Still loving it, campaign on legendary is very hard, multiplayer is very very good and the ability to download maps and game variants that other people create and share offers so much life. We played a rocket racing mode tonight which was great fun.
There have been lot’s of reviews but I’m wondering…another 10 from Edge? I think it would be justified and would also be the first game series to be awarded two 10’s.
So I’ve had 3 or 4 hours on Halo 3…enough for a quick opinion but not much else.
It’s a very pretty game. There’s been a lot of talk that it’s not up to par with Gears or Bioshock but in those games you only see a few enemies at a time and the levels are small and enclosed. The maps in Halo are very big, have lot’s of enemies, ships flying around, vehicles etc and I think it looks stunning. No glitches, always smooth (although I haven’t played much) and a very solid feel. They are also far more colourful than the drab, but detailed, Gears and Bioshock.
I’ve only played through a tiny bit of the campaign (screenshot from my campaign trial this afternoon) as I’m keeping that for co-op only. The sections I did play were pretty tough and the AI seemed much improved. I also kept running out of weapons and didn’t get to see any new weapons at all. Still, early days for the campaign. I played on heroic although fancy doing co-op on legendary to keep the challenge high. Looking at my friends list today there were a couple of folk running through the game on normal….looks like they took 6-8 hours to rattle through the game. So play on at least heroic to enjoy the game at it’s best. Thank goodness co-op mode was added as this will probably be the first Halo campaign I will actually complete.
However the campaign is the smallest part of Halo 3 – the emphasise looks to be on multiplayer as that’s what will keep gamers occupied for the next couple of years. I say years as I played and enjoyed Halo 2 for over two years and I hope this latest version has as much depth online as the previous version.
I’ve only really played Team Slayer (4 vs 4) and on 4 maps so far. Firstly, no lag to be seen. Second, no cheating either. The new weapons offer quite a varied arsenal and it will take a while to get used to them. Old ones have also been tweaked. Sword for example does not last forever and also takes longer to pull out and use – it’s still powerful but not as much as in Halo 2.
Gameplay hasn’t changed too much but that’s a good thing as there wasn’t too much wrong with Halo 2. Bungie have addressed some community issues though. No more listening to morons on Live screaming, swearing, shouting, calling you gay, asking if you want a cup of tea and a scone. There’s a variety of options including not hearing opponents and being able to quickly mute your team. They’ve also introduced push to talk which has quietened things down too. It made for a far more enjoyable online experience.
There seem to be many more online game modes with the ability to create your own and share those creations with friends. Rocket Warthog racing anyone? I’ve not had any time to dabble with Forge which is a game mode in it’s own right that allows one team member to drop weapons, vehicles, change spawn points – basically customise the map to their hearts content. This is another option that should give longevity to the title.
Bungie have also increased web and community integration. Using the theatre mode I can share film and screenshots with friends and also via the Bungie website. I can download screenshots from Bungie and also select in game clips from the website to view on the 360. As the movies use the in game code you can only view the movies in game on the 360. How lovely (but massively bandwidth intensive) would it have been to save movies to a Bungie Youtube equivalent that could have been used to share in game movies with anyone? They have also made it easy to see what your friends are playing and how far they are in their game and they’ve upped the post game analysis details on their website.
The screens above are all from my short play time this afternoon (Flickr set here and will grow over time). The top picture shows the level of detail seen in the campaign mode. The next two are from one game of Team Slayer. The second picture is me wielding a sword and about to double kill another red guy. The last picture is an in air kill, again with the sword. You can also see a team mate sniping form right to left. The level of detail (bullets, blood etc) in incredible and a great example of how good the Halo 3 engine really is.
That’s about it really. A cracking update to the Halo universe and something I’ll look forward to playing for many months. Call of Duty 4 though will provide some stiff competition as it’s online mode is excellent. I probably played my last game on it tonight though as most of my friends will be picking up Halo 3 tomorrow. Let the big team battles begin.
Why has the games industry compressed a year long sales window into three months? Take the 360 for example. From January to end of August the only games I bought were GRAW2, Crackdown and Forza 2 alongside a few Live Arcade titles.
In the September to November months this is the likely list of games I want to buy:
That is just too many in a short space of time and also leaves out games like Skate and Sega Rally which have OK’ish demo’s but are lost in amongst the flurry. I understand it’s holiday time but surely having so many AAA titles launching in the same period can only hurt there sales. Imagine how crowded it would have been if GTA IV was launching in October? It would certainly make more sense to stagger these releases over the year. Well more sense to me as it owuld give me more time to enjoy each game.
However this is shaping up to be a vintage year for games. The game’s over the last few weeks have been excellent. The Call of Duty 4 beta has been a superb taster for the game, Halo 3 is out on a few days and in October alone PGR4 and Pro Evo 8 are both big big titles. Only caveat with Pro Evo is that the demo is a little odd. It plays faster than previous versions and that can end with real pinball sessions in the box. Still, it’s smoother and a lot prettier than previous versions although no doubt online will still have some issues. It also has a dive button. Finally.
You’ll notice there’s no mention of the PS3. A few of the games above are also out on the PS3 but due to Xbox Live and also friends with 360’s it makes sense to get the 360 versions of the non exclusive games. Heavenly Sword was pretty disappointing and Metal Gear Solid, Little Big Planet and GTA IV are delayed until next year. So what’s left for PS3? Killzone 2 does look very nice and Uncharted – Drakes Fortune picked up a lot of buzz at E3 but both would need pretty stellar reviews to make them purchases. There is also a bigger demo version of GT5 that does promise online racing for up to 16. I’d normally be sceptical of those numbers but Warhawk has been a great multiplayer game on the PS3 with 24 and 32 player games. Server support makes all the difference and hopefully it will come to Xbox Live soon, especially as it’s a paid for service unlike PS3 which is free.
So next up is Halo 3. Considering I was playing Halo 2 over two years after release there’s an argument that I should only be picking up one more title this year. I’ll post up some thoughts on Halo next week…if I get time that is.