March 29, 2008 // 3:29 pm
- First of all, we don't really hate Halo. We're just pretending. That said, we're not going to hop on the fanboy wagon and pretend that there aren't any parts of the game that we don't like.
To be exact, there are 37 of them. Maybe you agree with them, and maybe you don't. Either way, you should give them a read, and maybe you'll discover that you hate Halo 3 just a little bit, too.
1. The story
After years of waiting and hours of gameplay, what have we learned? The Covenant is bad, Master Chief is awesome and Bungie needs to write better scripts. Here's our vastly improved version: Sarge says, "Those aliens are assholes! Go kill them, Chief," and then nobody says anything else for the next six hours.
2. In online matches, you can't choose which maps to play
You can pick your gametype, armor color and species, but the maps are always random. This is simply unpatriotic.
3. The grenades
Grenades have been powered down to accommodate noobs and there are only two new kinds: a spiky version of the plasma grenades that don't glow and the flesh-meltingly awesome incendiary grenades that you don't ever get to use.
4. The beginning of the game
After years of anticipation, we find out that Master Chief survives his crash into earth thanks to his armor gelling or something. Except that the last game didn't end with Master Chief falling to earth. Supposedly you can read a novel to fill in gaping void in the plot, but if we'd wanted to read, we wouldn't have bought Halo 3, now would we?
5. The end of the game
... left us hanging worse than this explanation.
6. There's no chainsaw
Maybe Bungie was too busy signing merchandising deals to notice that games can have these now?
7. The call letters floating above everyone's heads
The idea was to make it easier to identify your teammates. The problem is that two-thirds of your team will use the remarkably clever "H20" callsign.
8. Shotty Snipers
Look guys, Shotty Snipers is a gametype - that's why it's called Shotty Snipers and not... oh, let's say "Team Slayer." Yet, Shotty Snipers still comes up in match selection for Slayer games all the time. Why do those of us who are lawful, fair and healthy-lifestyle-oriented Slayer players have to endure all of the obtuse and silly Shotty Snipers players time and time again?
9. Hayabusa Armor
There's ninja armor, and there's a bunch of generic armor. No cowboy armor, no Spider-Man armor, no scuba armor, no dinosaur armor, etc. And yet people still wonder why everyone on Xbox Live wears the frilly armor from Ninja Gaiden rather than Generic Armor No. 4 with the extra shoulder padding nobody can see.
10. The Covenant are our friends
We're sure there's some kind of plot device that we've done our best to forget about or not bothered to untangle that explains why we don't want to start shooting at the Halo series' posterboy evil alien alliance. We just wish there wasn't.
11. The number of maps
There are only nine maps in Halo 3. Really, only nine? No, there are actually more, but we've never played any of them. Once we saw one come up in the pre-game lobby, but it was vetoed before the match started, so we played Snowbound instead... again.
12. Getting a Killjoy
Nothing says you're doing a good job better than getting a medal that can only be acquired if someone on the other team has at least five kills in a row.
13. Xbox Live players play Halo 3
Who wouldn't be excited about getting to play Halo 3 with these guys?
14. Legendary isn't as legendary
It used to mean something to have beaten Halo on Legendary difficulty. With the teammate-revival feature reinstated, even the hardest sections are breezable, with one guy hanging back while up to frickin' three other guys hurl themselves forward and whittle away at the enemies before respawning safely away from combat next to player four. With up to four people able to play through the campaign together, shouldn't Legendary be harder than ever instead of easier?
15. The Flamethrower
If your buddy picks up the flamethrower, go the other way as quickly as possible. This thing is so unwieldy that it's a virtual guarantee that the user will blind herself, light completely random targets on fire and generally confuse and kill without regard for teams. It almost sounds fun, until you consider how cool a useable Flamethrower could have been.
Beta test analyst: "Sir, Snowbound is being vetoed 100 percent of the time."
The Man: "Sounds good, change nothing for the final release."
17. The ranking system (and more importantly, our Team Slayer rank)
It doesn't matter that the game ended at 49-50 and we led our team with 46 kills. We still got knocked back down to rank 5 because our team lost. We just can't seem to get on a team that's good enough to get us up to a rank 7.
The hulking, badass, jaw-dropping alien kill-monster/robot of Halo 3 is... the same thing Halo 2 had. Except now, if you fire a couple of shots into their knees, they basically lie down and invite you in for tea and scones in the easily accessible (and explodable) power-core room.
