Halo 3 Beta Impressions
Halo 3 box art
System: X360 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Bungie Software 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Microsoft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Released: Sept. 25, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 - 16 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Team Beta

by Matthew Walker

May 18, 2007 - So - how long have you been waiting? For a while, I'm sure. Unfortunately, if you were one of the would-be players that bought Crackdown to join in on the fun on May 16th, you had to wait a little longer. That was my first impression of Halo 3: more waiting. However, when the problems were fixed, even I had to take a moment and stifle my excitement. Hearing the thematic music for Halo is very much like hearing the music from Metal Gear Solid now. Once the harmonic opera began, I was reliving my first experience with Halo all over again. The dull blues on the start screens do a great job of hiding what awaits you when you log on. Bring your friends is all I can say. That way when you perish, it will not be just you.

Especially when you are waiting in the matchmaking lobby, your friends come in handy and reduce the boredom. However, the first thing you notice when you start your first of many battles will be the graphics. At first, when you see them they might strike you as a let down, considering the amount of time we have waited for this sequel. Nevertheless, once you are into the game and get a chance, albeit small since you have a mission to do, to look around and you will notice small things that spark the extra detail hungry person you are. The stages that are available - Capture the Flag, Territory, and Slayer - all represent a quick overview of the gameplay. Of course, this is a shooter, so what else are you going to do except shoot? You will be doing this a lot. Not to worry though, it is not just the assault rifle and a few hand grenades you will use. Surprisingly, there is quite the assortment of varied weapons available in the demo. I am not too savvy with the technical terms of the weapons available, but take my word for it, there is plenty of one-shot-one-kill weapons if you can get them.

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The Warthog makes a return to the series and is accompanied by an ATV-like vehicle that you can use to mow down you enemies and teammates, if you want. If you do happen to only want to remove your enemies, you might want to double check your team's color. A few times during playing, a few of my friends and I seemed to get lost in the gameplay and did not remember the color of our team. Which, as you can imagine, created a problem or two occasionally, specifically in the Slayer match. Thankfully, my friends and I are good sports about it. While Capture the Flag is probably the most played and revered game online, personally I would have to say that Territory matches, a basic King of the Hill match, were both the most complex and fun all the way around; this might be because we did really well with this particular match. After the Territory matches, I would have to say that Slayer equaled the fun of Territory. Not because we did well, because we did not do as well as Territory, but rather, it was based on how many kills you could get inside the time frame of about eleven minutes. You cannot get as much controlled chaos in eleven minutes as we did - it was great.

We experienced one problem, though. After the third match we had, we were all ready for more. After about 15 minutes waiting in the matchmaking lobby, all of the sudden we were kicked out completely. Granted, this is a beta and glitches are to be expected, but what happened next we were rather taken aback by. After we all signed back in, we waited a few more minutes, and waited some more, and ultimately waited some more. Until, guess what, we waited some more. After a while, we lost track of time, and totally forgot how long we had been waiting. We even made a few jokes with one of our friends who changed his theme colors to pink - you know who you are, saying that it was because of that that no one wanted to play against us. While the jokes were great, the fact that after only three missions we were at a stand still, so we did what we thought best and waited some more. Unfortunately, we were unable to get on, thus ending our first attempt at Halo 3 beta.

All in all, Halo 3 lived up to most of the hype that I have been harboring for a while. The only let down was the limited matches. This could cause casual players to stay away from the title. Then again, this beta is not really geared towards the casual player. This is designed for the people who have lived and breathed Halo over the last few years. Are there things that I hope Bungie tweaks before the September release? Absolutely, but nothing that will stop me from bruising my thumbs for the next three weeks. I cannot wait for more.

By Matthew Walker
CCC Project Coordinator

Screenshots / Images
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