At this point the player takes over and it's time to shake off the cobwebs and get some practice moving and fighting.
Graphically, this segment of the game is really different from what we've seen in previous installments. Unfortunately it plays exactly like the previous games.
Covenant forces are comprised of essentially the same creatures, wielding the same weapons — save a few exciting additions — and mostly the same vehicles, as "Halo" and "Halo 2."
There are some notable exceptions, like the "gravity hammer," which is a blast — no pun intended — but if all you're looking for is "more of the same," "Halo 3" will satiate your appetite.
Most of the game outside of the opening sequence takes place in settings familiar to anyone who's played a "Halo" game before. Coastlines and nondescript hilly rural environments are popular, but it seems the developers have a particular fondness for corridors.
As in previous games, Master Chief spends a great deal of his time fighting his way through the metallic hallways and through the grand chambers of spaceships and alien bases.
But "Halo's" popularity is not limited to the games' single-player campaigns. In fact it's the online multiplayer aspect of the game that has sold more than a few copies. Fans of the kind of fast-paced friend-on-friend sci-fi action "Halo" made famous, will get more of what they love.
There are also some tools to allow the technically inclined to make their own game maps and even weapons for use in multiplayer matches. It's too early to tell, but many gamers are already hailing the addition of the "Forge" as a major innovation and one that will add years to the game's playability.
As far as story-based action games go, "Halo 3" is a bit of a disappointment. But, for fans of the series who want to both finish a "Halo" game as quickly as possible but never want to see the closing credits roll, here's another episode.
If you weren't a "Halo" fan before, you're unlikely to be converted by "Halo 3."
"Halo 3" is rated M for Mature by the ESRB and includes blood and gore, mild language, violence.