I'd like to say a little more about the Halo 3 review.
To some degree, this review criticizes the hype and the culture surrounding the game moreso than the game itself. That's for a couple of reasons. One is because I like to take a different angle than you get from the bigger publications, if I can. The other is that the hype is as much a part of Halo as the plasma pistol at this point. Between the soda cans, the fast food promotions, the MIT hacks, and the endless media coverage, well before last week it was obvious that Halo 3 was going to break all kinds of sales records. Which, in and of itself, is not a bad thing.
What bothered me was the sense of inevitablity I was detecting on various game blogs around the web. So much muted criticism accompanied by a shrugging admission that people were going to buy Halo 3, and buy it the first day it was out, as if they had no choice in the matter. In reading some reviews of the game, it seemed like a lot of critics were copping out -- admitting that they didn't love it, but assuming the public would and scoring it accordingly. The glut of pre-release scores of 9.0 and above only added more fuel to the fire. If you were a gamer, it was pre-ordained: you were buying Halo 3.
Now, the critics may be right on one point. The public does seem to love it. But how could the press have known? They played the game before it was publicly available! Tycho of Penny Arcade said he was not willing to reject something just because idiots like it, but when consorting with idiots makes up a primary component of the experience, I'll reject the shit out of it.