The level design is also superb, with far more variety in scenery and terrain than has been seen before in the series. I have seen some mentions of the fact that, while the backtracking (experienced so often in the previous Halo
outings) is greatly reduced, it is not completely removed. There are indeed a few instances where you work your way into a location and then have to leave. But ? get a life people ? this would never even be mentioned if the game in question lacked ?Halo
? in its title. Seeing a location more than once does happen on a few rare instances, but only when it makes sense. This is not a case of repeating-room hell, like ?the library? and ?assault on the control room? were in the original.
The levels themselves are littered with details that really bring the environments to life, even more so than the previous two versions. It should be noted at this point that there is a tiny bit of draw-in on some details (for example, grass) in a few places, but there?s hardly enough to complain about.
The levels are laid out in a sort of compartmental fashion so that, while you can technically go anywhere at any time, you will generally stop in a zone and clean up all the nearby enemies before moving on. Many levels quickly change between close-quarter battles and wide-open, vehicle-filled expanses, but there?s never any trouble knowing where to go next and the variety in play keeps things fresh.
One thing that might turn off some people is that at higher difficulty levels the game seems not only to ratchet up its rather impressive enemy AI but it also throws more waves of enemies at you in the same area. While this trick worked fine in the original Halo
, it is still cheesy just having drop-ships repeatedly show up and unload on you over and over again in the same area.
I realise the levels had to be laid out first and foremost for the ?Normal? difficulty level but I can?t help feeling that delivering new enemies in a different way would have added freshness. Okay, so as one marine yelled during battle, ?The Brutes really are more fun to fight than the Elites?, fighting is still great, well, fun. However, it does pull you out of the experience a bit to have such an obvious game mechanic.
One of the strangest things about the campaign mode is the AI. While the enemies in Normal mode provide a decent challenge, they are downright evil at the increased difficulties. Snipers will travel to get a better vantage. Brutes will use the equipment better than I did. Even the Grunts seem to have useful heads on their shoulders; they will travel in packs, circling around to get you from behind when you?re distracted by a Brute.
On the other hand Bungie seems to have tried a bit too hard to make you, the Master Chief, feel like a super hero. Not only can you leap 20 feet in the air and punch an eight-foot tall gorilla to death, but all your comrades, the Arbiter included, would probably be considered functionally retarded if presented with modern standardised testing. There is just too much of a disparity for my liking.