Halo 3 Top & Bottom 5

Halo 3 Top & Bottom 5

I sometimes prefer to write reviews in a Top and Bottom 5 format.  Otherwise, a review of Halo 3 might get long and boring.  Let me know what you think.  I’d be happy to change my top 5′s if you convince me otherwise.




1)  Forge – Bungie continued to stay ahead of the pack with never before seen features like forge.  Allowing anyone to be a modder without getting kicked from Xbox Live, forge allows players to create maps of any design imaginable.  Yes, your imagination is your only limit.  I’ve seen excellent remakes of Halo 2 maps, a pirate ship, fun race tracks, coliseums – to name a few.  Forge also allows you to “escape” Halo 3 maps – something that usually required sword-cancelling in Halo 2.  Last but not least, forge enables some excellent game-play value itself with the god-like abilities players posses.

2)  Theater – Another Bungie innovation, the theater is the first of its kind.  YouTube videos of gamers showing off their best moments or explaining how to find something like a skull were popular with Halo 2 players.  Apparently Bungie took careful notice of this and built the theater service into Halo 3.  The theater allows anyone to go back and watch any finished multi-player game or campaign level.  On top of that, you can save clips from your previous games or capture a high-resolution screen shot of any moment.

3)  Weapon Improvements – There was an obvious need to adjust the strength of certain weapons.  The sniper rifle and sword were the two most obvious weapons that were too powerful.  In Halo 3 the sniper rifle has a slight kickback.  You cannot lunge nearly as far with the sword as you could in Halo 2.  The sword performs multiple lunges and swings at a much slower rate.  A really nice update to the sword is that swings are cancelled out when two players swing swords at each other at the same time.  In Halo 2 I believe the host usually won during such an occurrence.  The plasma pistol has also undergone a necessary overhaul with a significantly weaker tracking effect.  The plasma pistol will also lose its strength as you keep it powered up.  The needler is more enjoyable and more powerful.  The SMG is significantly improved with more power and a nicer sound.  If only we started with this SMG in Halo 2.

4)  Multi-Player Experience – Even after more than two years of Halo 3 multi-player matches, the addition of experience seems to have greatly reduced the frequency of players quitting matches.  In Halo 2 it was possible to play 20 games in a row with a least one player quitting.  Need I say anything about Halo 2 de-ranking?

5)  More Powerful Melee – One punch disables a player’s shield.  This encourages more hand-to-hand combat situations and makes them more enjoyable.  Who remembers when a player would go flying across the map when there was a deadly melee strike?  That garbage is now gone.  Bungie has also improved the simultaneous punching so that players with equal strength will both die.  This went from bad (you’d obviously punch the other player first but die) to worse (both players would always die during punches that were closely timed) to better than the original (both players die only when players with equal shields punch simultaneously).

Honorable mention:  The ability to play campaign with friends over Xbox Live.  The addition of extra medals.  Certain equipment like bubble shields and power drainers.  Cloaking is improved and actually makes you invisible.  The Mongoose.  The Chopper.




1)  The Campaign – The Halo 3 campaign was very disappointing.  I’ll guess that Bungie new multi-player was most important to the continued success of their franchise and chose that area to devote the majority of their resources.  The campaign was short, boring and lacked almost anything new or exciting.  The storyline was bland and hard to follow.  The levels were much more restrictive than Halo 2.  In Halo 2 you could wander off and explore the country side for hours.  There were no bosses to fight.  There were no interesting revelations about the Halo universe.  There were no scary moments deep beneath the surface surrounded by Flood.  The campaign would have been even shorter if they didn’t make you often backtrack through large portions of certain levels.  I guess I’ll stop.  I know I could complain more if I felt like it.  The ability to play the campaign with friends over Xbox Live would have been a major improvement if the campaign wasn’t so awful.

2)  The Campaign Ending – This was so bad that I had to give it special attention.  The biggest cop-out I have experienced in a trilogy finale.  Bungie chose one of the worst possible endings I can imagine.

3)  Multi-player Host – I think Bungie tried hard to fix this one.  The host in Halo 2 was far too powerful.  In trying to fix this problem, it appears that Bungie created annoying glitches (see number 5 below) and game-play choppiness/shifting.  I would prefer the ultra-powerful Halo 2 host.

4) Weapon Mistakes – The magnum has been ruined and shoots far too slowly.  The spiker is worthless.  The missile pod is a very disappointing anti-vehicle replacement for the rocket launcher in Halo 2 that could heat-seek.  The rocket launcher has mostly been turned into a short range weapon.  The SMG is the only weapon worth dual-wielding.  Dual-wielding was a nice upgrade for Halo 2 that is now obsolete in Halo 3.

5)  Multi-player Glitches – Have you ever shot someone in the head 4 times with a sniper rifle and watched them walk away?  Have you heard yourself being shot and not been affected?  Have you stuck someone with a plasma grenade and then watched it disappear?  Have you been sniped through walls?  Is there constant shifting?  Been shot and killed through a bubble shield?

Honorable mention:  The gravity hammer.

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