This is a busy time of the year for games, meaning there is a lot to choose from. So many great games released, and so little time. Anyway, I bought Halo 3 the day it came out. The hype worked, well actually a friend was picking it up so I figured why not. I should also mention that I’ve never really played Halo or Halo 2 other than maybe several minutes on someone else’s console. I have since finished the game and thought I would share my thoughts.
First, this game is a fantastic game, no doubt about it. I want to get that out of the way, because what I am going to say next is more in regards to how hyped it is. This game is an incredible hype machine. The advertising dollars gone into Halo 3 must dwarf other games. Everywhere you look its Halo this, and Halo that, even publications that don’t talk about games are talking about Halo 3. The real question is does the game stand up to the hype?
Okay, let’s be fair, how phenomenally amazing would a game have to be to possibly match the hype of this game. I mean the game would basically have to be the best shooter ever released. Is Halo 3 the best ever? Not a chance. Again, remember how I started this review, this is a fantastic game, no doubt about that. The fan base for Halo 3 is fanatic, and saying anything negative about it can bring down the wraith of the Halo Gods. Almost every review site has given stellar reviews of 9.5 to 9.8. I find these scores hard to believe since I’m sure there’s a lot of Microsoft ad revenue going into these sites, but maybe the hype has just got to everyone.
Let’s start off with the bad; the game is short, VERY short. I am one of those people that take forever to finish any game, and I finished this in a week. I’ve heard stories of people finishing it in a day. The second is the graphics. During the production of Halo 3, many people on gametrailers.com had mentioned how the graphics were not up to par with what they expected. Comments like, “This is still in beta” were cried out by the believers and all of the typical angry flaming that goes on in those forums. So what are the graphics like? Well, that’s the strange part, they vary greatly. A times they feel sub par, I would even go as far to say unpolished, and then at other times they will blow you away. It almost seems like the game was rushed to completion, or done at completely different times. I often wonder if all the negative comments on the graphics before it was released attributed to the ramp up of graphics as you approach the end of the game. I found with the exception of the last level that the graphics slowly got better and better as I progressed through the game. Even Master Chief himself goes from looking plastic like to full blown rough metal Gears of War like quality.
Halo 3 also doesn’t really break any new ground. In fact, my first thought when playing multiplayer was how retro it felt. This can of course be considered a good thing. The multi player is where this game really excels. It’s like a traditional multiplayer shooter packed with every great mod imaginable. There are just so many ways to play Halo 3 multiplayer.
One spot I personally think Halo 3 excels past everything else is the music. It is almost a tribal thumping throughout the game, and adds so much to the immersion quality. The sound effects are average, but the music more than makes up for this, and I think it is one of Halo’s strongest single player aspects. On the other hand some of the aliens have juvenile one liners in high squeaky voices like, “He was my best friend”. This is a bit of an immersion killer for me, especially when you are saving the world from Aliens. Why are they talking to me in English with baby voices?
Anyway, the bottom line is that this is a great game that is way over hyped. This is how business works, and I’m sure Halo 3 will be the biggest cash cow yet, and when you have rabid Halo fans standing outside the night before the release of a game that will have no shortage of copies, you know you have a hit financially, regardless of the quality.
Bottom line, halo is an 8.5 / 10 for me, which is nothing to sneeze at, but far from the 9.5’s of the game review sites.