Next on the Halo world tour is, of course, Halo 3. Halo 3 is pretty similar in its shootiness to Halo 2, but with way better graphics, in theory. It’s funny, because what was originally an upgrade from old original Xbox graphics to the first title on the Xbox 360, now looks worse than the previous game thanks to the Anniversary upgrades of 1 and 2. The shootiness is definitely still intact though.
There are a few new weapons and vehicles, but for the most part it’s more of the same, just on a slightly bigger scale. Which is not to say that it was not fun. It definitely was fun. Quite a bit of good, fast paced action and it felt more difficult this time too. I really enjoyed the new fights against the giant walking tank things that the Covenant uses, which I forget the name of and didn’t capture any footage of, because I was too busy recording random crap like this:
Anyway, this one finishes off the over-arching plot we saw throughout the first two games. The flood are still running around causing trouble and the Covenant split into two factions, one of which is crazy and trying to use the Halos to destroy all life, the other joining your side to even the odds.
You save the galaxy, but get stranded in space and believed dead, with only your AI, and probably secret girlfriend according to the hints this game kept dropping, Cortana to keep you company until it’s time for Halo 4, where you will surely have to massacre an entirely new alien race that will probably try to use the Halos again for some dumb reason.
…but it doesn’t really work. The characters and plot are extremely underdeveloped and I could never be bothered to give a single shit about any of them. They try to make things interesting by switching back and forth between a mute rookie who is trying to piece together what happened to his squad after a crash landing, and flashback levels where you control various personality-less cardboard cutouts that are the rest of your squad. The big mystery is…everyone’s fine and they all meet up again in the end to accomplish their vague data retrieval mission and close the circuit on an insanely generic and bare-boned romance subplot. Luckily there is plenty of standard Halo action to make up for all this vapid excuse for a story.
As far as the gameplay goes, it’s just more of the same really. So good news: it’s still just as fun to play as Halo 3. Bad news: it offers absolutely nothing new or different compared to Halo 3. Ok, there are SOME additions, like the addition of map and objective screens, but those don’t really add much to this kind of game. Did we really need automap and a “quest” tracker in a game as linear and scripted as Halo? (No. The answer is NO.) It doesn’t hurt anything though at least. In the end it may have been an entirely unnecessary and irrelevant experience in terms of the greater Halo universe, but it was still fun to play, despite its redundancy.
Next, of course, is the final game contained in the official Master Chief Collection…
This is the first major Halo game that Bungie wasn’t involved with, apparently. Now developing the series is 343 Industries. First thing I noticed was how good the graphics looked for a remastered 360 game, especially compared to 3 and ODST.
Man it looks nice. These grainy little videos don’t do it justice, but it could almost be a current gen game. The new environments, enemies, weapons, and vehicles all looked great. Made me realize that that was something else that was missing from ODST. Its level design was pretty bland in comparison. Anyway, things didn’t just look great they played great too. Combat was fast paced and explosive, as usual, and the new enemy abilities made things feel new again.
New vehicles like the Mantis, a mech, and a few different new airborne vehicles were a lot of fun too and they all handled very well.
It even had an interesting, though typically Halo-ishly vague, story. You know, angry, ancient space guy is up to no good and you have to stop him and all that. The Didact, to be specific, who is some old-timey Forerunner, the guys who created the Halos and possibly humanity, who naturally you accidentally let out of his cage on some newly discovered Halo-type Forerunner world (kind of like how you let the Flood out to almost destroy the galaxy!). Also your AI girlfriend’s hard drive is starting to degrade, causing further shenanigans.
Yes, this was extremely fun though. On top of everything else it also had an awesome flight level in the end that gave me total flashbacks of Total Eclipse.
Good times. This has made me pretty excited about Halo 5…but…it’s not over yet. There are still a few more non-Master Chef Collection games left, but that’s for Part 3…