Halo 3 Review
Halo 3 builds upon the concepts of Halo 2 in ways that you'd expect, but there are also new modes and options that send the series in exciting new directions.
The weird thing about this last concept is that, with the addition of the Forge, you'll actually be able to build some sort of crude baseball variant if you want. Forge mode is a map editor, but not in the 3D modeling sense that you're used to seeing in PC shooters. You can't edit level geometry with Forge, but you can spawn, remove, and move objects and items around the level. All of the editing is done in real time, and you can pop in and out of edit mode by pushing up on the D pad. You can also play this mode with other players, letting everyone run around in edit mode to spawn Warthogs, rocket launchers, and whatever else is already on the map. On the surface, that doesn't sound so exciting. But in practice, it's a weird and potential-rich addition to the game because there are a ton of little secrets and tricks you can use to manipulate the objects in ways the developers may not have intended.
For example, take the fusion core. It's Halo's version of the exploding barrel, and by default, it blows up when you shoot it or drop it from a significant height. It also takes 30 seconds to respawn. You can modify it to respawn every 10 seconds and, with help from another player's rifle fire, you can coax it into respawning in midair, where it tumbles to the ground and explodes every 10 seconds. Naturally, if you surround that spot with more stuff that explodes, you'll have a fun little physics-based bomb that respawns and explodes every 10 seconds. If you've ever messed around with Garry's Mod, a similar physics-based toolbox for Half-Life 2, then you'll recognize this as a simplified take on that idea when you start using it for more than simply adding a few weapons to a map or moving spawn points around. Though many players probably won't get hooked on Forge tinkering, it's an extremely powerful addition that may just take over your life.
You'll be able to easily share your Forge creations with other players via a handy file-sharing system that lets you quickly send map configurations and gameplay types to your friends. You can also set a certain number of items as publicly shared, and users can go to Bungie's Web site to browse and rate the shared items. Additionally, you can flag items for download on that Web page, and the next time you fire up Halo 3, it'll download the items you've marked. It's a very slick interface that makes moving stuff around very easy.
You can also use the file-sharing options to send screenshots and saved films. Saved films are replays of action from any of the modes in the game, from campaign to multiplayer to Forge sessions. The game automatically stores the last 25 or so sessions, and you can choose to save them more permanently from there. Once you've got them, you can edit them down to key kills, weird single-player behavior, or the strangest Forge stuff you can come up with, and then save them for sharing, just as you would with a map or game mode. Much like Forge, the saved-films feature doesn't really sound like much, but Halo 3 is a very replay-worthy game, and you'll probably run into plenty of little moments that you'll want to save for posterity. Another nice touch is that the films aren't locked to one perspective. You can detach the camera from your player and fly anywhere on the map, or change it to any other player's view, as well. The only real issue is that rewinding and fast-forwarding are a little clunky. So if you've got something you want to save that's at the end of a 45-minute session, you'll have to hold down the fast-forward button for a long time to get to that moment, and if you miss it, rewinding can be a real pain, too. Once you've figured out the little idiosyncrasies of footage manipulation, it's not so bad.
Halo has always had a very strong artistic vision, and the graphics have always been just good enough to convey the necessary imagery without becoming huge technical powerhouses. That's not to say that the game isn't technically impressive, because it maintains a smooth frame rate throughout, and looks very sharp overall with plenty of great lighting and other nice effects. But the visual design overpowers its technical side and really stands out. Given that the game takes place in a wider range of locales than the previous two games, you'll see a lot of different, colorful environments, including deserts, snow, jungle settings, great-looking building interiors, and more. The enemies, many of which are returning from past games, also look great.
The sound in Halo 3 is a good mix of old and new, much like the rest of the game. You'll hear the familiar Halo theme music and variants thereof. You'll also hear plenty of great new music, including one suspenseful track with a heartbeat-like sound that manages to get your heart pounding as well. Most of the voice cast from Halo 2 returns to voice their respective characters, and they again turn in terrific and believable performances. You'll also hear a ton of combat dialogue, both from the marines that fight by your side as well as the enemies you're fighting, who don't seem to appreciate it when you kill one of their comrades. Our favorite line from the Covenant was probably "You've killed my brother for the last time," which is pretty hilarious.
As games start to consider user-generated content, it's becoming clear that more and more games will be ready to give you back just as much as you're willing to put into them. On the surface, Halo 3 is every bit the sequel you would expect it to be, in that it delivers meaningful upgrades to both the story-driven and competitive sides of the package. However, it's the addition of the Forge level editor and the saved films that give the game an even longer set of legs, legs that will probably keep you running at full speed until Bungie figures out where, exactly, to go from here.
@Hutare: Hence the "inevitable." The reviewer is saying that "Halo 3" is no different than any other game that features online multiplayer, in that respect.
I really don't think that "Inevitable flood of prepubescent online players sure to hamper your enjoyment of the online modes" should be on there. Who ever reviewed this should have known better. Children are bound to be playing the multiplayer of any game.
@Hutare You can't go making brilliant points on here, it will only get you banned. Sometimes they need a ridiculous reason to bash a near perfect game.
@Hutare yea it's silly how the most obnoxious whiny gamers nowadays are fellow adults with some stupid sense of entitlement. their enjoyment of a game gets ruined by a couple F-bombs from a squeaky voice then they tell their own kids crap like be polite and turn the other cheek when faced with kids insulting them at school or something. no wonder their kids walk all over them it's impossible for them be taken seriously.
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