Dual wielding returns, but a single-weapon plus grenades is still a good option.
Dual wielding returns, but a single-weapon plus grenades is still a good option.

Dual wielding returns, but a single-weapon plus grenades is still a good option.

The five days we spent with the game, incidentally, was more than enough time to complete the campaign. Playing co-operatively on the normal difficulty setting, it took us about 15 hours to work our way through to the end, although we were stopping at every opportunity to admire the scenery. Heroic is about right for an experienced Halo player. But you'll definitely want to go two-player co-op, or even make use of the new four-player campaign co-op either on XBL or via system link (only two players can play campaign on one console) for the legendary difficulty setting. This, admittedly, isn't a feature we've been able to try out as of yet, but we'll get you a report as soon as we do.

So, having seen the campaign through to the end, how does it stack up against the competition? There's a lot about the campaign we can't talk about, but what we will say is that the game has that unmistakeable, sci-fi epicness that has become a trademark of the series, and some very special Halo characters make a welcome (and not so welcome) return. The storyline can be a tad difficult to follow at times, and we sometimes found it hard to make out what characters were saying during cut-scenes. The mission environments aren't hugely varied (Halo: Combat Evolved was criticised for recycling the same areas over and over again), but it's full of fabulously heroic science fiction twists and turns, and definitely won't disappoint Halo fans. The fact that newcomers might struggle to understand why they're doing what they're doing just serves to highlight Bungie's approach to the game. It feels like it's for those of us who have been there all along. No tedious training mission, no effort to justify itself, just the confidence to do what it does best - cracking firefights, spectacular vehicular combat and fabulous fun. While BioShock might have had the more absorbing and clever storyline, we were much more satisfied when we finished Halo 3.

As far as fun goes, Halo 3 is certainly a more enjoyable play through than Halo 2, if only because the transition from weapon combat to vehicle combat is smoother and, well, there's just more to play with. There was more than one occasion where we thought "this is just like the original Halo". While some might welcome this back to basics approach, others might criticise the developers for a lack of new ideas. Did we feel as completely blown away as we did by Halo: Combat Evolved? Probably not, although the final couple of hours are the most impressive graphically and completely engrossing, where BioShock went downhill fast towards the end. But it's a close run thing. Campaign verdict? Better than Halo 2 by a plasma grenade throw, but just behind Halo: Combat Evolved by the skin of Master Chief's teeth (if the big guy has any).

With the campaign sorted, we turned our attention to the multiplayer, and it's here that Halo 3 again demonstrates its confidence in its foundations. As many people commented after playing the multiplayer beta, Halo 3 multiplayer is fundamentally the same as before, apart from new weapons, vehicles and maps. The addition of equipment spices things up a little, but doesn't revolutionise the combat. Truth be told, it didn't need an overhaul, just a lick of next-gen paint, and that's exactly what the game has got.

'The intensity and thrills of the multiplayer are hard to beat anywhere in gaming.'

The intensity and thrills of the multiplayer are hard to beat anywhere in gaming. That's why Halo 2, despite its less than impressive storyline, continued to be the most played game on XBL for so long. Expect Halo 3 to take over from Gears of War at the top of the online tree, and expect it to stay there for a very long time. Indeed many Halo fans will completely bypass the campaign and head straight for the multiplayer, such is its appeal. There aren't many games that get the hairs on the back of your neck reaching for the sky, but your first Halo 3 multiplayer game with friends will certainly do that.

While you can't do four-player campaign co-op on one console, you can in multiplayer, and it was this mode we pumped most time into. As a result, we haven't yet got the most out of the maps that are designed for more players (the game supports 16 at most), like Valhalla, and Sand Trap, but once the XBL servers are up and running following the game's official release, we'll bring you a full report.

Multiplayer Halo 3 will soon become Xbox LIVE's biggest offering

Multiplayer Halo 3 will soon become Xbox LIVE's biggest offering

Of the new maps, we had most fun four-player on Narrows, a map designed for two to six players. As the name suggests, it's a long, narrow installation in the sky, with two grav lifts on either side. We just ended up flying through the sky, trying to melee each other in mid air. Classic Halo hilarity.

