D0513 T0955 Y2007Tester Poll: First Reactions

As of press time, dozens of TTL Gunslingers have accepted their invitations to the ‘Friends and Family’ phase of the Halo 3 Public Beta.

Codes have been entered. Downloads have been completed. Thousands more Halo Nation loyals have the done the same. Hundreds of Thousands of other lucky Halophiles will follow suit in the days to come.

For the next several weeks, Tied the Leader enters into a rigorous test-phase. Our efforts will be focused on reporting our experiences with storming the beaches of Halo 3 as part of the first wave. Check this space early and often for reader’s polls, tactical analysis, and the usual parade of sarcasm and mirth.

Let’s kick this off with a SoftBall Question. You know… easy to swing at… easy to field…

What was your first reaction to the Halo 3 Beta?

The game has gone live – in its first iteration anyway. It’s hard to believe that the Beta Build is not a finished product. The game is a complete experience. Matchmaking works. Gameplay is solid. The three vistas that we have been given to destroy are flat-out gorgeous.

For those of you who have loaded in, what was your first reaction? What was the one difference that you noticed the most?

This bloggergamer will kick off the dialogue. In attending the Halo 3 Press Event in New York City [check back on Tuesday for scenes and interviews from the party], I found myself hypnotized by the animated backgrounds for the Multiplayer Interface. As the luminous globe scrolled past behind the tools I would be using to meet other beta testers and kill them, I was reminded of that oft seen photograph of Earth at Night.

The media is rich. No part of the buffalo has gone unused. No compromise has been negotiated in creating an experience that will ensnare the entire global population of gamers.

But enough about what I thought. I am sure you have your own favorite pearl of gaming wizardry to share…

Posted by XerxdeeJ

First Reactions 37

  1. #LINK D0513 T1038
    TTL Sindekiero wrote...

    The thing I first noticed was damn these maps are beautiful and then i thought this isn’t even the finished product, just wonderful graphics and the sounds were out this world too!! being able to hear the downshifting in the vehicles and distant battles was amazing.
    But then tried to pick up a weapon and im thinking is my contoller broken because i’m hitting the ‘X’ button and i can’t pick up a gun or get in the vehicle, something that i’m still trying to get used too. Team chatter in a game is a little tough to get used to but, I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it.

  2. #LINK D0513 T1044
    TTL Fate wrote...

    Why do we have to hate on softball?

    Like yours, my first thought was, “Wow, it’s beautiful.” The layers of difference between Halo 2 and this Beta are astounding. The colors are rich, the detail is impeccable, and it even sounds like I’m under water when I fall face first into a creek.

    However, I am sad to report that this gamer does not feel that way about the gameplay itself. In my opinion, it lacks the crispness that set Halo 2 apart from 1. Movements feel sluggish and, somehow, unnatural.

    I am curious to see how many of the changes will just take some getting used to and how many will, in the long run, seriously affect gameplay. Time and more games will tell.

  3. #LINK D0513 T1046
    Dweezle wrote...

    I have to say that the sound was improved a lot just like Sindekiero said. I could hear all these details which I wasn’t even able to imagine hearing with previous titles in this trilogy. Beyond that it was all very surreal. I spotted a mongoose and mounted it and took off and became so excited by the first splatter metal I earned from my new toy.

    All in all, I can’t wait to play more. In fact, I think I am going to go play it now.

  4. #LINK D0513 T1115
    Snatch250 wrote...

    First of all, I love the beta. Second of all, I suck at it :)

    I love the new reloading, but like many other people, I am having a very hard time to get into vehicles and pick up the weapons. The graphics are amazing for a beta, and Ive noticed only a few little bugs or glitches.

    Needler – plain and simple…awesome. No need for this to be double weilded. Its very powerfull and consistant. I love it.

    Sniper – I am a sharpshootet. The sound this rifle makes, makes me smile so much it hurts. And as for useablitu? Just as Deej about my double kill with im and a rider on the mongoose. I think it will do just fine :D

    Assualt rifle – works very well, but clip is too shallow.

    Battle rifle – seems like ti fires faster then h2. I like it

    PLasma pistol – Thank you for fixing this. Im glad to see it return, the vhicle disarming capabilities is awesome

    those are the only weapons ive really used so far…


  5. #LINK D0513 T1127
    Mudshovel413 wrote...

