Upon it’s release CE revolutionized the console FPS and without it the Xbox might not have gotten a sequel. It made the modern control scheme that we still use today and the whole console FPS genre owes its success to Halo as FPS games on consoles felt bad before CE. Most console FPS games were mainly tight corridors and so when the second level opened up it was an exciting surprise. CE had a great campaign full of mystery and set up the Halo universe I would say almost perfectly. The surprise of the flood and the drastically different combat style they have with no self preservation and swarm tactics compared to the Covenant which had ranks and structured combat was awesome. CE had great graphics for its time too and the gunplay still feels great. despite the game being 20 years old. The split screen co op and PvP was great and made for some good times. The vehicle physics may be a little jank but that’s part of the charm of the game; my friends and I would spend hours just ramping ghosts off destroyed wraiths.
When Halo 2 came out it was awesome. Better graphics, better story, more guns (although it was missing the AR which made me sad), more vehicles and the ability to hijack, dual wielding, and playable elites! The BR was busted and definitely too powerful (this trend will continue for many years to come). Only years later have I learned that the campaign was controversial due to half of it being played as the Arbiter and that the ending was a let down for people. I loved the campaign and thought it expanded the lore in good ways and the cliffhanger just made me excited for Halo 3. Halo 2 has some of the best cutscenes in any game and while legendary is too hard the rest of the game plays very well. The xbox live multiplayer set the standard for how games were made and really made Xbox Live what it is today.The maps were awesome and some of the best in the series. Playable elites were so cool as well. To top it off Halo 2 Aniversay has the best soundtrack out of any video game not just Halo.
This Halo is the best package for both multiplayer and campaign. It felt like the perfect ending to the trilogy. The addition of forge was awesome and H3 basically just added to everything H2 had. Armor customization for both Spartans and Elites was huge. This Halo still has the best system for unlocking armor to date. No grinding hours for credits which anyone can do given time, no speding money for random packs or in an item shop, no completing dumb challenges to level up in a pass. All armor in Halo 3 came from specific challenges so it allowed you to show off your skill, because if you saw someone with Recon you knew they didn’t mess around. Ideally we would have this plus a Reach system with credits so there are multiple ways to earn armors. The sandbox is still dominated by the BR in this game and H3 has the weakest pistol (H2’s might have done less damage but no one used the H3 pistol because it was just bad, shot slow and had a small mag). Halo 3 has some of the series best maps combined with some great vehicles and xbox live was like the wild west back then so game chat was just crazy. The addition of equipment made for some fun mechanics and Infection became an actual game mode and had chump (first few people dead are zombies the next round) which is the best way to play because it prevents being infected multiple rounds in a row and rewards you if you play well. Infection only being live on certain weekends was also a downer but made it feel special at the same time. For me this is when people making forge maps were at their best; the tricks you had to do to phase objects into each other or have them float and other stuff like this seemed to make people more creative. I’m not sure why but forge maps amd modes just never reached the quality for me in later Halos.
Upon announcement and release people were upset that this wasn’t just an H3 DLC. But firefight was amazing and the inclusion of the H3 map pack disc made up for it. It has a nice campaign but overall just felt like a modified H3 with a different character. The release of ODST also allowed for the unlock of Recon armor to all players with the inclusion of the Vidmasters (a set of difficult 0 gamerscore achievements). This game still has the best version of firefight.