Equipment can certainly get you out of a lot of trouble (the bubble shield is a Spartan's greatest friend), but it doesn't change the dynamic of the game. It simply adds a dash extra to the already delectable mix. Experienced players will instantly feel at home, employing similar tactics and skills as before. It'll take you a while to instantly recognise the various equipment symbols that pop up on the top left of the HUD, but once you do, deploying them will become second nature. If you were good at Halo 2, you'll be good at Halo 3. Melee is much improved, as are grenades. While dual wielding proved so effective in Halo 2, you'll almost always want one hand free for a grenade lob and a sneaky assassination when the heat is on.

There really isn't much more you can say about the multiplayer on Halo 3. It's certainly the most complete of the three games. It's bigger, badder and more destructive, but it's not that different. If you think about it, that's all we really wanted, and needed. There have been a few criticisms post multiplayer beta that there's nothing new worth getting excited about. But this misses the point. You should get excited about it, because, even after all this time, there isn't a better FPS multiplayer experience out there. A familiar experience of course, but great nonetheless.

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PaulG95's Avatar

PaulG95

This game is f------ awesome!
Posted 04:48 on 30 September 2009
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triple_X

Awesome game!
Posted 18:31 on 19 April 2009
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TRBO RAD

This game is great i have had it since the day it came to stores and i can't get enough i still play it occasionally its awesome....but still not as fun as the first i absolutely love the first halo the best game in the world this one comes close to over shining its predecessor but still the first is the best.....although this one rox my sox...i didn't really like Halo 2 all that much tooo much of the same stuff over and over and way too many story lines goin on @ one time i was confused but after playin it alot i figured it all out
Posted 09:21 on 03 January 2009
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beaner360

BEST GAME EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!! Man i played this game and fell in love. athough I am an Expert in Halo 2(I can kick your A** any day) im still new to the whole leading your bullet system. but just wait im be in the top ten soon!!
Posted 09:00 on 17 July 2008
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DAVE

I HAVE PLAYED IT FROM THE DAY IT CAME OUT AND STILL ENJOY IT
Posted 20:55 on 16 June 2008
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dave

this game rules its brilliant online best game i have played on the 360 i got it on the day it came out and im not bored of it since after halo wars i hope they make halo version of star wars battlefront like halo battlefront that would be cool
Posted 21:05 on 15 June 2008
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Cal

Okey the reviewer obviousely is a massive halo fan and has a complete warped view on it. The game was good but graphics were disapointing like really disapointing!
way to short of a game but fun and the AI is still great.
How you can give it a 10 i dont no! more like a 7 or 8
Posted 19:39 on 27 May 2008
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DarrenTaxi

Best Game Out On The Market, No Doubt About It. =]

Gamertag ; Mass Debetor
; GrannyBeater
; DazTaxi
; Cymraeg Am Byth

=] online constantly .....
Posted 01:26 on 10 April 2008
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Nintenman

I have loved this game... I can't even beat the fist level on legendary! YET!
Posted 04:18 on 24 March 2008
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candleguy

this game is so great everything about it, makes FPS what they can be turned into. This is the Highest FPS bar has been rised.
Posted 08:38 on 17 February 2008
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Tyomack

Dude i played this game the friday after it came out and me and my friend beat it on single player and multiplayer in one night. it was easy but it was a good storyline.
Posted 16:51 on 02 November 2007
paul360's Avatar

paul360

this Halo 3 not bad
Posted 11:16 on 05 October 2007
the_blackpanter's Avatar

the_blackpanter

to the reviewer:is there any problem with your eyes?
you said the water effects in halo 3 is average,which is not true,the water effects in halo 3 is even better than that in bioshock which is already stunning.gamepro said water fx in halo 3 besting even bioshock and x-play said gorgeous water fx.you are blind.

almost photo realistic trees ? wtf,incase you have not notice the leaves on the tree in siera 117,they are pretty crappy and far from almost photo realistic,though the tree trunks is amazingly decorated with realistic moss.
Posted 06:01 on 04 October 2007
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doug

great game, but graphically is overshadowed by gears of war, which is disappointing and not what you would expect from the game of the year. excellent multiplayer modes
Posted 16:32 on 29 September 2007
Da_Best's Avatar

Da_Best

its a good game
Posted 13:13 on 27 September 2007

Game Stats

Technical Specs
10
Out of 10
Halo 3
  • Incredible end to the trilogy
  • Some of the best audio to grace a video game
  • Multiplayer modes to die for
  • It's Halo, but on a much larger scale
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 25/09/2007
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: First Person Shooter
No. Players: 1-16
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 324 4
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