The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Review: Halo 3 Finishes the Fight

Damon Jason | Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Halo 3’s single player campaign starts where its predecessor left off. Master Chief is pursuing the Prophet of Truth to stop him from activating the “sacred rings,” which would destroy everything in the universe.

Many fans were disappointed with this cliffhanger ending of Halo 2, as well as the repetitive level design, and Bungie’s decision to have Master Chief’s story take a backseat to what was happening within the internal ranks of the Covenant. All of these issues are addressed this time around, and make for a very solid and engrossing campaign.

If Halo 3’s single player campaign can be faulted for anything it would be for being too short. The single player mode is only nine levels and lasts a little more than 10 hours on the normal difficulty. Veteran Halo players should play the campaign on a harder difficulty, because the default difficulty is simply too easy.

This is not to say the campaign is not fun. While there are certain sections of the game where backtracking is necessary, this is kept to a minimum. The action is solely on Master Chief and his marines. From the start of the game, the action picks up almost instantaneously. The single player campaign is so engrossing that it is very hard to put the controller down once you start.

Tired of playing alone? You can play through any of the nine campaign levels via system link or over Xbox Live. This adds a level of replay that was not available on previous iterations of the game.

The final chapter of the Halo trilogy has benefited from the added graphical prowess of the Xbox 360. Everything is beautifully done. All of the in-game environments look simply amazing, and the attention to detail deserves much praise. Surfaces such as the armor of certain vehicles show reflections in real time. The water physics are simply beautiful – the developers even took refraction into account.

The multiplayer has essentially carried this title since it was released. In the past, there have been many issues with weapon balance, ranging from certain weapons being too powerful to every map having a limited number of “power weapons.” Everything has been tweaked to make for a much more balanced multiplayer game.

Speaking of weapons, Bungie has created quite a few new additions. Of these new weapons, the Spiker is probably the most balanced.

A surefire soon-to-be favorite is the Gravity Hammer, which is essentially a large hammer that can take vehicles out of commission, so you can imagine what it can do to your opponents. There are even some tweaks to old weapons. It’s no longer embarrassing to die at the hands of a Needler because its damage has been upped significantly.

The multiplayer maps are just plain fun. There are 11 maps right now, but there will be more offered later as downloadable content. Bungie has attempted to make sure that these maps never get old by offering a sort of map editor, called Forge. While you can’t alter the actual layout of the maps, you can change the location of vehicles, weapons, spawn point and others.

The multiplayer for Halo 3 is so good that it will keep players occupied until Bungie’s next project. Many players will enjoy the new Saved Films mode, which allows you to save replays of your favorite in game moments. While this has been popular in sports titles for some time, it’s relatively new for console shooters.

Microsoft has also added a mode called File Share, in which you can upload your favorite videos to Xbox Live to share with the world. By default, everyone is given 25 MB of space, although you can purchase more space if desired.

Bungie could have shipped Halo 3 with just the multiplayer mode and the game would still have been impressive. Considering that you get the superb multiplayer, the excellent single player campaign and a bevy of other features, Halo 3 is easily the most solid and complete game available for any console on the market today.