"They let me pick, did I ever tell you that? Choose whichever Spartan I wanted. You know me. I did my research. Watched as you became the soldier we needed you to be. Like the others, you were strong and swift and brave. A natural leader. But you had something they didn't. Something no one saw... but me. Can you guess? Luck. Was I wrong?"
The final game in the (first) Halo trilogy. Picking up directly from Halo 2, Master Chief returns to fight for Earth and discover the secrets of the Halo builders. This game earned $170 million in its first day, breaking all previous records (including Halo 2's.)The campaign was no longer split into two parts, instead having a single co-op campaign revolving around the Master Chief and the Arbiter working side by side. The story wrapped up the trilogy and shows the conclusion of the war.The gameplay was kept largely intact and identical to the previous games, only refining the changes made in Halo 2. The only real new features are the weapon types (a complete subset of Brute weapons and two additional grenade types to the standard frag and plasma, spike and incendiary) and equipment you can deploy that changes the battle dynamics (impenetrable "bubble shield," trip mine, radar jammer, etc.)After an Interquel and a Prequel, Halo 4 is the next chronological game in the series, showing the aftermath of the war and the continued development of the UNSC and Spartan program.
Bitter Sweet Ending: Truth is killed, the Flood are destroyed on Halo, and the War is over, but Master Chief and Cortana are lost in space at the end of the Forward Unto Dawn with no way to get home, and the Chief is forced to go into cryogenic stasis to stay alive. And also, Johnson. Miranda Keyes and many more are dead.
The first time, before the first level begins, it's said by the Arbiter as a response to Sergeant Johnson telling him and the Master Chief not to kill each other. The second time, at the end of the game, it's said by the Arbiter again, as a response to Lord Hood's statement: "It's hard to believe [the Master Chief] is dead." And I'm not sure which would be worse, the what-if idea that the Chief had died, or the fact that the Chief is still alive, and yet no one back on Earth knows any better.
Halo: Combat Evolved opened with Master Chief being thawed from cryo-sleep. Halo 3 ends with him going back into cryo-sleep.
Halo: Combat Evolved had Cortana say "keep your head down! There are two of us in here now, remember?". In Halo 3, once you re-unite, she says to "Remember to keep your head down..."
Call Back: Escaping the exploding station in a Warthog.
Catastrophic Countdown: a variant. After starting up the Halo Ring it needs several minutes to charge and literally shakes itself apart. The last section of the game is a mad dash to find a way off. While there's no explicit timer the structural plates fall off at a constant rate. Justified in that the thing was half-built when it was fired.
When Truth activates the Halo rings, the fourth of the seven rings (representing the Halos) does not light up. Installation 4 was the one blown up in the first game.
Co-Op Multiplayer: Not only was Halo 3 one of the first console games to include online co-op, but it also had a campaign mode where players could earn points from killing enemies and compete against each other to earn the most. Basically, Competitive Cooperative Multiplayer.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: zigzagged trope. In 1P, the Arbiter is a friendly NPC who is present in almost all levels. In two-player co-op, he's the second player's avatar. In three-or-more player co-op, two more Elites just magically appear out of nowhere, with no particular plot justification, relevance or lines.
They actually do have canon personalities (though not anything elaborated on in-game). Basically, one is a hardened veteran who is rather suspicious of humans, and the other is a young rookie who might as well be an otaku for us.
Charged Attack: The Spartan Laser takes about 3 seconds to fire, but destroys everything that it touches (and has sniper-grade range) and goes through your units, too (although a tank and scenery can stop it).
Damn You, Muscle Memory: Many people in this game's beta ended blowing themselves up with a mine after attempting to reload their weapons, after being used for so long with pressing X. In more hilarious cases, they deployed mines below Warthogs.
Difficult, But Awesome: The Spike grenades appear to be weaker versions of the plasma grenades, until you learn that their explosive pattern is conical from the place of impact. They're meant to be stuck on walls and around corners you can fill a hallway with deadly spikes that can kill from upwards of 40 feet away.
Enemy Mine: The humans and Separatist Elites and temporarily the Flood against the Covenant Loyalists.
Darker and Edgier: The first two games largely avoided the implications of just how many had died/were dying in the Covenant War, but this game has Earth After the End and takes an Anyone Can Die approach to the main characters.
Fan Nickname: R'tas Vadum (the Elite counterpart to Lord Hood) is also known by fans as "Half-Jaw," because, well, you know...
Foreshadowing: There are multiple hints towards the rebuilt first Halo, including Guilty Spark's curious "Oh my!" when first accessing the Ark's computer systems and the control room showing ring 4 as incomplete (but not utterly destroyed, as it was after Halo: CE).
Infernal Retaliation: When a Brute Chieftain's charging at you, roaring, and brandishing a gravity hammer, you might think of hitting them with a firebomb, as it does a lot of damage. Unfortunately, Chieftains have equipment that renders them temporarily invincible, so when they activate it, they're now charging at you, roaring, brandishing a gravity hammer, on fire, and invulnerable.
Nerf: Dual-wielding was disabled for the Needler, and its magazine size was decreased. The needles were also changed to do all of their damage right when they hit a player (rather than doing most of it when they shattered), travel faster, and require one less hit for a supercombine.
Dual-wielding itself was also nerfed for most weapons, especially with the Magnum; dual-wielded Magnums take almost twice as many shots to kill as one on its own.
Mythology Gag: Truth's speech in the second level ends with a quote from the first game's E3 2000 trailer, albeit altered to relate to Truth instead of the entire Covenant.
"Your destruction is the will of the gods! And I? I am their instrument!"
Upgrade Vs Prototype Fight: The Terminals reveal that the Forerunners built an AI called Mendicant Bias to defeat the Flood, but he went rogue. To counter him, another AI was built called Offensive Bias, as his successor. Offensive wins but only because he was stalling for the Forerunners to fire the Halos that thus destroyed every organic being in the galaxy, robbing Mendicant's fleet of its crew.
Villainous Breakdown: Truth, Gravemind and Guilty Spark ends up with this. Spark's crackdown is the scariest one.
The War Sequence: The battle outside the array in the level "The Covenant". It is the final major land battle in the human-Covenant war, and the Covenant throw everything they have left at you, with the crew of Forward Unto Dawn doing likewise. Appropriately, it has more total forces and more variety of vehicles than virtually any other battle in the series. The music "One Final Effort" plays, the battle begins, and then the Covenant send twoscarabs against you.
What Could Have Been: Halo 2 was originally to have ended where Halo 3's first half left off, making much of the campaign filler and resulting in a relatively story-cramped installment.