    I personally feel each weapon has a balanced partner, if you grab weapon “x” is will easily match up with weapon “z”. Like Frankie said, there is nothing from Halo 2 carried over. The physics are new, the graphics are new and things are different. I LOVE the Brute Spikers, very strong. I think once we all get used to the controls, physics and beauty, we can truly pick apart some errors.

    The most blatant thing I dislike is the “Push To Talk” button being on the D-Pad, terrible place for it. I have to choose a thumb to use and that keeps me from moving in one specific direction.

    Overall, awesome.

  6. #LINK D0513 T1210
    orcishmiscreant wrote...

    I will try to keep this strictly to my first impressions, unlike my verbose comrades :) My first impressions were as follows:

    -The graphics are incredible. I’ll admit to throwing games simply because I was too busy running around the map looking at the landscape to pursue an objective.

    -The sounds are impressive as well; especially the ones coming from the distance. I quickly learned to take cover when I heard the grating sound of the warthog chain-gun on the horizon. This might be my favorite part of the entire beta.

    -The control scheme is well thought out, and although I am not a huge fan of the placement of the team chat button, there simply isn’t much real estate left on the controller after all of the vital combat buttons have been accounted for. The right shoulder action button is fairly intuitive, and despite a couple of initial mis-fires with the X-button, I quickly got the hang of it.

    Thank you to Bungie for the opportunity to help in the testing process of the game and I look forward to sharing some of my other thoughts as well as get into some of my concerns in future polls.

  7. #LINK D0513 T1220
    TTL JLDragon wrote...

    The beta is a thing of beauty. As someone put it on the forums, it feels like a perfect blend of Halo 1 and Halo 2. The first thing I noticed is that the game has a much more solid feel than Halo 2. It seems as though you are actually walking instead of gliding (as in Halo 2) and you can feel the punch that the bullets pack a little better. You can almost sense how much damage your bullets are really doing.

    Halo 2 felt a bit like todash, as though you could scrape some of the scenery away and reveal a black void behind it. Everything looked normal, but the gameplay didn’t have the perfectly solid feel of immersion. I think Halo 3 has fixed that.

  8. #LINK D0513 T1246
    TTL Jericho wrote...

    I’m impressed. Some quick thoughts after the 2 dozen games I’ve played so far:

    Maps: the level of detail, routes, size and scope of the maps is impressive. I was fragged repeatedly as I stopped to (literally) smell the flowers on Vallhala. Grass and rock have a level of detail that I have not seen in any game. The environmens set up their own natural kill boxes and weapon placement has an organic feel.
    New weapons and Items: all are a lot of fun. In the basement of each base on Vallhala there is various equipment laying around. Out of curiosity I went to one and found that I could pick it up. Turned out to be a “rocket pod” which is basically a portable surface to air rocket package. Great for blowing up Worthogs. The Laser is ridiculously fun and the needler is once again deadly. Hazah!
    New Game Types: Big Big thumbs up for the new territories. It’s a big improvement over H2 and a hella lotta fun now. VIP is a good game type resembling GoWs Assassination where you have to kill the leader (or VIP in this case) to win. It sets up a nice dynamic, though I feel that on Vallhala it’s not as much fun.
    New Button Layout: top notch. Love it, just PLEASE move the team chat off the D-Pad.
    Overall: I have never had this much fun online.

  9. #LINK D0513 T1301
    TTL Stuicide wrote...


    Now my parents think I have a gaming addiction after finding me up and logged in at 5 a.m. I may have to see some counselors, but it’s all worth it.

    The Beta is outstanding and is rock solid. The first thing I had to try was the Spike Grenades which are my new go-to Grenade. It’s really fun to stick people with it and I’m glad KP was my first.

    The only problem I have is the Team chat button the D Pad, It’s a little difficult, maybe we’ll all adjust after a week or two of playing, maybe we’ll be given an option to have team chat always on. I understand, there were no other buttons left on the controller.

  10. #LINK D0513 T1309
    bs angel wrote...

    My first impression is that it feels similar enough to Halo and Halo 2 that you immediately get pulled in and have a sense of familiarity, however it is different enough that it feels like a brand new game and you have lots to learn to master it.

