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Nega-review: Halo 3

Kyle Orland

"Just like that girl you dated in college, Halo 3 has some issues." (5) "This game might not be everyone's cup of tea, despite the immense hype machine surrounding it." (4) "No one aspect of the game is life-changing on its own" (1) and "anyone would be hard pressed to call it mind-blowing." (1)

"It's genuinely disappointing to note the number of missteps in the single-player campaign. (7) "The campaign ... is Halo 3's weakest point. It doesn't capture the cavalier spirit of the original Halo." (5) "The gameplay doesn't stray too far from Halo 2." (6) "Rather than trying something new, it sticks to the run and gun formula of the first two." (9) "Everything is now pretty much a known quantity ... and a bit of going-through-the-motions gameplay numbs the excitement " (1) "To be honest, it begins to feel a little rote and by-the-numbers by the halfway point." (8) "Others might criticise the developers for a lack of new ideas." (3) "It doesn't hold any big surprises for fans of the last two titles." (1)

"The AI is ... not entirely convincing. ... most of the time being patient and not rushing in will do the trick." (3) "The artificial intelligence can't drive very well;" (6) in fact, "the AI drivers are less like marines and more like Mr. Magoo; support troops are just fodder for the Brutes; and the Arbiter makes me question why the Elites were ever feared in the original Halo. ... What is the point of sticking you with an AI compatriot if all he's good at is respawning?" (5)

"It doesn't help that some repetition and backtracking still taint this series." (1) "The first two games featured a lot of 'going out the way you came in', and 3 does too" (9) Yes, "you will still need to backtrack in a few areas." (5) What's more, "the mission environments aren't hugely varied," (3) and "many corridors are so similar in their appearance, navigation becomes equal parts confusing and frustrating. Unfortunately, these stages are often the ones players will need to storm into and, later, escape from. (7) "There is one level in particular that requires a grueling descent, only to have you do an about-face and battle your way right back the way you came... after a quick cry." (2)

"The studio promised a more straightforward narrative in Halo 3 ... but it certainly won't be drawing in any new fans to the series" (1) "The first half of the game suffers to some extent from the lack of Cortana, who provided the series with most of what humor it had and most of the exposition." (8) "The storyline can be a tad difficult to follow at times" (3) and "if you don't pay close attention to the cut scenes and in-game dialogue, you will quickly find yourself following the Arbiter around like a lost puppy, and have no real idea what your objectives have to do with anything." (2) "I had to watch the ending a couple of times to get my head around what happened too." (9) "What the hell is going on?" (2)

"The game's end sequence, to put it mildly, is an eight-car pileup." (7) "It doesn't feel entirely finished, with the incredible polish of the early levels fading to a more lackluster shine as you approach the end of the game." (4) "The penultimate chapter is so bad, just thinking about it puts a rotten taste in my mouth." (5) "The end result ... is fairly absurd, as the whole shebang reeks of game developers wracking their brains to come up with the cleverest, most exciting finish, and shattering the fourth wall in the process." (7)

"Halo 3 doesn't have the best graphics we've ever seen." (3) "For one, the water effects look merely average." (3) and "the human faces ... look flat and unnatural and are the most obvious relics of the last generation here." (4) "The graphics and sound, frankly, don't display any significant advances over Halo 2" (8) and, all in all, "Halo 3 is an underachiever in graphical terms." (4)

In the end, "Halo 3 still can't quite escape the category of flawed masterpiece" (4) "The big 'Oh wow!' gameplay moments just aren't there" (1) and "it's not going to revolutionize the genre." (9) "You won't recapture that feeling you got when you first met and fought the Flood, first drove a Scorpion tank, or first played as the Aribiter." (1) "Did we feel as completely blown away as we did by Halo: Combat Evolved? Probably not." (3)

What's going on here?

Welcome to the first ever Joystiq nega-review. Much like our meta-reviews, our nega-reviews collect together opinions on a hot game from across the game review community. Unlike meta-reviews, though, the nega-review focuses only on negative quotes from extremely positive reviews; massaging them together into an entirely unforgiving whole.

The numbers in parentheses after each quote refer to the reviews linked below, all of which scored the game at least nine out of ten, and many of which gave the game a perfect score. In some quotes, positive qualifiers have been taken out and replaced with ellipsis, but the context of the comments was not changed significantly -- every quote here was intended as a negative in the original review.

Why do this? Partly to erect an artificial island in Halo 3's wide sea of praise for haters to set up camp on. Partly as a warning against taking out-of-context quotes as representative of a much different whole. But mainly as a reminder that no game is perfect, and even the best, most hyped games have a few flaws.

Also See: The Only Negative Review of Halo 2 You're Ever Likely to Read

(1) 1UP
(2) G4
(3) Pro-G
(4) EuroGamer
(5) IGN
(6) GameSpot
(7) Yahoo Videogames!
(8) WorthPlaying
(9) Computer and Video Games

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