This game is perhaps the mostly fondly remembered Halo (which I don’t think it deserves) even though it had lots of problems. The DMR is the most overpowered gun to exist in any Halo game. The BR at least had the 3 projectile burst which would allow you to miss a bullet or two in the burst thus making it harder to use. The DMR has a large mag, decent reload, near perfect accuracy (even with bloom you won’t miss a shot unless you are spamming at sniper ranges), and to top it off it has antimaterial rounds so it does extra damage to vehicles. People were very upset that playable elites were only in one game mode and that their customization was turned into a simple skin selection. While I loved armor lock that ability was another huge issue and the pseudo loadouts were another topic of hot debate as it infringed in the arena shooter aspects of Halo. Reach also got rid of chump in infection and made firefight more arcadey instead of a difficult survival challenge and while you could make it difficult there was no was to compete scores because someone could have just spawned with an infinite ammo rocket and overshields to get a high score. Reach also created an armor system in which the only way to earn armor was to just spend time in the game, skill might marginally make that grind faster but there is no piece of armor that specifically shows how much skill you have like Recon did for H3, the rarest armors in Reach just show you have a lot of free time. Also the absence of dual wielding was a huge issue. People were willing to overlook it in ODST because your a mere mortal but in Reach you are Spartans. I understand the balancing issues it causes but the lack of it was still upsetting.
Reach does however have one of my favorite vehicle sandboxes and had the single most fun forge map in all of Halo, Writers Mind. If you haven’t played it get a full custom game lobby and play it as it is just so much fun. Forge world was also amazing and is still probably the coolest forge map to date.
Reach’s campaign was okay but not my favorite. The final mission is epic though.
Being honest this is my least favorite Halo and is undeserving of most of the love it gets in the forums and discord as 4 and 5 are the reasons for the steep drop in Halos popularity. The campaign was so out of character for Chief and Cortana (not to mention they perved her up for no reason) and the didact just isn’t a good villan. It felt like they were starting to milk Halo as Chiefs story felt over at the end of H3. Some of the decisions made by Del Rio specifically don’t make any sense and seem forced just to add more tension and drama to the story (not trusting Chief is just stupid as he is the most qualified person on how to deal with galactic threats). Palmer is a terrible character and in any situation that they showed a new Spartan and they wanted you to know who they were, the Spartans would fight without a helmet. This is just stupid as no military would let a soldier worth millions not wear the armor designed to keep them alive. The prometheans just aren’t fun to fight due to the lack of variety of them and the tankiness of the Knights with the watchers respawning them because all they do is fly behind cover. This could just be an issue of level design though. Besides the really bad new elite design the art style change is just different and I prefer the older styles but it’s not bad. The addition of loadouts further pushed Halo away from its arena shooter origins and very much felt like this was due to Reach’s pseudo loadouts and trying to compete more with COD. Halo 4 did have some of the best maps and gamemodes. Dominion was really fun and in oddball you could pass the ball which was amazing and made for some fun plays. Infection was hurt by making the infected play as the new infected Spartan so many infection game modes weren’t compatible in H4. Spartan Ops felt very lazily made as it just reused campaign areas and sent a ton of enemies after you. Completing it was a chore as each one just took so long to complete especially on legendary. Not to mention it replaced firefight. Halo 4 does bring back unlocking armor via difficult challenges which was great. Being able to spawn with the precision weapon of your choice really hurt the meta but that is just a continuation of what Halo 2 started with BR spawns.
This will be short because all these games have been covered individually already. The MCC had a very rough launch but is in a pretty good place today. CE deserves a more faithful remaster as the new graphics don’t aline with the original feel of the game. H2A is the ideal remaster every game should strive for and those cutscenes still look amazing.
