Halo 5: clichés, and bad narrative. My thoughts.

PART 1

THERE IS SPOILERS HERE SO BE WARNED

Halo 5 is many things. A fun shooter, a solid competitive multiplayer, an adventure in sound design. However a good story is not one of them. Halo 5 is a good game, but its not great and the campaign is easily its weakest point. Of its many issues I will list a few and my thoughts down below. Of course there will be spoilers and negativity. Sigh…ok here we go.

1. Why did they kill off Jul and abandon the whole Halsey revenge plotline so soon? Jul’s entire character arc for the past few years has all been leading up to a confrontation with Thel this much was obvious with the Kilo Five trilogy, Spartan Ops and Escalation. They had the perfect opportunity here in Halo 5. Have Jul escape when Osrirs goes after Halsey and have Jul and Thel clash during the Battle of Sunaion. Yet what do they do? They just kill him off in the first mission of the game with their new character out of nowhere. What about the whole revenge plot with Halsey? If they were just going to abandon it so soon why bother starting it in the first place? Why end Spartan Ops like that if it was just going to end up going nowhere? It almost feels like at some point after Spartan Ops 343i was going to go down that road but changed their minds randomly and now were stuck with these characters they had to get rid of. What the -Yoink-?

2. Why were the Promethean soldiers never properly introduced to us? Halo 4 spent a good amount of time introducing the Knights to us and explaining what they are. So when Halo 5 introduces to players a new enemy type you’d think they would do the same. Of course not. First mission the game Locke and company fight them as if they have fought them before, as if they were nothing new. Where have they fought soldiers before? The only other case I know of is Operation: FAR STORM but none of Osiris expect for Vale was there. I know it was mentioned somewhere on waypoint months ago that someone somehow discovered how to create soldiers once again…well who is this someone? How? Why is this not explained to us in the game? Also what even are the soldiers? I mean I know, everyone who has been keeping up with the extended lore knows but what about people who are not? Why is that not explained in game?

3. Many times throughout the campaign I noticed a strange lack of ambient music playing especially during battles. No Halo game before this had this issue what the hell? It happens quite often I find and makes battles feel not climatic and epic but strange and awkward.

4. Why is the campaign so -Yoink- fast paced? The story starts up in your face and never slows down. Halo 4 has many slower moments throughout its campaign, with Chief and Cortana talking, or shots of the crew on the Infinity. Halo 4 took its time and did the pacing very well, Halo 5 does not. Halo 5 is fast from start to finish, it gives players no time to stop and actually think about whats going on without overwhelming them, its crazy. We went from hunting Chief, to surprise Cortana, to white knight warden to Cortana is evil so - Yoink- quick I had to pause the game to even think about what was happening.

5. Honestly it almost feels like large parts of this game were cutout. It would explain the very strange pacing of the story. Characters mention things that never get explained or resolved throughout the game. How did the Infinity already know of Cortana?

This is shown when Halsey is taken aboard the Infinity:

Halsey: “Captain Lasky. I sent you my position three weeks ago. I told you this was happening.”
Lasky: “We’ll discuss that in private, Doctor. Palmer?”
Halsey: "What has she done? How far has it already gone?"

Or again at the end of Blue Team:

John-117: “Sierra 117 to Infinity. Argent Moon scuttled. I’ve reassigned Blue Team. Destination Meridian. Potential contact from Cortana-”
Infinity Comms: “Negative 117. Another team is already being prepared to deal with her.”
Fred-104: “What the hell?”
Infinity Comms: “You’re to return to Infinity immediately.”
John-117: "Negative Infinity. I don’t like it.

This shows that Infinity somehow knew of Cortana ahead of time, this is what stirs Fred’s reaction and Blue Team going on their own. How did they know? Blue Team didn’t tell them.