    Amazing experience.

  11. #LINK D0513 T1322
    TTL Goody wrote...

    I loved seeing “Love, Bungie” right at the beginning.

    The beauty of maps was what I noticed first. I wanted to drink the water.
    The distant battle sounds are amazing. It sounds like war footage you’d see on CNN.
    I’m a lot more use to the gameplay now after like 20 matches and I love it.
    AR/BR combo is a dream come true for me.
    Thanks Bungie!

  12. #LINK D0513 T1337
    chickachicka wrote...

    My biggest problem right now is not being able to tell who is who. And don’t say it’s my tv. I miss our icons because now all the names just look like a jumbled mess(that could be my tv) and I tried to stick Stu and started shooting at him before I realized he wasn’t an enemy. For me personally it’s harder with the names and gray arrows. Maybe if the arrows were green like they were in Halo1 it would be fine. It’s still fun though just more tricky.

  13. #LINK D0513 T1404
    Ballistic wrote...

    I am loving the beta, and since I use the Legacy thumbstick layout I don’t really have a problem using my right thumb to hit the team chat button. It could just be me, but I have a really hard time splattering anybody with the warthog. I have run over quite a few people and seen their shields flash, but no Roadkill medal for Ninjar. The insanely powerful chain turret on the Hog makes splatters unnecessary, but I still miss getting them.

  14. #LINK D0513 T1448
    ubermorons wrote...

    Along with everyone else, i agree that the game is beautiful and sounds amazing.

    I also don’t like the team chat position but that isn’t a BIG deal.

    The other thing that I have noticed (may just be me being a noob) is the it doesn’t feel like one person can dominate a match now. Simply because one person has the sniper, doesn’t mean that any one person can’t kill him. The whole game feels much more balanced.

    All in all, I am highly impreessed.

  15. #LINK D0513 T1519
    Cobra65 wrote...

    first thing that came to my mind is amazing. like others wrote before me i didn’t worry about winning the first games i played because of looking around and listening to what all is going on around me.
    the team chat button is my biggest complaint. i wish it was always on. other than that it is great. weapon balance is impressive. even with taking away the rocket lockon to handle warthogs they gave us a rocket pod, laser, and mine. the weapon setup is the best aspect in my opinion.

  16. #LINK D0513 T1554
    TTL Homicide wrote...

    First impression: Best game ever! Second, third and 80th impression: BEST GAME EVER!

    You can tell that they just didn’t take halo 2 make prettier graphics design new levels and call it a day. They worked really hard on giving halo 3 its own identity.

    The improvments to the wepaons are great. Noob combo: It doesn’t track as easy as halo 2 not making it the dominant weapon it was. Needler is worth picking up. The two snipers actually have major differences now.

    I’m still up in the air about taking the lock on feature out. It’s a little harder now to snipe and BR but I think that is what will seperate the pro gamers from the casual.

    I’m glad dual wielding isn’t as heavily emphasized in halo 3.

    I do not agree with making the X button equipment. They are just not used enough to own a major button. I wish they had a Halo 2 control scheme.

    Dpad for communicating is whacky and will take some getting used to. Why not just always have chat on and if you don’t want to be heard mute your mic?

  17. #LINK D0514 T0005
    XerxdeeJ wrote...


    Looks like Bungie has a lot of work to do if they expect us to buy this game.

    [sarcasm detected]

    It’s a rush. Ain’t it? I just played the Beta projected on the wall of action thackston for an hour. My heart rate got up to the peak it felt back when Ivory Tower was new.

    Driving my car home, I found myself sizing up traffic with escape routes in mind. This game crawls into your head.

  18. #LINK D0514 T0243
    TPA Nightmare wrote...

    Spartan Laser RULES!!! OMFG, i was sooo happy to get in, the new AR is also cool… can’t talk now, playing.

  19. #LINK D0514 T0359
    Fezzer wrote...

    First impressions:

    Very, very pretty! And I’m sure that will improve.

    The sound effects are amazing! The distant sound of gunfire is truly a thing of beauty.

    The first game I noticed how hard it was to kill someone, then I realized the the auto-aim had been tweaked quite a bit. I didn’t like it at first, but I’m getting used to it now.

