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Halo 3 delivers closure to the story, has an amazing multi-player component and continues to receive new content 2 years after release. This is a great game worth every penny.
[ Game Mechanics and Controls
Years after its release I am still playing a lot of Halo 3. There are always other players on Live service, and there is a variety of matches for solo- and team-play. This player community is very strong and keeps the game interesting, and Bungie is doing a great job managing that community by having weekly news releases and special matches.
The "holy trinity" of grenades, assault rifle and melee attacks adds good strategy and caters to different styles of play. Mastering throwing grenades or find ways to drain another player's shield takes some thought and practice; as I understand better how the equipment and weapons work they help to make matches more enjoyable.
Finally, being able to replay a match from any camera angle you want, at any speed is the most awesome feature. There are people who makes animations and comics using this feature, and I can always go back and learn from the matches I just played. I think all other games should do the same because being able to relive a moment that made some kind of impact, from a different perspective, will help keep players attached.
Game Mechanics and Controls
- First-person shooter with vehicles.
- Built-in level editor allowing players to place equipment and structures. Rules of a custom map can be altered and finished maps can be shared on-line.
- Replay theatre for all of the games you play.
- Detachable turrets and other support weapons such as flamethrower. The new equipment, such as bubble shield definitely adds more options when people want to get tactical.
- New curved HUD layout is very nice. Shield condition in center, weapons and ammo count in upper left/right. Things that require your attention blink red and because everything is spread out it's easy to decipher.
- All game session is recorded, allowing me to revisit the session, take pictures, etc. You can replay the action in slow motion, change the camera angle to see all the details that has been included in the game.
- At legendary difficulty settings, you can really see the computer enemies work together as a squad, and the constant sniping definitely changed my playing style: always look for cover, don't rush into a fight recklessly.
- Using music to provide hints. For example, the tempo of music changes when fighting a major squad of Brutes; as soon as the last enemy is eliminated the music changes again.
- Radar is now indicating only fast moving foes. This means it won't show an enemy sneaking up on you. This works both for you and enemies alike, and encourages different approaches for different situations.
- Sound effects are very impressive. Hearing shots flying by your head in 5.1 surround sound is a heart-pounding experience. Being able to hear where your enemy is firing from is very very good.
- Bungie.net provides statistics for all of the games you've played. In addition to typical counts, it also list the types of enemies or friendlies you've eliminated and the tools of destruction used. For multiplayer games, the online service also provide images of the map with an overlay of where a player succeeds in whacking another player. You can definitely find patterns to determine if your teammate is suicidal, or if a particular player favors certain weapons or locations.
- In-game dialog changes depends on the difficulty. Everybody seems to have something to say, even your enemies will try to trash talk.
- Nice outdoor rendering engine with many HDR effects and reflections. I think I am also seeing subtle motion blurs during multiplayer matches. But I am most impressed with the way cloaking is handled; the cloaked enemy is nearly invisible unless you pay attention. This keeps cloaking from being abused, as it is possible to tell a cloaked person is approaching, without making it useless.
- Bullets take time to arrive at target.
- No subtitles for some of the more important in-game speech.
- Cannot seem to seek ahead to a specific spot in replay. Having to hold down the fast forward trigger is a pain for long replay.
- Cannot take pictures in co-op missions.
- The Limited Edition has problems with the packing, and my game disc is scratched. So far it hasn't affected my game play, but I guess I won't know for sure until I put more time into the game. Until February of 2008 you can send your disc in for a replacement. But then you'll be without a game for weeks.
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