EGGHEADS (Or How I Learned To Love The Ops)

Greetings forum denizens and the like, let’s talk Spartan Ops. Specifically, the amazing comedic writers 343 has attached to this wonderfully satirical look at the Spartan program, and the UNSC as a whole.

While plenty has been said (and should) about the mission and map variety, I think the way Spartans are now portrayed is a clever twist for the series. For one thing, its readily apparent that the Spartan IV Program are not your daddy’s (Bungie’s) Spartans. They aren’t intensely trained supersoldiers with decades of experience and training. They are the apex of what humanity would do if technology and augmentation was ‘easy’.

Take the command team Fireteam Crimson, and by extension the player, listens to throughout Spartan Ops. You have Commander Palmer, whose conduct as a commanding officer is unprofessional and exaggerated, demeaning subordinates and other servicemen not under her command. Crimson has an entire support team that doesn’t set foot outside of the UNSC Infinity yet wears million-dollar suits of armor as their uniform and are augmented to superhuman levels physically when their main role is as a radio operator far from the battlefield. And entire science teams are repeatedly sacrificed with callous ambivalence due to both the team’s own incompetence and lack of safety procedures that endanger the entire Requiem science mission again and again, requiring Crimson to mop up the piles of ash where they once stood.

And it’s utterly hilarious.

This all makes sense. This is the UNSC four years after having a lot of new technology, few living veterans from the previous war, and no enemy to keep sharp against. The UNSC has gotten soft, so they made more Spartans. They made everyone they could into Spartans, even people (like Spartan Team Majestic or Spartan Miller) who really don’t have the chops to be Spartans. So Spartans have gotten soft. So soft, that they have to rely on a 45-year old and alluded to be psychologically-damaged Master Chief Petty Officer who really needs a retirement plan, to do all the work for them.

I think it’s a clever examination of what Halo’s setting is when everyone wants to be a Spartan. Like a clever kid’s movie said, when everyone is special, noone is.