Game Night, Halo, Review, Video Games

Halo 3: Finishing the Fight

Thirteen years. PC players have been waiting to play this game for thirteen god damn years. Now, the promised day has finally arrived. Now, those on PC can finally see the conclusion to the Halo trilogy!

What? Halo 4 and 5? What’re you talking about? Those don’t exist! The series ended with this and Reach! Oh, and ODST, I guess.

Now, I don’t have as much nostalgia for Halo 3 as I do Halo: CE and Halo 2. I used to play it with a cousin who lived with my grandparents when I was a kid, but that was so long ago now that I hesitate to even count that. We definitely beat it, I remember that much. But thirteen years is a long time. Aside from that, I’ve only played it a few times with my little brother, when I went to visit my parent’s place.

But then it came out on Steam and I blasted through it in one sitting.

Guys. This game is so god damn good! I honestly might like this one more than Halo 2! It is a truly phenomenal game and a perfect conclusion to one of my favorite video game trilogies!

Why do you keep saying there’s a fourth and fifth game? No, there’s not! Stop being crazy!

Story: The Last Stand

As engaging and fun as Halo stories are, they’re never really much to write home about. The most compelling thing we got in the series was the Arbiter’s story, which pretty much ended in Halo 2. All we have left in Halo 3 is just the conclusion of a battle, not the end of a character’s emotional journey.

And I. Love it!

Shortly after the end of Halo 2, Chief crashlands back on Earth, where he’s picked up by his old friend Seargent Major Johnson and his old enemy turned ally, the Arbiter. Now, with the new alliance between Humanity and the Elites (I forget what they’re called), Chief and the Arbiter must defeat the Covenant once and for all and find a way to put an end to the Flood.

That’s it. That’s the story. It’s literally that simple.

Again, this isn’t a bad thing. Halo was never focused on writing complex and interesting sci-fi stories. It’s been more focused on making fun, engaging stories about a war in space. And in that regard, this game knocks it out of the god damn park!

This very much is the third act. It focuses entirely on the final battle against both the Covenant and the Flood. All the characters are already fleshed out, the few character arcs we got are already complete, and everything is in place. Now, all that’s left is the defeat of the bad guys.

And god damn is it satisfying to play!

To be fair, though: the ending is actually phenomenally written! It has everything I love in an ending! It wraps up the story in a satisfying way while leaving it open-ended enough for audience interpretation! I legitimately think that it’s one of the greatest endings to a video game that I’ve ever seen!

Thank God no game came after it to fuck it all up! Nope! None at all!

Presentation: We On the 360 Now, Boys!

This game still looks great! Fight me!

For an early 360 game, Halo 3 still looks phenomenal! The environments are filled with tons of detail, which brings each level to life! Every single zone, be it an open road or a Flood-infested tunnel, is absolutely dripping with atmosphere, whether it be intense and heroic or grim and creepy!

Even the character models don’t look half bad! Sure, the human facial animations don’t look all that great and some of the characters just look like a plastic model stuck in the microwave. But Chief, Arbiter, the Elites, and all the enemies still look incredible!

And the music is… do I have to say it? It’s Halo music. We all know its amazing! In other news, snow is cold. Moving on.

Gameplay: If It Ain’t Broke, Refine It

As wonderful as Halo 2 is, I don’t think anyone can ignore that it’s kinda busted. The dual-wielding mechanic was awesome but some of those combos were just way too strong! It needed a lot of refining!

Which is exactly what Halo 3 did!

Gameplay-wise, this one is basically the same as Halo 2, but with a few minor changes. For one: you can’t dual-wield every single smaller weapon anymore. For example, you can’t go around dual-wielding needless and annihilating everything. Guns have been rebalanced, vehicles handle better, so on and so forth. It’s all just Halo but refined to a beautiful T.

Not only that but there’s a ton of new stuff! New vehicles! New weapons! New enemies! New multiplayer maps! This game does exactly what a good sequel should do and builds upon the foundation left behind by the others!

Now, I do have some complaints. Personally, I’m not much a fan of Halo 3 multiplayer. I often find myself spawning right into the middle of a firefight, which results in me dying immediately after having gotten back in. Not only that, but it’s super easy for a team to take all the vehicles on the map and just wipe the floor with the other, making it super hard for one team to bounce back if they’re put on the defensive. I find this game’s multiplayer to be the most frustrating and annoying out of any of the others.

Another thing I don’t like are the Cortana/Grave Mind messages in the campaign. Every now and then, you’ll be reduced to moving at a crawl while either of the aforementioned characters give Chief some cryptic messages. The first time through, it isn’t so bad. Unfortunately, you can’t skip them, which makes replaying the game a bit of a pain. Especially since they become really frequent in some of the later missions.

Oh, and the AI blows. Enemy AI is great and provides a fun challenge! But your allies are about as competent as a herding cat. I cannot count the number of times I got screwed because the AI decided to do something stupid and it got me killed. It pisses me off more than anything in the world!

Do those sound like nitpicks? That’s because they kind of are! Halo 3 is so damn good and fun that the best critiques I have are just that! It’s so damn fun that it becomes borderline addicting! It’s so god damn good!

A bold statement, I know.

Conclusion

This might come as a shock to you. I kinda love Halo 3! It’s one of those rare games that actually lived up to the insanely high expectations everyone had for it, delivering one of the most enjoyable, memorable experiences in video games! This game is a god damn masterpiece, one that I’ll be playing time and time again for years to come!

In fact, I think I might just play it again right now!

Dude, what are you doing? This game is ten bucks on Steam! Buy it! Go! What else is there to do?! If you played it back in the day, play it again! If you’ve never played it before, fix that! Immediately!

And now, we’re done. We’ve gone through the golden age of the Halo series. Honestly, I’m kind of sad! These are some of my favorite games from my childhood and reviewing them has been some of the most fun I’ve had in a while! But now the story of Chief and Cortana is over. And my journey back through this amazing series has ended along with it.

Because we all know that they never made another Halo game again. Nope. Not even one.

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