Fantastic Multiplayer. One of the best implemented console multiplayer experiences there is.
Achievement Whoring really drags matchmaking down sometimes.
Wonderful Co-op, Multiple Difficulty levels, Strong Campaign with lots of replay value
Looking for the skulls can get annoying.
Close to a month after release, honestly, who needs a review at this point? Most of anyone who might be reading this have (in all likelihood) played Halo 3. At the very least have seen it in motion and/or have in most cases probably already made a decision if to embark on another mission with Spartan 117. If this assumption does not include you, please read on. Halo 3’s charm comes not from it’s originality, but from the polish, effort, and content the creators sweat into this game. Ideas such as 4-player campaign, a tighter online infrastructure, nicely spaced achievement points, a replay editor, and Forge (Halo 3’s social build your own level-a-thon) add such an immense depth to this game that they just can’t be overlooked.
From a game play perspective, this entry in the Halo series plays identically like it’s predecessor in most aspects. Dual Wielding? Check. Energizing Shields? Check, Check. Central hero ridiculously named Master Chief with the ability to punch or shoot anything that moves? The list goes on. The game is set in a familiar universe with the same characters and continuously repetitive story arcs. This all, in theory, sounds bland and mundane. Yet, aren’t all great game series pretty much mimicking themselves after a while? Mario does it! Why not the Chief? Copying the formula for such a record-breaking series is not just flattery. It works well here too.
Graphics are dramatically improved from previous titles. Any denials towards this idea just need to compare screenshots between Halo 2 & 3. Those who argue this game’s bland graphic need no further proof other than a to it’s predecessor. Although it’s not the greatest looking game to date, it’s definitely eye candy and a next-generation game. Sadly, many dreams were probably crushed in the minds of fans who envisioned a much better showing for such an important title.
The musical score for Halo 3 is one that mood-enhances. Just loading up the title screen gives you goose bumps as you take in the monk-like vocals along side a piano accompaniment for an opening theme. Like any good blockbuster movie, the music throughout the game is well placed and emotional. This is one of the few highlights for the campaign. This stays true until the credits are through and audiophiles will not be disappointed. The story, at least for this author, felt more to be desired and the weakest of all portions for this game. For starters, Every chapter had a “I’ve been that and done that already” feel to it. Another complaint would be the length of the first experience beating this game; this game can be beaten in one sitting. It is very short. Luckily with the achievements and social 4-player play has a lot of replay ability and a way to add hours to the overall time clocked in but without revealing spoilers, it was still a disappointment. The few original levels failed to overshadow the repetitiveness and sadly was left lacking.
Due to the story being short and uninspiring, a player’s happiness with this game will most likely revolve around a few questions. Do you enjoy (online) multiplayer in games? Do you have friends to play online games with and/or are you content playing competitively with strangers? If you have answered no to either of these questions I suggest holding off on your purchase for this game. With multiplayer and social game play options that are akin to infinity, there is definitely a lot to explore here. This is blessing for some and a hindrance for others, especially those who have no patience to deal with the 12 year-olds on Xbox Live. Bungie makes it easy to get into the social culture that is Halo 3. With a website that records everything statistical, and the ability to share videos and screenshots straight from the net are features that have nothing to do with the game that get you into the Spartan life. Add to the balance and depth that this game has online and you have truly one of those games that is greater than the sum of it’s parts.