Having just finished the single-player campaign mode myself, this review is very timely:
So, here I am again: Standing on a sandy beach, near the edge of a pine-tree forest, hunched behind a stone outcropping -- while an army of bellowing aliens singe my armor with 3,000-degree bolts of plasma.
Does this feel familiar? Of course it does. I'm playing Halo 3, the final part of the 15-million-copy-selling trilogy. And the designers at Bungie Studios are trying to satisfy the same sort of paradoxical longing from their audience that pop bands wrestle with: We want them to do exactly the same thing they did on their first album -- but, y'know, even better.
Read the whole thing, but basically, I agree with the author that, despite being a little short, and despite having some very similar elements to earlier HALO installments, Halo 3 really delivers because of the balance it manages, which I think is the best of the 3 games so far. I played through the campaign mode on Normal difficultly, and at no point did I find an area that seemed next to impossible to get through. By contrast, there was one point in the original HALO on a covenant ship where you were trapped in a room with multiple doors and multiple Hunters that took me many, many retries to get through, especially on higher difficulties.
And HALO 3 adds very cool stuff like being able to pilot Wraith tanks and numerous other vehicles unplayable in earlier games, the ability to take down the covenant drop-ships, more weapons, etc. And I actually found some of the parallels to the original HALO to be more of an homage than simple repetitiveness. Some of the elements harking back to the original made all the more pointed the closing of this part of the story arc. I'm looking forward to going back through the campaign at a higher difficulty level, and spending more time with the multiplayer mode, because I'm sure there's lots that I've missed so far.
Is HALO 3 the best game I've ever played? Probably not. But it was well worth the wait, and I think it will have at least as much replay value as the original, which I played through several times at various difficulties.