Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Halo 3 - First Day Play Review

The UPS delivery guy surprised us with our copy of Halo 3 yesterday, a day before anticipated. I love these kind of surprises. It did make working through the day a bit harder. Since I was preoccupied, not that I had much going on at work yesterday, I decided to leave a little early. So here's my first impressions of Halo 3. It isn't meant to be a comprehensive review, just things I noticed on my first go around.

The Mister and I played the first 3 levels of co-op (in 1080i mode) yesterday. No, it wasn't an all nighter--everything in moderation, folks. I was Master Chief, he was the Arbiter. The first thing we noticed was the graphics. The details were better than Halo 2, and the lighting was right on. Although we were a little busy trying to get used to the new mapping of the buttons, I did notice some of the additional background sounds as we were tramping through the forest. There certainly is a more epic feel to it.

I think the hardest part was the new mapping of the buttons from the old white/black buttons. When using the default setting, switching out new weapons was now the right bumper button, not the Y button. Reloading the primary weapon is also the right bumper now, secondary weapon to the left bumper. This remapping really screwed me up because Halo 3 has a new concept of equipments, which is mapped to the X button. You can only carry 1 equipment at a time and the X button activates it. So during a heated battle, out of years of muscle memory training, I go to hit the X button to reload, but instead, I set off a bubble shield (which isn't a bad thing until I need it later) or worst yet, a trigger mine (hmm, is that what those are called?).

As far as game play (and this is a non-pro, occasional game player's perspective), it felt really good. There's a sense of familiarity to previous Halo games but there was also something different beyond the new story line. The feel of things was just a bit different, in a good way. I felt Master Chief's movements were more fluid and he can squeeze into more tighter spaces it seems, the Marines were a little smarter (but don't let them drive!), and the Grunts matured, just a little (their dialogues still funny). The Brutes are fun to kill and one of the coolest new weapons added (it's rivaling for top spot of the Sword in my book) is the Gravity Hammer! Love it! The new Chopper was also fun to drive around in. It was a little hard to steer at first but once you get the feel for it, it really is fun.

I haven't explored all the new options for co-op play but I did turn on points. I'll have to check into the skulls. And really, I've only scratched the surface. You can read more about the new features on IGN or Gamespot. I won't bore you with it.

I've been debating whether to try out the multiplayer or not before this weekend's Halo party. We will most likely be playing Halo 2 and I don't want to have to re-reprogram my brain back to the old controller mapping. Gotta stay sharp, you know. I'll post how that goes in a weekend report. Now go and eat well because killing Convenants can work up an appetite.

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