“Finish the fight.”
That’s what Halo 3 asked of us in its very first trailer back at E3 2006. We had fought the Covenant and the Flood through two games, the first blazing a trail for console first-person shooters, the second leading that same trail into the online multiplayer realm. Now was the time to end this war once and for all.
The final chapter of the Halo saga has a well-deserved place on our list of the top 100 games of all time, not only because it finally allowed us to finish what we started back in 2001, but also because of what Halo 3 did right: Everything.
Superior first-person shooting? Check. An epic campaign to end one of the most well-received shooter franchises of all time? Check. An online experience that some STILL prefer to the shooters of today? Checkmate.
It wouldn’t be Halo without the star of the show: Master Chief. When we put our heads inside his helmet and our hands on his gun, we felt unstoppable. We had all of the tools we needed to win: superior firepower, brute force, and incredible resilience. Just look at the game’s opening sequence: A night sky lit up by a shooting star…until we realize the shooting star is ACTUALLY MASTER CHIEF FALLING FROM ORBIT ON A PIECE OF SHIP HULL. While the rest of us would burn into a cinder well before hitting the ground, Chief just lands on Earth, gets up, dusts himself off, and gets back to killing aliens. Why? Why not? Because he’s “lucky,” that’s why. Because he’s the Master Chief, that’s why.
It didn’t take long after the freefall for Halo 3 to show us how much we’d have to work to finish this specific fight. No longer would we have the constant luxury of funneling enemies through narrow paths, as Halo 3 staged every fight on a massive battlefield. Dozens of enemies would stand in our way, each one controlled by a more intelligent AI than we had ever seen. Even the AI of Chief’s fellow Marines made smarter decisions than before.
No matter what the circumstances, the campaign stages were packed with adrenaline, creating a rush that few games can replicate. The satisfaction of seeing a Covenant Scarab laid to waste before our eyes is hard to describe to the non-familiar crowds.