Halo 3: Nothing You Read Here Will Make a Difference

So, yeah, Halo 3. Biggest gaming event of the year, I suppose. Last night, I got from it everything I’m going to get from the single player game.

Halo 3: the new Deus Ex or the new Master of Orion 3?

Interesting. I can’t wait to potentially say BioShock was way better than Halo 3, if what you say is indeed true ;).

Thank you, Tom, for saving me $80. Reading what you wrote reinforced my decision not to care about this game. Maybe I’ll borrow it from someone later on. But probably not.

Great write-up, pretty much sums up my expectations also. I fought through the other Halos more because I felt like I was missing something, then actually having fun. Needless to say, I think games like Half Life 2 damn near made Halo obsolete.


Enjoyed the first, got bored half-way through the second. If the third’s more of the same, eh. I’ll just assume the good guys win.

I’m playing through Halo 2 right now and it definitely sounds familiar. I found myself having to look various things about the plot or background up on Wikipedia just to figure out what was going on or why I should particularly care, and still wasn’t really satisfied.

But I’m finding the actual gameplay fairly fun, and will pick up 3 for the same reason. So yeah, no difference. :)

So is it worse than DOOM 3? ;)

PS: DOOM 3 rocks!

I feel like I totally agree with this review, in the same way I totally agreed with the scathing Halo 2 PC reviews without ever having played that either. I just love to hate Halo, and I’m guilty of all my gloomiest suspicions about the detractors to the games I love.

So it’s always cathartic to hear someone with some actual evidence ragging on the drab, dumb alien-massacres.

Good thing I only plan on renting it for some gamer points. I played Halo and thought ‘wow this is cool’. Then Halo 2 came and I though ‘hmm I think I’ve done this before’. So hearing that Halo 3 is going to be more of the same really doesn’t surprise me, it’s actually what I was expecting from them, the same thing hyped up differently.

I’d still like to try some co-op if by the time my copy get’s here anyone is still playing.

I finished the single-player yesterday as well (two levels of it in three-person co-op over Live, which worked flawlessly).

I pretty much agree with everything Tom says there. Although I think I should add some context to how I feel about it. I thought it was oddly short given the protracted development time, and I think the graphics do indeed look a lot better than Halo 2 (I went back and played Halo 2 just to compare).

The game definitely pays “homage”, be be kind, to many of the setpieces from the first two games. The best ones, anyway. This is a good and a bad thing. It means that the highest notes of the first two games, in terms of “exhilarating combat scene” are repeated here. In fact, the game is comprised almost entirely of that. There are precious few moments where you go “well this section is a total drag.” There are also precious few moments where you experience something new and exciting. Many of the special moments in the first couple games were unnecessarily annoying, and the Halo 3 version of them takes out the annoyance factor - shortens the ones that were too long, makes easier the ones that were too hard. In doing so, it kind of sucks the personality and life out of itself. It’s like you’re playing a “best of Halo director’s cut” kind of game, rather than one with its own identity.

The story is delivered in an only adequate fashion. It gets the job done. The ending is not especially surprising, but it’s just enough to satisfy you. You know how happens, how it ends.

Oh, make sure you sit through the credits!

Multiplayer, and Forge, and the saved films thing, seem totally awesome. I’m sure those will make this game worth the price of admission, if you’re into that stuff. Co-op was lots of fun, just as co-op almost always is.

And for what it’s worth, though reliving most of Halo 1 and 2 is incredibly uninspired, it still makes for some really dynamic and exciting combat. Halo’s enemy and friendly AI still shine above many other games, delivering combat situations that really do play out differently every time. So it’s not like it’s a bad shooter. It’s just more predictably good than anticipated. Well, and the story doesn’t wow ya at all. It’s almost a better game for people who just want to skip all the cutscenes and play out the combat, y’know?

Now done with Halo 3’s campaign, I find myself more glad it’s over than anticipating the next one. The campaign felt like a “contractual obligation” sequel movie, and I’d like Bungie to move on to other things.

I wonder if, having concluded the story, they’ll take the license online only. Halo Tournament 2K8! It would seem to play to the franchise’s greatest strengths (although God bless them for online co-op - are you listening, every other developer in the world?).

I wonder if the “love it or hate it” line for Halo is drawn exactly down the lines separating those who prefer the single player experience from those who love deathmatch.

Well SUPPOSEDLY Bungie isn’t directly working on Halo games anymore. They’re working on the Peter Jackson project which is supposed to be like “a game, but different” and Halo is meant to live on in things like Halo Wars, which is Ensemble.

Just please, Bungie - go off and make a new franchise. Something wholly different. It can be an FPS, just not space marines and stuff anymore.

I hardly knew what was going on in Halo 1 and Halo 2, so I don’t really care what the story is about. I want that 30-seconds of fun it does so well, again. I want to stick a vehicle with a plasma grenade from seventy feet, and then have this year’s David Cross scream “DID YOU SEE THAT?!” in my face.

But this is the first Halo that’ll actually get to play online from the start, that’s what I’m really looking forward to.

Couldn’t agree more, and I said so separately before reading this post. Halo is nothing less than an enormous missed opportunity. Bungie had infinite resources to innovate in the genre, and the best they could do was more of the same. In HD.

Confession: I like Halo more than Half-life. But that’s more a reflection of my near-total indifference to HL than a testimony to Halo’s virtues. That said, Tom’s criticisms are basically spot-on: the repetitive level designs, the lame story, etc. The Halo franchise really felt like a missed opportunity to raise the bar on console shooters: the first one was ground-breaking for its time (in terms of showing off what the last generation of console FPSs could do); but the second one definitely took an “if it ain’t broke…” attitude and the third one sounds like it continues the trend, but in HD.

F that. New Myth game plzkthx.

Tom, you just saved me $60.

Or more specifically, made $50 for the WiC guys.

Very disappointing.

I have to disagree Tom. I can’t comment on the gameplay as I simply haven’t played it yet but Bungie has shown that it can tell a story with a cinematic flair (quality of the story notwithstanding) with smooth transitions between cut-scene-back-to-combat as opposed to Bioshock’s old-schoolish ham fisted methods (disembodied lunatic over an intercom and voice recordings?..c’mon…)

Matter of fact, I can’t think of many other games that have approached Bungie in terms of bringing the player close to the ideal of a movie/game hybrid.

Then again I don’t play much outside of the shooter genre so I’m sure I’m missing some.

I’ve only ever gotten through the first six or so levels of the first Halo on PC - I did buy it for way too much money years after release on Xbox, but quickly concluded that I could not stand the controls. Even with co-op. And indeed, where I was rapidly and thoroughly lost for ages on both the first and second levels (escaping the ship / landing on Halo and rescuing the stranded marines) on the Xbox, I plowed through both on PC. I have since gotten more or less used to dual-analog controls but I don’t expect I’ll ever play the console versions of the Halo series.

So I have little doubt that everything Tom says is true about the storytelling and level design. I’m already irritated by the maze-like design of the first Halo, especially given its complete lack of automap. But I can’t be sure. Still, to say that Bungie is incapable of doing these things well… Tom, have you played any of the Marathon games?