Halo 3 is probably the Halo game which most people know about. I remember when the game came out and just about everybody was talking about it. Back then, I was a little rigid in my gaming and wouldn’t really bother with non-Nintendo consoles, but as time has gone by I’ve mellowed and now I’ve finally had the chance to play this iconic game.
The first thing that anybody who played the first two games will notice is that it looks a lot nicer. A good game is never just about the graphics, but when you’re having fun and you’re enjoying what you’re looking at at the same time, it certainly adds to the experience. It seems like developer Bungie were keen to show this off too, as the game starts out in a large and beautiful jungle. Obviously, at the time, it had the advantage of being on a brand new console with higher capabilities than would have been available to the first two, but even looking back now, I think it’s a pretty nice looking game.
Gameplay-wise, I felt it played just as well as the last two. It’s a decent, all-round first-person shooter adventure. It’s not a genre I’m an expert at, so if I can pick-up and enjoy the game, I feel that that says something of its merits. Of course, there was also a pretty comprehensive online mode to go alongside the story campaign and it’s great that that’s there, but for me it’s the ongoing story that is most appealing. But it’s good that the strong FPS system they’ve built up has more than one outlet.
I think probably the biggest improvement over its two prequels is in the story department. It felt a little bit more emotional than the previous too, with more of an insight into the characters’ feelings – although I still think that it didn’t quite go deep enough. It was also great to have the cliffhanger of the last game resolved and what felt like a conclusion to the story which had, at this point, run through three games. The end of this game certainly felt a lot more satisfying than the end of the last game.
There’s one thing that I was disappointed about though. In Halo 2, we were introduced to The Arbiter and he was presented as pretty much as important as Master Chief himself. He was playable in many of the missions and central to the story. I hoped that he would have as much of a focus again, but this time he’s been demoted to a support character. He has less focus and is not playable (outside of co-op mode). As I prefer him to Master Chief, I felt that this was a shame. Honestly, this put the game just slightly behind the second one.
Overall, it’s a great piece of escapism. An immersive sci-fi adventure, with great visuals and excellent controls.