Halo 3: The sequel you’ve come to expect, with a little extra added

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By now Halo has become a household name.

The first game opened our collective minds up to the idea of playing first-person shooters on a console gaming system, and the second game improved greatly upon that concept (even though the story itself was lacking in quality).

The third and final installment of the series is everything you would think that a Halo game would be: It uses the same physics engine, same gameplay, and same unmatched multiplayer capability; all the while, it’s beefed up for next-gen console graphics and frame-rate.

All that is Halo has been a mighty achievement to the software developing company Bungie LLC (which has recently separated from the confines of Microsoft and has created a quality sequel worthy of the hype surrounding it).

For those who have played Halo, the story picks up where the second game abruptly ended. Master Chief is rescued by the UNSC, handed a battle rifle and saves the universe by blasting his way through horde after oncoming horde of enemies.

The Arbiter is by your side most of the time, aiding you in battle. Bashing enemies is still very satisfying, and vehicle-oriented missions are fun and break up the monotony of on-foot action.

All the elements to the Halo formula are present, along with some small additions. The use of "equipment" adds some extra tact to the gameplay; items such as the "Bubble Shield" (a spherical dome that, when deployed, prevents outside bullets and explosions from harming you when inside) makes you rethink some strategies of fighting.

In addition to the Bubble Shield, there are some assortments of items that can suck the life energy out of combatants, make their vehicles stop dead and increase your health when in the presence of them.

Bungie even included the ability to tear out a fixed turret and lug the thing around to mow down anything that gets in your way, all of which makes online play more interesting.

Speaking of which, the online multiplayer is only made easier with options to play on Xbox Live right in the main menu of the game. Finding a match is really simple, and the seamless gameplay remains intact.

Hooking up with friends and dominating a match is still one of the key enjoyments of playing online; and the inclusion of Forge (editing small non-stationary objects to appear randomly on the map) really spices up the action.

The only fault with Halo 3 is the video editing feature. Bungie made it possible to record all your matches, then cut and edit all your favorite scenes to create a short movie in homage to your greatness.

Sounds good, huh? Sadly, in execution, it doesn’t play out so well. Rewinding and fast forwarding is a pain; and in the end, setting up the right "action sequence" is tedious and self-defeating.

With the dust settling following the worldwide release of Halo 3, this game offers a lot of the same tried-and-true gameplay, as well as adding some extras to differentiate the experience.
Halo 3 rightfully belongs in any Xbox 360 library.