Halo 3


You can exhale now.  Fanboys were confident that Halo 3 would receive magnificent reviews, having no doubt that Bungie would lift them to new heights in the Chief’s last hurrah.  Well, it seems that the rest of us skeptics holding our breath can relax and hang on to that preorder.  According to Gamerankings.com and Metacritic.com, Halo 3 is receiving BioShock-caliber reviews.  Gamespot, Gamespy, IGN, and other majors are bestowing Halo Part Trois with scores of 95% and up, with very few publications holding it in lesser regard.

I was among the skeptics, but am now a believer.  As we all know, Halo 3 needed no advertising.  However, one reason to give the game a marketing campaign of summer-blockbuster proportions is to distract from one possible truth:  that it’s crap.  I feared complaints of bugginess, rushed design, and other examples of laziness.  I’m relieved to hear that my concerns have been invalidated.  Good job, Bungie.  Way to keep the ball in the air despite the most punishing expectations.

Sometimes there’s just too heavy a flow of Halo 3 news for one man such as me to monitor all day long, so I’m compiling various headlines into one post on a frequent basis.  By the looks of how often news is getting dug up on Microsoft’s superweapon of a game, that basis could very well be daily.  Here we go with the first “official” incarnation of Halo 3 headlines at Xbox 360 Truth.

MASTER CHIEF:  STUFF OF LEGENDS?gamefuelcan.jpg
Could it be that Master Chief is joining the legendary celebrities and historical figures at Madame Tussauds world-famous wax museum in London?  Not bloody likely.  Someone snapped a photo of what is almost certainly an unfinished Master Chief statue or figure (or costume?), but the person posting the photo merely claims that it was taken at the museum.  This is skeptical at best.  I don’t see a videogame icon earning a spot with the likes of Winston Churchill while I exist on this earth, and there seems to be no real proof thus far as to the picture’s veracity, so this could have been taken in someone’s house for all we know.

SUGAR ADDICTS, FANBOYS, OR EBAYERS?
These pictures, however, are for real.  There are now two incidents of people posting photographic evidence of massive Game Fuel stockpiles.  The first photo appeared at Microsoft Is Awesome (swear to God) while another has recently appeared at Xbox360Fanboy.  Game Fuel is the limited edition Halo 3 soda that has apparently become rather difficult to find in some places (I wonder why…).  I hear the stuff tastes like liquified gummy bears, so I can’t imagine building pyramids to honor its flavor.  This is definitely fanboy material, and you just know sealed Game Fuel cans will be collectibles once the drink’s production is inevitably discontinued.  As a result, they will mostly likely fetch some tidy eBay bids someday.

Also check out earlier posts about preordering Halo 3 in an unlikely place, TIME’s take on the Halo phenomenon, and Korea’s…uh, we’ll call it “quirky” Halo 3 commercial:
Halo 3 Amusement: Master Chief in TIME and Korea
Preorder Halo 3 at… Hot Topic?

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halo3regular.jpgXbox 360 Rally came across an article at TIME about the Halo phenomenon.   Although written from a distance, as is the case with most mainstream publications addressing subcultures, TIME’s article does offer accurate facts and a fair amount of respect for Master Chief and Halo.  I especially like this passage:  “Halo takes itself seriously as, if not art, certainly a spectacle. But art seems more apt.”  That should punch Ebert’s button.   Also, I just love how the article consistently refers to everyone’s helmeted hero as “the Master Chief”, as if there’s a lower-ranked Expert Chief sidekick or something.  But, hey–they’re trying.

Xbox 360 Fanboy was referred to a very entertaining Halo 3 commercial in Korea.  Some Halo fanboys will undoubtedly be offended by this ad, as it depicts someone in a Master Chief costume committing such unbecoming acts as attacking a fake dinosaur and dancing with people on the subway.  But this is the wacky voice to be used if you want to sell things in Asia, and to spread the Halo greatness you must be multilingual.  Oh, and the zany rebel yell cracks me up every time.

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halo-3-helmet.jpgThey’ve been selling Halo 3 hoodies for months, so in a way it makes sense.  Not only can you reserve the limited edition or regular version of the game at Hot Topic, but you can drop a deposit on the special edition controllers, headset, and even the Halo 3 console.  Check out the website and preorder it all right away if you so desire.  Something to consider if you can live without the Legendary Edition:  by reserving at Hot Topic you could mostly likely avoid the subway-at-rush-hour conditions surely to be found at all Gamestops on September 25, and you can pick up all of your glorious Harry Potter merch while you’re at it! 

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“I just found out that Halo 3 has gone gold.  Nice work Bungie. ” – Major Nelson.  Someone sedate that man!

Looks like Sept 25 remains destined to become The Day That Work Stopped.  There’s going to be serious competition for that day off, so request it now.

On a more personal note, I’ll tell you what–I’m sure as hell glad I don’t work at Gamestop anymore.  I was on the receiving end of the Halo 2 launch.  Those poor saps behind the counter are getting trampled twice as hard this time, God help ’em.  One store dealing with hundreds of copies of a game in a DVD case is one thing, but now they’ll have to deal with even more copies, about half of which are Legendary Editions that come in a box larger than a person’s head.  This launch could literally be too big for some stores to handle, and there will be plenty of madness.

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halo3collectors.jpgNew word has hit on how much you can screw up Halo 3’s multiplayer in ridiculously fun ways that go far beyond the mere options of match type, weapon load-outs or power-up availability.  Apparently, you can change up everything except the structure of the map itself.  That is, you’ll be able to experiment with the very placement of spawn points, vehicles, weapons, and power-ups. 

The Unreal Tournament/Championship games boast a great feature called “mutators”, which are options that allow ridiculous abilities such as one-shot kills.  Halo 3 is going to offer such customization to its power-ups, whereas collecting one can enable such things as a speed boost, high jumping, and others.  What’s even better?  Halo 3 will also offer a feature called The Forge where a person can monitor a multiplayer match and rearrange items while other people are playing, and you can still be attacked!

Of course, all these new features will result in hilariously unbalanced matches and will deactivate achievements, but I’m more than ready for some serious advances in console MP gaming customization.  This kind of variety has been around for PC shooters for over a decade, and it’s time the love was shared more widely with us thumbstickers.

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gtnl03.jpggtnl01.jpgJoystiq’s Xbox360Fanboy has unearthed the gamerpics and theme that accompany the Halo 3 Edition console.  They all have that rugged, battleworn motif and are available in a variety of one army-green color.  You’ll definitely stand out from the crowd when duking it out over Xbox Live, fielding repeated inquiries as to where you got your elite Master Chief gamerpic.  Currently, the pics and theme are not available on the Marketplace, so it’s anybody’s guess if they’re on the way (Xbox.com lists them as “free”) or if they’re only a special gift to those who have scored a Halo 3 Xbox.  Personally, I can live without them either way;  I rather dislike that poopy shade of green ;-).

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