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The Halo 3 Review Thread

Halo 3

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#1 vociferous

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 11:35 AM

Consolidated all review threads into this one. Post your critiques of the newest Halo game here. Thanks!

-

There were those who said this day would never come...

And now it's almost here, right? Were it only so easy.

We've waited six years for the conclusion of the most iconic shooter of the decade. Beating its precursors in popularity and overshadowing its progeny like a looming monolith, the term ?halo? is hardly anymore synonymous with the angelic aureoles of radiance one might have once considered. It is now a household name for a video game which rose to stardom based on a number of very simple principles: great gameplay, addictive multiplayer and an epic tale.

Unlike Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, both having their fair share of vices and flaws, Halo 3 resolves Bungie's prior mistakes and completes the saga in a manner that has been unprecedented to this day. Having played through the campaign several times already on all honorable (and one not-so-honorable) difficulty levels, and having stormed through environments by myself and with others via the seemless wonder that is Xbox Live, it can honestly be said that this game trumps its predecessors in almost every single way.

That's a pretty damn tall order to fill considering that the first two games combined sold in the several millions and 'the Master Chief' is no longer a rank in the Navy as much as it is a super soldier born into war circa 2552. Although I've played some Multiplayer customs, indulged briefly in Matchmaking, watched several hours of footage in the Theater and seen the potential the Forge has, this review is going to focus on campaign.

Halo 3 is the biggest and baddest Halo game easily, not only meeting the mark of its gameplay-impressive Halo: Combat Evolved entry and surpassing even the story smarts of Halo 2, this third game of the series stands perfectly on its own and aggressively within the series. I can hype it as such because despite my hype the game will still impress. It's just that good.

So what's new and what's different?

The biggest thing about the game, in fact, is the 'bigness.' Halo 3 is by far the largest game of its kind with massive, beautifully sprawling environments which go entire miles in all directions and are wrapped in all sorts of majestically bloodthirsty combat. These select parts of the Halo Universe are not only brilliantly designed for gameplay, but they're incredibly attractive to look at. From the skyboxes to the lighting, from the particle effects to the textures, everything looks awesome and feels real in the Halo style. If that wasn't enough, these wonderful lands are populated with a huge assortment of enemies and varying levels of A. I.

No longer are encounters numbered in the teens or twenties, but now they're in the forties and fifties easily. One encounter during a solo attempt at Legendary on early level saw four to five Phantoms, one after another, unload a cavalcade of at least forty Brutes total which forced me to dart shamefully/valiently toward a nearby Wraith in terror/heroism.

Buried in the center of the game there are two levels, back to back, which are unparalleled in both body and vehicle numbers. They are easily the best crafted shooter levels in the history of gaming for me, and although the level names themselves are quite plain and simple, they provide the most engaging combat sequences ever. YOU WILL LIKE. Guaranteed.

For the most part the sandbox is perfect. The vehicles and weapons remain closely tied to the fiction of the game but still ingenious in their use, physics and function. From the Warthog to the Battle Rifle, from the Chopper to the Mongoose, all are fun and all are crafted with such meticulous handiwork, it's difficult not to love vehicle combat even in the most inappropriate of circumstances.

One major improvement over Halo 2 is the combat and the sequences which involve a less than popular enemy. Am I talking about the Brutes? Flood? Jackal snipers? All of the above? Who knows, but let's just put it this way: Every enemy in Halo 3 is fun to fight on any and every difficulty. I have yet to really indulge myself in the hidden Skulls already announced publicly by Bungie, although having secured 8 of 13, but on the basic loadout in Normal through Legendary, there's little left to be said of the awesome enemy A. I. and the enemies individual roles are all tempered and elevated beyond their Halo 2 variations.

And what about the story itself? The conclusion to the series? Although my brain wracked the possibilities of Halo 3 even before it was announced, nothing could have prepared me for the glory of actually experiencing the real thing. It blew not only the hype and my expectations out of the window, but apart from the second cinematic (the one between the first and second levels), the game as a whole has the best cinematicsof any I've ever seen. They aren't necessarily movie quality, but they're as close as this generation may come. Incredibly written, amazingly voice-acted, the story of Halo 3 works both as an individual game story of star-crossed lovers as it does as the epic conclusion of humanity's war against the Covenant and its newest foe the Gravemind and the Flood collective.

