My reactions to Halo 3...or Halo 3:This is it?!?
In a frenzied marketing mish-mash that not even the evil demons of all of Hollywood could dream up, Halo 3 finally crashed into XBox 360's world wide on September 25th. I traded in nearly every old system, video game and accessory we had in the house, two weeks prior to Halo 3's launch for a new XBox 360. I'd literally been holding off on buying the 360 until I was within a month from Halo 3, knowing full well that there aren't a whole lot of games on the 360 that A) I really wanted or B) I could just buy for my PS3. Without going into too much detail I have my gripes with the XBox, mostly because it feels kind of cheap and the fact that the wireless controllers require AA batteries (what is this an RC car?). Regardless of my gripes, XBox Live's (the XBox internet service) response times blow the Playstation Network out of the water (yes I know, XBL you pay for and PSN is free, but still).
Waiting in line at the local Gamestop for my pre-order was definitely a first for me. There was a nerdy frenzy to the whole thing, counting down until midnight so we could, throughout the nation, plunk down a wad of money to pretty much waste the next 2-3 years killing imaginary people with a variety of interesting weaponry. After getting home, my brother and I dropped the disc into the XBox and started up "the king of all games". The startup was a underwhelming experience, I don't know what I was expecting...something...anything, but all we got was the standard Halo startup (ok the startup is a bit more flashier than the others). We entered into multiplayer, jumped into a game when my controller decided that it's batteries were dead. I hunted around the house for two batteries while the opposing team annihilated us. Microsoft (or Bungie, whomever) just a note, when two people are playing a game, please don't block the ENTIRE screen with a message that one of those player's controllers is dead. Got the message? Thanks. We played several multiplayer games, then entered into campaign mode.
Now campaign mode for the Halo series has always underwhelmed me. It's not that it's not pretty and all, I just think it's personally the weakest part of the whole experience. I couldn't even wrestle up the gumption to finish Halo 2. I pretty much get the games for the multiplayer aspect of it. I haven't even finished the campaign, and most likely won't, I just don't have it in me.
So what do I think of Halo 3? Well it's certainly pretty, but to me there's a negative aspect to all this prettiness. There's just TOO much, for me things get lost on the screen. Sure Bungie has changed a flat grass texture map to individually rendered clumps of grass but...SO WHAT? Also most of the weapons seem to be uneven, either I suck ass (which is entirely possible) but it seems the same weapon has different results even when put in nearly identical situations. I also can't believe the multiplayer hasn't changed, again it's prettier and might be a bit snappier network wise, but DEAR SWEET GOD ALLOW ME TO SELECT WHAT TYPE OF GAME I WANT TO PLAY! If I want to play just Oddball for the rest of time allow me to do that. I don't give a shit about the rankings or learning new strategies by playing different types of games, just give me more options than just "TEAM SLAYER". The veto option is a neat idea, until you realize that after the group vetoes the lot of you are forced into whatever game the XBL server decides to spit at you.
I guess for me, Halo 3 just didn't live up to the hype. I was expecting so much more then what was delivered. To tell you the truth if I had know I would had been this underwhelmed I would have just stuck with my PS3 and not gotten the 360 at all. Well at least my lovely wife has had fun playing Eternal Sonata.
After playing Halo 3 I wasn't too shocked when the rumor that Bungie is looking to split from the Microsoft mother ship started floating around the internets. Can you imagine being part of the Bungie team? Excited that your flagship product made a ton of money, and then realizing you'll be making sequels to it for the rest of time? I can see Bungie splitting off, leaving the Halo intellectual property to Microsoft to do what they please with it.