19. We're fighting these guys again?
Yeah, we've fought all these guys before. All of them.
20. The Arbiter can't cloak
We get that the idea is to make the game fair and balanced, but cloaking was just freaking sweet - remember the strategic possibilities? Sometimes the most balanced game isn't the most fun.
21. The Gravemind talks to you
After finally reuniting with Cortana, we thought we were safe from hearing any more nonsensical ranting from inside Chief's head every two minutes. Then, almost without missing a beat, this guy started jabbering at us about headstones and corpses.
22. No more symmetrical maps
Sometimes the simplest answer is the best answer. We liked playing Midship in Halo 2, but maps like it are being discriminated against in Halo 3 because of their symmetricality (yes, we made up a word to describe the type of maps we like). Stop the hate - embrace all shapes of maps.
23. Cutscene eyes
If you didn't notice, you will now, because human eyes look like some kind of fisheye/golf ball combination in Halo 3. Maybe that's the real reason Master Chief won't take his helmet off.
24. The Flood are our friends
25. No Banshees
We've heard that if you're able to shoot one down intact, you can still fly them in the campaign. Good luck with that.
26. The Terminals
The Terminals are ancient caches of information hidden throughout the game that give crucial backstory and fill in the plot of Halo 3. That's right, the things that tell you what the hell is going on are actually hidden. Usually they're hiding so cleverly that most players will walk right by without even noticing.
27. Hornet missiles
The complex dogfights of Halo games of yore have been replaced with two stone-cold rules: 1.) Pull the left trigger when you're pointed at a banshee. 2.) Watch the missile smash the bad guy. Supposedly there's another gun that you can use if you're bored and want to pull the other trigger.
28. Picking your armor
You can pick anything you want: square shoulder pads, bigger square shoulder pads, the helmet with the big visor. Then, if you get within five feet of another player and they stop moving around and they don't shoot at you and they didn't pick something too detailed to see, you might even notice the differences.
29. Pre-release trailers
We kept waiting for this part of the game to actually happen. We're still waiting.
30. 2D cutscene backgrounds
Not only are these inconsistent with the rest of the 3D art direction of the Halo series, they don't show up until the last quarter of the game. What happened? Did the development team run out of time?
31. The devices
With all the hubbub around the mysterious use of the X button before the game launched, we were expecting something as cool as, say, a chainsaw. The central problem with the gravity lift, bubble shield, deployable cover, tripmine, glowing field deployer, robot squirrel, or whatever, is that it's easier to shoot people than figure out how to use the equipment.
32. Marines climb up the rocks in the first level
It's the first level of Halo 3, before we've even fired the first shot, the rock soundtrack is blasting and we can't wait to turn our first Brute into a big furry rug full of bullet holes. Our squad of marines starts climbing up a small rock embankment, eager to fight for humanity. As we get to the wall to follow them over, we wonder, "Where the hell is the climb button?" If you haven't figured it out yet, Master Chief has to walk around the cliff while the Marines climb up it. This ingenious bit of level design took five minutes out of the lives of everyone who ever played Halo 3.
33. Picking your color
After taking 15 minutes to design our green Spartan with a pink trim and unicorn decal applied to her left arm, we were assigned to the blue team.
34. The pistol
Oh sweet pistol, how we loved you in Halo 2. Now you can't fire while zoomed in, and you do damage slower than high cholesterol. Hang on to your MAC5 Assault Rifles, everyone, because in Halo 3 you spawn with a better weapon than this pea-shooter.
35. Ducking under radar
The UNSC can design a suit of armor that will shield you from the absolute zero temperatures of space, falling through the atmosphere and landing on your head in the middle of a jungle, but it can't install a radar system that's advanced enough to detect someone who's ducking ten feet behind you.
36. Cortana and Master Chief are in love
No, it's never explicitly stated, but pay attention anytime they speak to each other, and we're sure you'll agree the writing is pretty much on the wall. Hate to break it to you, Chief, but she's a computer program, and most of the time she's about six inches tall. And she lives in your armor. There are a lot of reasons this relationship won't work out.
37. Downloadable maps
We coughed up 800 Microsoft points for the first Halo 3 Map Pack and got ready to experience the first 36 reason we hate this game as if it were our very first time. Then we played the old standards Construct and Snowbound four time each. Again, There's no way to pick the map you want to play on Xbox Live (see reason number 2).
More Screenshots and trailers can be seen at the link at the top of this story!