Friday, May 11, 2007

Halo 3 Online Beta Analysis

In a week today, Crackdown owners will log on to Xbox Live to play the Halo 3 Beta. However, today GS and other game news companies got their keys to log in. GS are broadcasting there's online here. Here is my analysis.

First of all, you should probably bare in mind I watched this in Full Screen mode over a wireless internet connection so the quality isn't fantastic. However, the graphics don't look much better than Halo 2. Yes, you can see some extra details like weeds blowing in the wind. However, if it didn't say "Halo 3 Beta Trial" I might not have noticed. If some had hadn't played Halo 2 a lot would definitely not notice. Some of the textures look better.

Also, all the sounds are recycled from Halo 2. The voices saying "Headshot" and the beeps counting down to re-spawn are still there. This is good and bad. Good is the sounds were fantastic in Halo 2, bad is they could still have been improved.

New content is limited. There are a few new weapons, there are pieces of equipment that can be deployed by pressing X. These have a selection of uses, such as the bubble shield as seen in the TV advert, to a thing which when you stand on, sends you flying. Quite a lot of these things feel like they could have been included in a map pack. The game also features a semi-tracking thing on your gun. This doesn't appear to have much of an impact on the gameplay.

I don't know what I was expecting to be improved, but there isn't much that I can see that has actually been improved. The whole game feels like extra content. Quite a lot of the new stuff is map specific, most of the global changes are quite small. All in all the game looks an upgraded version of Halo 2. Fair play to Microsoft, people are going to go out and buy it in droves, but I guess I was expecting something more for the most anticipated game for 2007 possibly for ever.

Weather this game is worth getting or not will come down to the single player. The multiplayer will stand up to inspection, but doesn't look like enough of an improvement from Halo 2 for it to get my stamp of approval just on its own. It is slightly worrying that the future of the Halo franchise rests on the single player. Remember, this is just a beta on a wireless internet connection, all could change.

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