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E3 07: Halo 3

Half of our E3 demo concentrated on a single aspect of the multiplayer - the Saved Films feature, in which you can record, replay, edit and share an entire match. Trust us - you won't think this is trivial when you see it in action.

* People in the beta could only watch their captured footage from one perspective - the exact same one they had just played from. This was good for reliving a particularly glorious kill, but it didn't offer much of a new experience. In the full game, you can leave your Spartan's helmet, soaring anywhere and everywhere on the battlefield. Want to view the whole battle unfold from a high top down perspective? You can. Want to zoom in close on your enemy's head at the exact moment you pop him? Go for it.

* In fact, taking the camera over to the other team's side will be incredibly useful. You can experience a match from your personal perspective and then experience it all over again from the opposite viewpoint, catching important elements of the battle that you would never have been aware of otherwise. Learn precisely where that sniper was hiding. Follow the path the other guys made to your flag. Memorize your rival clan's attack and defense patterns, or what weapons they head for first. The strategic possibilities seem endless.

* The Saved Films also opens possibilities for beauty... well, if you find big explosions, flying bodies, missile trails and crashing Warthogs beautiful. With the pause button, you can absorb all of that, from infinite angles, in spectacular freeze frame. The sound remains, too, so you can still hear laser fire sizzling and explosions rumbling. Each time the Bungie guys stopped the action, people in the room would literally gasp.



* Controls sound simple. Left and right analog sticks guide the camera. The left and right shoulder buttons handle elevation. The play-pause-rewind bar is basically a clone of Tivo's.

* The footage can only be viewed on an Xbox 360, as it isn't rendered, but recreated out of the original code. You can take snapshots and send them to Bungie.net, though.

* An average film will take up 5-6 MB of storage space, but that number varies depending on the length and number of players. Your setup will also affect file size, as the game captures the same video and sound quality you play with. The only limit on number of films is your hard drive's capacity.

* You can edit out smaller clips and send those to friends on Xbox Live rather than the entire footage.

* You can capture footage from the single player campaign, not just multiplayer matches.

* The example film Bungie brought to E3 showed off a new multiplayer map - Sandtrap. For what basically amounted to a desert valley, the environment was remarkably pretty. Sand particles twirled in the air and sun glared blindingly off of the Spartans' armor. Huge stone walls loomed up on either side of the expanse and Warthogs seemed to constantly careen off the edges.

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