Before this review evolves into a complete fanboyish wet dream of all that Halo 3 is, let me talk very briefly about some of the minor shortcomings the game has in my skewed and warped mind.

Firstly, campaign's version of the Saved Films feature is quite muted. There are no clips and the game data doesn't allow you to skip ahead or rewind. This wouldn't normally be a big deal, apart from the fact that it records every death, forcing a solo player to watch and re-watch their fifty attempts at procuring the Brute Chieftain's invincibility deployable and Gravity Hammer on Legendary. It is said that game data volume was the impacting metric which caused it to be pulled or not implemented, but it's a considerable loss. In juxtaposition with any other game rather than itself, it would hardly be worth mentioning - but having the feature in my hands with Halo 3 makes me want it.

Another issue is the inconsistency of the friendly artificial intelligence. Sometimes your allies are uncanny in their talent, as in one level they hang onto dear life on a Mongoose whilst firing a Rocket Launcher, leading their targets and scoring epically, nearly automatic hits. Other times they will sit there in the driver's seat of the Warthog while you're on the back, apparently waiting for you to march the length of the level on foot. Once, for example, after I, the Master Chief, had cleared the room of all enemies (which were substantial) on Legendary, the Arbiter awoke from his death (as he does 'die' during this difficulty setting) and then responds to me by saying: ?Good of you to join the fight.? I know, they must have hit you harder in the head than we all think, Arby.

My third and final qualm was the 'griefing' witnessed last night by me during metagames. Unfortunately, as it seems the nature of campaign scoring, some players will intentionally seek the most powerful weapons, leave other players behind, as they wave from their vehicles, without anything to traverse the open environment without anything but their two feet or even worse, steal kills. Whether or not there could ever be vices in place to prevent or discourage such behavior seems considerably unlikely, but metagame friends should be considered even more carefully than those you play cooperatively with.

Overall, this game superseded even its much vaulted expectations. It's few issues are outweighed by not only its amazing feature-count but just the sheer quality of the game itself and the campaign shines the brightest. Minimal lag over Xbox Live from across the nation during online cooperative play is not only unbelievable considering issues with most network codes on console games, but people will discover how beautiful it is to run through the game cooperatively in the seemless environment that is Halo's online capacity.

Add to that, Saved Films and user-face incorporated Skulls which change the way a campaign game is played by modifying the point system during a metagame, its hard to imagine a story-based gaming environment which has more freedom. To put it simply, Halo 3 will be played and played and replayed for years to come. Halo 3 has arrived...it's about time you got those divorce papers in order.

This review would be longer and more detailed, but I'd rather be playing the game than talking about it. Something rare from a chap as vociferous as I, but in this situation, absolutely true.

#2 Drew

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 11:53 AM

My third and final qualm was the 'griefing' witnessed last night by me during metagames. Unfortunately, as it seems the nature of campaign scoring, some players will intentionally seek the most powerful weapons, leave other players behind, as they wave from their vehicles, without anything to traverse the open environment without anything but their two feet or even worse, steal kills. Whether or not there could ever be vices in place to prevent or discourage such behavior seems considerably unlikely, but metagame friends should be considered even more carefully than those you play cooperatively with.

<3

Edited by Drew, 23 September 2007 - 11:53 AM.


#3 vociferous

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 04:08 PM

<3

:wink:

#4 Merguson

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 04:27 PM

I watched the GameTrailer Halo 3 video review and
Spoiler
care to give more details about it? Spoiler tags I suppose for other people.

#5 vociferous

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 04:54 PM

I watched the GameTrailer Halo 3 video review and

Spoiler
care to give more details about it? Spoiler tags I suppose for other people.

I don't think it's really spoiler-related. There are two levels or level segments which have snow in them, just like Halo 1 and Halo 2 had such things. Beyond that I won't say, but I will say this:
Spoiler


#6 Major Hayes

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 09:54 PM

I'm disappointed to read about the poor AI in the friendlies. One of my biggest complaints about Halo 2 was how useless the Marines were. I remember reading in early weekly updates that the Marine AI was going to be substantially upgraded. Oh well, at least one can make up for the poor AI with a few good friends on Live Co-op.

