Halo 3. Say those words and what comes to your head? Amazing? Blockbuster? Possibly the best game ever? All those assumptions are pretty much correct. I could stop there and say it is possibly the most marvellous game ever. Good looking, plays great and online is superb. But I won’t. Instead I’ll tell you why it is amazing.
Halo 3 is the final part in a trilogy, by Bungie, which started on the original Xbox. Ever since the series’ release, it has been a phenomenal success. Halo launched more Xbox consoles on release than had been sold in the first week of the Xbox console being available. Halo 2 launched Xbox Live, with way over 6 million people playing it. Many people still play Halo 2 online, which shows how good it was. The Halo series revolutionised the FPS genre. Many people tried to copy Halos winning formula, but most failed.
The series follows a UNSC Spartan, a genetically modified human, who was plucked from his home as a child to be experimented on and turned into a Super solider. The story is pretty unoriginal, a story of an evil regime attepting to destroy the universe, but the actual way the story is played out kept people playing. Master Chief, the Spartan you play as, is helped by an AI named Cortana. There are many other characters that litter the series, but lets get back to Halo 3.
The gameplay and the feel of the game is very similar to Halo 2. Don’t take this as a negative though because Halo 2 played fantastically. It keeps the fast pace and the element of having to use some sort of strategy to win and shoves it into gorgeous areas with fantastic sound. The mix of grenades, guns and melee to defeat your enemies is still there, making you think which is the best way to kill the enemy. It also carries on into multiplayer, making you think exactly the same.
Halo 3 comes with a truckload of new weapons and vehicles, all of which are brilliant. One example of new weaponry is the Gravity Hammer. This was seen in Halo 2, in the hands of the evil Brute Tartarus, but was never usable. However, in Halo 3 it can be used by both you and your enemies to devastating effect. One hit of the Gravity Hammer is enough to kill anyone. It can also be used to bat away rockets and grenades, which is fantastic fun. Another new weapon is the Brute Spiker, which shoots spikes at the enemy very fast. It is especially deadly when dual wielded. There are some new weapons that are so big, they slow you down and also puts the camera in a third person perspective. New vehicles include the Hornet, which is a hover jet type vehicle with guns and missiles, the Brute Prowler, which can seat two and has guns on the side and the Brute chopper, which is very good for running things over.
The end of Halo 2 was a strange one. It ended on a cliffhanger, which i won’t spoil for those who have yet to play[Ed- Few years too late], and it gave you no answers to any questions you had built up over the first 2 games. Halo 3, however, is nothing like this. It picks up where Halo 2 ended. The Covenant are looking for a mystical object, which they think is somewhere on Earth, that will activate all the Halo rings in the Universe. The UNSC, with their new allies the Elites who left the Covenant due to religious differences, are catching up to the evil Covenant and try to stop them wiping out every sentient being in the Universe. The story is extremely complex but brilliant. It provides the answers to the many questions and a fantastic end to a wonderful series.
Thanks to the new 4 player co-op you will definitely play through the campaign more than once. Halo 2 allowed you to play through the game with a friend on the same console. Halo 3 allows you to play with 3 other people over Xbox Live. If you have finished the game previously, you will be able to play through the levels in any order. Also included is a system where you gain points for kills and lose them for deaths and betrayals. This is a brilliant feature that adds a new edge to the co-op experience. You can also activate any skulls you have collected to make the game unique. Skulls are found throughout the game world, usually in hidden places, and can change the game by getting rid of the HUD or making you stronger. Finishing the game on Legendary is miles easier with 4 players, but the enemies are alot stronger than on single player. The co-op feature makes it alot more fun to play through the campaign, especially with your friends.
Online is not just about co-op. Returning are most of the modes from the first 2 games. There are usual deathmatch and team deathmatch modes, named Slayer and Team Slayer respectively, as well as Oddball, where you have to keep hold of a skull, Territories, where you have to capture or protect territories, and Juggernaught, where you have to kill the Juggernaught to become the next Juggernaught. You can also customise game types and make your own games. You can choose what weapons you spawn with, if the players have active camouflage on, the game speed and gravity. Weapons have been tweaked for multiplayer. Energy swords are now even better. If two people attack each other at the same time with swords they bounce right off of each other.
Two new features are debuting in Halo 3. These are Forge and the Theatre. Forge is a fantastic new feature. It is a map editor, but you can’t change the geometric structure of the map. What you can do however is spawn items and place them on the map in real time. You press Up while playing and you will become the Monitor. You have an allowance of how much you can spend and then you can buy items, spawns, weapons, vehicles and teleporters and place them anywhere on the map.This can add a whole new dimension to games. If one team is winning, you can halt their game by blocking them in a room, or you can create a barricade to give your team some cover while they run. You can then save your Forge creations and upload them for people to download. You can do the same, by downloading other peoples creations. You can also upload game types that you have created, so people can download those. Forge is fantastic. Being able to give on side the winning edge and changing the way the game and map plays makes each game different
Next is Theatre. This is where you can watch all the matches you have played as well as all the co-op and single player campaign levels you have played. Each m,match and level is stored on the Hard Drive after you have finished them You can then play them back, fast forward them, pause them, slow them down and move the camera around the map.You can record clips and take screenshots which can then be uploaded to the Bungie servers. However, you can’t rewind properly, which is a big shame. You can only skip back, which takes away from it a little.
The graphics of the game are amazing. The environments are so detailed and lush. The water is gorgeous to look at, as are the explosions. The characters look brilliant and very lifelike. While watching a video in the Theatre, if you pause it and get a close up of somethings face, you can see how much detail has been put into it. The frame rate is extremely smooth with no jitters or skips.
The music of the game is phenomenal. Managing to keep you engaged in the action, whilst making your heart pound. Featuring a mixture of old and new music, it really gets you going for a fight. The voice actors from the previous games have mostly all returned, with the exception of the voice artist for Miranda Keyes. The dialogue is brilliant and engaging, as is the fight dialogue from both the Marines and the Covenant.
Halo 3 is the perfect way to end a series and possibly the most near game to perfection. The graphics and sound are fantastic, the story and gameplay are brilliant and the multiplayer aspects are just amazing. The additon of Forge and co-op gives the game a much longer life span than many other games. You couldn’t find a better game for any console.