8 Hours and Counting…

I’m sure that like me, there are many who are waiting in anticipation to check out the Halo 3 multiplayer beta testing.  Also, like me, I’m sure there are a lot of people that are going to be checking it out and tearing it down piece by piece to see just exactly how good the upcoming game will be.  Once that ‘Download’ option is finally not grey on Crackdown, then we’ll get to take a good go-around and see what Halo 3 has to offer.  For those who haven’t checked it out yet, there is a very nice and in-depth FAQ section at Bungie.net, as well as a whole buttload of details about the weapons, maps, and options available in the beta.

Now, I fully understand that this is a beta and not a finished retail product that I’m going to be playing.  However, there are some impressive gameplay videos up on the internet from when the press (excluding us, sadly) got their hands on the game.  Knowing Bungie, they aren’t going to put a beta out that just flat out sucks.  A couple of the things I’m going to be looking for in terms of improvements from Halo 2 based on complaints that we had when we initially reviewed Halo 2 back in the BonusStage days?  Here’s a small list:

* Texture mapping and draw distance
* Weapon balance (especially with the sword…)
* Weapon variety and usage
* Graphical quality and advanced bump mapping
* Overall quality of map structure and design

These were some of the main complaints we had with the initial launch of Halo 2, and I can remember a TON of discussion about our disappointment in the graphical quality compared to the first Halo (or the lack of improvement is how I should word it), as well as the texture mapping and draw distance being so poorly rendered in real time gameplay.

So, it’s with these thoughts in mind that I sit here, typing at work…with 8 hours left on the Bungie.net countdown clock.  I probably won’t be jumping on Halo 3 right away in that 8 hours (I don’t get to work until 5pm CST on weekdays right now, so it’ll probably be sometime after midnight tomorrow night).  Regardless, I will check it out, play it for at least a few days, and we’ll see just how good Halo 3 is coming along.

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