I finally beat: Halo 3

Achievement

I finally beat: Halo 3

This is a bit delayed, as I actually beat Halo 3 within two or three days of its launch.

Halo 3 is just the natural progression of Halo-ness. Halo may have revolutionized FPS with it’s two weapon system (How can I carry these 18 weapons at once? Where does that chainsaw GO when I pull out my Sniper Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun, and Assault Rifle) and Regenerating Health (I’m bleeding deep in enemy territory. Good thing there are all these bullet healing health packs lying around EVERYWHERE), and a fun Co-Op Campaign (Mobile Respawn Point) but the 3rd game should bring something new to the table. After all, that’s what Halo did to make itself so popular. Let’s split this into two parts: Campaign and Matchmaking.

The Campaign has a very weakly presented plot, but it wraps up the story started (and not even attempted to be ended) in Halo 2. The level design is decidedly better than Halo 1 and 2. Now, that is not saying much since those games had awful levels. Halo 1 had such poor design they copied and pasted the same room over and over again, and had arrows on the doors and floor so you could follow them in the correct direction and not get turned around. Needless to say, partway through the game you must backtrack and follow these arrows backwards. What makes this campaign fun is the fact it is now 4 player co-op over live (up to two people per console), and can have a score associated with it. Now you can track who is pulling their weight and who is just shooting grunts. Unlockable skulls and higher difficulties can continue the replayability and increase the crazy fun factor to make it less predictable. If you didn’t like the Halo campaigns before, this will do nothing to change your mind. However, if you enjoyed the splitscreen co-op available previously, then this is just expanded.
Matchmaking is the real strength of the game. Halo 3 is the Lan Game of the Year. Back in the dorms, or in your basement, you may have lan’ed on the computer, but this is different. It is different because it is WAY easier. Everyone with a 360 has the system requirements necessary to “lan” halo 3. Your friends can be in their own houses to “lan” halo 3. And you can even have some friends over, those poor souls who do not have 360’s, to play splitscreen with you and bring them online to “lan” with you. Another great aspect is the extremely customizable rules. Forge has been touted in every review, but few mentioned the detail in which you can alter any behavior of any aspect of a play type. Combined with Forge to place respawn points and weapons and you can setup almost any game type you would like. Infection is one of my favorite modes. It started as a custom fan made ruleset of Halo 2, and is now officially supported in Halo 3. Zombies kill survivors until everyone is a zombie, or the time runs out.

I recommend Halo 3 to anyone with a 360. Not because the core mechanics are the best, (even that great). Not because it is a graphical powerhouss (it isn’t). Not because it has interesting characters and story (it doesn’t really, and they are really poorly directed in Halo 3). I recommend it because you can have friends over at your house AND play online. You can have more than 2 friends over and play online. You can even all be on the same team. It easily recreates the lan experience (pushing and trash talking the people next to you, or coordinating with them), while increasing that technology to allow you to connect to players around the world. Sure, Halo 2 did this, too. But Halo 2 was a bit more broken from a balance perspective and Xbox Live was not as prevalent. I knew just a couple of people who didn’t mod their Xbox’s and actually played on Live. Now, most of my friends have 360’s, and we can play whenever we coincidentally see each other online playing any other game, thanks to the 360’s (somewhat spotty recently) Live service.