by Chris Scott
reviewed on X360
You can finish the fight. It is finally here. What? You donít know what I am babbling about? Master Chief, big guy in green armor? Not ringing a bell. If you havenít heard of the Master Chief or the Microsoft juggernaut game franchise Halo then you have probably just crawled out from under a rock. Because for the past month or so you canít move without Halo 3 smacking you in the face with promotional material. Toys, mini-live action films, TV promotions that run every few minutes on every show at every time of the day, coverage on G4 and Spike TV as well as just about every major news outlet, sodas, fast food, bags of chips, kitchen sinks (OK maybe not this one), and my personal favorite the collectable Slurpee Cups all pushed Halo into our everyday lives. Yes, Microsoft has made sure that Halo 3 was everywhere, regardless of if you cared or not. So if you donít know about Halo, welcome back you have a lot of catching up to do.
Game developer Bungie Studios created the XBOX game Halo: Combat Evolved, a first person shooter that brought the genre into its own on consoles. It was so popular that they created Halo 2, which was even more popular but the single player campaign left a bad taste in the mouth of many fans. Hence here we are on the XBOX 360 with Halo 3, which according to Microsoft is the game to end all games. If you have yet to finish Halo: Combat Evolved or Halo 2, you will not be brought up to speed in Halo 3. In fact Halo 3 picks up directly after Halo 2 ends with you crashing on Earth in the jungles of Africa with no explanation of previous events at all.
Iím not going to go into the back-story, there is just too much to cover really, except to say that this is pretty standard science fiction writing here. The series borrows heavily from just about every major, and not so major, sci-fi franchise out there. You play as the Master Chief and you need to save the world; if your aiming reticule lights up red, shoot. The campaign mode spans nine levels all very well designed for the most part, with you traversing jungles, industrial sites, space ships and an ice planet. While all the levels feel fresh and new, there are some points in the game where you will be doing some considerable backtracking although it never gets as bad as the infamous Library level in Halo: Combat Evolved. Still the campaign is almost unforgivably short (it took me 7 hours to run through on normal) and any backtracking only seems to artificially lengthen the game. Veteran Halo players may want to start out on Heroic difficulty as Normal mode, while challenging, is quite forgiving and youíll find yourself breezing through the game. Heroic on the other hand forces you to stop and take your time, allowing you to truly experience Halo 3.
Once you have finished the fight by yourself, donít feel that all the campaign fun is over. Bungie has included some features to keep you playing the campaign long after you know the end of the story. First up is the option to play through the campaign with up to three of your friends. Co-op play is open to you on your system, via LAN or over XBOX Live. Co-op play sounds like fun but you want to be able to prove to your pals that you are the most valuable piece of the pie and little Joey, who holds the controller backwards, is the weakest link? Well turn on campaign scoring, where each kill will rack up points for both you and your pals. Campaign scoring in co-op can turn the standard gameplay of the campaign from a team experience to a crazy rush to each area so that players can rack up the kill counts. And if you happen to do something extra cool, head over to the theatre and record the clip or snap a screenshot (Halo 3 records your last 25 games, both campaign and multiplayer). So you say you still arenít feeling challenged though? Well hunt down the hidden skulls from which Ė when activated Ė the campaign menu can add different effects like turning off your heads up display. This can severely ramp up the difficulty of the campaign.
No Pros and Cons at this time