Halo 3: Here’s What Sucks

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I know you guys are all out there rolling around in your Orange Boxes and haven’t thought about Halo 3 in weeks. But I’m not done yet. Yeah, I know, a real games journalist would have whipped the Brutes on legendary by now, but I just got to the part where the Flood shows up. Shut up.

That’s why I’m just getting around to posting my gripes. Here are a few:

1. I wasn’t done with that gravity hammer. Why does the game forcibly revert my weaponry at the start of a new chapter? Here I am being a good Master Chief, conserving the charges (or whatever they’re called) on the fancy Gravity Hammer that I just took away from some Brute Chieftain. And then the level ends, and I’m redeployed somewhere else, holding nothing but a plain-vanilla assault rifle/battle rifle combo. What gives? I recognize that this is probably necessary to preserve the purity of Bungie’s precious gameplay balance or whatever, but it beggars plausibility. What, does some quartermaster somewhere confiscate my looted weapons after each battle? Where’s the weaponry sergeant who’s gonna take a gravity hammer away from the Master Chief?

2. What’s going on? The Halo universe is rich, and the Halo narrative is deep and resonant, but the single-player campaign does not do a particularly good job of explaining what’s happening. This isn’t my point, it was made first and better by Gabe (the one who draws) of Penny Arcade:

The story in Halo 3 simply doesn’t make a lick of f___ing sense on it’s own and they make zero effort to help players that might be new to the series…Honestly though it’s Halo. You can play through the thing, shoot a bunch of guys skip all the cut scenes and have a damn good time. It’s just sort of sad that there’s such a rich universe there that the games aren’t conveying.

3. Yo Marine dudes — wait up. Halo 3 confronts the player with a feast of rich strategic and tactical challenges — weapons choices, level routes, etc. Every skirmish is a chance to pick apart a chess-like melee from a new angle. Unfortunately your allies don’t give you a chance to enjoy any of it, because they go charging into every battle at a full-on sprint, pushing the pace so that every encounter becomes a run-and-gun shoot-’em-up. Basically you have the choice of taking your time and really enjoying a fight, and watching your buddies get turned into bloody chum by the Covenant, or just charging up the middle and saving a few bots from certain death. Gimme a break. I’ve been choosing door number one, with the result that I spend a lot of time fighting solo, and getting helpful hints barked at me by the AI (“Let’s pick up the pace, Master Chief!”)

And so on. I also miss fighting the Elites. Wort wort wort. Anybody else?

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