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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

Review: ‘Halo 3’ lives up to the hype

Earth lies in ruins. The few who remain struggle to fight off the Covenant army. As hundreds of ships fly toward a massive excavation site, an enormous, mysterious structure slowly rises from the ground. The camera pans back to reveal Master Chief, humanity’s only hope. Holding his trusted assault rifle, he’s ready to finish the fight.

“Halo 3” is the final chapter of the hugely successful “Halo” saga. Players assume the role of Master Chief, a cybernetically-enhanced soldier. His mission: Prevent the Covenant from destroying Earth and detonating the Halos, while stopping the spread of the parasitic Flood. The Covenant believes that, by firing the Halos, they will embark on a spiritual journey. What they don’t realize is that Halos are weapons used to destroy all life as a measure to stop the Flood, who want to take over the entire galaxy.

The “Halo” series is one of the most successful video game franchises ever, making the release of “Halo 3” one of the largest entertainment events in history. So, the obvious question is: Does it live up to the hype? For the most part it does, with a few exceptions.

There are two gameplay modes in “Halo 3”: campaign and multiplayer. Campaign, which tells the story of “Halo 3,” can be played by up to four people. Multiplayer consists of non-story based gameplay for as many as 16 people. One of the strengths of “Halo” has been its strong offerings in both areas and “Halo 3” continues this tradition. Basically, if you’ve played “Halo” before, you know what to expect here.

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The campaign is downright epic. It starts off a little slow, but once it kicks in the action gets crazy really quickly. There are still plenty of close-quarters fights but many of the memorable moments take place in expansive, outdoor areas that are expertly set up and perfectly executed. At any time massive aerial battles are taking place while swarms of ground enemies strategically attack and blow up everything in sight. This gives a sense of being in the middle of the chaos, making it the most intense “Halo” yet.

But it’s the campaign that’s also “Halo 3’s” biggest weakness. It’s very short, only lasting about eight hours on heroic difficulty. However, there is replay value in the form of co-op. While some may be fine with a short game that you can play again and again, others will be disappointed. Personally, I would have liked to see a few more hours of gameplay.

The other problem is the lack of story. “Halo 3” offers little in terms of plot, which is a bit disappointing. It’s fairly straightforward and plays out more like an action flick than a sci-fi film. What’s there isn’t terrible; it just lacks depth, something that has become expected of “Halo.”

Where the game truly shines is in multiplayer mode. Take the best parts of “Halo” and “Halo 2” and you have a good idea of what to expect. It feels solid and balanced and is just really fun to play. Developer Bungie Studios used the time between games to refine the multiplayer mode and it shows. It’s what most will be playing months from now, even years. Because of this approach, some will be disappointed that it feels too much like previous versions. But Bungie was smart in not trying to fix something that wasn’t broken. “Halo 3” offers some of the most solid multiplayer gameplay not just on the Xbox 360, but anywhere.

If all this wasn’t enough to keep you playing, Bungie has thrown in two new features: video playback and Forge. Video playback allows you to watch your recent matches in both campaign and multiplayer. You can take snap shots, record clips or just watch the action. The feature is fun but only the most competitive fans will have much use for it. It’s great to help you see what you did wrong and learn from your mistakes.

Forge allows players to edit game types and maps. While you can’t change the geometry of the map, you can add anything from vehicles to weapons, customizing matches how you see fit. Think a map needs a rocket launcher? Go into Forge mode and drop in a rocket launcher, it’s that simple. Wish you could jump higher during the game? Turn the gravity all the way down and nearly fly over your opponents’ heads. You can play with up to eight players in any Forge match, allowing for some fun and creative games.

With the tremendous amount of hype, I was unsure if “Halo 3” could pull it off. Fortunately, it succeeds on most levels. “Halo 3” is a blast to play and will keep you entertained for a long time. A short campaign and lack of story is disappointing, but the multiplayer is a lot of fun. The fight is indeed finished and it’s just about everything I hoped it would be.

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