The name Halo has become synonymous with Xbox. Ever since Halo 2’s non-ending, fans have waited for 3 years straight for Bungie to finish the fight, and this sequel does not disappoint. Taking strides forward in both single player and multiplayer, Halo 3 closes out the trilogy in style and it gave players plenty of reasons to keep it in thier consoles long after they are finished with the campaign. Well, at least until Reach came out.

Halo 3 takes place moments after Halo 2. Master Chief wakes up on Earth to discover that the Covenant Elites have sided with humanity. Together, they make one final push to stop the Prophet of Truth from annihilating humanity. This time around, up to four players can join in the campaign, and instead of mysterious Spartans whose presence is never acknowledged, players 2, 3, and 4 take control of the Arbiter and 2 of his fellow Elites. Throughout the game’s missions, several skulls are scattered, hidden for you to find. Gathering these objects adds an element of replayablilty to the campaign. Although the campaign is short, it keeps you on the edge of your seat until you reach the game’s satisfying conclusion (and make no mistake, there IS a conclusion this time), and if the bonus scene after you beat the game on Legendary difficulty is to be believed, then the saga of Halo may not be finished yet.

Of course, the real feature of Halo is the online multiplayer. The game’s variety of maps (with more having been put on Xbox Live), match customization options, and community features have kept players on Xbox Live for month after teh game’s release. Halo 3 featured the ability to create and share video footage along with the Forge, an in-game map editor which , while it doesn’t have the flexibility of a full-on map editor, it does allow players to make changes to an existing map and share it online.

As I stated on my Halo 1 Lost Classic, the Halo franchise doesn’t do much that hasn’t already been done in other FPS games. However, what it does do, it does better than most others, and Halo 3 is another example of this. It’s a shame that Bungie is leaving the franchise behind, as it leaves questions as to how Microsoft plans to continue its flagship franchise.