In response to those who've asked me what do you think of Halo 3 I wrote a long piece on finishing the fights. Halo, being a first person shooter with a linear story has a number of "finishes", though. There are the conflicts the player is a direct party to, but there are other story elements as well, and action that takes place away from the player.
How well does Bungie bring this epic trilogy to a close?
Since before I'd even managed to finish the fight on Heroic, let alone Legendary, people have been asking... "so, what do you think of Halo 3?"
Given the thousands of words I've hurled at Halo 2 over the years that seems like a rather broad question. When pressed, most people admit what they really want to know is what I think of the ending of Halo 3.
Even that can be broken down further. There's the way the game resolves its central conflicts going back to the first game, especially those conflicts that involve gameplay challenges, and then there's the denouement that the game gives us, the little epilogue.
My short answer is that Halo 3 handles both challenges with finesse and aplomb in a way that fits very well within the framework laid down by the previous two games, calling on the best elements of both, discarding some that didn't work so well, and modifying others.
So if Halo 3 does indeed, as Frankie said, allow you to finish all the fights going back to Halo 1, what are those fights?
Warning, there are spoilers here!
A few items of note that slipped through the cracks lately:
ForgeHub is a site featuring descriptions and links to custom maps and gametypes people have created in Forge. Some very interesting stuff up there now, with more sure to follow.
High Speed Halo is still getting up to speed on Halo 3 speedruns, but for a taste of coming attractions visit goatrope's file share for some runs on Cortana, Floodgate and Halo.
Nthro Sraom submitted a nice how-to for finding the Famine Skull in Halo 3. Since Rampancy's collection of skull pages isn't complete, we're asking readers to submit entries on their own favorite skull: how and where to find it, what it does, your preferred method of reaching it, and how it changes your experience of the game. Not just the location; lots of sites have lists of skulls with locations.
The ultimate vehicle, my favorite vehicle; The Mongoose. Here's what I use with my friends to totally own with a mongoose.
One of the things we do is travel. This works especially well with sniper. You get on the mongoose and then the sniper gets on the back. After that you take him to one location and hide the mongoose. Stay close to your sniper and when he gets a couple of kills get back in the mongoose and go somewhere else. This technique works very well on Valhalla and Sandtrap. Also you can just travel to anywhere pretty quickly. The mongoose is pretty durable and fast.
Daniel Radosh at the New York Times laments the dependence of games on cinematics for storytelling, and alleges they are stunting the medium's development of its own storytelling vocabulary.
If I was apprehensive about anything in Halo 3, it was the Flood.
Halo 1 has reached a certain legendary status amongst fans, but even it has a sore spot for many: the Library, where you navigate endless repeating dark corridors with endless hordes of only four enemies to fight: Human Flood combat forms, Elite Flood combat forms, Carrier forms and Infection forms. The level goes on a floor or two longer than it really has to, and only has a few tricks up its sleeve to make it seem fresh.
If Halo is built on a foundation of "thirty seconds of fun" then the Library was built on six helpings of five seconds of fun: shotgun a Flood form in the face, run away, repeat.
Of course, other Flood missions fared much better; they had better unit mixes, more varied terrain and encounters, as well as vehicles. 343 Guilty Spark had atmosphere oozing out of every pore as the Flood gave you the first real scare of the game. Two Betrayals gave you the dark side of Assault on the Control Room as Flood, Covenant and Sentinels took aim at each other and you while you tried to stop Halo from firing.
The Maw mixed it up by varing your objectives a bit, and by allowing you the chance to watch some interesting fights play out. The Flood themselves, though, were interesting to look at, but not so much interact with. When they didn't see you, they gurgled. When they did see you, they charged straight at you, firing whatever they had. If you had superior firepower and room to maneuver, it was no problem. If you had only one of those, or neither, you'd be in a world of hurt, not because the Flood outsmarted you, but because they overwhelmed you with numbers and clogged up your travel lanes with dead bodies. Or even dead Grifs.
Halo 2 added a significant twist to the Flood, but the game could only get so much mileage out of it. Instead of merely giggling with glee as you set off cascading explosions of popcorn Infection Flood, this time around the little devils scurried around more unpredictably, and raised dead Flood from the battlefield to face you once more if you didn't dismember them with a sword or blow them up with a grenade.
Once so raised, though, they were still the same old Flood. Four flavors, and one tactic.
How, then, would Halo 3 handle the Flood? More of the same?
Saved Films is a great feature. It lets anybody who has Halo 3 and an Xbox Live account share game films with each other. It'll be great for documenting tricks, speedruns, the works.
However, it can't do everything. It's not a video editing suite; you can't add effects or music, and you need to have Halo 3 running on an Xbox 360 to play these films back. So there's still a need, sometimes, for an actual video file.