Product Type: Microsoft Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... is probably not the best way to kick things off! Throughout the game, as you encounter the weird and wonderful enemy forces of The Coven... more
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Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
Member Name: DonPaolo
Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Brilliantly gun game, great multiplayer, customisable difficulty and campaign experience
Disadvantages: Ending will not please everyone
The Halo series of games has captured the imagination of a generation of gamers, and in my opinion has been a major driving force behind the success of the Xbox and Xbox 360, due to their exclusivity.
With so much hype from its predecessors Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, Halo 3 had a lot to live up to, and a set of wildly divergent expectations from fans as to what it should do.
As such, it would have been impossible to reconcile all of these ideas, but the developers, Bungie, have done an incredible job. They have created an exceptionally enjoyable and involving game, which gives a brilliant single player FPS (first person shooter) experiences, and one of the most complete and customisable multiplayer experiences ever.
The exciting and compelling Halo story has come a long way since the first game was released, and the Campaign would be the first port of call for many fans looking to see how it progressed. What they're met with is a lengthy story (depending on the difficulty level you choose), which is full of incredible set pieces, sprawling levels and varied and challenging enemies. In terms of difficulty, you can go for 'Easy', 'Normal', 'Heroic', or 'Legendary'. Bungie describe 'Heroic' as 'how Halo is meant to be played', and this is a great level at which you experience the bets the game has to offer. 'Legendary' offers a brilliant challenge, and encourages you to play in a totally different way, but is probably not the best way to kick things off!
Throughout the game, as you encounter the weird and wonderful enemy forces of The Covenant and The Flood, you also acquire a devastating array of weaponry and vehicles with which to take them on. As always, this firepower is balanced by the fact that you can only carry 2 weapons at a time, so if you want the power of the rocket launcher and the sniper rifle, you won't be able to have any other weapons to be used in close quarters.
Probably the best feature of the campaign is that you can tackle it alone, or with up to 3 others in a co-operative mode over a network or Xbox Live. This lets you combine with your team mates, execute different tactics, and experience the game in a whole new way. For some who find the 'Legendary' difficulty solo a bit too much, playing with friends will allow you to experience the toughest challenge the game offers.
In Halo 3, the Halo multiplayer experience, which has always been unique and exciting, is truly taken to the next level. You can play with up to 16-players over Xbox Live, facing your opponents in a vast array of individual or team-based games, including regular 'Slayer' (kill the opposition), as well as FPS staples 'King of the Hill', 'Capture the Flag', and several more original modes like 'Oddball', 'Juggernaut' and 'Rocket Race'.
These modes are all customisable, allowing you to create your own unique game experiences, or join in ranked and casual online games with standardised settings. When you consider the range of maps and weapons available, the depth of the multiplayer experience is truly incredible. All multiplayer modes are well-balanced, with expertly crafted maps which leave the most powerful weapons in vulnerable open spaces so as to present an extra challenge.
Graphics and Sound...
Halo 3's graphics and sound are very good. They work from a very rich colour palette, and are certainly striking. They aren't the greatest you can find on Xbox 360 console, but they are sufficiently good to provide an immersive and vibrant game.
Controls and Gameplay...
The control system has not changed a great deal throughout the series, and once again the Xbox controller is used perfectly intuitively for Halo 3. No functions are inaccessible or clunky, and the game is very responsive to subtle movements. You can off course reconfigure the controls to suit your preferences, and adapt the sensitivity too.
The game's developer, Bungie, places player experience at the very heart of what it does, and this is evidenced brilliantly by their online community at Bungie.net. Here, players can get involved in all sorts of discussions which influence the development of the game, changes to maps and the 'balancing' of online combat.
The website also tracks your statistics and performance every time you play a Bungie game online. This means, for real FPS geeks, you can see each game you've played, how well you did, which equipment you used, where on the map you died most often, which is your most effective weapon, and so on. In terms of providing a great community experience, Bungie are second to none, and the depth they go into has to be seen to be believed.
As well as this highly customisable, highly involving single player and multiplayer experience, Halo 3 packs in 2 brilliant new features; 'Forge' and 'Theater' which really raise the bar. Please not I'm using the American spelling of 'Theater', as that's how it appears in the game...
'Forge' gives players free reign on the game's multiplayer maps, allowing you to add structures, change weapon placement, choose starting 'spawn' positions and much more, effectively creating your own custom levels which can be played on your console, shared over Xbox Live, or uploaded to the Bungie community to be rated and shared by members.
'Theater' saves full videos of your most recent games, allowing you to watch your favourite set pieces over and over, take cool screenshots, or create and edit videos of your best bits! This is another brilliant community tool which gives a new dimension to the game.
Bungie have continued their groundbreaking Halo series with an incredibly good game. Halo 3 combines a dramatic and lengthy single player experience with one of the greatest online multiplayer modes available. When you combine this with so many levels of customisation and adaptability, you have a truly great console shooter.
Summary: An epic, customisable, brilliant first person shooter from Bungie