By Dan Zuccarelli . October 8, 2007 . 12:55pm
I've personally never been a very big fan of deathmatch style online play. I wouldn't go so far as to say I hate it, but I only really enjoy it when I'm playing with people I know. It's not the game modes, setup or my ability that bug me. No my beef is with the players. Not all of them mind you, but it almost seems inevitable that one person per match is going to be a total ass. I've played a bunch of matches online in games like Call of Duty, Socom, Lost Planet, Halo2 and more, and it seems like no matter what game I'm playing there's always someone in there throwing around racial/sexual insults. Luckily Halo 3 has that new simple "mute" feature.
Of course after a while you kind of just get used to it and tune it out, and then the game gets fun again. The matchmaking seems to work well every time, and I was never in a match with someone infinitely better or worse than everyone else, we were all pretty evenly matched up no matter when I jumped on. I stuck mostly to the Slayer lobby (no team free-for-alls) since I really don't like talking on the headset and am afraid of dragging down a team because I don't play it that often.
There's a ton of different types of Slayer matches, from "King of the Hill" style games to a warped version of "Hot Potato". It keeps things fresh and stops it from getting redundant with just deathmatch.
Of course none of that compared to the blast I had while messing around with the Forge. Jumping into the Forge mode with friends may be the most fun I've had in multiplayer in a long, long time.
In case you don't know, Halo 3's Forge basically let's you take a regular Halo 3 map and add and take away just about anything you want. Want to make a desert board with nothing but Mongoose ATV's and pistols? Done. No weapons at all and just tanks? Fine. You can set re-spawn rates of weapons/items/vehicles, create your own powerups, and the time/scoring of the match. You can switch between editing the level and playing around in it at any time. After you're all done you can save the game and map variant to Bungie.net for your friends to download and play. In a word, it's awesome.
But what might be the best part of this is that up to 16 players can jump in and edit a Forge map at once, which is fun when you're building stuff together…. but an absolute blast when you're tearing it (and each other) down.
We started just floating around the level trying to come up with a fun idea for a game type, and after a little bit of that I went around a bend, dropped myself a Spartan Laser and shot my friend right in the face with it. This triggered a 100 minute free-for-all where by the time we all needed to get to bed, we had racked up close to 500 kills and the map was littered with weapons and vehicles. At one point I was lining up a shot with the sniper rifle when I suddenly noticed I was in the shade. I looked up to see one of the guys on another team getting ready to drop a tank on my head. And because of the proximity chat (where you can hear your enemies talking when they're close by), every kill was met with raucous laughter.
It's just a great time.
After such a long match, I was incredibly surprised to see that the entire match was saved in Halo 3's Theater and I could watch the whole match back down again. I need to do this to be able to grab screenshots like this one, so I could send them to my friends to show them the moment before they were killed.