Halo 3 – A foray in disappointment

Halo 3 [hey-loh three] – noun.

  1. hyped finale to the Xbox’s flagship franchise.
  2. Bungie’s third installment of the Halo first-person shooter gaming series

adjective

  1. to look good without any substance
  2. disappointing, mundane
  3. overrated

Example: “Lindsey Lohan is so Halo 3.”

I already beat Halo 3. I played through it on the Heroic setting, didn’t die very much and wasn’t excited by it. I can’t even remember the what happened in the last installment because it took three years to produce an even more banal sequel, but experiencing the same feelings of disappointment let me know this was indeed a continuation of Halo 2. I’m starting to think this whole Halo franchise is still riding on the coattails of an amazing original release.

The game play is what disappoints the most. Level design is confusingly bland and painfully repetitive. The short levels of this Halo installment break down like this: run, in a linear fashion, to a switch. Flick the switch and run back to where you started. I guess this is an improvement to the seminal Doom model; in those days you only had to find the switch to finish the level. The innovative level design of Halo 3 makes it so you have to go back to where you started! And I thought I would never have to do a shuttle run again after left my final middle school gym class!

The weapons are the same as always, with a few additions. I’m not going to go into them because you’ve seen them in other games before. I’ve also found you have to achieve certain goals in the game to unlock things, like alternate costume designs in multi-player. What the hell is that? What if I never played online to earn the rank to unlock this? I typically play the game with friends in my living room because Xbox Live! isn’t worth its salt and the people on there aren’t exactly “fun.”

Speaking of idiots, the game AI isn’t quite Hopkins material either. The enemies tend to stand around, giving me the opportunity to melee kill entire squadrons. If only the Germans had been like this on D-Day, the war would have been over after a 15 day pistol-whipping push to Berlin. Master Chief’s support isn’t much better. They shouldn’t be allowed to drive any of the game’s vehicles. A couple of times my driver managed to get stuck next to a tree and stopped moving entirely. I empathize with Ms. Daisy’s plight before she found Morgan Freeman. I’m not entirely sure why this happened, but I suspect some serious section of code was left out of the game. The original Halo had smarter enemies and squad mates.

There has also been the inclusion of power-ups you can hold on to for use during heavy combat. The teaser trailer of Master Chief running into a hail of enemy fire, only to thrown down a shield grendade(!) for protection isn’t nearly as exciting in practice. I think I only used these new power-ups once during the game.

Multi-player is just as blasé as the rest of the game. Boring levels, lousy layout, same weapons as always. I imagine this game will go out with the tide; there are always mediocre FPS games in the making. As of today, I hadn’t a chance to invite people over to play in my living room. My local social network consists very few males, and even fewer with an interest in video games.

On the positive side, the graphics are great and my 360 didn’t brick yet. The lighting effects, water rendering and virtual environments look great on my HDTV. Unfortunately for gamers on a budget, I imagine not owning a HDTV would make the game look exactly like Halo 2.

In summation, Halo 3 has great graphics if you have an HDTV, but a lousy story line and boring level design. Don’t buy this game. You’ll be done with it in less than 10 hours and suffer a severe case of buyer’s remorse. Rent it, if you can find a copy somewhere. I’ll loan you my copy if I believe you’ll return the game in its pristine condition.

Since World of Warcraft is the greatest game of all time, I rate games from one to ten days away from playing WoW. I give Halo 3 three days away from WoW. From now on, I’m only buying first-person shooters for my PC; lesson learned. I should have picked up BioShock or Half Life: Orange Box. Portal looks pretty sweet.

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One Response to Halo 3 – A foray in disappointment

  1. ave says:

    wow you got some balls.

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