer from the awful draw in that Halo 2 did (imagine objects popping onto the screen halfway into a cutscene). Characters look really good and the game's framerate never suffers during all the explosions and gunfire on screen. Sound design is good, but fellow soldiers' shouts are neither useful or funny (the best voice writing actually seems to the bad guys!). The music is absolutely superb though, as it has always been with the series. Pretty good presentation all around here.
The biggest problem with Halo 3's story is that if you never played/finished Halo 2, this game will make zero sense. The first scene is of Master Chief falling out of the sky and landing in a jungle. Why was he falling? Where is he falling from? And when did he start jumping? The answer to the last one is the ending of Halo 2 (yes, the whole ending was him jumping to Earth). Halo 3 also features a giant plant trying to rule the universe, a female A.I. that likes to obnoxiously interfere with gameplay by giving creepy voiceovers, and three species of alien races that are your ally in one level and your enemy in the next. It's all a little confusing, even for someone who completed Halo 2.
Anyways, the main plot is some religious fanatic aliens have invaded Earth and by the time the game starts, have basically decimated it. They also have plans to destroy all life in the galaxy using the Halo rings, basically all around crazies. In your travels you actually go to the Ark, the origin of the Halo rings, and you're not there for a tour. There are plenty of long cutscenes in between the levels that tell the story well, but I got bored of them after a while. Characters are introduced and then killed off in semi-dramatic fashion, but the story suffers from the nasty corner they wrote themselves into with Halo 2. However, the game redeems itself for a truly awesome ending that left me incredibly satisfied with the trilogy.
Halo 3 is a better game than the second, but not as good as the first. The story does end very satisfying though and I'm interested in reading the accompanying novels. The game has a lot to wrap up after what Bungie wrote for Halo 2, and I think they did a decent job recovering, but the game does suffer from it. The graphics are good and the music is excellent, but the campaign is a little short on fun at points. If you're looking for the ultimate online multiplayer experience, this may well be it, but if you never played the prequels and are looking for an engrossing story, look elsewhere.