Halo 3 – Xbox 360
Review by Brent April 26, 2010
well i did it. i made my allgamesplayed.com debut thanks to pete’s sweet, sweet encouragement and persecution. i noticed that despite the many reviews that have come to pass none have covered the halo series, and so i’ll take that honor. to keep it simple i’ll stick to halo 3. a looot of mixed feelings on this one. there always is with sequels. despite the frustrations it was an overall positive experience.
the most obvious upgrade would be the graphics seeing how halo 3 was the first of the series to make a splash on the 360. funny that a lot of people thought they were pretty lack luster because i thought they were straight up gorgeous. granted the character models still looked a little like nut crackers when speaking but otherwise the environments were detailed, diverse, and fun to roam while blasting aliens nor did i ever see anything that resembled a glitch. i really didn’t have any complaints in this area of game making, well done bungie.
as for the gameplay the campaign had the same fun and immersive play as it’s predecessors with an array of epic moments sprinkled throughout. other than a somewhat anti climatic ending the campaign had a variety of missions and scenarios that kept one thoroughly entertained. once again, no complaints there.
multiplayer, however, is another story. don’t get me wrong, lan party’s were still good times as always but thanks to some changes bungie concocted, both subtle and a bit more extreme, halo 3 brought about a lot of deep and abiding frustrations. first and foremost, the double beat down… what the freak, bungie? i know we get a chuckle outta movies when hero and foe simultaneously land blows rendering one another incapacitated but do i chuckle when this happens to me while trying to murder my fellow master chief? no, i do not. i yell. a lot. yeah, it seems like a rather obscure detail but you’d be surprised how angry this can make someone. picture this: after patiently waiting in the shadows an unsuspecting noob rushes by unaware of your presence. confident with the element of surprise intact you spring from your hiding place letting loose on your trusty assault rifle. thoroughly spraying your prey with a cascade of bullets you smile as he turns and in a feeble attempt to cling to his life blindly returns fire. within arm’s length you know it is time. one tap of the melee button and he is finished. this you do aaaand… watch in fascination as you as well as your foe crumple to the ground… you think “how did this happen? how the freak did i, in all of my glory and sneakiness, perish with this noob?” as melodramatic as this story sounds it is quite accurate. the melee is as finicky as it gets my friends. an enemy can shoot you for literally half the time you do unto him yet beat downs will finish off both of you. no matter how preemptive the attack you will both die. does this make any sense? no bungie, it does not. this never happened in halo 1 or 2. did some freaker high up on bungie’s food chain think it’d be funny? well, whatever the reason this addition was ill conceived to put it mildly.
playing multiplayer at all was frustrating in many respects. ok let’s face it, everyone hates losing. if you play any game you’re going to get mad sooner or later, but halo 3 online surpasses anything and everything when it comes to gaming anger. moments of blinding rage increased 10 fold from halo 2 to halo 3. i really don’t know how it happened, but i know that it did. just ask the tumors in my brain. whether it’s watching your foes survive grenades you toss at their feet or inexplicably dying after you shotgun an enemy in the face 3 times the game is going to piss you off. a lot. however, it isn’t all curse words and unhappy faces.
halo 3 can, indeed, be a lot of fun. ask tim and pete. we’ve had a lot of epic moments, even online. moments that were full of so much jubilation we were compelled to dance until our little feet ached. there were times when we’d come back from 30-10 or watch in awe as we no scoped sword wielding elites from 5 feet away.. with the sun in our eyes. times when in 100% desperation we hucked a plasma grenade across the map when it, to our eternal delight, affixed itself to some poor soul’s dome. to sum it up we had a lot of good times.
there were, of course, plenty of additions to weapons and vehicles as well as the introduction of gadgets. with weapons the new spartan laser alone would be worth the 60 bones.. well not really, but you get the idea. it doesn’t get much more satisfying to blast some unsuspecting sucker with red light of death from a mile away.. as they’re flying through the air via man cannon. the spiker, however, was quite useless to the point that if you were killed by one you felt like the world’s biggest noob. on the other hand the needler was finally made useful. in halo 2 we were just giddy with delight when we found out we could dual wield them and fire a thousand pink shards of awesomeness per second.. until we realized that they hit everything but their target. halo 3 got it right. one needler that actually worked. as for the gadgets most of em were broken. a radar jammer is pretty cool… unless it jams your own freaking radar, too. then you’re just paranoid when you look at the bottom left of your screen and it tells you that you have a small army dancing around you. the land mine was even more useless. in all of my days i’ve never seen someone die by its hand. i’m sorry, but the stupidest of humans/elites know that a large blinking cylinder isn’t something you want to walk over. the flare, like the radar jammer, just screwed yourself over more often than not. you throw it, everyone becomes blind, everyone dies, the end. the bubble shield was one of the few worthwhile items. it’s pretty great chilling behind its protective globe with a gravity hammer waiting for some idiot to come visit. a looot of killing sprees and double kills were accomplished by this beautfully simplistic strategy. gravity boosters had their moments. it was pretty entertaining to throw one down in front of a speeding vehicle and watch it fly off into the sunset. although these additions didn’t radically change gameplay and a lot of it, as already stated, was obsolete new stuff is always fun to tinker with.
one last addtion i’ll touch on before i wrap up is the theatre. with halo 1 and 2 i can’t tell you how many times i’ve played the game and something so spectacular humans nor covenant have words to describe happened. i’d jump to my feet and shout with all of my might “did you see that!”… then i’d realize i was all alone in my dark basement of solitude. no one so much as heard me; not even my grandma upstairs. with halo 3 such unhappy occasions were no more. every detail was recorded and waiting for you to watch again and again when matches had concluded. it really is quite amazing, the entire battle could be played as you freely roamed it, observing from any angle or distance your heart desired. over the years we’ve saved a lot of clips that make my heart smile every time i see them. example: i recorded 3 clips, each from different perspectives, of myself baseball batting an opponent at least a football field’s distance over a wall. it defied every known element of physics but it happened. i’ve watched it many a times. so awesome. this addition brought a huge amount of fun into the game.
in conclusion it’s a great game, no doubt about that. bungie makes some quality stuff and as i said it was an overall positive experience. what keeps me from giving it a 5 is that it just wasn’t as great as halo 2. whether it’s because of the complaints i had or just the tweeked gameplay in general i just didn’t have as much fun. it just doesn’t quite make it to that 5/5 mark. sorry, bungie. good luck with halo: reach which i have high hopes for. who wouldn’t after seeing master chief fly around with a freaking jet pack?