    The assault rifle clip is a little shallow. If you miss at all in an AR dual you’re pretty screwed. Your almost forced to throw a grenade first to soften someone up.

    All in all I love it. It’s new and different enough to force learning and adaption.

    Why do Spartans look like a cartoon when they jump now? I really thought the H2 jump animation was fine. I’m confused as to why it was changed. I think it looks less realistic now.

  20. #LINK D0514 T0545
    El Burritoh wrote...

    My first impression was of how solid the gameplay was. Things happen predictably and with precision. And the sound, oh my the sound! A special congrats to the sound team for creating such amazing detail and depth. The game amazed me from the beginning, and still does after 60 or so games.

    My main regret with the current beta is the inability to play customs, but that’s okay. Six of us in a Rumble Training is enough to mess around.

    A few of us have found areas which we think could use “balancing,” to use the common buzzword. The Warthog’s turret is particularly powerful. A little too powerful if you ask me. Add to that the durability of the hog itself and you’ve got yourself a fast-moving tank. Sticking the hog with a grenade still seems like it ought to cause more damage than it does (since they ARE destructible after all). I’d vote for simply reducing the power of the turret.

    The Territories gametype on High Ground has been controversial. Some feel seizing a territory should take less time, since the defensive team spawns so close to the territories on that map. I love the new Round mechanics, and the locking of territories, I just feel there’s more tweaking to be done (but really only because of how the game flows on High Ground).

    The weapons are great, and there are so many to choose from that you’re never far away from a viable option. Even the Needler is now a force to be reckoned with. The only think I’ve not really used yet is the SMG. I’d personally prefer a bit more power in the BR, since it’s rare that all 3 shots from a burst will hit their target. Otherwise, I think the AR is a good starting weapon, but I do lament the smaller clip size. I’m always shocked at how soon I have to reload. I’ll just have to learn to use it differently.

    The Equipment items are a smart addition to combat tactics. The only one I shy away from using is the Power Drain. It seems very difficult to use effectively. I’ll have to learn when and how to use it. The Trip Mine is a little obvious when it’s deployed. Dropping it in the water is a good way to mask it, but it’s so loud and orange that it’s easily avoided, and then destroyed.

    Overall, the game shines. No matter how many hairs get split over it, I love it! I can’t wait for the final release! A big hearty thanks to Bungie for not only including us in the Beta, but for creating such an effective multiplayer experience.

  21. #LINK D0514 T0736
    ScrewChiller wrote...

    Beta. Who the hell started the rumor that this was a Beta build. This has got to be final product. I kid you not I teared when I saw “Love Bungie” (sniffs). From the first second I got matched up on Snowblind I was speechless. I remember getting beaten down by of all people SketchFactor from Bungie because I was watching the snow come down off the drifts with the wind. Unbelievable. The game play was completely soild. The matchmaking was quick. The assault rifle was a missed old friend. My Neediler is back with some authority. There are dandilions that sway in the breeze on Valhalla. Freakin Dandiliions. I didn’t notice any balance issues. The brute spike grenades are awesome. Dual weilding the Brute spikers is even more fun. Graphics were amazing. The game looks phenominal. I’ve committed suicide on Valhalla like 10 times just see how far I can float down the river. True greatness. Thanks Bungie 1000 times over.


  22. #LINK D0514 T0742
    DTS pastor wrote...

    First impression: This game ROCKS!

    -graphics are amazing, just gorgeous.
    -weapons seem more balanced, and i often found myself really trying to plan out what i would need for a certain situation (love the new carbine and i’m a big laser hog right now)
    -gametypes are fun and feel as if they take more strategy which is a big plus (although i too, do not like playing VIP on Valhalla as it turns into a camp fest)
    -HUD is really nice, but does take some getting used to. the directional damage indicator feels a little too bright on the screen for me and obstructs vision just a little too much. also, it took some getting used to to actually know which weapons i was walking over to pick up (this has improved with play)
    -equipment items are fun and add a new depth of gameplay which is very interesting
    -team chat should be always on (similar to GoW) or as someone i heard suggested, move equipment to the d-pad and put the chat button on X
    -love the vehicles, just nerf the hog turret at greater distances as right now it is a killing machine from way across the map
    -i miss grenades being as bouncy as they were in H2 and i miss how much damage they did. i’m sure there are valid reasons for tweaking this, just off the bat, that was my feeling.
    -sound is probably THE best feature of the new game. see comments by others above.

