I think it's pretty close to T. Some T games are worse then this. Plus the language and violence is scaled down a bit. Maybe they rated it M cuss it'd make it look better, or because of the online play.
Pretty much any game involving shooting semi-realistic humanoids with any amount of blood is going to get the mature rating. What really needs to happen is that the AO (adults only) rating needs to be used more. This would seperate games like GTA (clearly a violent adult themed game) from games like halo.
to:s. Bruce i've played all of them with IWHBYD turned and I don't think there is a significant increase in mature language. As for the rest of the skulls, 4 of us tryed a level with all of them on, and it took over 3hrs... totally insane, but no real change in violence.
Uncharted Drake's Fortune for the PS3 is rated T. But you can blow people up with grenades and grenade launchers. Kill people with your choice of a shotgun, uzi(automatic pistol), pistol, or ak-47. There's plenty of blood and booby traps that would definitely crush your ribcage instantly. And not to mention some strong language yet it's still rated T hmmm. Don't trust the ESRB, trust your own opinion and consider the opinions of others.
Its definitely rated M for its online play. Lets just say that as far as online games go, Halo 3 is not known for its friendliness. Why would they rate a game mature when the people you face in it obviously not...
I don't think they wanted it M just to draw a mature audience (that sort of thing happens more with movies, game developers typically strive for the widest audience possible), but you may have a point in mentioning the online play. Though they can't control what goes on or what is said, I think most people know what to expect online, and wouldn't want to subject their kids to it, and Bungie had the same idea.
It is on the lighter side, I'll give you that, it's mostly the "realistic" animated blood that barely pushes it over the top. That and Cortana's breasts. Which is ridiculous, since she's not even human. The designers and gamers just see her as a physical embodiment of an AI, but the ESRB review board just sees her as a naked blue woman. Oh well. That's what we get for living in America.
Oh P.S. You all need to look up and familiarize yourself with how the ESRB works. You'll find that they have different people review each game, so that easily explains why the ratings may seem inconsistent.