Halo 3 Legendary - The Official Review
Ok, there are a hundred other reviews out there that are surely very informative as to the content of this game. I am a home theater enthusiast so I want to touch on the good and bad of the game from an audioholic perspective. I know, when you look at my mini blog up there, it looks like I am some kind of fanboy, but rest assured that I am as critical as the next guy.
game is clearly worthy of viewing in HD. I have been playing it in
720p projector on a 106” screen and feel that the visuals are very
polished and appropriate for the Halo series. It isn’t super real,
like the graphics from the Call
of Duty 4
beta (which is the most realistic I have seen in an FPS). It’s
also not too cartoonish, like Crackdown
(which is still a fantastic game). It sits in the middle and stands
alone in the Halo
universe pulling you into the plot more than ever. There is one
issue that bugs me a little. When playing 2 players, it splits the
screen horizontally and doesn’t use the space all the way to the
sides. It’s like I have a giant 4:3 display, but I want to use ALL
of my screen space. I know they probably did it this way to preserve
the aspect of each players screen to be more fair, but I’d like to
have the option of changing it so I can split it vertically and use
my full screen. While 3 players are playing, this is a nice touch as
the top guy doesn’t get too much more visibility than the two guys
sharing the bottom half of the screen. Of course, 1 player gets the
whole screen, and 4 players get their own quadrant.
The sound has been done very well. The new engine seamlessly maps sounds out in 3D space. I can hear when someone is walking or shooting behind me. As I rotate or walk past something, the sound pans clearly from the front to side to back. The music is fairly dramatic and produces the right kind of ambiance for playing in the campaign. Of course, weapons all have familiar sounds, and they have the same voice actors as the first two titles. There is some good use of LFE from various sound sources and vehicles.
The game plays just like Halo 2. It feels like a natural extension, only the buttons are remapped a little to provide some extra functionality. I still haven’t completely gotten the hang of the new controls, but they seem to work well with the new items and weapons. I think it will be perfectly natural after a few more game sessions. This game really is a High Def Halo 2, for all intents and purposes. If you are expecting it to be the best and coolest FPS ever made, then you have fallen into the hype produced by multitudes of fanboys who make arches at midnight on launch day. It is has the feel we are used to, and should complete the story that was cut short in Halo 2. There are lots of other games that that may be better for single player mode, like Bioshock, or Half Life 2 Episode 2, etc. There are more realistic games like the Call of Duty series. But there are few games that have that have the mass appeal, the functional control scheme, and game party factor of Halo 3. I am looking forward to my first 8 to 12 person local game party. Online play is ok, but I actually like some real human interaction when I kill my friends, and this game will excel at getting the new people in while still satisfying the experienced players.
If you buy the Limited or Legendary Edition of the game, you will get the disc with the audio and video calibration tools. I was pretty impressed with the video calibration, as it actually ran with the graphics engine instead of some video running in a lower res mode. I was able to tweak my Brightness, Contrast, and Sharpness with tests similar to what you see on Avia or DVE. It also had a Color and Hue test which requires an optional blue filter. You would think that my $130 copy of the Legendary Edition would come with a little plastic blue filter, but it didn’t. I was a little dumbfounded at that and had one from my other calibration discs, anyway. In any case, I think the calibration tool is very useful for the average user. It didn’t over-describe what was happening to bore the user, nor was it lacking in calibration tests. There was a sound calibration portion as well, but it pretty much just tested to make sure your speakers were outputting sound from the correct location. They could have been done better on this one. The other bonus content includes some gamer pics, themes, and videos. I didn’t check out the videos yet, as the disc warns you about a spoiler, and I don’t like to spoil things. The Legendary Edition also has an exclusive DVD that will play on normal DVD players. It had some remastered Halo and Halo 2 story line videos and some other stuff I haven’t played with yet. Of course, my version also has the cool Master Chief helmet. This will be a highly coveted item for gamers around the world. The base for the helmet has a serial number on it so you feel like you are really special, but they probably made a million of these things anyway…
I am not as much of a gamer as I used to be, but this is one I’ll play through several times. It has a decent story, good graphics and sound, compelling multiplayer options, and lots of unlockable items and achievements. It’s not perfect and it’s not the only game you should play, but it’s pretty darn good. There are a few other games I am looking forward to finishing this year, like Bioshock, Call of Duty 4, and the new Half Life 2 Orange Box… But Halo 3 will probably be played as much or more than those 3 combined. Honestly, people love my game parties, and this will be at the top of their list! Beyond the hype, the game is a good solid FPS that anyone with an Xbox 360 should own.
Jim -dot- Robbins -at- gmail -dot- com
Final Note: If you would like to kill me in a game of Halo 3, send me an email with your gamer tag and I’ll add you to my list. That way, I know who the heck is on my list and why. Thanks!
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