Finally, Microsoft Game Studios got it right. It only took them literally years to figure out the obvious, but they have for one: included online cooperative campaign gameplay including offline play. I can’t believe it took a studio that made so much money off the first two titles this long to finally implement an idea, on a next-generation console nonetheless, but they have finally did it. A more complex and intriguing storyline that allows for a catharsis of emotions, great gameplay online and offline, combined with Xbox Live achievements in Halo 3 makes the Halo Franchise finally worthy of acclaim deserved.
Halo 3 further improves the concepts of Halo 1 & 2 in ways that I never expected them to, especially with online cooperative gameplay. But it does not just stop there. There are a variety of new modes online that send the multiplayer in a unique direction. The storyline is better, and everything supplements each other very well. The gameplay does not deviate too far from Halo 2, which didn’t reinvent the original Halo. The balance between guns, inventory, grenades, and melee attack has always given Halo a unique feel in the genre, and those same considerations apply today, both in the campaign mode, multiplayer, and Halo 3.
The campaign is the same structure as past Halo games with multiple chapters and sequences. There are also lengthy vehicle sequences to break up long walks and plenty more new vehicles and classics such as the Ghost, a hovering one-person craft that’s fast and deadly, and the loveable Warthog. In single-player and multiplayer, the concept of “equipment” has been added to the serious via deployable special items that have a variety of effects. The most prominent is the bubble shield from the commercial: you (and your enemies) can walk through it, but bullets and explosions bounce off. Special items provide a unique angle to gameplay that is already so refined and well balanced in the formula that Halo has always been known for.
In addition to the four player campaign cooperative gameplay, you can also play competitive solo and team-based multiplayer matches with 16 players on various different maps. There is a lot of depth to the multiplayer modes, ranging from simple stuff such as deathmatch and team deathmatch(slayer and team slayer), to more objective-based gameplay such as capture the flag. They have also added territories, in which the two teams fight to defend or attack various control points around the map. Another mode that has been added is called infection, where a percentage of the players start as sword-wielding alien zombies and must convert the members of the other team by killing them, until only one non-zombie remains. This is incredibly fun and opens up unique moments for any player on a mission to kill the evil sword-wielding alien zombies and save the human race/their team.
One special thing about Halo 3, taking it to a new level compared to previous Halo titles, is the Forge creator. The gist is to create any favorite level/map and send it to friends or host on it and what not. User-generated content has always been something I desired since Halo 2, but it seems they are now making up for not including cooperative campaign in Halo 1 for me. In addition to this amazing editor, Halo has always had a strong artistic vision, and the graphics with amazing lighting and direction overpowers this in a manageable way.
Halo 3 finally made up for it is crimes against me and all of the users that have been demanding online cooperative gameplay ever since Halo 2 (even though this was a very very small number of people). Now as the concept of user-created content and cooperative campaign spreads, it is apparent that Halo 3 chose the right time to act and make up for the promises in the very notability of its own name. Halo 3 finally delivers a beautiful storyline that is a great conclusion to the Halo Trilogy masterpiece, an applausable multiplayer, and best of all: a dare to make a stand with taking a risk, for once.