Halo 3

Developer: Bungie
Publisher:  Microsoft Game Studios

As the first Halo game on the Xbox 360 expectations were certainly high, everyone wanted this game to be bigger and better then the two previous titles and in most aspects I feel it lived up to its hype.

The game starts you off where Halo 2 ended, with the Master Chief returning to Earth (finally!), the first mission has a bit of a slow start for my liking but the pacing speeds up soon enough, in fact, just about every mission where you fight the covenant is awesome, the ever great enemy variety is still there, battles are fun and engaging, you even have access to some awesome new weapons like the gravity hammer, basically a huge mallet the size of the Chief that can take out groups of enemies and even vehicles in close range, as for the levels featuring the flood they're a bit hit-and-miss, some of them are good, while in others there's just too many of them for my liking.

Speaking of vehicles, the new ones kinda suck, there's the mongoose which is a smaller unarmed version of the warthog (meh!) and a forklift (huh?) they're not very exciting to drive and don't offer much use in a firefight, though the mongoose has proven useful in multiplayer, especially during capture the flag matches.

The multiplayer in Halo 3 is simply amazing, the game is very balanced and takes quite a bit of skill to rank amongst the top rated players in a match (a skill which I sorely lack), there are a lot of modes and Bungie will usually add new ones every now and then, you'll also get to use player-created maps with the new 'Forge mode' basically it's a level editor that gives you quite a lot of freedom by console standards, some maps are near unrecognizable and it even spawned a racing mode, where players ride mongooses through user created racing levels.

One point where Halo 3 did not impress are the graphics, it looks very similar to Halo 2, albeit on a higher resolution and with better textures, I'm not sure why this was the least improved feature of the game.

Overall Halo 3 is a great sequel, the campaign never quite achieves the highs of the first game, but it never hits the lows of the second game either, now to be fair online multiplayer is its strongest asset, hopefully it will be a long time before the game's servers are shut down.

- Good campaign with nice weapon, vehicle and enemy variety
- Awesome new weapons (specially the gravity hammer)
- Online multiplayer ranks up there with the best
- Forge mode is an awesome feature for a console shooter

- Graphics are pretty weak
- Flood levels are hit-and-miss
- Some of the new vehicles are pretty meh

Final Grade: A-

I have to say, I am not a fan of the box art, why couldn't they have used the cover art found in the manual? It looks much better.

Speaking of the manual, it's got quite a bit of content, it fills you in on what happened in the past two halos, it gives you a short description of every major character, alien race and it has some vehicle stats as well as instructions on how to play the game (you'd be surprised on how many games these days forget to include this).

Included with every normal edition of the game is a foldout poster (why don't more games do this?) on one side you get Master Chief and Arbitor and on the other you'll find some boring instructions on how to control the game, I'd have preferred if we had a second image on the back, but I'm not about to look a gift horse on the mouth.

Finally we have the typical Xbox live 48 hour trial, never did like this sort of sales pitch, though I like that it uses the image from the game's cover.

Overall this a great packaging for a non-collector's edition, the manual is pretty good as is customary with the series, but the poster just nails it.

Packaging Score: A-

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