The new weapons
All of the best Human and Covenant weapons from Halo 2 are back, including an enhanced version of the sniper rifle, which not only looks better but feels much meatier and accurate than its predecessor. The sniper rifle has always been one of my favourite weapons, but in Halo 2 despite executing what I felt were plenty of perfect headshots, on occasions they didn't register, but this enhanced sniper rifle does now feel more accurate and deadlier across large spaces.
Needlers make a return, but can no longer be dual wielded, although they do seem far more powerful than in Halo 2, plus the visual effects of the needles sticking into the body of your opponent are far more impressive. SMGs, pistols, rocket launchers and shot-guns also make a return and feel identical to Halo 2, but battle rifles and brute shots pack more of a punch than before. The new weapons, such as the powerful missile pod and the sublime Spartan laser add a new dimension to the game-play (though it takes some time to power-up, one blast of the Spartan laser takes out anything in its path).
The addition of a number of special items is the biggest change in Halo 3 and improves the game-play no-end; they're so much fun to use. The bubble shield allows you to drop a domed transparent shield, which looks seriously cool, and is impenetrable against grenades and bullets. Players can still walk through the shield, meaning that they can beat you down and take up your spot or force you out into the open. The portable grave lift is an addition that will enhance tactical play because it can be placed anywhere, acts as a shortcut, and lets you reach places that you can’t jump to; this will no doubt be a great tool during tactical skirmishes, such as Capture the Flag.
The trip mine is hilarious to use, especially when an unsuspecting Warthog drives past it, sets it off and sends it spiralling into the sky. It's so much fun to use that I've found myself heading to pick up the trip-mine at the beginning of each match to see the effect of launching a person or vehicle into the air.
Last, but not least, is the power drainer which creates a large blue sphere and takes down opponent’s shields in the area making then vulnerable to attack. As with all these items, you'll find them in specific positions on the maps and their power is unleashed by using the X button. As we play more and more of Halo 3 these items will become increasingly effective as players find out new ways in which to use them to take control of the battles; they are a superb addition to the series.