Finished the Fight

Having completed the game in what for me is record time, I thought I’d share my impressions here before replaying the main story in co-op mode over the next couple of weeksabout which I’ll also be sharing my thoughts at a later date…

Master Chief from Halo 3Let’s not beat around the bush: the Halo series has never been about story-telling. It’s about running around various types of environments and shooting stuff. Lots of stuff. And this the third iteration does with style and aplomb.

Both the weapons and the enemies have seemingly been rebalanced for the final game—somewhat subtly, but it’s definitely more enjoyable for it compared to the previous two. Where grinding frustration gave way to outright apathy for me in the last two single player Halo experiences, Halo 3 wasn’t so ridiculously unbalanced – in terms of numbers as well as available ordinance – so as to stop me from reaching the end, without first slamming my head repeatedly against a brick wall for 3 hours more than necessary.

That said, the squad-mate AI is fucking abysmal and now seemingly incapable of driving vehicles with any semblance of normality at times. Twice I had to restart entire sections because the AI simply cannot control the Warthog with any consistency: driving headlong into boulders in the middle of fields, careening into other scenery way off track, or just simply trying to drive up the steepest part of necessary inclines and failing. Then rinse and repeat until you either give up and go on foot, or opt to take over driving and let the AI do all the shooting instead — it’s scream-at-the-screen awful.

Once you’re used to anticipating these sorts of problems, however, the rest of the game is excellent. There’s a new type of enemy late in the game which is extremely cheap in its hit-and-run tactics – seeing as it can scale walls and leap vast distances – but otherwise the on-foot combat is hugely enjoyable, with no shortage of possible tactics to work your way through one area of enemies to the next. Grouping up with several Elite later in the game to take on the Flood is especially enjoyable.

The settings too, whilst still using staples from the previous games, are more varied and more interesting than before—notably at the start and end of the story.

Overall, it was 9 hours’ gaming well spent—I’d even go so far as to say it’s worth playing through for the ending. However, I think replaying the campaign in 2+ co-op will put the single player experience firmly in the shade. But that aside I’d say it’s still a solid 8/10 for me in single player. It’s just a shame the friendly AI isn’t more polished.

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