Header Ads

Halo: 10 Ways Halo 3 Is Still The Best Campaign In The Franchise

Widely recognized as one of the most important shooter franchises on the market, Halo commands an impressive legacy with gamers everywhere. Famous as the killer app of the original Xbox, Halo helped popularize shooters on consoles, reaching the apex of its fame with the release of 2007's Halo 3. Its legacy is still so impressive, that the upcoming Halo Infinite is one of 2021's most anticipated Xbox titles.

RELATED: Every Halo Game, Ranked By How Awesome The Cover Art Was

In a series as popular, influential, and long-running as Halo, fans are bound to have divergent opinions about which games do what best. For some, Halo 2's multiplayer cannot be topped. For others, the atmosphere and wonder of the original game make it stand out as the best. However, while debates can be had about multiplayer, looking back with clear eyes will reveal that Halo 3 continues to boast the best single-player campaign in the series.

10 Highly Memorable Levels

One of the simpler advantages that Halo 3's campaign has over its prequels is that it consistently features memorable, exciting, and challenging levels. To be sure, not every one of them is a winner, with "Cortana" being notably worse than its counterparts but the overall level of quality from mission to mission is nothing short of stellar.

Particular standouts are the gameplay introduction in "Sierra 117", which sees players fighting through the jungle against Jackal snipers and angry brutes, or the vehicle-focused "Tsavo Highway." However, most fans would likely argue that "The Covenant" stands out as the best of them all, largely on account of its memorable story beats, insane setpieces, and variety of locales.

9 The Soundtrack Is Perfect

One might expect the most heated debate among Halo fans to be regarding which game had the best campaign, multiplayer, or story. But those who have spent time in Halo fan spaces know that nothing gets people arguing quite like asking which game has the best soundtrack. With that said, Halo 3 likely tops that list.

While Halo and Halo 2 both have spectacular soundtracks, it often feels like Halo 3's is more consistent overall, featuring basically no skippable tracks. Furthermore, Halo 3 was constructed to have blockbuster-esque cinematic appeal, and its soundtrack suits that atmosphere flawlessly.

8 Fighting Two Scarabs

Ask any Halo fan what their favorite moment of Halo 3's campaign is, and chances are they'll tell it's the end of the mission "The Covenant" where two enormous Scarab tanks drop onto the battlefield. Battling one scarab in Halo 2, and one earlier in the Halo 3 campaign, seemed like monumental events in themselves, so the introduction of two at once is bold and unexpected.

In a single moment, the twin Scarab fight captures what Halo 3 is all about. It dramatically exceeds the scale of previous games in unexpected ways, constantly exposing the player to thrilling setpieces, each more outrageous than the last.

7 There's High Drama

There's a powerful sense of finality to nearly everything that happens in the Halo 3 campaign. Humanity is on its last legs with the twin threats of the Covenant and the Flood bearing down on them. The treachery of the Prophets has been revealed but it's unclear if there's enough time to stop them. Chief is also separated from Cortana.

RELATED: 10 Characters Fans Want To See Be The Last Smash Bros. DLC Fighter

Halo 2 left a number of important plot threads open with its cliffhanger ending, and tying them all together is no small task. Halo 3 occasionally struggles to keep them all organized, but any stumbles the narrative makes are easily forgiven on account of the game's sheer earnestness and pathos. The drama and atmosphere are so palpable that it's difficult not to get caught up in the spirit of it all.

6 The Warthog Run

What would have been the perfect way to end the original Halo trilogy? One can only speculate as to the many ideas that were kicked around during development, and fans out there may have their own ideas as the what the last level of the game should have looked like. Regardless, it's hard to imagine a better conclusion to the final level than Halo 3's iconic warthog run.

Speeding across exploding Forerunner infrastructure in a race against the clock is thrilling every time, and is undeniably a suitable gameplay sendoff to the trilogy. It also helps that an iconic rendition of Halo's main theme plays in the background, making the sequence feel flawlessly cinematic. There are also some hilarious, meme-worthy easter eggs hidden in the sequence.

5 Variety Of Setting

Halo and its sequel both take place predominantly on the titular Halo rings. In Halo, the Chief spends the entirety of his time on this ancient superweapon, full of small details to discover, and in Halo 2 he finds himself on another ring after a brief detour on Earth. To be clear, Halo and Halo 2 are excellent games, but when it comes to the diversity of setpieces in each campaign, Halo 3 has both beaten.

Halo 3 has the player fighting through jungles, deserts, grim industrial areas, and Flood-infested nightmare vessels, and that all happens before Master Chief even leaves Earth. In addition to variety between levels, there's also variety within levels. Take "The Covenant" for example as the level begins in a grassy setting that looks like it could have been featured in Halo 2, then transitions to a fight through the corridors of a Forerunner installation, and then concludes in a snowy arena.

4 The Co-op Is Integrated Better

While the first two Halo games featured an option to play the campaign with a friend, Halo 3 integrates this option into the game's story with far more elegance. The first two Halo titles would simply have two Master Chiefs (or two Arbiters, in Halo 2's case) running around the map in a co-op game, which is fine from a gameplay perspective, but it can be immersion breaking.

RELATED: 10 Actors You Never Realized Had Their Likeness In A Video Game

Halo 3 resolves this disconnect by having the second player in a co-op campaign play as the Arbiter, the Elite companion to the Master Chief. This makes the campaign more immersive overall and gets rid of the odd dissonance that would stem from having twin Master Chiefs blasting their way through a level.

3 The Vehicle Sequences

Halo 3 features larger, more open levels compared to its prequels, which allowed for Bungie to experiment with larger and more frequent vehicle segments in each level. Some levels, like "Tsavo Highway," are built almost entirely around vehicles like the Warthog, which lends a unique character to each mission.

Within longer missions, dramatic vehicle sequences are used to break up the shooting segments and make levels feel more varied. For example, mid-way through "The Ark" the player will be given tanks to break through enemy lines. Vehicles are also integrated into standard combat encounters exceptionally well, with many fights including a handful of enemy vehicles on the field.

2 The Ending Of The Trilogy

Concluding a trilogy is a difficult task in its own right, and is one that becomes even more difficult when audience expectations were taken into account. Halo was one of the biggest names in video games back in 2007, so expectations were running enormously high in the runup to Halo 3's release. The question on the minds of gamers everywhere was, of course, can they stick the landing?

Happily, Halo 3 ties up the plot threads established in the previous game in a neat and satisfactory manner. While it can occasionally feel like the antagonists could have used more development, the climax to Halo 3 is a moving, satisfactory finale to the trilogy nonetheless.

1 The Scale Is Grander

One major advantage that Halo 3 has over its predecessors is processing power. The jump to the Xbox 360 after Halo 2 allowed Bungie to greatly expand the number of assets rendered on-screen at any given time, meaning that the scope of each battle would be far greater than anything seen in the series before.

Indeed, Halo 3's levels are massive and populated with far more enemies and allies than previous games, which is why it's still one of the highest-rated games in the series on Metacritic. This gives the game's combat a sandbox element that creates no shortage of memorable moments, and the expanded scale of each confrontation suits the game's status as the dramatic final entry in the original trilogy.

NEXT: 10 Small Details You Only Notice Replaying The Original Halo

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.