Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Halo 3 Beta Analysis

Last Sunday I got the chance to play on the new Halo 3 beta trial. My first impressions that I got from the GS video were quite critical of the game. It looked very similar to Halo 2, the graphics didn't look like they had changed much, the voices were the same and the gameplay looked the same. You can read my full analysis of the video here. h

However, when I actually got to play it, I saw that it was different. The graphics have been greatly improved since Halo 2 with a lot of extra detail in the water. Also, the physics engine has been revamped. The explosions look a lot better. Finally, where in Halo 2, if you zoomed in on some textures you could see them repeating, however, in the Halo 3 they looked realistic. You can see dents in metals and reflections in the water. Overall, the graphics have in fact been improved since Halo 2 and there is still some time to polish them.
The gameplay has not been changed very much. This is quite predictable as Halo 2 multiplayer is regraded as one of the greatest online shooters. The most notable change is the items you can "deploy" These include the much famed bubble shield, as seen in the trailer, and grav boosters. These are very cool and quite fun. However, they are very rare and so do not actually effect the gameplay very much. I picked up 3 in about 4 hours of playing. Although this could change, they do not have enough impact at the moment. Also, there are other subtle changes such as the guns now track the enemy. However, the game still feels the same as Halo 2. This is not a problem as Halo 2 was fine.
The game still retains the fun, tried and tested, gameplay. One of my highlights was when I was defending the flag. The map was completely silent, there was no sign of the enemies. We stood their, guns trained on the flag. Then, one by one, silently, you would see "X has killed someone on your team". Each death would be slightly closer to the flag, but there was still no sign of the enemy. I was really scared, you got the impression that there was an assassin moving slowly towards you. Fortunately, they pushed the time limit too far and so they had to make a dash for it. We mercilessly cut them down.
As to whether this game is good will come down to the single player and whether the MP is continued to be played and supported to the same degree as Halo 2. In conclusion, the multiplayer is a strong as ever, providing instant action with good quality graphics and no lag problems.

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