Also again right after:

Halsey: “I tired to warn you this was happening…Cortana is no longer an asset, Captain. She is a danger. She has accessed the Forerunner Domain, a galaxy spanning network-”
Roland: “Cortana’s alive?”
Halsey: -that allows her to control whatever devices caused this damage."
Roland: “How is she-”
Lasky: “Master Chief believes she contacted him-”
Halsey: “What? No. John must not speak to her.”
Lasky: “-he’s gone in search of her.”
Halsey: “You let him go?”
Roland: “How is it that-”
Palmer: “Nobody lets the Master Chief do anything. He does what he wants.”
Lasky: "Until 0631 this morning, when he was declared absent without leave.
Roland: “This isn’t about the Master Chief”
Halsey: “John is not equipped emotionally to deal with her as a threat-”
Roland: “HEY! Is anyone going to answer me?”
Lasky: “You’re out of line, Roland”
Roland: “Yes sir. But so is everyone else. You created Cortana, Doc, and now
you’re throwing her out the airlock with thee accusations.”
Lasky: “Roland.”
Roland: “You think she tricked the Master Chief into abandoning his post?
Respectfully sir to what end? Why is Cortana the problem? Because she refused to die when she was supposed to?”

This entire cutscene is never explained in anyway, it is thrown at us so fast and then ends just as fast. How does Halsey know of Cortana? You’d think this would be addressed later in the game but it never is. Not only does she know Cortana is alive but she knows she controls the guardians AND that she is a threat. You’d think later in the campaign when Cortana straight up does return she would mention this, Lets also mention Roland’s outburst and how NOTHING BECOMES OF IT. It just happens and leads nowhere. This is one of the most obvious examples of times in this game where it feels like pieces are missing or were cut before release. I mean I know they’re concept art but still. look at pieces like this and this. What happened to that? Big sprawling battlefields that we never get to play in. I want to play that -Yoink-.

PART 2

THERE IS SPOILERS HERE SO BE WARNED.

6. Lets also briefly talk about the gameplay for a bit. Notice something about all the missions in Halo 5? They’re all heavily infantry focused. There is maybe two or three sections with heavy vehicles usually a Mantis or a Scorpion and all of them are heavily linear. Sure Halo has always had linear vehicle sections but the actual environments were open to disguise that. Halo 5 just feels like a big hallways with its sections. Compare Halo 3’s The Covenant to Halo 5’s Genesis for example. Hell, I remember long ago on NeoGaf Frankie teased what we could see in the then unnamed Halo game, one of which was “Duel scarab style epic battles”. Yeah we got NOTHING like that in Halo 5. The most “epic” battle we got was the Kraken…which is nowhere close to Halo 3’s scarabs. Halo 5’s Kraken is much larger than a Scarab yes but its also lifeless, it just sits where and lets you board it. It doesn’t move, it does fight back, its just a fancy looking chuck of land really with infantry on it. Sure Halo 3’s scarabs were tiny by comparison but they FEEL bigger because they were actual entities. They actually moved around the battlefield and targeted you, they felt alive. The Kraken does nothing of the sort. How does a Halo game in 2015 feel far less “epic” than a Halo game from 2007? Come on…

7. Where the hell did Cortana get a cryptum? A combat cryptum no less. Sure Genesis(real original name btw) is a forerunner world but its a Builder world, one dedicated to the Domain. Why the hell would a combat cryptum is be laying about?

8. Also I can’t believe I didn’t mention this sooner. How the hell did Cortana survive? All we got I think was 1 line during gameplay and it was something about the Mantle’s Approach and slipspace, thats it. No elaboration, nothing. You’d think it would be important since Cortana is kinda the central point of this game but naaah lets not explain any of that to the player. The tinyass explanation they give also doesn’t make canon sense. How did the wreckage of the Mantle’s Approach get her to Genesis? As far as I can tell the vast majority of the ship was destroyed above Earth with the rest ending up at Installation 03 where ‘The Next 72 Hours’ happens. How the hell did Cortana both survive and end up at Genesis connected to the Domain? Slipspace is mentioned but the only poral we know of was connected to Installation 03. If she ended up there why didn’t the Didact?

9. Lets also talk about the Domain and how to new players not into all of the lore and books its also never explained at all. Pretend you never read the Forerunner Saga, well then this whole Domain thing is thrown at you with no explanation and since its tied heavily to the plot of the game the entire campaign makes no sense to you.

