Tuesday 29 January, 2008
Halo 3 is one of the most fun first person shooters today. It is the conclusion of the very successful Halo trilogy. You play as a Master Chief who is supposedly the last super soldier left from the Spartan project, who is genetically enhanced and equipped with MJOLNIR armor that allows your character the ability to jump higher and hit harder than a normal human, plus it gives you a rechargeable shield. The goal of Halo is to save the world by shooting up opposing Covenant aliens and the flood. But once you play online the goal is to shoot your way up the ranks of the Halo 3 online community.
The campaign of Halo 3 is stunning. With such a captivating story and intricate levels, its hard to stop playing until you beat the game. I enjoyed every second of Halo 3’s campaign, each level full of action where you are always fighting outnumbered. Each level offers something different, while some levels consist of close range firefights, others will be filled with massive vehicle wars, and others with boss battles.
There are many ways to play Halo 3’s campaign. You have the option of playing campaign on 4 different difficulties with up to 4 players. Having 4 players on campaign is only possible via Xbox Live because only 2 players can be on the same Xbox playing campaign. The campaign is a more fun with the more people you have playing with you. On top of multiplayer campaign, Halo’s story mode also has the option of adding skull effects. Skulls effects can only be applied after you find the skull located someone in levels. There are 2 kinds of skulls, white skulls and brown skulls. White skulls make the game more fun but do not add to the difficulty of campaign, for example, the grunt birthday skull makes grunts explode into confetti when you get a headshot. Brown skulls make the game harder by making your enemies stronger, smarter, drop less ammo, etc.
Something cool that none of the other Halo’s campaign’s offered but Halo 3’s did was a scoring system. You get points for kills, and are deducted points for deaths. You earn more points per kill the higher your difficulty setting and you get more points per kill the more brown skulls you have on. You are also awarded extra points for getting headshots, plasma grenade sticks, combo kills (plasma pistol charge up + headshot), and consecutive kills. You have the option of having a free-for-all scoring system where each player has their own personal score, or a team scoring system where there is an accumulative team score. This adds a competitive element to campaign, where the goal changes from just beating the game to achieving the highest score possible.
The story of Halo is very captivating and kept me interested throughout the entire Halo trilogy. The story takes place in the 2500’s and the Covenant are a group of alien races (Elites, Hunters, Brutes, Jackels, Grunts, and Prophets) lead by Prophets that are on a mission to destroy the human race. The Covenant are far more technologically advanced than humans, so you are always fighting a battle in their favor. On top of the overwhelming Covenant force, you are faced with Flood. The Flood are like zombies, they infect living, bring back the dead, and are on a never ending quest to consume all life. Referred to as “demon” by the Covenant, you play as Master Chief who is the last hope for humanity and has to single handedly defeat the Covenant and stop the spread of the Flood.
Although the Halo’s campaign is great, the true Halo experience lies in its online multiplayer. Online you can have up to 16 players in one game. You can compete in various game types, ranked, social, and custom, against players all over the world. Once you start playing it’s hard to stop, especially if you keep winning matches.
Over Xbox live you can compete against players all over the world by yourself or as a team. Online you have an overall rank, and leveled rank per ranked game type. The levels range from 1-50 in all the game types. When you and your friends get a team together, go online and play matches it’s a blast. When you play ranked games you are paired up with players of close or equivalent skill and win, you take experience from your opponents’ rank, when you lose, your opponent takes experience from your rank. It is very competitive which makes the game more fun.
What is cool about Halo is that if you don’t feel like trying hard in a ranked match you can play a social match. You are matched up with players randomly and your rank isn’t affected. For the experienced player social matches are nice, its always fun to pown some noobs and they serve as a good warm up for ranked matches. And if you get bored of social matches, you can play custom games, where you have the freedom to create the rules of the game, including: game type, weapon types, vehicles, health, speed, etc. for some plain old Halo fun.
Personally, I feel that the Halo 3 and the other Halo games are some the best designed first person shooters out. Halo can be played by people with all different skill levels, but it is a game that requires skill to be good at. Unlike a lot of first person shooters, it isn’t easy to get the kill your aiming for unless you execute it properly. You can’t just shoot wild and expect to get the kill, headshots are key. This makes it hard for new players to fight against more experienced players. This is a good thing; there is nothing more annoying when you play a game where skill has little effect on the outcome of multiplayer battles.
Halo 3 did a really good job with its guns. The assortments of weapons in Halo 3 are balanced and simple. There isn’t a weapon in the game that is obscenely better than all the rest. This helps keep the game less based weapon control and more on skill. If use your arsenal of weapons properly there isn’t one gun that can’t take out another.
The matchmaking system in Halo 3 is the best matchmaking system I’ve seen to date. You can find a game within seconds of signing online. With so many different game types like free for all, team slayer, team objective, 2v2, etc. there is always something to play. The only setback to the Halo matchmaking is that you can only match up with a player or team with 10 levels of your level. So if your level is in the high 40’s, it could take a long time to find a match, or you may not even be able to find a match in less common game types like lone wolves and team objective. I think that if there are no opponents within 10 levels, you should match up with the next closest person.