#7 Drew

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 12:10 AM

I'm disappointed to read about the poor AI in the friendlies. One of my biggest complaints about Halo 2 was how useless the Marines were. I remember reading in early weekly updates that the Marine AI was going to be substantially upgraded.

Oh well, at least one can make up for the poor AI with a few good friends on Live Co-op.

Oh, they're very useful. Just don't let them drive a vehicle is all. Otherwise, their on-foot AI is awesome.

#8 Va1or

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 02:39 PM

Instead of everyone scattering their impressions all over the forum, I think it'd be good to consolidate them here in one place.

(IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS STAY OUT)

Valors review: 10/10

(Below are my opinions and I'll keep 'em short and sweet.)

It's certainly not a perfect game. It, of course, has a number of flaws and shortcomings and blah, blah, blah. What's more important is that it's the best game I have played in this generation and is my favorite game of all time. The campaign is certainly AAA, epic, visually beautiful and exciting. It's hands down the best Halo campaign (Halo:CE was my favorite until now) and that speaks volumes in and of itself. What is left to say about multiplayer? The best in the business just got better. Awesome.

Some compaints:

I would have liked to see more sprawling epic encounters that made me say "WOW." Yeah, I'm greedy like that.

Not explaining more on the backstory of the Forerunner connection was a bit of a disappointment (I will have to analyze the terminals for more bits and pieces, I guess).

I didn't get to burn (or see!) Gravemind. (Tentacles don't count.)

I wish the final scene with Chief and Cortana played out a little warmer than it did.
Cortana: "I missed you."
Chief: "Thaw me out when you need me to kill more stuff b&^ch."

I feel like the ending in general lacked a little something, but was still cool.

I could go on with nitpicks but why bother? Bungie hit it out of the park.

Thoughts on Halo's future (Legendary Ending SPOILERS):
Spoiler

Edited by Va1or, 26 September 2007 - 04:38 PM.


#9 Aisues

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 04:03 PM

Yeah one big complaint I had was the lack of forerunner back story. I just wanted to see and hear alot more about it and how it related to the present story. A second complaint I had was there were no single player parts that you got to use a banshee in. This really was disapointing for me considering all of the cool parts in halo2 where the banshee was used. A third complaint was that MC did not fight any Elites. I know that they sided with the humans, but I still would have enjoyed killing some elites that were still loyal to the prophets. A forth complaint I have is that I would have liked a little more story intro like halo 2 had. I have a handful of other very minor complaints, but they are not worth mentioning. Overall I loved the campaign and playing it was the most fun I have had in a long time. Bungie really delivered with the singleplayer campaign and I can't see any other FPS games single player coming close to halo 3's. I loved the graphics and the envoirments were fantastic. Everything was bigger and better. This game truly felt nextgen 100%. I think that I still might like some parts of Halo CE campaign slightly more, but its probably a tie. The last warthog part was such a good way to end the campaign and I loved how it payed tribute to Halo CE's ending.

Edited by Aisues, 26 September 2007 - 04:05 PM.


#10 Va1or

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 04:41 PM

A second complaint I had was there were no single player parts that you got to use a banshee in. This really was disapointing for me considering all of the cool parts in halo2 where the banshee was used.

A third complaint was that MC did not fight any Elites. I know that they sided with the humans, but I still would have enjoyed killing some elites that were still loyal to the prophets.

A forth complaint I have is that I would have liked a little more story intro like halo 2 had. I have a handful of other very minor complaints, but they are not worth mentioning.


I had these thoughts myself. I guess you could at least jack a Banshee though, so technically we could still use one with a little hassle.

Edited by Va1or, 26 September 2007 - 04:42 PM.


#11 MasterChief2829

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 05:32 PM

Does it literally have Halo 4 written on it? lol I beat it on Heroic. Freaking amazing game, will give my impressions later but I agree with you on every aspect. Bungie delivered. Chief doesn't say "B***" in the Heroic version so it must be a legendary thing, I noticed they use more language in the Legendary cutscenes I think. lol Or maybe I just wasn't listening good enough.