    Overall, I absolutely love it, and can’t wait for the final version. I’m so jonesin for some campaign right now that it’s silly.

    Thanks Bungie!

  23. #LINK D0514 T0923
    ScrewChiller wrote...

    Sorry for the double post Halo Nation. Please allow me to retreat from my above droolfest ever so slightly. My one and only complaint is the team chat. It’s not a question of getting used to a new controls config. It’s counter intiutive. In these games we play there are four absolutely critical buttons. Firing, X axis, and Y axis, and guess what team chat. At least it is for the Gunslingers. Surely something can get relagated back to D-pad to make room. In competitive FPS games you have got to commuicate vital info / intel back to your team. On every Gunslinger match I’m honored to be apart of there is never, I mean NEVER, a time of more that 10 seconds when one of my teammates isn’t giving out info. I submit it used as much as the right trigger. Please change Team chat. Make it all chat all the time, change it to one of the action buttons. Just take it off the dpad. It was kinda frustrating trying to run and or turn and talk at the same time.

    -still wants to have Bungie’s love child


  24. #LINK D0514 T0945
    TTL Lansdown wrote...

    Beta has so far blown my mind. I wish I could be more critical, but damn if I haven’t found that much to complain about. I guess the noise that plays when you push to talk could be toned down, why can’t we just get open comms?

  25. #LINK D0514 T1008
    Sandman 350 wrote...

    I have only been a guest for the Beta, but this is the first thing I noticed:

    The lobby/matchmaking system for the “beta build” of Halo 3 is far superior to every game released since Halo 2. Why can’t other developers just copy Bungie?

  26. #LINK D0514 T1035
    TTL Jericho wrote...


    Thanks for fixing the shotgun. It now works and will even play nice with Sandman.

    Thanks Bungie

  27. #LINK D0514 T1050
    TTL Lansdown wrote...

    Something I forgot to add. It would be nice maybe if Bungie could change the color of the words at the bottom of the screen when you kill someone. On many of the maps the words are unreadable, which can cause an issue. One time in particular, I was chasing after Stuicide and I fragged and shot and fragged again, and was totally sure that he was a goner, but I couldn’t read the writing to tell me that he was history, then from around the corner I get beatdown by Stu.

  28. #LINK D0514 T1101
    zeuz patter wrote...

    Just ask Angel what happened when I played (rated R).Just amazing, beautiful graphics, beautiful sound, great game play. Weapons are much more balanced. Love the spike grenade and love sticking people with it. Map design is fantastic, no more campfire camping, not the hole team anyway. Genarally I love it, love it , love it.Pregame lobby is amazing, even better than it was before, allthough the “y” button accesabilty is a little down, since you get thrown allb the way back when you back of the list. I would like a back to list instead of a back to press y thing option. Loved the new separate rank sistems, and the new medals. Kill from the grave rules!!!
    Theres two things I didn`t like, at all, one being the team chat on the D-pad, was expecting an always on feature, and second the codetags, just don really gain any advantage for me. I guess when you play with strangers it is easear to tel something, but when yopur a team player, when you`re a gunslinger, nobody is a stranger. Love you Bungie, love a lot more than I allready did. Thank you!!!!!

  29. #LINK D0514 T1102
    Stuicide wrote...

    There’s nothing Bungie can add that’ll keep you from feeling it in my Fingas.

    I love the new change in Assault, I think it puts more pressure on the defense which is a good thing.

  30. #LINK D0514 T1634
    narfridden wrote...

    i like how they slowed the character movement down, which would normally slow down the game play (combat), but by making all the weapons more powerful it made combat just as fast as halo 2 but significantly more strategic because you can’t move around the battlefield so fast, if you make a movement it better be the right one or someone will take your lunch in about 2 seconds with the brute spikers (my fav combo), it just feels like all the little things are filled in like halo 1 had, the way you jump, the animation of your feet when you walk and strafe, the way the sound echoes depending on where you are on the map, so much thought and care went into the little things in the game and that’s what makes the biggest difference, maybe it’s because it’s a new game that i haven’t played before but i found myself whooping when i was driving around in the ‘hog and my gunner was destroying the other team, i think strategy is going to play a bigger factor in halo 3 multiplayer, almost as much as skill, I LOVE IT!!

