The wait for the most anticipated game of the year is finally over. “Halo 3,” Microsoft’s flagship franchise, is quite frankly the reason why most people bought an Xbox 360. Expectations could not be higher as Microsoft has been busily hyping this game since the Super Bowl. Can this game really measure up to the expectations that have been set for it? More importantly, is it fun?The answer to both these questions is a resounding “yes.” “Halo 3” is the first installment of the franchise to appear on the next generation of game consoles, and is arguably the best looking game out right now. The level of detail in the environments, enemies and every other aspect of the game are extraordinary. Even without an HDTV, the visuals are incredible.
The true “Halo” experience comes when you go online and are seamlessly playing with other people around the country with voice chat. You can even mute any foul-mouthed 12 year-old that cannot take losing. The game does a good job of matching you up with players who have the same skill level as you do. As you play more games, you gain experience and move up in rank. The higher your rank is, the better your opponents and teammates will be.
The only way to describe the online action is frantic. Everything is fast and responsive as you run from room to room, guns blazing and dodging grenades in a truly visceral experience. Many of the maps are tailor made for certain types of games. The map “Sand Trap,” a sprawling desert, has many vehicles which can take advantage of the open terrain.
Smaller maps like guardian are more close quarters oriented. Both create unique game play situations which force you to adapt your strategy to your surroundings.
There are a number of online modes to keep you busy. Besides fighting until one team gets a certain number of kills, called “Slayer,” there are many other variants that keep the game from getting stale. Every round or two, the game will mix in a round of “King of the Hill” or “Oddball,” where whoever holds onto the ball for the longest time is the winner. Even if your Xbox 360 is not connected to the Internet you can still have fun offline.
The campaign mode, which continues the ongoing story, is well paced and an overall fun experience. Luckily, the game is broken down into many different chapters, which makes it easy to pick up and play whenever you have some free time. The campaign mode will give you a chance to develop your skills before taking the fight online.
The game’s story, which has shifted between being decent at times and being incomprehensible, comes to an open ended conclusion.
“Halo 3” is supposed to be the final game in the trilogy, but the ending leaves a lot of room for another game. So do not be surprised if this multi-million dollar franchise makes a few more appearances. The campaign mode is enjoyable, but going online is what makes this game great.
In the end, the ease of finding an online game, the sheer amount of game options and a bunch of fun maps all add up to create the best game of the year. “Halo 3” for Xbox 360 gets a perfect score, a 10 out of 10.
Dan Correnty is a student at West Chester University majorking in Communication Studies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.