Halo 3

Review

posted 11/19/2007 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: 360
Every year there's that one pop culture event that seems to change the entertainment landscape. Generally it's some sort of movie or book, but regardless of what it is you know that people will be talking about it ad nauseum for months to come. Even if you aren't one of those people who follows pop culture events (or watches movies, reads books or listens to music), chances are you'll know what it is and are already sick of people talking about it. This year's pop culture phenomenon is Halo 3, the single biggest game of 2007 and one of the most popular pieces of entertainment of all time. Since its release Microsoft has managed to sell more than three million units of the game, an impressive number for a game that has only been out a number of weeks. All of a sudden the news has pounced on this one game and everybody is comparing it to the success of the final Harry Potter book and the recent Transformers movie. Needless to say, Halo 3 is a major hit.

So how on earth does one go about reviewing a game like Halo 3? By now just about everybody who was interested in the game has already beaten the game, voiced their concern, and started demanding new multiplayer content. If anything, Halo 3 is the kind of game that is practically critic proof. If you're the kind of person that loved the first two games then it really doesn't matter what I have to say, I have no doubt that you'll be running to your local game store and buying up a copy of this mega popular first-person shooter (if you haven't already). The good news is that I'm not here to hate on Microsoft's biggest game of the year, instead I applaud all of the extras it provides and hope that there are other companies taking notes for what they can do in their future titles.

Halo 3 is, as the title suggests, the third (but certainly not final) installment in the popular first-person shooter franchise. While some may argue that this particular franchise is one of the most overrated titles of all time, anybody who has been with the Xbox since day one already knows what this one game has meant for Microsoft's video game console. It's safe to say that without Halo Microsoft may not have a next generation title to promote, and, without giving it too much credit, Halo 2 played a major role in the overwhelming success of the Xbox Live online service. Other first-person shooters have come and gone, but none have had the impact of the Halo series.

Perhaps this is the reason why so many people are so excited about Halo 3, the franchise's first foray into the wild world of next generation consoles. There was never any doubt that this game was going to be a massive hit, but it seems like everybody has a different reason for wanting to, as Microsoft says, "Finish the Fight." Some are just excited about the brand new multiplayer modes that offer new weapons, levels and gameplay types. Others are excited to see where the game's story takes us, interest to see who would live, who would die and whether or not our hero takes off his mask. Thankfully no matter what reason you have for buying Halo 3, there's no doubt that you'll have a lot of fun playing one of the best games of the year.

When we last left Master Chief he was getting ready to, ahem, finish the fight by heading to Earth. This anti-climactic ending still annoys Halo fans, especially those who bought the game hoping to get some sort of exciting conclusion to their game. But alas, there was no satisfying ending in Halo 2, because Bungie was just setting us all up for the events that happen in this third installment. Looking back at it now the Halo 2 ending makes perfect sense; it leads us right up to what has to be the most explosive chapter of the trilogy. But it was hard to be happy with that sort ending back in 2004, especially when we all knew that Halo 3 wouldn't hit consoles for another two or three years.

The good news is that you won't have to worry about Halo 3 ending on a sour note, from beginning to end Bungie's newest game manages to hit all the right notes. It gives us some epic battles, some time on Earth, the return of some of our favorite characters and an ending that is both satisfying and yet open to interpretation. That's not to say that the game is perfect, but if you're one of those people who felt burned by the way Halo 2 suddenly dropped us, then you won't feel the same anger when playing through Halo 3.

Predictably, Halo 3 starts with Master Chief crash landing on Earth and getting into a brand new battle against an attacking Brute force. The very first level takes place entirely in a large forest, setting the mood for the rest of the game and giving you a quick refresher course on how to play the game. From there you end up defending various bases, battling in military sites and even invading a few enemy spaceships. The campaign is split up into nine different chapters, which in total should take you around ten to twelve hours to beat. Without giving too much of the story away, you'll be fighting side by side with the Arbiter (who played a major role in Halo 2), working as a team to take down major enemy spaceships and other beasts, and, you guessed it, taking on the Flood.
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