10. Hell, why was Cortana brought back anyway? All signs before this pointed towards Cortana being dead and Halo 5 would explore how the Chief will deal with the loss of his friend and show is emotional, human side. Remember the end of Halo 4? “She told me that once…about being a machine” Well all that seems -Yoinking!- pointless now. 343i said many times that the focus will be anout Chief finding his humanity now…so what the -Yoink- happened? It almost feels like the game they talked about then and the game we got are completely different. NONE of the plot threads from Halo 4 are continued here, nothing about the Janus Key, nothing about the Didact, nothing about Chief’s humanity. Its as if 343i is trying to pretend Halo 4 didn’t happen. Did something happen during development? Thats the only thing I can think of. It would explain the sudden shift in direction and story. It would also explain the horrid pace of the story and the complete and utter lies of both Frankie and all of Halo 5’s marketing for the past 3 years. Just go look at the 343i interviews in 2013 and 2014. This feels like Destiny all over again. Seriously what happened to Halo 5?

I’ll be sure to get to this today, but I see what happened here.

The plot was good on paper but the execution was awful. So many plot holes and pointless scenes.

gameplay was fantastic but the story is hot garbage :frowning:

The only part of your post I disagree with is the comment about the domain. There is a succinct explanation given (though to be frank it was so inconsequential that I’ve forgotten it 4 days later), but lore expounds the concept further for those interested. I’d say that’s the ideal way to handle lore, personally.

Some of your points are valid, while many are just making a big deal over stuff that doesn’t matter or you’re over thinking it.

What i don’t get is why we played as Locke more than the Chief. Its like they were trying to force this character on us. Don’t get me wrong, i like Locke and the rest of Fire-team Osiris, but at least let us play half and half. I thought we would have got to play as blue team on meridian. Also what happened to Halo 5 being the darkest halo in the series? There was nothing dramatic, nothing exciting, nothing that made me think “wow, what a emotional thrill ride”. I was looking forward to seeing more of John’s emotional side. At the end of halo 4, he is broken to the core, but in halo 5 he seems fine. We waited 3 years for this story and look what we got. A jumbled mess that left us all trying to make sense of what happened.

Completely agree. The MP is saving this game though.
Arena is awesome, and I’m not a fan of Warzone but there are alot of people who are.

But I can agree with everything about the campaign.

SPOILERS AHEAD
I too wished we got to know more about the Promethean soldiers and that whole plot with Jul was cut short. My jaw dropped when they just simply killed him. No questions asked, no last words from him - he just dies…

I find myself in agreement with most of your points OP. One thing I might add is that I find it odd that, despite the fact that Brian Reed wrote both Spartan Ops and Halo 5, there is practically no correlation between the two.

> 2533274797973608;7:
> Also what happened to Halo 5 being the darkest halo in the series?

I’d like to get a comment from 343i for this one too. At what point does Halo 5 get any darker than Halo CE’s introduction of a parasite that eats through and converts your best friends into hivemind killing machines? At what point does it get any darker than Halo 2’s iteration of the prior point, along with the plot of The Great Schism? At what point does it get any darker than the marine’s mental breakdown you see in Halo 3, or the realization that Cortana might be drifting in rampancy come the end of it? At what point does it get any darker than seeing people getting composed, or Cortana’s sacrifice in Halo 4?

At no point does Halo 5 get darker than any of those points listed. Either I’m missing the direction they were going with that “Darkest Halo game.” comment, or they just flat out lied.

> 2533274813912897;11:
> > 2533274797973608;7:
> > Also what happened to Halo 5 being the darkest halo in the series?
>
>
> I’d like to get a comment from 343i for this one too. At what point does Halo 5 get any darker than Halo CE’s introduction of a parasite that eats through and converts your best friends into hivemind killing machines? At what point does it get any darker than Halo 2’s iteration of the prior point, along with the plot of The Great Schism? At what point does it get any darker than the marine’s mental breakdown you see in Halo 3, or the realization that Cortana might be drifting in rampancy come the end of it? At what point does it get any darker than seeing people getting composed, or Cortana’s sacrifice in Halo 4?
>
> At no point does Halo 5 get darker than any of those points listed. Either I’m missing the direction they were going with that “Darkest Halo game.” comment, or they just flat out lied.

I think by “darkest” they ment by Cortana recruiting 90% of humanities AIs to her side.