Since Infinites launch people seem to be holding Halo 5 to a higher prestige than it should be. REQ packs were terrible and took all of the fun out of earning armor. Not to mention customization is stripped down to just a helmet and then an entire armor set so it has the least amount of customization since Halo 2. Halo 5’s campaign had to deal with the trash left over from Halo 4 so it too is terrible but at least the gameplay is more fun and the prometheans are more bearable. It’s always a pleasure to see Buck as well. Lock is beyond terrible and the Hunt the Truth ad campaign was very misleading which brought on much disappointment. Precision weapons still dominate the meta in MP and now the Magnum has joined the ranks as it has incredible range. Warzone was fun but personally I expected it to play more like Attrition in Titanfall with the amount of NPC’s Titanfall had. Instead the maps felt too big for the small amount of NPC’s and players. Firefight while fun is a shell of its former glory. Most of the weapon variants feel redundant and unnecessary as they are basically the same as others. This was clearly done to make it seem like H5 had a huge weapon pool and while it is bigger than previous games we could have done without most of the variants. The gameplay was hugely controversial as the thrusters make Halo play way differently than previous games. I would describe it as in H5 you feel like Iron man where the armor is what makes you special where in previous Halos you felt more like Captain America and your armor is just a tool to keep you alive instead of it doing all the work for you. The games flow is more jerky than all other Halos ad the thrust and movement in general don’t feel smooth as in previous games. This seems to be purposful so as to speed up the speed of the gameplay. The multiplayer maps are also terrible and don’t seem to flow well. Most of the maps you play now will be forge maps made by the community which is cool but also makes it feel like the devs got away with lazy map making. On top of this the addition of ADS to every gun was a big topic of debate, especially since it improves accuracy and isn’t just a zoom. The lack of split screen was another issue that Halo 5 had. Halo 5 feels the least like classic Halo when compared to any other Halo game. Halo 5 gameplay felt like it should have been it’s own series instead of a Halo game. It just plays so different compared to every other Halo game and I feel sorry for those who loved it’s gameplay because I don’t think we will ever return to it. If it had been a new IP people would not have expected it to feel like other games and might have accepted it’s gameplay more and then we could still get a more classic Halo game and still have a new game with Halo 5s mechanics as they would be 2 separate franchises.
And here we are. Infinite has the best gameplay of any Halo to date. It feels like the sequel to 3 we have all been waiting for while updating to modern movement mechanics. The gun pool is smaller but that was to improve on the usefulness of existing weapons and to prevent the redundancy Halo 5 suffered from. Infinite’s movement and gunplay feels so much like Destiny without Destiny’s double jumps. This is a huge compliment as the game just feels smooth. The AR is finally not absolute trash and the BR isn’t OP anymore. You can’t use the BR at close range like in previous titles and it now has its own niche which is medium long range. The AR is medium short and to all those who claim the AR is OP it isn’t. It is finally just good and you have been conditioned to it being terrible and not having to worry about how close someone gets when you have a BR because unless it was a shotgun, sword, or hammer you still stood a good chance at winning the fight especially if you just backpeddle. Now you have to consider that so the BR finally has a place in the meta instead of being on top of it. Infinites armor system needs work as locking items to cores is dumb. We need systems like Reach and Halo 3’s implemented so there are ways to unlock armor outside of passes and events. I haven’t finished the campaign yet as the MP just keeps drawing me back in but from what I have played this game is much better than 4 and 5 and I do love the return to the older Halo art style. The return of equipment is nice as it just feels better than loadouts or the advanced movement of Halo 5.
Infinite feels like it launched a little barebones but so did Halo 5 when it launched. I think Infinite has the potential to become the best Halo to date but it does need improvements before that can happen.
Hopefully this will help people understand why some features from Halo 4 and Halo 5 aren’t in Infinite as fans like me didn’t enjoy them and Halos popularity plummeted during 4 and 5’s lifetimes and that Halo 4 and 5 get more love online than they deserve just because the community on forrums and discord is a small vocal segment with little representation of how people like me and and everyone I’ve ever talked to ablut Halo feels since they usually don’t post here. Halo CE-3 are the best story in gaming told over a series. Some games may have a better story than a single game but no series comes close to what Bungie outlet off in its original trilogy. Infinite feels like a return to the Halo I grew up with and while it needs work the core gameplay is top notch. I’m sure this will get dislikes as I feel I am in the minority here in the forums but most everyone I’ve met online or my friends in real life feel the same.
My back story:
In 2001 I was 5 and my first video game was CE.
Since then I have bought every major Halo game day 1 (I don’t have Spartan Strike but did get Spartan Assault) and played countless hours. I didn’t get xbox live until H3 so I can’t judge the H2 online multiplayer and CE is still my favorite video game. All right, now its time to get into this.
[Halo Wars, Wars 2, Spartan Assault and Strike, along with the Dave and Busters Halo game were left off as I haven’t played them all and they aren’t my style of game although I did have lots of fun with some of them for short times]