this was in halo 4 forum, but it’s more appropriate here.
as a warning, this post is a mess and unorganzied because wrote it in a burst of anger.
title says it all. I don’t blame Bungie or 343 for the downfall of the series, mostly COD, but it’s such a shame to see how far the games have fallen. I’ll explain why, in several core areas, Halo 3 was the zenith of the franchise. (The +ODST in the title is there because I believe ODST to be an extension of 3 rather than a separate game.)
Halo 4’s campaign was by no means bad, in fact it was quite good, but it was too short. Levels are more in a cookie cutter design…some are driving levels, some are OH LOOK AT OUR MANTIS levels, one or two are similar to the classics of old. I won’t say much about reach’s campaign because I simply beat it and didn’t play it again. Just a meh, everybody dies type of thing. ODST fit the group of protagonist bill better. Halo 3’s campaign was superb, an excellent end to the series (I’m probably going to pretend the stories of 4+ didn’t happen). The level design itself was far better than reach or 4. I would play the campaign because it was FUN. looking for skulls and trying different routes added so much replay value. I probably would have bought 3 just for the campaign and offline…I could not say the same for reach or 4.
before I begin I’ve played 3000+ matchmade games in halo 3, 1000+ in reach and IDK for 4 but I am level 97.
The multiplayer is where the series has declined the greatest :(. I don’t know where to begin here because there are so many aspects in which this has occurred. First off, outside the gameplay, matchmaking itself is just poop in Halo 4. poor playlist options, no penalty for quitting, NO SKILL AND EXPERIENCE SYSTEM, stupid specializations, AA’s, ordinance, etc… Reach started the trend in this direction and Halo 4 flew with it. THE CORE OF HALO MULTIPLAYER IS THAT OF AN ARENA SHOOTER WHERE ALL PLAYERS SPAWN AT PARITY AND THEN MUST USE SKIIL TO WIN. (sorry for caps, that was important.) This is partially lost in reach and entirely so in 4. I cannot tell you how dumb it is that there are now loadouts and no weapons on the map. This is Halo. The near perfect weapon balance that 3 had (outside of the mauler) is gone. I still cannot understand why the DMR and other midrange single shots were added to this game. dual wielding is gone…why? Reach multiplayer could have been a lot better than it was if not for the maps. The maps in reach and 4 are absolute poop. They are way too big and asymmetrical. I think in part this is due to the addition of the jetpack, which while cool, should not be in halo. there is not one BAD halo 3 map that I can think of off the top of my head. This is a noobs game now. I can run around with an AR and clean up just by spray and pray, or good players can just destroy people with the overpowered single shots. I’m not going to go into individual weapon balance, because there is just so much wrong with it in 4 (one shot snipers???). Reaches weapons were awesome, save DMR+bloom, but mired by ability to start with DMR. sniping is also waaaaaay to easy in reach and to easy in 4. IDK if its the hitboxes or aim assist, but both games are too easy in this regard. vehicles have been dead since 3.
spartan ops is a weak excuse for firefight. the end. I want the firefight format/customization of reach on the maps of ODST. this is all that needs to be said. spartan ops is a cheap way to keep people playing. it’s not working.
what happened?? noooo. gimme all Halo 3’s custom games along with a few of the “base player traits” from reach and i’ll be happy. again, halo 4, what have you done? gone are lots of good gametypes. true grifball is no longer possible. I played probably around 1000 custom games in halo 3. in halo 4 it’s not even worth doing.
I first want to hand it to halo 3 for actually bringing these to the fps genre, major innovations that reach and 4 cannot come close to matching. Forge and theater were perfected in reach (except for the forge controls in reach, couldn’t get used to them and some derpiness is theater). So once again, i would want reach’s forge+theater on halo 3’s maps. The maps in halo 4 are just so bad that I havent found the drive to create anything. theater is fine other than having to sign someone out, something that should have been fixed.
MISC: it’s subjective, but I found halo 3’s soundtrack and moreso ODST’s to be the best of the series. Menu aesthetics maybe the one area that halo 4 trumps its predecessors, but the actual design of the UI I still think is most efficient in 3. it is such a pain in halo 4 to simply watch a recent game in theater. you can laugh, but i prefer the graphics of 3 over reach and 4. there’s just way too much going on for me in the 2 latter games. 3’s are just cleaner.
EDITS to include halo CE and 2:
alot of people will say 2 had the best multiplayer, but the hitscan BR, while great, was literally all you needed. I realize halo 2 had more “MLG” qualities that made it better suited for ultra high level competitive play, but that’s probably <0.01% of the game’s populations. powerups in halo 3 were an unnescessary addition, but they didn’t destroy core halo gameplay like aa’s did. power drain was OP though. CE and 2 both had better campaigns overall, but I feel that Bungie ended things so beautifully with 3 that i would still give it the crown.
there’s still so much i’m missing because this is largely an unorganized rant, but essentially: halo 3 with the inclusion of ODST was the last great halo (and console FPS, stupid call of duty). halo 3’s campaign was more fun, better told and vast than its successors’. The multiplayer has lost its sense of self. reach and 4 take far less skill than the original trilogy. new maps are junk. reach made some notable improvements in firefight, forge and theater. improvements not present in reach. custom games peaked in halo 3.
halo 3 is the city in the sky. halo is dead. wake me, when you need me.