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.”
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-.