Game: Halo 3
Release Date: September 26th 2007
Platform: Xbox360

To say I wasn’t originally disappointed with Halo 2 would be a massive understatement. I finished the game on launch day within an extremely short space of time. I was left with a frustrating cliffhanger and a depressing 3-year wait until the trilogy’s epic finale. While I eventually found endless hours of comfort in the brilliant online offering of Halo 2, the series latest edition has no such problem when it comes to disappointment with the campaign. This is the final act you were waiting for.

Halo 3 picks up where 2 left off. You return as the Master Chief who has come back to Earth. Your mission, to save it from the onslaught of the Covenant, who, despite humanities best efforts, have found its location in the galaxy.

Presentation

The series has always been slightly hit and miss when it comes to graphical prowess. The engine has never been able to fully support the fantastic art design and settings that the games have presented us with, that said; Halo 3 is definitely not a bad looking game. The graphics have been taken to a new level from its predecessor, boasting more defined character models and larger and more detailed environments, paving the way for more epic battle sequences. The audio presentation is far more impressive. The voice acting is great across the board, from the main protagonists and the chatter of your fellow marines to the terrified screams of a group of grunts; this is undoubtedly a Halo sequel. Marty O’Donnell’s soundtrack once again returns to set the epic stage with guitar solos and orchestrated mastery capable of sending chills down your spine

Gameplay

The game has a perfect blend of the unique Halo style gameplay that those who play the series are used to, as well as retaining a fresh feeling that engrosses you in the story, providing great twists and a fantastic sense of closure, as well as a sense of anticipation about what may occur next in the series. This fine balance of new and old makes Halo feel right at home in your game collection, offering a lot of replay value with the various difficulties and the addition of the scoring system which enables you to earn points throughout your play through the level. You can play this mode alone or cooperatively with a friend. It adds a new dimension to the campaign. The co-op has now been ramped up a level from the previous title. Instead of the standard 2 player local co-op, you can now jump into a 4-player online co-op campaign. This adds a completely new avenue of gameplay that adds so much more longevity. The difficulties themselves have been slightly tweaked to appeal to those casual gamers as well as the hardcore Halo fans that have revered themselves on becoming experts over the years. The easy and normal difficulties have been made slightly less challenging than the previous titles, while the Heroic and Legendary difficulties have been raised slightly to boost the intensity. The campaign itself is of a good length, providing the fantastic yet standard Halo affair, from tight corridor battles on foot to epic vehicle fight scenes where grenades are flying and rockets exploding.

Once you’ve beaten the campaign, you still have the sturdy online offering, boasting a wide number of maps, game modes and customizable options. The new Forge Mode, a map editor in which players are able to customize the position of various objects, altering spawn locations and timings, adds a completely new and unseen dimension to the Halo universe. The amount of random and unexplainably fun hours you can spend in this mode alone could warrant the price of a full title. On top of all of the aforementioned features is the new Theater mode, used for capturing your online and forge antics so that you are able to edit and send them across XBL for public viewings. This vast array of content all in one package ensures the user a great amount of ways to really put the time into the game that you want to, with the assurance that you will get out what you put in.

Verdict

You should definitely play Halo 3. Whether you’re a hardcore fan or simply just enjoy first person shooters, this is definitely a top quality game. The story is tightly woven and wraps up a lot that was left unexplained in the second title, while the online boasts a deep and concise multiplayer experience, strengthened with the addition of Forge and Theater mode. There are several ways in which the game could expand, namely the graphics engine and sense of familiarity that some people might find to get slightly stale by now, but all in all the game manages to give a relatively fresh experience.

9/10

Presentation – 9

The game is well presented well with a sleek front-end menu and high production values

Gameplay – 9

The game is a standard Halo affair. It aint broke so don’t fix it. However, there is a lack of major reinvention other than the addition of equipment etc

Visuals – 8

The art design is fantastic and the vistas are well realised, however the engine sometimes lets the artistic vision down

Audio – 9

Fantastic voice acting and soundtrack

Lasting Appeal - 8

If you play this simply for the campaign then you can be done in a matter of hours. However if you delve into the other side the game has to offer then you will find endless hours of fun here.

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