Escalation pissed me off so much when Halsey hacked a contender class AI (offensive bias maybe?) at the absolute records. A test within a test within a test right ? Nope. Nothing in Halo 5 makes sense. Very little from Halo 5 is in line with the lore. This whole 343 respects the lore thing is BS too. Oh and The Fall of Reach is bad too. I can forgive them for horrible animation but so many things were wrong when compared with the book.

343 are horrible storytellers.

The mantle of responsibility does not belong to 343.

I felt this story was basically an extended preview for what we’re going to get in Halo 6. By about halfway through I guessed nothing was going to be wrapped up, which really took out the fun off getting through the game.

Halo 4 had a great story and left me pumped for the next game, where as I feel so cheated by Halo 5’s story that I was left pretty indifferent to seeing what happens next.

SPOILER WARNING
The only thing that actually got me excited for the next game was the Legendary Ending showing the Halo ring being activated.

> 2533274961229108;13:
> 343 are horrible storytellers.

I would even say that Halo 5 does not quite tell any story. I feel like the story content of Halo 5 is excessively poor and has been artificially extended by making us follow Locke.

My point is that there are only 3 missions with Blue Team, because the whole Halo 5 story could fit within 3 missions of any previous Halo game.

I went halfway down the wall of text, read one part about the game never telling you how infinity found out about Cortana, and stopped there. Halsey specifically says she contacted Lasky three weeks ago about the issue which was ignored until now. There you go but I’m not wasting my time with this, the campaign was great.

> 2533274797973608;7:
> What i don’t get is why we played as Locke more than the Chief. Its like they were trying to force this character on us. Don’t get me wrong, i like Locke and the rest of Fire-team Osiris, but at least let us play half and half. I thought we would have got to play as blue team on meridian. Also what happened to Halo 5 being the darkest halo in the series? There was nothing dramatic, nothing exciting, nothing that made me think “wow, what a emotional thrill ride”. I was looking forward to seeing more of John’s emotional side. At the end of halo 4, he is broken to the core, but in halo 5 he seems fine. We waited 3 years for this story and look what we got. A jumbled mess that left us all trying to make sense of what happened.

I got it just fine, and the cortana and chief conversation scene was exactly what you said the game didn’t have.

And again I will repeat what I have posted on various discussions, Halo need Joe Staten to fix the story.

Most of the game you play catch up as Osiris, while that is happening Cortana has Blue Team running in circles until the very moment Osiris catches up. Cortana chose the worst time to come back to enforce peace, seeing how Jul was killed, and that the covenant shortly thereafter was dismantled seemingly for good. Cortana also says that the librarian planned for her to up hold the mantle, but if I remember correctly the librarian didn’t plan on the Didact to be let go so early. The fact that she ended up at genesis was more of luck, the fact that it isnt explained further is unacceptable.

Lets say the librarian did plan on her upholding the mantle, that would mean that she also planned for the Didact to be let go early, to compose humans, for Cortana to get destroyed, and sent to genesis, and for john to ultimately oppose her at the end of halo 5. Sure. Seems legit.

I would say that 343 created a scapegoat. Parts of the community wanted her back, they appeased the masses, and now that she is back she doesn’t fit at all.
This halo is the nail in the coffin for the franchise.

OP I too noticed all of the very same plot holes, and I must say I was let down, and frustrated by the story telling.

> 2533274964869144;12:
> > 2533274813912897;11:
> > > 2533274797973608;7:
> > > Also what happened to Halo 5 being the darkest halo in the series?
> >
> >
> > I’d like to get a comment from 343i for this one too. At what point does Halo 5 get any darker than Halo CE’s introduction of a parasite that eats through and converts your best friends into hivemind killing machines? At what point does it get any darker than Halo 2’s iteration of the prior point, along with the plot of The Great Schism? At what point does it get any darker than the marine’s mental breakdown you see in Halo 3, or the realization that Cortana might be drifting in rampancy come the end of it? At what point does it get any darker than seeing people getting composed, or Cortana’s sacrifice in Halo 4?
> >
> > At no point does Halo 5 get darker than any of those points listed. Either I’m missing the direction they were going with that “Darkest Halo game.” comment, or they just flat out lied.
>
>
> I think by “darkest” they ment by Cortana recruiting 90% of humanities AIs to her side.

The only thing “dark” about that, is the planet that got EMP’d. (Get it?)