So I’m going to attempt to make a Halo 3 review based on the final shipping product and my experiences with it since it came out over 2 months ago. This review is not influenced by any marketing hype or free review copies. I bought this with my own money and stood in line for it like any other gamer would.
Lets start out with the fact that I bought an XBOX360 a month before Halo 3′s release so that I could play Halo 3. I played Halo:CE and Halo 2 and would consider myself an avid fan of the series. Both previous games I had beat the campaign mode on Legendary as well as played the multiplayer mode to death, so I was quite looking forward to Halo 3. I needed to know what happened to Master Chief and the fate of the universe.
I bought the game midnight, September 26 and played that very same night. I played the first 2 levels in campaign with my friend over XBOX LIVE and was very impressed. The following night, we included 2 other people and tackled the campaign on Legendary Co-Op. It took us roughly 6-8 hours to beat the entire campaign. I would say that it was great fun, especially with 3 other people and not having to share any of my screen with anyone. The store itself was not as good as Halo 2 or Halo:CE but it was still decent. The ending was a little eh, but I’m glad Master Chief did not die like you think he did.
After the fun that was co-op, I attempted to beat the game on Heroic on my own so that I could pick up the scoring achievements. By this time, I had already picked up all the hidden skulls with my friend so I had activated a few of them so it would make the scoring a little easier to get. Playing solo with the skulls I would say is also just as fun, except for the fact that it can get a little lonely, especially since your friendlies don’t last more then 2 minutes in this game. The game was solid non-the-less although there are a few criticisms I have with the campaign mode of the game. This became apparent after playing it numerous times.
1. Where are all the vehicle specific levels? There are only like 1 or 2 levels where you get to ride the scorpion or warthog but why is there only a couple tiny ass sections where you get to use the hornet? You also never really get to use the banshee in this game. The banshee was so much fun in Halo 2. It seems like most of the time in this game, you are just running from place to place. I would have liked to have seen more vehicle type levels like in Halo 2.
2. Invisible barriers. Why???? Half the fun of Halo:CE and Halo 2 was the sheer magnitude of exploration. You could go almost anywhere in the game where a good grenade jump or a banshee could take you. You could even backtrack levels or skip sections if you jump ahead. Now however, Bungie has added things like invisible barriers, slopes you can not climb, a freaking ceiling, and some other things that kind of make the experience less fun. I’m sure they did this for all the “casual” gamers who need a push in the right direction, but this limits all the hardcore players who use to love messing around in Halo.
3. Does the Arbitor do nothing? He was a central character in Halo 2, but now he just seems like a sidekick who stands around doing nothing at all. Why build up a character in Halo 2 just to have him stand around picking his ass in Halo 3?
Even with these shortcomings, I would still say Halo 3 campaign was fun to play.
Now onto multiplayer mode. I played multiplayer almost 1 month straight everyday for 3 hours a day. It was great fun until I started noticing a few things after playing Call of Duty 4.
1. Master Chief is a slow poke. Why is there not running mode? I move at 1 speed and its slow. It seemed faster before CoD4 but now, I just feel like I’m moving at snails pace. I don’t know if they are compensating for lag now on their servers, but there are times when I’m moving at slow motion. Its rally weird. I remember him moving a lot faster in Halo:CE and Halo 2.
2. Maps. I am not too happy with the new maps in Halo 3. They are all too flat really with the exception of a few levels here and there. There seems to be no depth. Also, where are all the vehicle type maps? Why are there no Scorpions on any maps or Hornets. Why introduce a bunch of new vehicles in the campaign mode but not include them on any of the maps? I know you can add them in the FORGE but still, why not right out of the box? Same goes with the weapons. Whats the point of new weapons when they aren’t included in the maps? I’m sorry but Halo:CE maps and Halo 2 maps were way better in my opinion.
3. Odds an ends. Radar sucks. Why is it always there? You cant sneak up on anyone unless you are crouched which makes you even slower then you already are. Fun. They need to implement the CoD4 radar where you only show up if you fire your weapon. Speaking or weapons, there are a lot of uneven weapons in Halo 3. There is nothing good for range except for the sniper, which seems flawed. Halo 3 to me ends up being close combat with everyone just rushing into a fight and then ultimately just using the melee system for the kill. There doesn’t seem to be any real strategy.
Now, there are some nice additions that I really like and wish all multiplayer and FPS games would implement. I love the Theater and being able to save movie clips and screen shots. That is one are where I think Halo 3 exceeds above others. Also the stat tracking is second to none. Everything is tracked through Bungie’s website. It’s great. The Forge is also a neat addition although I have yet to make a custom map.
That’s it for my review for now. There are a few more things I’d like to point out, but I really can’t until I do my Call of Duty 4 review.