Currently Playing: Halo 3 (X360)

Halo season has started. Everyone I know has been waiting for this for a long time, especially with the hanging ending of Halo 2 and the outstanding multiplayer setup. The hype has built up on how the story will finish or how the multiplayer will improve. Will this game show its full potential and live up to what Halo and Halo 2 has accomplished?

I have played through all the Halo games and I have seen its progress, and since I was intrigued with the story line, I was disappointed on how Halo 2 ended. The intro movie of this is about Master Chief crashing down on earth and this is a fitting introduction for the game if you have finished Halo 2. Some of the lines in the game even referred a lot about the past game. It shows that the story was not made for new players but for old time fans of the game. The story does pace well, and it does feel short especially when you really get into it.

It was nice to see Master Chief in high definition glory and everything around him went into a major makeover. The first level really showcased how much the 360 can push. The forest level does justify how beautiful this game can be. When it comes to detail, Halo 3 is not the best and there are other games that can show the full potential of the console. This game show a lot of balance, the graphics is beautiful with its wide environments and lighting.

The theme music is back, mostly it seemed more derived from Halo 2 which is good because of variety and epic scale music. Hearing them all over again feels fitting but you can hear a few new tunes or slight changes, but overall very satisfying to listen over and over again. The voice work is just as outstanding as the previous game and you would not even notice that the extra voices are done with professional actors.

The controls did change a bit, but nothing drastic, more of a slight modified improvement. If you have played Halo before, you will adjust to this game quite easily. My only problem with this is that they did not improve on anything in terms of gameplay.

I do have a problem with the single player game. It does play way too easy than the previous Halo games. I mean, if you made this for the fans, I expected the difficulty to be almost the same as before. I finished both Halo 1 and 2 in a few days, but I can finish this in an entire day if I wanted to. So, a bit of a suggestion, go straight to the Normal mode or anything higher to give you some normal difficulty. Even the artificial intelligence is different when it is on easy. So if you are into the game, stay away from the easy mode.

What stood out in this game is the multiplayer; I think the word alone is the focus of this game. We should put multiplayer in capital letters because there is so much emphasis about it in this game. The campaign mode can handle 4 players at a time, which for me is an amazing achievement. I enjoy playing cooperative mode with more players than 2, it was one of the best experiences I had in gaming, especially for a first person game. Even the map editor called Forge is actually a game in itself. Multiple players can join in the fun of editing a map while trying to fight on it at the same time. The editing mode is not as robust as the map editors on the PC, but it is more fun than any other map editor that I have seen. Another surprise is the Theater mode, which records your game and you can view how you played your game. I was happy enough with the replay mode, I was amazed to see that you can watch and change camera angles with another player on another controller. Do not forget that there is still the traditional mode of multiplayer gameplay which still works great, with new maps and a few familiar ones.

The single player game is short and it can be done in a day. The multiplayer campaign can be done shorter with the help of other players and it is more fun than playing it all alone and it can be fun playing it all over again with a bunch of friends. The several modes of gameplay ensure that it will be played for years just as Halo 1 and 2 has done in the past. Even if you do not have an Xbox Live account, this is still a game for keeps.

Regardless of it’s flaws without a new type of gameplay, graphics that just a bit unimpressive compared to Gears of War. The multiplayer options are so impressive that I can play this game on hours without end. The cooperative play is something I really missed and having 4 players over Xbox Live is a must.

Originally published in GamEX Magazine.

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