Edited by MasterChief2829, 26 September 2007 - 05:43 PM.


#12 quickshade

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 07:37 PM

He doesn't say bitch...LOL, it just seems that way. But for a company that said they were done with Halo.....LOL bullshit.

#13 Va1or

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 08:46 PM

Does it literally have Halo 4 written on it? lol I beat it on Heroic. Freaking amazing game, will give my impressions later but I agree with you on every aspect. Bungie delivered.

Chief doesn't say "B***" in the Heroic version so it must be a legendary thing, I noticed they use more language in the Legendary cutscenes I think. lol Or maybe I just wasn't listening good enough.


Yeah, I was kidding about the b**** comment and "Halo 4" is not actually written on the sphere.

#14 justininhifi

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 09:09 PM

Yeah, I was kidding about the b**** comment and "Halo 4" is not actually written on the sphere.



I agree that it is set up for another Halo game but I dont know where the plot could go from here.

I beat it once and some on our co-op mission didnt wait for the credits and i was like wtf?

Then a friend told me to go back and beat it again and wait.

#15 Plankton

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 11:30 PM

I loved it, I think it was amazing so I'll just post the few things I didn't like: Story - just not done well IMO. Didn't explain anything, didn't develop well, and the Cortana (and later Gravemind) interferences were pointless as well as annoying. The last two levels - Why did they get rid of the brutes? the last level had so much potential. The 8th level is the worst Halo level I've played. Way worse than the Library, worse than the final MC level in Halo 2 (High Charity?). Oh, and the 'pure flood' forms aren't very good and look awful - what generic monstery-gamey-lame design. The Warthog Run - I'm so happy they did another warthog run for the finale! Awesome having Arbiter in the back too... it's just a pity it's easily the most ugly section of the entire game, and looks absolutely retarded. What the hell is it you're driving over? It just seemed incredibly rushed. Halo CE's worked better where you saw panicked covenant running around - here it was just mindless flood, vast emptiness and stupid explosions. But, I'll give it some credit as I still enjoyed playing it, I just think it could have been so much more, very easily. Not enough Elites - I'm fine not fighting them, I just expected to have them by my side more often. I loved the cut scene where the marines and elites are together arming up and stuff, it's disappointing you dont see them together too much in the actual missions (although, the funniest thing I saw was when I had a whole bunch of marines - some on a tank, some in my Warthog, and then one lone mongoose, driven by a marine with an elite on the back, speeding round causing trouble :D) And finally, I would like some more levels, but the quality of the first 7 is outstanding, so it's not so bad.

Edited by Plankton, 26 September 2007 - 11:39 PM.


#16 Kinetic

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:57 AM

Anybody else find the little "What's the password" egg on Crow's Nest? I thought that deserved a chuckle. Also, while I didn't hate the final two levels nearly as much as some here, I agree they were easily the worst of Halo 3.

#17 Tyja

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 01:50 PM

What the hell is it you're driving over? It just seemed incredibly rushed.


I guess decor comes last when Building ring worlds.

Also, while I didn't hate the final two levels nearly as much as some here, I agree they were easily the worst of Halo 3.


Cortana as a level was the worst, however the last level i really enjoy and heres why: It's a kick back to assault on the control room, which has been my all time favourite level. On it's own it's pretty average... then comes the amzing warthog run at the end, which is nothing short of epic.

However Cortana [the level] is not as bad as High Charity, nothing in Halo 3 comes close to stooping so low.

Edited by Tyja, 27 September 2007 - 01:53 PM.


#18 Drew

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 07:02 PM

http://www.gamespot....9901/index.html

#19 mattacus

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 04:59 AM

For those of you who complain about the lack of elites to fight in H3: pay attention to the elite flood form. They fight in a style oddly reminiscent of H1's elites (including the telltale back and forth dodge jump).

#20 Drew

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 02:21 PM

Yeah, and they're fucking impossible to kill on anything higher than Normal. =/



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