Friday, 1 March 2013

The Great Playthrough: Game 41 - Halo 3

I look a bit strange in this photo..
Oh well!
Halo 3
Released on: Xbox 360
Played on: Xbox 360
Release date: 2007

Aaah. Halo 3. Long considered one of the best games for the Xbox 360 - the "killer app" for the console at launch if you will.

("Killer App" does sound a little like a dodgy straight-to-DVD horror movie where a phone app kills people one at a time, possibly while playing voice clips of common YouTube comedy videos while it does so... hey wait! That's a great idea! © Michael Braunton 2013! No stealing that idea - that's mine!)

As you should all know (assuming you've read the earlier posts of my playthrough, particularly this one) I have a chequered history with First Person Shooters, often finding them tedious and unimpressive.

Straight off the bat though, there is one accusation you cannot level at Halo 3 - and that is unimpressive. Graphically it is beautiful, and it really shows the power of a current generation console - at launch this must have been a jaw-dropping moment (I don't remember - I only bought an Xbox 360 about 2 years ago!) However, it's not all good news...

I really don't want to bang on about not enjoying FPS's since Doom came out, and I was willing to put those thoughts aside in an attempt to really try and get into this game. I've tried several times since I bought it, and have never made it past the second mission - and I wanted to get into it. So I sat down, with no distractions, and fired it up.

And five minutes later I was bored.

I know this may be heresy to those of you out there who are Halo fans - and indeed, those of you out there who are Xbox fans, and I had to think long and hard to figure out what my issues with the game were.

Is it the controls? No, they are almost perfect controls (which is why almost every Xbox FPS ever has followed suit)

The Game Mechanics? Nope. Again, they work very well - at no point did I have trouble moving, shooting, opening doors etc...

The Story then? The story? Well it's a bit of a mish-mash of Sci-fi rubbish (but I normally like Sci-fi rubbish - I'm a big fan of the TV show "Sliders"!) and it definitely hurts that it is the third chapter in a story where I have absolutely no idea what is going on because I haven't played the first two, and it does just drop you into the story with no explanation whatsoever, but that doesn't harm it too much. (Apart from the stupid, epilepsy-inducing "visions")

No - my biggest problem with it is that it just doesn't seem to connect. The opening level is a jungle scenario, where you run around and shoot lots of aliens. (See, you can tell I couldn't work out any of the plot!) And I have no problem with that. But there seems to be no danger to yourself at all. Thanks to Master Chief's recharging shields, there's no moment like in Goldeneye where you are sneaking quietly along a corridor, screen blood red, almost dead, tension ramped up high.... Nope. In Halo, you can simply hide behind a rock for ten seconds and your health is back to normal.

Therefore, my method of play simply became "Walk towards enemies shooting randomly. When they've shot you a lot, run around/hide behind a rock until your shields are better. Repeat." And that just got very boring very quickly.

That's not my only problem with the game - my other issues may seem like minor niggles but they all distracted me from the game itself.

The guns - There is no way of telling whether a gun you have picked up is good or bad. And yeah, I know that's the sort of thing that you should learn as the game continues, but it seemed like whatever gun I picked up (bar some kind of rocket launcher) took the same amount of hits to kill the alien in front of me. So why bother?

The navigation. This was a problem in the opening jungle level, as lots of caves look like solid cliffs from not very far away, so you occasionally have no idea where you are supposed to be going. It continued to be a problem in the second level, as people would tell me to go somewhere, and then I wouldn't know where it was. Also, I'd end up running up and down a corridor twenty times just looking for where the hell I was supposed to go next.

The way that missions are briefed. I know this sounds pettier than Tom Petty and a six year old girl in a squabble over a tea-towel (and I apologise for that metaphor, but I'm tired!), but I like to know exactly what I'm supposed to be doing in a mission, and that does not equal simply having a one-liner such as "Johnson's gone down, go and find him" announced over the radio, as it gets mixed in with all the background noise, and half the time I wasn't sure what the hell I was supposed to be doing.

And yes, I remember having fun playing it in multi-player round several friends houses (one of the reasons I bought the game), but this playthrough just highlighted the disappointment of the single player campaign for me.

So, in conclusion, it's a very impressive game - both visually and in regards level size/game mechanics, but I was so bored that I turned it off after about 40 minutes. Sorry.

*Ducks head to escape from bombardment of abuse coming my way*

Rating: 5/10
Time Played: About 40 minutes
Would I play it again? Maybe for multi-player. Not likely to play single player again though.

Next Time - Another game with the number 3 in it...

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