For the most part, MTV's Stephen Totilo and N'Gai Croal of Newsweek don't seem to like Halo 3. In a new series of back-and-forth journalism called Vs., these two are debating the merits of Halo 3"s multiplayer. There have been two parts to the article so far, and right now the consensus is essentially that Halo 3 is too hard. Specifically, learning Halo 3 can be unforgiving. Unfortunately, for many Halo players, this is completely true. There are no training modes, unless you count the campaign. Most people aren't concerned with teaching others how to play either. This leaves the uninitiated to absorb weapon strategies, map layouts, and gametypes by themselves, which can be a daunting task. Then again, Croal and Totilo also have yet to figure out how to initiate team speak (hint: press any direction on the D-pad, fellas).
We have to point out, though, that the Halo 3 multiplayer beta really isn't the best arena to judge Halo 3's multiplayer. That may sound strange, given that it is a multiplayer beta after all, but it's true. Right now, the Halo 3 beta is crowded with a relatively small sample of Halo fanatics (several million short of the projected pre-order numbers). These are people who live and breathe Halo, people who went through the Rule of Three, people who spent $60 on Crackdown just to play the beta. Naturally, you're going to be running into lots of people who are better than you. This smaller sampling also limits the effectiveness of the ranking system, as there are fewer people with smaller amounts of skill disparity. Also, and this is important considering N'Gai's misty-eyed memories of LAN parties gone by, there are no custom games in the beta (not officially anyway). Given that N'Gai is vocal about his displeasure at playing with strangers, custom games with friends sound like just what the doctor ordered.
If Stephen or N'Gai is reading this, we'd be happy to show you both some friendly matches of Halo. The rest of you can read parts 1 and 2 of the series below.
Read part 1
Read part 2
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