Throwback to September 25th, 2007, or as I used to refer to it: the longest three-year wait of my entire life. Picking up right where the events of Halo 2 left off, including leaving Cortana stranded on a Covenant ship, Halo 3 brought us the most epic conclusion to a gaming franchise we'd ever seen.
At the end of Halo 2, we did not know what would come next. Cortana and Master Chief were separated, there was a ship Earth-bound with a plan to which we didn't know the extent, and The Flood was as threatening as ever.
There were several factors that made Halo 3 great. It took the giant leaps forward from Halo 2 and expanded on them exponentially. At the time, this game served as the final game in the Halo series and we fans could not get enough of it.
The first major item worth grabbing, and I mean that quite literally, is the gravity hammer. Remember the final mission of Halo 2 when you must fight Tartarus in order to stop the activation of a Halo ring? It's an incredibly difficult fight because of his energy shields and his weapon of choice: the gravity hammer. Well once he's dead, you and presumably everyone else who played the game immediately tried to pick up the hammer and use it. However, this was the end of the campaign and we didn't get to have any fun gravity-smashing everything in sight.
Now in Halo 3, we're given the chance to equip the hammer very early on. However, it's extremely easy to miss out on the smashing-good fun by accidentally using a grenade to get past a select group of enemies. If you use a grenade, it's highly likely that the bodies and weapons all get thrown off the bridge which renders them useless to us players. Check out the clip below if you've never played Halo 3 or if you missed this weapon very early on in your playthrough.
It broke my heart leaving Cortana on the Covenant ship High Charity at the end of Halo 2. As a 14-year-old kid, the only thing I wanted to do was find out what happens next and we waited three very long years for it.
Master Chief and Cortana are separated and this is the first time in the Halo series where the majority of the game is spent without Cortana in your head. With her wise-cracking remarks and technological ingenuity, she is greatly missed throughout just about all of this game.
The majority of this story is spent stopping the activation of The Ark, which would fire all remaining Halo rings at once, essentially wiping out all known sentient life everywhere. The Covenant Prophet of Truth wants to do this but he doesn't fully understand Halo's firepower and potential.
Master Chief successfully stops them and is left with another task. He must rescue Cortana from High Charity. She also happens to have in her possession the key to the original Halo's control center. The Chief intends to use this key to activate a partially made Halo ring which will destroy The Ark and hopefully end the Flood threat for good.
This is one of the hardest missions in the entire game, and similar to the Library mission from Halo: Combat Evolved, it has a central focus on fighting through horde after horde of The Flood. This time, however, things are a bit different. The Flood don't just lay there dead after you shoot them. We saw this briefly in Halo 2 but it gets ramped up much more in the third installment.
When the small spore-like pawns creep around the floor and find a Flood-infested body, they regenerate. This will keep happening until you completely dismember the zombie-like monsters, which creates an immensely difficult task while trying to navigate through the entire ship.
Of course, the hero prevails and rescues the AI before she is too damaged. They then travel to the newly-created Halo ring, fight through another intense horde of The Flood, and fire the ring. They escape just in the nick of time but the portal in which they came through has been destroyed. The epic conclusion ends with Master Chief telling Cortana to wake him if she needs him. The ship they're alone on is adrift in the middle of deep space and Master Chief is presumed dead on Earth.
You ever grab hold of a stationary turret and think, man I just really want to rip this out of the ground and walk around with it? Well luckily for you, you can do just that in Halo 3. It was an amazing addition to both the single-player campaign and the multiplayer.
The benefits of using a mobile turret are not burning through whatever ammunition you have left, although it did slow you down quite a bit. No worries here though, as long as you throw down a bubble shield to protect yourself, you were virtually unstoppable in a multiplayer match.
Bungie added in a plethora of weapons to dual-wield and a handful of fantastic maps to their fantastic online matchmaking. This became the gold-standard in online matchmaking in first-person shooters.
Overall, the third installment in the Halo franchise served its purpose for all those kids who grew up with the Master Chief. It gave us closure. It gave us pleasure and pain. Most of all, it gave us hours of fun and one or two hours of frustration depending on if you were brave enough to tackle the Legendary mode.
We didn't know it at the time, but this would not be the last time we saw our beloved Master Chief. Succeeding in protecting humanity, for the time being, was the perfect way to end our most cherished video game series to date.