Halo 3

FBT in good Halo game shocker

Can’t say I was keen to fire this one up. I wasn’t impressed with Halo CE or Halo 2, I found them light on gameplay and heavy on hype. I’m expecting more of the same from Halo 3, even if it’s noted as one of the Greatest Games of All Time - just like Halo CE and Halo 2. Three GotY of All Time in a row? That’s just showing off. Is this going to be three retrospective disappointments in a row too?

Much like every other game of the era (and since), H3’s marketing created a Cultural Phenomenon. It was indulgent and smug, with that ridiculous Diorama trailer (hilariously parodied in Bulletstorm’s teaser), videos directed by Neill Blomkamp and produced by CGI heavyweights Digital Domain and Weta Workshop - and it worked. H3 was a behemoth, becoming the US’s highest selling action game of 2007, beating Mass Effect, Bioshock, CoD 4: MW, Assassin’s Creed, Crysis – but those games are still referenced a decade later; who still talks about Halo 3? Was it really an All Time Great or All Time Hype?

In Halo 2, the Covenant’s Elites discovered the truth of the Halo structures and sided with the humans. To reassert their control, the Covenant now redouble their efforts to switch one on, still refusing to believe it’ll spell doom for all organic life. They focus on something known as The Ark, from where all the Halos can be activated at once, triggering a race against time as the humans and Elites try to reach the Ark before the Covenant unleash Armageddon.

There’s something a bit annoying about fighting a stupid enemy. Most have evil plans, intent we don’t agree with or are misguided but fighting someone being stubborn in the face of all the evidence is irritating - it’s like the Covenant boss is an Anti-vaxxer. It’s firmly established that a long-dead race created the Halos to contain the Flood, basically a singular parasitic consciousness who wants to eat the universe, but the Covenant believe the race were Gods and turning on a Halo grants enlightenment, not lunch. We’re 3 games in, get on board. But, now that the Elites are allies and the Brutes are the primary villains, and we’re closing in on shutting down the Halos forever, Halo 3 feels a lot more epic and meaningful than CE or 2 - drama-wise, its closer to the hallowed ground of Mass Effect 2 in that creeping sense that this is bigger than any of us and victory is going to come at a price.