I am trying to understand the story of Halo 5. Halo is my favourite fps series, with its sci-fi setting, epic music and satisfying story campaigns. I have always found the story interesting but I love the gameplay more.
I have never read any of the Halo novels. I have never met another Halo player who has read the novels. To me the story of Halo is presented in the games, that is how the majority of players have experienced the story. I don’t have time to read the novels. To me what happens in the books, I do not consider to be apart of the story. I should not have to read the books to understand the story in the games
I loved Halo 4, loved the campaign, the personal story between Cortana and Master Chief. The Didact, Librarian confused me! The Forerunners are back, the Didact is alive but he wants to destroy humanity using the Composer to encrypt humanity! The Promethean are digitized humans! Humanity was in an ancient battle with Forerunners and the Flood. Humans and Forerunners are two different species now. When I went online, Halo fans revealed the novels explain background story- there are two didacts, there is a Precursor race, the Domain, the Flood and the Precursor are all related. I found this extremely confusing. What I don’t get is why would you keep the Didact imprisoned alive. If Forerunners chose humanity to succeed, why imprison the one guy who hates humanity, survive the original halo array blast, so he can escape and threaten Humanity again. Genocidal Forerunners are imprisoned on shield worlds to be kept alive – Does not make sense at all.
Halo 3 gave us the big revelations at the end of the game by 343 Guilty Spark that Humans are Forerunners, which makes sense over the course the original trilogy. Humans can activate/Forerunner technology, the Ark is located on Earth and the Gravemind eludes to humans and Forerunners being one and the same through (mission 9). Humans are called Reclaimers, which I thought was humanity reclaiming their lost Forerunner heritage.
Halo 3 nicely wraps up the story of the original trilogy:
Halo CE: We learn about the desperate struggle between humanity and the Covenant. We learn about the existence of an advanced ancient Forerunners civilisation, we learn about the Flood and their accidental release from containment. We learn about the purpose of the Halo array, a weapon to combat the parasitic flood by destroying their hosts – all intelligent life.
Halo 2: By playing as the Arbiter we get much needed insight to the inner workings of the Covenant, how their society works, their religious false beliefs, how the Hierarchs of the Covenant are deceiving the populace with the promise of salvation with Halos and the Great Journey. We also get the major revelation at the end of Halo 2 about the existence of the entire Halo array network, that all seven Halos can be activated from the Ark. Most importantly the Halo array has actually been used before to wipe out all intelligent life in the galaxy to stop the Flood.
After Halo 2, I had the question, if the Halo array was used to wipe out all life in the galaxy, how does life and diversity of alien species still exist?? To get a satisfying answer you have to watch Halo legends! There is an Origins video, which shows the Forerunner-Flood war and after the Halo array was originally activated, life was reseeded throughout the galaxy. I was annoyed by this, something as important as this should have been included in Halo 3 as it gives much need clarification between the Halo array, Forerunners and the Flood. This is why now the story of Halo has become convoluted, splitting important history and plot points between different media! All Halo games should presume the player is only experiencing the story through the games not other media, and the story of the games should be adequate to explain these significant past events.
Back to Halo 3: Humans make an alliance with the Elites. This is acceptable after playing as the Arbiter in Halo 2 and seeing the split of the Elites from the Covenant. This also allows the start of peace between humanity and warring alien species. Humans-Elites chase the Prophets and the rest of the Covenant to the Ark. The Flood who do not want to be destroyed leave the galaxy and arrive at the Ark to stop the activation of the Halo array. Master Chief/Arbiter stops the Covenant from activating the array saving all life in the galaxy. The Prophet is stopped. Now the resolution: Master Chief rescues Cortana from the Flood. Master Chief then destroys High Charity’s engines core, preventing the Flood from leaving the Ark. Now as the Ark is located outside the galaxy and the Flood is trapped, Master Chief then activate the replacement Halo ring with Cortana’s index which then destroys the Ark, the Halo and the Flood. The Chief and friends escape through the portal, back to the Milky Way galaxy. Not to mention before the Halo activation we get the satisfaction of killing 343 guilty Spark and the revelation that humans are indeed Forerunners, which makes sense as I explained above.
To me the original Halo trilogy, is actually a well told story that ends really well. I can see why Bungie left the Master Chief and Cortana story there. Halo Reach told a war story with the slight revelation at the end of the game that the Pillar of Autumn’s blind jump at the beginning of the Halo CE was not actually a blind jump – Noble 6 delivered a fragment of Cortana with the knowledge of the location of Halo (the Forerunner structure found near the end of the game contained this information).