Never before a game was surrounded by such an ear-deafening aura of high expectations, professionally set up marketing, statements filled with selfconfidence and the claim that this wouldn’t be just a game but the biggest entertainment release of 2007, a cultural phenomenon nobody would be able to escape from. This, my dear gamers, is thé game of all games.
Now it’s also up to us to give our opinion about this bomb of testosteron, this game that isn’t ashamed it’s a game, but does everything to impersonate the perfect shooter, and is even more the culmination of what the Halo-trilogy has always promised us. Halo 3 is proud of its heritage, its strength, its drama and its never-fading urge for heroics. And we’re more than glad about that.
Halo 3 is immense in every way. The detail of the textures it offers, the wide and world-changing battles and storyline. At no single moment Master Chief doubts his total victory. And with that the makers never doubt their ability to deliver a game that puts a sci-fi story in gameland that has never been equalled in its genre, and a multiplayer platform that not only delivers the best and most polished gameplay ever, but also does this added with community features that are years ahead of what other console games can offer at this moment.
The nine levels you get at your disposal again remind more of the breathtaking adventures from Halo than the unsecure parts from Halo 2. You’ll have a hard time putting down the controller, not only because playing is so smooth like you seem to have been sculpted for it, but also because you want to know what the next corner will have in store for you and which epic happenings are waiting for your input. Don’t expect the subtlety and depth of a noval, but unashamed and popular machismo of an action movie or in other words: just that what every fan of the series has been shouting for and where every teenager and human with balls likes.
The levels are piece by piece pearls with the necessary variation, as well with the vehicles, gunplay, opponents and settings, to offer years of fun, only added by the ingenious ability to be able to go on a warpath with up to four people. The Skulls, items you need to collect to afterwards be able to adjust any level in co-op mode and activate the scoring system add some competition in what normally would be a friendly hiking trip.
The fighting, and that’s what it’s all about in the end, has become even stronger. The Brutes are now also interesting opponents, especially when they attack together, flanked by their pathetic helpers, shouting orders and laughing at you. Aiming, shooting and the resulting feedback and reward, weapons changing, the controls, jumping and taking cover, the pretty high interaction with the environment… everything makes Halo 3 still holding the torch as best shooter on console. Added with new vehicles and planes, spectacular fights with tons of opponents, new and improved weapons and balance, new grenades and of course items like expandable shields, energy-drainers and jump pads, … The Halo gameplay feels fresher and more free than ever before.
There are a lot more innovations to talk about in multiplayer. We can be brief about the basic gameplay as it’s completely in line with that of the previous episodes, but completely finished and polished like nothing else on the market. On top of that we get a lot of new and fun stuff like the replay function that will be applauded by the community as a gift from God next to The Forge. With this you can adapt the settings, rules, weapons and objects of any level. The possibilities are enormous and the fact that everyone can be at it at the same time, or not, makes the appeal so big. Also the accessibility and dividing of the players is so easy that a vivid community is guaranteed for the next couple of years, not to talk about the forums, movies, new game modes, maps and other crazy stuff. We could write page after page on the online part but trust us if we just say that this is what all other shooters and online games will be targeting towards for the forthcoming time.
What we didn’t say yet is how all this is blown onto your LCD or plasma and surround system. Also here nothing but praise. Graphically you won’t find the latest technically advanced highlights, eventhough the lighting effects (and explosions) are about the best we’ve seen up until now. Still, the atmosphere and surroundings are of a level that you won’t easily find back in another game. The artistic direction is very beautiful, with some really great settings and a real own style, while also the animations and eye for detail are better than what we’re used to.
Musically Halo 3 is plain and simple the best we’ve ever experienced. The soundtrack is epical, memorable and dynamic, the sound effects are great, and the voicing isn’t only complete and believeable but the tapistry of environment-, combat-, and dialogue sounds that is made is one that really brings the world of Halo alive. Pure class!
Halo 3 has become what Bungie wanted: the ultimate Halo-experience and the most complete shooter ever on console. Both the story and gameplay are daring, perfectioned, powerful and never excusing itself nor taking itself too seriously. It’s a work of love and passion for gaming that we get here, and one that will be cherished by gamers all over the world for years thanks to the single player, the co-op and multiplayer with its new community possibilities.