Recently I finished the campaign of Halo 5: Guardians and have been messing around with the Multi-Player modes. I thought about reviewing it for the site, but after thinking about it, I’ve decide to do more of a retrospective on Halo over these past 14 years. Since the first game I’ve played them all and Halo is the reason for my ownership of an Xbox One, it’s such a great series.
*Warning: there will be spoilers *
Prior to playing Halo: CE, I wasn’t much into First Person Shooter’s (FPS) as they didn’t really translate over well to console with the last big one being Goldeneye on the N64 that really blew me away.
Then came Halo: CE which did what it subtitles says: it evolved combat and the FPS genre on console. I remember picking up the Duke for the first time and the controls being perfect with the second analog stick, but it wasn’t just the controls that makes the first so great.
Halo: CE starts on what is a rather basic linear path in the first level but then the second level after you crash, the first time you play and wake you step out to see this huge lush world that you're not told what to do. Just that you can go save the marines in any order whilst driving around in the warthog, and levels after that get better especially silent cartographer, a rich story is introduced and you feel like a bad-ass playing as Master Chief.
That was just single player, Multi-Player was a big thing on Goldeneye and still got played back in the day then Halo: CE came along with some amazing maps also as we had more than one Xbox at hand 16 player system link was a huge deal, that made Halo: CE the perfect package and one of the best launch games ever and I didn’t even talk about the soundtrack.
Three years later we got the sequel which built on what was there and added dual wielding, playing as the Arbiter which at the time didn’t go down too well but now looking back was nice to play as someone else and see the war from the other side.
We also got epic moments like taking down a Scarab for the first time then hearing about how you can get a Scarab fun from people. I have no idea what that sentence means- Ed.
Then there was the cliff-hanger ending to set-up Halo 3 but the biggest deal with Halo 2 was that unlike Halo: CE you could take Multi-Player online. Then there were DLC Maps, as it was so good the servers of Halo 2 stayed on for a good long time even after the Xbox 360 had launched due to the die hard fan base.
We move on from the original Xbox and on the Xbox 360 with Halo 3 which didn’t as far as I can remember add much, it just continued on with the story and we got to finish the fight against the covenant and the flood for the time being.
As Halo had become the Xbox platform’s biggest title, and its universe having a rich lore more and more novels, comics, graphic novels, anime, toys, board games, live action things started to be more of a frequent thing but the main thing will always be games that we got the likes of:
This took Halo back to its roots as before Halo became the FPS we now know, it started off as a real-time strategy (RTS) which Wars from Ensemble Studios is. Wars is set at the earliest point of any game in the Halo universe and was a nice to play something different in the series at the time.
It was more for fans of the lore and a nod to Halo’s roots to than something which would appeal to John Smith but still good and is getting a sequel in 2016.
ODST came out the same year as Wars but was a traditional FPS. What made it stand out from the core series is that you didn’t play as a super solider but just a regular guy which changed how you would approach the enemy in this game set around the events of Halo 2 & 3.
The campaign also was approachable in anyway by letting you go to any bit of evidence you wish to tell the story.
It also brought Firefight to MP, which is like Gears of War’s Horde mode but was still fun. Oh and it has nods to Destiny in it before we even knew what that was
2009 was a good year for the Halo series.
In 2010 we got what would be Bungie’s swan-song with their last Halo game set just before Halo: CE.
Bungie went out with a bang with what, apart from maybe Halo: CE, is my favourite in the series. It just took all those years working on Halo and perfected it, the only reason Halo: CE maybe gets the nod over Reach is as it was the first time we heard that famous music and some of those levels are just classic.
After Halo Reach, Bungie went on to do their own thing but Microsoft got to keep the Halo IP which new studio which kept some of the old Bungie team such as Frank O'Connor moved over to 343 Industries, with their first thing being Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary which I won’t go into.
Up until this point all the Halo games after Halo 3 were prequels or set in the same time period where Halo 4 is set 4 years after the end of Halo 3 and the start of a new trilogy.
I’m going to say that Halo 4 is maybe the worst (were coming to the worst) Halo game, it’s not to say it’s bad as it’s not at all but the story was a bit all over the place, it took what made Halo so great compared to let’s say a Call of Duty and that’s openness. Yes, Halo had becoming more linear over time but this felt the most and just playing safe from 343.
Both of these from Vanguard Games are canon, with Assault taking place between Halo 3 & 4 and Strike between Halo 4 & 5. I’ve only played Assault on Xbox One and it’s dreadful and is the actual worst Halo game I’ve played but from looking up info on them, it does seem like the iOS version especially Strike aren’t bad just not good on consoles.
Last year we got Halo: The Master Chief Collection which complied Halo 1 - 4 together with Halo 2 getting the anniversary treatment like Halo: CE but again not really going into it.
Were now on to what started this article, I finished this last Sunday afternoon. It was a fun and entertaining game which adds a new character Spartan Locke to play as like Halo 2 did with the Arbiter, added C0-OP into the campaign which made sense as it was a bit odd back on the others with you all playing as Master Chief but now you were one of either Blue Team or Fireteam Osiris.
But again like Halo 4 it seemed more linear, there were other paths but nothing on the scale that had been before and is copied not just with a new character but adding the Kraken to take down which just seemed like doing Scarab all over again.
Also it’s rather short, part from the two mobile games it’s the shortest of them all but does bring some of the most cinematic moments on the series and has the new edition of Warzone to Multi-Player, which does feel very similar to another shooter but is still a great addition along with classic Multi-Player to make a decent package but you will find better Halo campaigns on the Master Chief Collection.
I’ve said what my favorite Halo is and my least but if I had to put them in some sort of rank as everyone loves a list it would be:
- Halo: Combat Evolved
- Halo Reach
- Halo 2
- Halo 3
- Halo Wars
- Halo 3: ODST
- Halo 5: Guardians
- Halo 4
- Halo: Spartan Assault
Where will Halo 6 and Halo War 2 sit, only time will tell but for now finish the fight.