H5 Campaign Discussion

Hello all.
Amidst all of the ‘comment chaos’ surrounding the multiplayer, I felt like taking the time to craft a post about what is, to me, the most important aspect of Halo: the story. I’ve played thru H5’s story three times so I could formulate a thesis, and present a calm, clear-headed argument about said story.
Disclaimer: I did not like Halo 5’s campaign. And, as always, this is completely opinionated, and is not meant to insult anyone who does like H5’s campaign. Do with what you will.
Here are the six aspects that I think Guardians is lacking in:

  1. Plot pacing. Halo 5’s story is quite simplistic, though that’s not always a bad thing. However, there were almost no twists or curveballs thrown toward the player, nor was there any, “Eureka!” moment in the story. It’s practically accepted from two missions in that Cortana is somehow alive in the æther, and that she’s connected to the Prometheans, and in that, the Guardians. Now, I’m fine with sight unseen storytelling, as I think it stimulates the imagination. On the flip side, most of the info in the story was presented like, “oh, everyone knows that.”

  2. Dialogue. Nobody is ever wrong. As in ever. Most of the dialog is set up like, “I bet that that thing is somehow connected to that thing, and we’ll need this to do that. Get on it, Spartans!” Oh, please continue on your galaxy-saving quest while blindly accepting postulations and conjecture.

  3. Level design. Now this wasn’t all that bad, but still, when compared to previous Halos… it’s not that great. There were a few standouts, like the one that featured the DIY infiltration of the Kraken, but that’s about it. Overall, the levels fail to live up to the likes of say, The Silent Cartographer, or Cairo Station, or even Pillar of Autumn and New Alexandria from Reach.

  4. Interesting enemies. This is one of the biggest issues(for me). First off, I get the conundrum that 343i must’ve had when faced with the enemies. I mean, there’s no real good reason for the Covenant to even be there, and were relegated to secondary antagonists whose primary involvement was a civil war that had nothing to do with the over-arching plot about the Guardians. There is no mystery around the enemies, what their intentions are, etc. Where is the Cronenberg-ian body horror surrounding the Flood? Where are the mysterious Engineers? And as long as we’re on this note, it is almost impressive that 343i came up with a story conceit that allowed them to make just one boss with the same moveset.

  5. Locke’s place in the story. I’m fine with Locke. He’s a pretty cool character. I’m even fine with the Chief taking a bit of a backseat this go 'round. However, it’s the very nature of H5’s story that messes him up. Here we have a deeply personal story about the Chief and Cortana’s relationship. How are we going to go about this? “Eh, just put Chief in for roughly 20% of the story.”

  6. Integrated co-op. This is the worst for me. For starters, what was so wrong about the way old Halos handled co-op in their campaigns? Now, I will admit that H5 would be very different without the respective squads, but it could have been implemented better. Maybe try giving the single player squad AI half a brain, that doesn’t totally crumble at the slightest hint of elevation when you need a revive? If one is going to implement a revive function in Halo, make it reliable or stop wasting my time waiting to die so I can reload the checkpoint. But once again, it’s their place in the story that bugs me. My favorite part of Halo is Master Chief against the world. The one final effort. There’s none of that here, as you’re constantly being followed by three lackeys who don’t add much to the story overall, except maybe Buck, who is the comic relief.
    Anyway, those are my gripes, and again, to repeat, this post is not meant to be incendiary; people have a right to like or dislike anything. No buts. Hat’s off to anyone who actually read all of that. Cheers.

The biggest problem for me was that the Hunt The Truth ad campaign ended up having very little to do with the actual game. Added to that was the complete story turn around from the other game without any explanation what-so-ever. I know the story was continued in the comics which i have read mostly, but for people that just enjoy the games it mostly made no sense. Spartan Ops finished with Halsey wanting revenge on the UNSC and Halo 5 started with her wanting help to return. It mostly seems like they wanted to do a story with a rogue Master Chief and then changed their minds as they didn’t want him to be a villain. Then they wanted to do an elite-covenant civil war story but that didn’t have enough of an epic scope to it.

While i tend to agree with most of your points, i disagree with about the levels. I thought they were superb this time around with a lot of options and variety to tackle them different ways. The levels on Senghelios and Genesis both looked fantastic and the difference in elevations and vehicle positions made them a blast. I’m looking forward to replaying it again.

First of all, my personal opinion…the campaign was utter trash. Okay now that I got that off my chest. You’re spot on the plot pacing holy cow. I felt like I was running through the game just to get to the end and 3/4 of the time I felt like an ADHD child watching the plot unfold because we’d be over here for a second trying to do something and then woah wait we gotta go here now. Oh man this could be a problem we gotta chase after chief. Cortana? Arbiter? NO WAY LET"S GO! I mean holy cats there’s so much going on and barely any substance to any of all these plots and actions let along flow together smoothly.

On the dialogue? I could write a freaking book about how much the dialogue bothered me. I’d say 80% of the cutscenes just when I thought the conversation was really starting to go somewhere every time the characters would stop talking and the screen would blackout. Every time it left me with wow that was disappointing that cutscene didn’t really explain or provide much impact for anything (minus the last chief cortana scene). Also, the team dialogue while we’re fighting and explosions are happening everywhere isn’t really the best time to be talking because I missed what was said at least half the time. The dialogue missions also did not have as much substance as their purpose would intend I think. They ended up just being an irritation for me.

I don’t think the level design was god awful. I personally didn’t find any mission being overly memorable though. In fact, there isn’t a mission where when I’m bored I’m like oh man “x” mission was a ton of fun I’m gonna play that to burn some time. Each game had one or multiple missions like that even reach and halo 4. I suppose the only one that I would maybe consider is the first mission on Sangehelios but that’s a big maybe.

The last three points I’ll put my thoughts all together. I am horridly bored of the prometheans. Give me back the flood any day and they used to drive me nuts. However, I will give kudos that they are more interesting to fight in this game than they were in halo 4. In terms of Locke, I personally didnt mind his involvment. I just wish the Chief would have gotten a little more burn in the game. Now the coop is prolly my most hated part of this game because it’s trash but I’ll keep my comments short. It was a bold faced lie when they said " your team is your weapon". If anything they are the enemy’s weapon with how stupid the AI is during reviving (so frustrating). Also, there was some comments that the teamwork would be as good as republic commando and it wasn’t even close…and that game is easily 10ish years old.