Halo is a game and franchise that is near and dear to my heart. I grew up playing Halo, starting with the first one back in 2001 and then moving on to Halo 2 a few years later. I spent many days and nights replaying the campaigns just for fun and even countless hours of multiplayer LAN parties with friends. With Halo 3, it is a game I was looking forward to and seeing where the story takes us in this conclusion of the original Halo trilogy.
At the end of Halo 2 we were left with Master Chief hitching a ride on a Forerunner ship that the prophet Truth was using to make his way to Earth where the Ark is located. Gaining access to the Ark would allow the prophet to fire the Halo rings remotely, thus being able to destroy all life in the universe. Master Chief’s only companion Cortana decided to stay behind to destroy the Delta Halo ring if by chance it was set off. The Arbiter had managed to stop the firing of the Delta Halo ring, but consequently set the rest of the Halo rings into “standby” mode, which is how they can now be set off remotely. Halo 3 continues on with this story, but does not start directly where Halo 2 left off. Instead, Master Chief is already on Earth and on a mission to find the prophet Truth and stop him from getting to the Ark, along with trying to rescue Cortana from the Flood Gravemind that happened to capture her.
Overall the story and campaign of Halo 3 is great and as expected coming from the likes of Bungie. The levels are fun and exciting with some large set-pieces throughout and an amazing ending to a great trilogy. Difficulty-wise though the game seems slightly easier compared to that of Halo 2. I remember Halo 2 taking forever to complete, but Halo 3 can take about 10-12 hours to complete (for me) on Legendary. This could also be due to the fact that I’ve been playing video games for years now so maybe I’m more “experienced” at them. With new weapons types and vehicles the game offers plenty of variety and also the traditional weapons you’re used to from Halo are still there as well. A new mechanic added to the campaign is that of an extra set of “equipment” you can now carry along with your grenades. Items such as: trip mines, bubble shield, power drainers and regenerators can all be used to aid you a times in need. Only one can be equipped at a time though, until it’s used or you swap it out for another option.
The gameplay mechanics do not stray that far off from Halo 2’s mechanics, which to some could be a bad thing, but luckily it is not for Halo 3. The gameplay is very tight and solid, which is to be expected by now. For some people the controls can take a little getting used to compared to other FPS games, but Halo will utilize every button on that controller of yours. One new feature thrown into the mix is the fact that each weapon can be reloaded independently from each other. The right trigger will fire the right gun, while the right bumper will reload the right gun and the same is for the left side. And as usual, there are a decent amount of pre-set loadouts for controls for people that like things a little bit different.
The graphics hold up okay today and the frame rate holds up as well throughout the entire game. Even in high action intense moments during the game, the framerate still holds up without a hiccup. The many levels in the campaign offer a good variety of great looking level designs with different locations in the Halo universe. Halo 3 might not have the best graphics compared to some games today, but it still looks impressive for a game of its time. The audio in this game though is top-notch quality. The soundtrack in this game, just like with previous Halo games is one of the very best. It is one of the few soundtracks I could listen to over and over. Voice-acting is great too and even in-game combat voice acting is good. Getting a quick glimpse at different enemies voicing out their rage while in the middle of a fight can be entertaining and give a good laugh. Gun sounds are very noticeable and easy to tell what kind of gun is shooting at you just by the sound flying past your ear.
Halo 3 is an all-around great package of a game that should be played by everyone. The story is great and engaging, leaving you with a great conclusion to this trilogy, while also making you wonder what could come next for this franchise. For a game franchise that garners so much hype around it’s releases, Bungie sure knows how to put together a great experience. As a long-time fan of Halo, I always look forward to the next Halo game, even if Bungie isn’t involved anymore.
- Gameplay mechanics are solid and top-notch
- Compelling story with a great conclusion to this trilogy
- Intense soundtrack
- Friendly AI can be wonky