I’ve been on a very positive streak of game reviews as of late. That is very much intentional though. As a way of bringing myself back around to playing video games I’ve been revisiting a few old classics. One more recent classic I thought I’d take a further look at is Halo 3. It’s oddly strange going back into a game that shaped your childhood. As I’ve stated numerous times in some of my past reviews, it can absolutely make or break the game for you.
Luckily though Halo 3 is just how I left it, a really damn good shooter. Nothing more and most certainly nothing less. The amount of hours I lost to this game when I was younger is impressively large. For me, Halo 3 defines my generation of gaming on the Xbox 360. I’d argue that it’s still not only my most played Xbox 360 game but of all time.
Now I never much cared for the story of Master Chief, I never have and I probably never will. But I really did try and listen to what the green tin can was trying to achieve. Why he was blowing up the other species was a little more obvious to me now. Nine year old me probably understands about as much as the almost eighteen year old me does about Halo 3. I mean, let’s face it, it wasn’t the most memorable story now was it?
But that isn’t to say it didn’t have memorable moments. I remember the entirety of the final level, start to finish. Countless hours were spent replaying that level. On top of that, I did get the achievement for finishing the game on the hardest difficulty in ghosts with the iron skull. That’ll make a lot more sense if you know what any of that means. However the genuine thrill you feel at the end of that game is unbelievable. It’s still as fun as it was the first time and that is very difficult for a game to do.
Often games lose their touch or their charm after you’ve played it for so long. With Halo 3 it’s just simple enough that every experience is new and unique, but you begin to learn the set pieces and so on. There’s nothing wrong with that, it just makes it more fun to play. Obviously there are some definite problems with the campaign, most notably the level Cortana. I should point out I really like the flood as an enemy, but that level is taking the piss.
Weaponry wise, there are quite a few choices to be made. They kept the dual wielding system from Halo 2 and only improved it here. For some reason I always thought the shotgun and two SMGs was the best combination. It really wasn’t, the best combination is actually just the assault rifle and the battle rifle. Sure, go ahead, disagree with me on that one. I swear to God the assault rifle in this game is the best damn thing in the whole game. No, I don’t care what you say or think.
Some weapons did do about as much damage as a wet sponge to the face would do. Other weapons were so unbalanced they could literally flip the game on its head. I remember the sniper rifle in this game being the go to weapon for some reason. Basically a one shot kill almost all of the time, you can probably see why. Other weapons are of course completely useless, the weird pistol they gave the Brutes and the Spartan Laser spring to mind. What was that pistol called? The Mauler or something? Whatever it was it was really terrible.
The weapons were a mixed bag and so were the vehicles really. As far as memory serves they were a mix between great and abhorrently useless. I always thought the Chopper was completely useless in every sense of the word. It looked like one of those water wheels gone extremely wrong. Actually, the Brutes were basically just the locusts from Gears of War. Similar design anyways, isn’t it?
Either way that doesn’t matter because the enemy variety in Halo 3 is superb. You’ve got the usual grunts, jackals and hunters but now also the brutes. The elites are now good for whatever reason and the flood return. That’s basically it. You do fight the forerunners briefly but the less said about that the better.
What Halo 3 is most remembered for of course though is the variety of custom games. God, who didn’t play the custom games? Even after ten or more years I still get a kick out of playing custom games with friends. Fair enough we play on Halo: The Master Chief Collection but that’s because it’s easier to communicate. Either way, I’ll never forget how much fun I had on Halo 3 for the Xbox 360. Do I really need to explain the custom games to anyone? Everyone has at least one memory of playing Halo 3 custom games.
I’m very surprised but delighted to say that Halo 3 is just as good as the last time I played it. Maybe even better if I’m honest. There’s something about going back to these older games that formed your childhood. I don’t know exactly what or why this game works the way it does. Maybe nostalgia took over, who knows, I doubt it did.
Don’t get me wrong, Halo 3 has without a doubt changed since the last time I played it. Obviously it’s not going to have that same groundbreaking impact it had on me the first time I played it. But to be fair, I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest by that. I didn’t go into the game expecting it to revitalise all of those memories I had. That’s exactly what they are, memories, and expecting the same experience with Halo 3 is a terrible idea.
Some things never change though, Recon is still an ugly armour type. The level Cortana can eat a bag of dicks for how annoying it is. There are problems with Halo 3, but if you’re even remotely a fan of the series, you’ll love every second of it.