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Halo 3

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The End of a Trilogy, I guess...

  • Jul 24, 2013
  • by
Price Paid: $7

I must be the only guy in the gaming community to be playing these completely out of order.  I played through the first game several years, lost track when the second game came around, skipped all the sequels, played the 4th because it came packaged with the Xbox, and now have ended back here.  But despite being quite a few years apart from its contemporary successor, HALO 3 still has more than enough juice to stand on its own.

The story picks up right after HALO 2. Master Chief has crashlanded on Earth in an escape pod that he must have leaped into at the end of HALO 2, I guess (I didn't play HALO 2). He meets up with a group of soldiers who were abandoned and are awaiting pickup from the UNSC, I guess (I didn't play HALO 2). The UNSC is led by Commander Keyes' daughter and they have a plan to stop some crazy religious nut from using another Halo ring to blow up the universe. Cortana has also disappeared for reasons shown in the last game, I guess (I DIDN'T PLAY HALO 2!!!!) Unfortunately for a weirdo like me coming into without playing HALO 2, the story was a bit difficult to follow since so much of it is a direct continuation of that plot, while simultaneously bringing back elements from the first game (just what a good trilogy topper should do). But for what drama is there is played out engagingly enough.

Gameplay is the same old tried and true gunplay HALO fans have known all along, with options like dual wielding and the ability to use break off and use turrets like miniguns and weapons like the Gravity Hammer (makes you feel like Thor) increasing the tactical range of the combat (true, dual wielding was introduced in HALO 2, and I'm guessing it functions similarly). The Assault Rifle also make a return, although its clip count has been significantly reduced. I didn't like what they did with the Pistol weapon though. It's referred to as a "Magnum" here, although it feels like the weakest magnum I've ever wielded in a video game. You can't zoom with it anymore, robbing you of much of its tactical usage. In fact, given that the firepower is below average and it can't be used to snipe enemies as effectively anymore, then what use does it have in the pantheon of weapons?

But the main reason I think people bought this game for was the technology upgrade from HALO 2. Now I don't know if they were using the same engine or not, but I'm guessing they were since the a models, designs, etc. seem recycled from the first game. That's not a bad thing because they're rendered with an incredible amount of detail this time around. Enemies like the Flood units have become truly disgusting and horrific; almost perfectly realized nightmares from a William Hope Hodgson/H.P. Lovecraft story. The extra technology and smart direction lends to some really awe inspiring moments here, such as the multiple times you'll have to find a way to infiltrate the interior of a Scarab unit (a Covenant "walking fortress"). These things are truly massive, and have multiple openings you can land on, so get ready to do a lot of jumping. I remember as a kid, I always loved moments like this in video games where the technology was developed enough for you to see the entirety of some massive structure in the distance, and you're charged with getting close to it getting inside it. No cutscenes to break up the action...just a perfectly smooth transition from massive object to a large new environment. It's like living the Death Star run in real time.

The visuals are, as I implied, fairly effective across the board. Voicework is also another strong technical factor, although I didn't find Commander Keyes to be terribly convincing as the "tough female commander" archetype. Now I know there were a lot of complaints when this game was released concerning the "weak weapons sound" due to the weapons fire not coming through the center speaker. I understand the problem, and the only way I found to get around that is pump up your surround system's volume to compensate. Believe me, you'll want to do this anyway just for the immersive factor.

Overall, HALO 3 is an incredible amount of fun. It does admittedly start out a bit slow, but the final levels are quite intense. Just make sure you start with the original games first and don't play them out of order like I did.

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"Then blockishly mumbling with a set on countenance a piece of scurvy grace, he washed his hands in fresh wine, picked his teeth with the foot of a hog, and talked jovially with his attendants. … more
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Adding to Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, the epic saga continues with Halo 3, the amazingly anticipated sequel to the highly successful and critically acclaimed Halo franchise. In this third chapter of the Halo trilogy, Master Chief returns to finish the fight, bringing the epic conflict between the Covenant, the Flood, and the entire human race to a dramatic, pulse-pounding climax.

Halo 3

Get ready. The Chief is back. Halo 3

HDR lighting, self-shadowing, and more make Halo 3 look and feel realistic. View larger. Halo 3

Mystery abounds with the return of Cortana. View larger. Halo 3

Earth is conquered. The Covenant is everywhere. Halo 3 promises to be an epic journey. View larger. Game developer Bungie announced that Halo 3 will be released for Microsoft's Xbox 360 sometime in 2007. The game was revealed to the world at the Microsoft press conference held at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA in May 2006. To gamer's delight, the announcement was a complete surprise. The rumors have been abound for the past year, as everyone wondered when the next installment would be ready. Bungie and Microsoft did a stellar job keeping their lips sealed, and fans benefited from their first glimpse of the hallowed third and final installment.

The short presentation was delivered in real-time on the Xbox 360 using the current version of the Halo 3 game engine. That's right, no studio production video, Bungie and Microsoft delivered the real deal: what they showed at the announcement ...

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Number of Players: Single-player, Multi-player
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Bungie
Console: Xbox 360
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release Date: September 25, 2007
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