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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Microsoft Games Studio

 

Developer

Bungie Studios

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

September 25, 2007

 

 

- Good cap to the Halo trilogy

- Awesome replay functionality

- Forge is a great addition

- Loads of multiplayer options

 

 

- Same irritating backtracking as the previous two games

- Checkpoint saves are inconsistent

 

 

Review: Halo 2 (XB)

Review: BioShock (360)

Review: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfight 2 (360)

 

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Halo 3

Score: 9.0 / 10*

*Average of scores below

 

Score: 9.5 / 10

Before Sept. 25, 2007, there had been only one videogame I actually ever waited in line the stroke of midnight of its release date to buy, and that was Halo 2. I wasn’t disappointed, though, and neither were most of the 2.4 million people that bought it during the first 24 hours of Halo 2’s release back in 2004.

 

 

halo 3          halo 3

 

Three years later, and I’ve doubled my waiting-in-line-for-a-videogame total, and naturally as one might expect reading this it was for Halo 3. Once again, the wait was worth it, because Halo 3exceeds the expectations of the masses that like myself waited in line anxiously awaiting the midnight hour to get their copy of Halo 3 in their hands.

 

For me, I decided to splurge with the pricey ($129US) Legendary Edition, which came with an extremely cool not-quite-life-sized Spartan helmet in the outrageously humongous black box.

 

No matter which of the three editions you bought, the fact remains that Halo 3 is a great game. Not the best game ever, because I found the gameplay not measuring up to the more intense Gears of War and, well, too easy to battle 

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through, but Halo 3 is a worthy trilogy ender. Most gamers should be able to complete the single-player campaign in around four to six hours. It’s a good story, if somewhat confusing, that puts a finality to the satisfying Halo story – literally, as nearly everyone you’ve come to know and familiarize with during the three games is eliminated.

 

Surely, Microsoft wouldn’t kill their 

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golden cash cow so easily, would they? How could they not be planning a next chapter (unless next year’s Halo Wars IS that next chapter) in the killer-app first-person shooter that single-handedly has established its gaming system and has raked in $170 million in sales within 24 hours on two separate occasions?

 

But regardless of what characters remain (or more aptly, don’t) from Halo’s solo experience, it’s not the single-player that’s the big reason Halo 3 is so damn good. It’s the online play. Every facet of the multiplayer has been seemingly upgraded to stellar levels – new weapons, new vehicles, more structured and organized Xbox Live setup – that it’s no surprise that in the first week of its release, it isn’t shocking to see a half-million players online at once, no matter what time of day or night, gaming in cyberspace in addictive Halo 3 multiplayer matches. Add in the Forge feature (where you can manipulate and edit maps) and Saved Films (record your personal greatest online moments for all the world to see) and you’ve got the finest online play imaginable for a FPS.

 

halo 3          halo 3

 

As a single-player adventure that completes a celestial tale, Halo 3 deserves a 9.0/10. I’m posting it yet higher as a whole because of the amazingly near-perfect multiplayer performance that rises beyond the galaxy and into the heavens as arguably the best Xbox Live game around.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

 

Score: 8.5 / 10

For all that developer Bungie does in a spectacular fashion with Halo 3, like huge, outdoor set-pieces, multiplayer co-op through the campaign (complete with

metagames), a replay feature that is second-to-none in terms of useability – screenshots taken in-game can be downloaded from Bungie.net – and ease of use, the Campaign falls into the same damn snares that the first two Halo games featured.

 

“Okay, Chief, fight your way into this one-way death trap!  Great, good job!  Now fight your way out!”

 

Other developers would have inserted a quick clip of Master Chief escaping from an exploding tower after completing the objective so you could get on with the rest of the game; Bungie forces you to backtrack.  That would almost be forgivable if the checkpoint saves made any damn sense.  They’re either packed in tight groups or spaced at erratic intervals.  Sometimes they’ll hit the sweet middle ground of “When the player needs it.”

 

 

halo 3          halo 3

 

And not to invalidate what I just wrote but Halo 3 is still fun, so I don’t think fans will hold the recycling of old ideas or strange checkpoints against Bungie, especially after they jump online and play some “versus” multiplayer; Halo 3 is the best online game on Live at the moment.

 

Many different modes, including a quasi-level editor called Forge, some great maps, smooth performance (for the most part), tons of stat tracking via Bungie.net, and Spartan customization all point to the multiplayer game extending Halo 3’s shelf beyond even the life of Halo 2’s multiplayer.

 

Outside of the straight multiplayer aspects of Halo 3, Forge is likely my favorite thing to mess around with.  At any time you can become a Monitor and, with a limited amount of funds, you can drop items into the environment – from weapons to vehicles – and also hobble together objectives.  Navigating the environments with a controller isn’t as intuitive as a mouse and keyboard setup, but with a bit of patience and some experimentation… well, Bungie has seen to it that Halo 3 will probably be the most played Xbox 360 game for at least the next year.

 

- Omni

(October 11, 2007)

 

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