  31. #LINK D0515 T0503
    Stuntmutt wrote...

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmissile pod.

  32. #LINK D0515 T1116
    Deadguy wrote...

    My first impression, beyond the “love, bungie” in the bottom of the screen that had me all choked up, was “wow”.

    I sat and watched the Blued-out background (valhalla) on the selection screen, and was in absolute awe, just watching the camera swing around through the level.. recognizing it from the bungie Brute video and multiplayer video. I was lost until my son nudged me and whined “C’mon dad! Press “A”!”

    Actual gameplay? my only complaint is that Red icons need to refer to RED team, and blue (grey?) needs to refer to the Blue team.

    The new territories were confusing as hell until I understood the basic concept “red = bad, grey = not on alert status” (even THAT doesn’t stay consistant though.. a “blinking grey” should have either gone Red to indicate a problem, or blinked red to indicate that the reds were capturing that territory.

    I dunno’.. you can get used to anything..

  33. #LINK D0515 T1203
    wyoming SBG wrote...

    I had the pleasure of being matched with some gunslingers last night during some splitscreen action. As always, a good game was had, and all I can say about the beta is FUN!!!!!

  34. #LINK D0517 T2247
    TTL Pheonix Sam wrote...

    My first impression—a lot slower paced, and more tactical. it seems easier to leave an engagement, instead of having to fight to kill or die. Getting the jump does not mean a kill, and being jumped does not mean instant death.

    The Carbine is nice, but the BR is a lot weaker, and harder to shoot. The Ar seems like the clip is way too shallow, and while I maaged an 11 kill spree my first time on the ghost, it seems a lot slower and harder to shoot.

    I love the possibilities, however, and have seen only two gliches so far (falling through the snow into the rock caves when attacked on Snowbound, and seeing a guy hide in the tunnel on Highground not get killed after 2 granades, and a ton of spike needles.

    I love the new needler, but am having truble with the new physicls of the brute shot.

    Man, I can’t wait until September!

    I also wish that the party matching stuff was easier, but I’l lassume that htis is just the way it works for the Beta, and that the ease of Halo 2 will be back when the full game launches.

    I’d say more, but these are just my irst ew impressions. Sadly, my brother played 28 games before I got home, and I didn’t get to rank myself up—that will be fun in the full game, for sure.

  35. #LINK D0519 T0123
    Willy wrote...

    Oh I love everything, it’s so much fun. At first I didn’t like how big the hill was on King of The Hill games. But now I love the hill, it’s so cool it’s like a big battle arena and you can’t see out of it SOOOO COOL.

    Also I’m not very good at duel wielding anymore but over time that might change.

    Oh ya one more thing I LOVE THE SPARTAN LASER and EQUIPMENT!!!

  36. #LINK D0521 T1110
    JamieWho wrote...

    Not a gunslinger, but a regular reader, and fellow Beta tester.
    Concerning the team chat placement, I don’t mind it since I used the D-pad in Halo 2 for team chat as well (works the same). What I don’t like about the team chat is the VERY loud squawk in the earpiece when it activates and deactivates. This is deafening to me.
    Other than that, I love the sounds (distance gun fire is the best). I tend to forget about the equipment until after I am dead and therefore don’t get to use it.
    That dang laser takes some gettin’ used to. It took me five games before I even hit anyone with it.
    Love the game though.

  37. #LINK D0522 T1259
    Rhayader wrote...

    Bungie Rules!!!

    After spending years playing Halo 2 (even after I got a 360), I don’t think I can go back to it now. Every change has made the game better (as long as I ignore the team chat…just let us talk to our ‘mates without pressing anything!). Along the lines of what Phoenix Sam was saying, it seems like they have weakened the BR somewhat, which takes some getting used to for someone who lived and died by the BR in H2. The new weapons are all great though; running through the base in high ground with a SMG and Brute Spike is intense. The maps are great, the graphics are great, the physics is great, the sound is great…my only problem is that I have to wait until September 25 to see more. Thank you Bungie!

commenting closed for this article

Chris PaladinoGame Almighty