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Video Game Review: Halo 3 Beta

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Rented Crackdown for the weekend and have been enjoying the Halo 3 beta from the comfort of my couch. This thing is great!

At first, honestly I was a bit underwhelmed - the graphics at first glance are very similar to Halo 2 slightly bumped up on the 360. But that is neither fair nor true, the graphics are a huge step forward, but still very much stays true to the original look and feel. In fact, I would say that's true of the entire beta - it is a step forward like an expected sequel, but not the giant leap I would think some are/were expecting.

The game is fast and furious, the new controls are intuitive, and the maps have that Halo-esque intangible that fans know and love. The new "x" button features - bubble shields and the like - take a bit of time to figure out how to use strategically, but all new depth to the run and gun shootout.

I played about 30 matches, here's the progression of how I felt as it went.

Match 1: OK, renting Crackdown actually worked. Everything worked! I'm in for 5 days.
Match 2: Hmmm ... the graphics are OK. The animation when you die (which I'm doing a lot) isn't quite perfect yet. I love HD-Halo.
Match 3: Pretty sweet, these controls are going to take some time to get used to. That Bubble shield looks pretty from the inside.
Match 11: Now that my router firmware is updated, I can find a match in 30 seconds instead of 4 minutes. Should remind my friends to do that on September 24th.
Match 18: Shoot, I owned that match. Bubble shields are fun. More rockets!
Match 19: Time to try a big 16-player skirmish.
Match 20: This is awesome. I wish the whole game was here now.
Match 25: Having only 3 maps suck. But thank you Bungie, for 3 maps. I'll bite my tongue.
Match 29: Hmmm ... I've got this funny feeling this is going to be a glowing review on my blog.
Match 30: This game is amazing. I can't wait to play the single player in September and the multiplayer for the rest of 2007/8.

Couple of downsides, to a great beta gametest. The grenades don't quite release right (like Halo 2) and the rockets don't roll out of the launcher quite as smoothly as they should. The theater interface is way to boring, and the personal settings is too buried.

Other than that, sheer brilliance.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:32 PM |

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