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Videogames-To-Flix #43

10.31.2007

VIDEOGAMES-TO-FLIX is a JoBlo.com column showcasing reviews of videogame translations of Hollywood films (or games soon-to-become Hollywood movies). With both industries getting closer and closer, and videogames, in general, getting so much more popular, you knew it was just a matter of time before we hit that stuff!

HALO 3

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Developer: Bungie Software
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Systems: XBOX 360

INTRODUCTION:

There isn't a precedent on how to write a multiplayer gamer review here at JoBlo.com. Nevertheless, because HALO 3 is practically two games in the same package, I've split my review into two parts. To read the single player review follow this link.

Multiplayer games are an incredibly important genre and have been a driving force in the expansion of gaming throughout the past decade. While versus play has been part of gaming since it jumped from the board to the television, the expansion onto the Internet is the revolution central to the modern renaissance of gaming. Online luminaries like DOOM, ULTIMA ONLINE, and NFL 2K1 set the stage for games like HALO 2, WORLD OF WARCRAFT and MADDEN to reshape video games into an online-obsessed industry. It is with that set up that I deliver to you another notch in Master Chief's belt, HALO 3 multiplayer.

This review is of the current state of HALO 3 multiplayer. Downloadable content and player population will affect the legacy of this game and cannot be weighed in this review. This will not be addressing online cooperative campaign play.

INNOVATION & CUSTOMIZATION:

In the realm of online gaming, the customization of an avatar is expected and should be considered a central feature. Whether you're busy designing a unique paint job for your car in FORZA MOTORSPORT 2 or modeling your TIGER WOODS golf pro to look like he has a butt on his face, making your avatar look how you want is essential. In this respect, HALO 3 its definitely no a slacker. Much like in HALO 2, players can chose the color of their armor as well as a badge to differentiate themselves. New to HALO 3, players can unlock different pieces of armor in single player to change their look in multiplayer. Want your dude to look like a samurai? Just start looking for skulls and you'll be pleased.

Also in the realm of customization, the Forge feature provides players with the ability to modify the functionality of maps, customize gametypes, and create all new variants to social games. While both of these features in Forge are common place in PC games, the count of console games that allow for this level of customization is considerably lower (FAR CRY and...). Not only that, but being able to share these designs with the world is quite a perk.

On the subject of innovation, as mentioned in my single player review, the Theater feature is the pinnacle of console innovation. Players can go back into any multiplayer match (or campaign) and take screencaps or clips to share with friends or even use as wallpaper. All of the images in this review were taken with this feature and if you see the original, non-compressed, versions you'll see that the graphics are actually up-res'd by this feature. Not only can you relive your greatest kills, they look better than they while you were playing.

These features allow for a brand new console experience that has never existed before and makes an already great experience phenomenal. Fans of HALO 2 should be amazed at all of the new features added to an already perfected game. Now you've got proof to back up your smack talk.

Innovation & Customization: 9.9/10

REPLAY FACTOR:

Essential to any multiplayer game is the replay factor. If players don't have any reason to keep on coming back they won't. They'll just move along to something else. That is especially pertinent during this Holiday season when there is an endless supply of multiplayer games competing for market share. Luckily, HALO 3 delivers plenty of replay while also mixing in some nostalgia.

Central to multiplayer in HALO 3, the Forge keeps gamers coming back for more moonshinin' and homebrewin'. As detailed in the customization portion of this review, the Forge adds more variety to an already varied experience. After players rank up in Ranked Matches, or if they have friends over less obsessed with Achievements, they can throw together some maps and gametypes that jostle what they think they know about gaming. A great example of this is my friend DaCh0zen0ne's Omaha Beach gametype. Ch0zen took a pre-established map, modified the spawns, created endless explosions, and has basically brought SAVING PRIVATE RYAN to the HALO universe. There are many great (and not so great) custom types out there and are a testament to a Developer that understands its community.

Perhaps the biggest contribution to replay is friendship. The week that HALO 3 came out a majority (if not a unanimity) of my friends list was playing HALO 3. I knew that if I wanted to team up and play with a squad of like-minded gamers I was just a couple minutes away. Having friends with is the cornerstone of any successful multiplayer game. WORLD OF WARCRAFT, COUNTERSTRIKE, BATTLEFIELD 2, and HALO 2 have persisted as the dominant multiplayer games not because of great graphics but because of friendship. Whether it is through guilds, clans, or even friends lists, these either officially or unofficially support a group of friends and competitors that want to come back each and every day to kick each other asses. The jury is still out on HALO 3. However, if the millions of gamers during the first week of release are any indication, HALO 3 will remain the dominant multiplayer game for consoles worldwide.

An inclusion that I particularly enjoy are the stats. Bungie.net provides data, medals, and achievements for even the most specific of people. This is a great asset for players looking to play better, maximize their strengths and bump up their weakness. Also, this is a great bragging tool for players looking to taunt their friends.

The true test of the replay factor will take place in the weeks, months, and years ahead. Can HALO 3 outlast CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE, GRAND THEFT AUTO 4, GEARS OF WAR 2, and even HALO WARS? Only time will tell, but if HALO 3 performs anything like HALO 2, Bungie and Microsoft will be pleased.

Replay Factor: 9.6/10

FINAL VERDICT:

It isn't really fair to judge HALO 3 multiplayer with a final verdict because the game isn't done yet. Fans of GEARS OF WAR know this too well, as they saw a great multiplayer experience sullied by glitchers and assholes. While I don't expect Microsoft will allow their flagship to tarnish like this, if it can happen to GEARS it might happen to HALO. If they can stem the glitch issues or at least limit them to social gametypes, HALO players can handle the assholes themselves. Tournament play, downloadable content, and new achievements will all add to the world's memory of HALO 3 multiplayer. However, considering we're in the midst of this game's heyday, just enjoy the ride, play with some friends, and melee the shit out of one another.

Final Verdict: 9.7/10

STATUS OF THE MOVIE:

Dead as a doornail... for now. Wait... now its back on again. Who the f*ck knows?

MY XBOX GAMERTAG:

FRIEND ME!

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