I've watched an HD Halo 3 multiplayer beta documentary video (an official video release from Bungie in which staffers discuss different aspects of the multiplayer mode) and I was seriously unimpressed. To me, it looks like Halo 2 with sharper textures. It seems as though there was more of a graphical leap from Halo to Halo 2 than from Halo 2 to Halo 3.
No wonder a developer at game studio Free Radical (best known for the Timesplitters series) is verbally bashing Bungie for their lackluster efforts. In an interview with Xbox 360 World magazine (UK), Derek Littlewood (creative lead on their newest project called Haze) said the following:
I kinda feel like Halo 3 is still stuck in the last gen; they're all about wrapping up the trilogy and delivering the same old Halo gameplay...
Mr. Littlewood went on to say:
...Our lead artist really isn't a Halo fan. Which is pretty good because it means there's no way he'd rest until he was sure Haze was absolutely going to blow Halo 3 out of the water. And you know what? I think he's done it too!
As a person who has been waiting for the release of Halo 3 to get a 360, I actually feel a little let down by Bungie. Three years in development and all they can show us is what amounts to an enhanced Halo 2? I hate to say this, but I think Microsoft should have put pressure on Bungie to make Halo 3 as graphically amazing as possible, especially when Microsoft first noticed how incredible Gears of War was going to look. After all, Halo 3 is supposed to be the 360's flagship game.
Since we're so close to the end of the game's development, I'll be very surprised if it ends up looking much better by its September launch date. In all fairness, I play Halo games primarily for the awesome gameplay, but it still bothers me that Bungie hasn't fully made the transition to this hardware generation.