Monday, October 15, 2007

Halo 3 First Impressions

I have now played with all the main elements of Halo 3. Readers of this blog will be aware of my disapproval of Halo 2. I believed that it was massively over covered, yes the online was perfect, but the single player was weak, repetitive and short. Overall, I believed there was simply not enough content in the multiplayer to make up for the single player. However, does Halo 3 suffer the same problem? In short, no. Despite my prejudice against this game, I still left after playing this with a desire for more, much more...

The single player, of which I played in co-op mode, seems drastically improved upon. They took the good parts of Halo 2 and blew them out of proportion. The vehicle scenes are back in force, and thanks to the 360s increased power, the battles aren't restricted to corridors and small areas but now take place in massive planes with hundreds of units all fighting. The combat still follows a similar pattern and the game is still short, however repetitiveness is no longer an issue as it is fun all the time. As for the length, there are correctable skulls and Legendary difficulty, but ultimately the single player won't keep you for long.

The multiplayer is fantastic as you would expect. You will be fighting in teams and on your own for flags, skulls and kills online on Xbox Live. Building on the success of Halo 2, match making is easy and there are a wide variety of playlists for BTB (Big team battles) where you have 8v8 and Rumble Pit where it is all against all. One very interesting addition is 4 way matches. You play in teams of two against 3 other teams. As normal as that sounds, the chaos multiplies ten fold and playing in teams of two is loads of fun. My friend and I would go covering each others backs and making sure to avenge all deaths. It works particularly well in games such as Oddball as with all 4 teams going for the same space you get massive fights and one can be very lucky with two teams killing off each other and then you just run away with the Oddball! Overall, the multiplayer is, as to be expected, fantastic and fun.

One of the key elements added to Halo is Forge. Forge allows for on the fly editing. Basically, you can be fighting with a couple of people and then, press the D-Pad, spawn a Scorpion (preferably on someones head) and drive off. It isn't just vehicles you can spawn, you can spawn weapons,grav lifts, teleporters, explosive barrels even respawn points. The more you think about it, the more possibilities you will come up with. Forever exploding barrels (as all items respawn if they get destroyed), a fight on an arena of Grav-lifts etc etc. This feature adds a lot of replayabiltity to the game.

Overall, the game is a significant improvement on Halo 2 in all areas. The single player is much more fun and expansive, the multiplayer just keeps doing what is does so well and features such as Forge, the extended game mode customisation and the replays add up to make this a superb game for the 360 and if you have Live, there really is no reason not to own this game. Even if you don't have Live, providing you have two controllers you can have buckets of fun with offline MP and Forge.

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