Saturday, March 19, 2011

Halo 3 Completed for the 7th Time

Lucky seven. Last Sunday, I completed Halo 3 for the seventh time and completed my second straight playthrough of the Halo Trilogy; something I haven't done since early 2008.

While I never had a major problem with Halo 3's Campaign, I did consider it the lesser of the franchise due to its lack of innovation and neglect of the Elites, but I must say that I greatly enjoyed this playthrough and actually found that its story flowed quite well from Halo 2's.

I also found myself far more forgiving of the game's graphics, and while I always disagreed with the general critics' hate-on for the game's visuals, there's no question that Halo 3 is a good looking game for a console 2007 release and anyone saying it looks just like Halo 2 is ignorantly biased. I even managed not mind Johnson's character model, which originally had me cringe when I first saw it three and a half years ago.

On this playthrough I really tinkered with the Magnum and found new respect for the gun, making the beginning of Sierra 117 not too bad after all. Personally, I consider the first Chapter of Halo 3 to be one of the weakest levels in the franchise, as it's the first in franchise history to start you in a relatively open area but you're noticeably lacking a scoped weapon. And while I have no issue with the Assault Rifle, I found myself dumping it for the Battle Rifle with a Magnum as back-up, and later on using a Shotgun in the Magnum's place.

The Shotgun actually works remarkably well on Brutes, who sadly are far easier to defeat than their tough Halo 2 counterparts. Hunters and even the Flood fall into this same category, but the game's level design and various scenarios provide a solid amount of variety and fun to keep you entertained.

I also never noticed before, but the friendly AI did seem to take a step backward over Halo 2 (while enemy AI still remained strong) and I greatly wish the Arbiter was a more effective AI ally, though at least Bungie addressed the quality of primary AI allies in future titles. Too bad the same can't be said for general friendly AI, which took yet another step back in Halo: Reach.

While I was disappointed by the lack of Sprint in Halo 2, I simply can't understand why it wasn't included here. As a 2007 release, there's no reason that I can see as to why Bungie couldn't add it in, and so many deaths are needlessly caused simply because you can't move fast enough to get to cover. While they did add Equipment, allowing things like Bubble Shields, Deployable Cover, and Regeneraters to add to one's survivability, I still didn't like their implementation and rarely used them. Armour Abilities truly are far more useful and intuitive than Equipment.

Another thing I found interesting this playthrough was that some battles which caused me no end of grief years ago were a breeze, but other battles I once found easy had me expanding my vocabulary of profanities. The final Warthog escape at game's end, for example, used to take me several tries, but this playthrough I got it in one. The large battle at the end of Chapter VII where you take on dual Scarabs, it was never a problem before but took me about twenty bloody tries this time! Extremely frustrating.

Overall however, this playthrough of Halo 3 was a grand experience and more enjoyable than any prior. In fact I enjoyed myself so much that I really feel like taking the game for yet another spin very soon, if only to see what different ways I can approach the different battles Bungie has crafted for the player. For the most part it felt like a larger, prettier, and more detailed Halo 2, and sometimes not re-inventing the wheel is a solid path for a sequel to take.

No comments: