One important thing that this episode established is that the episode to did not make itself clearly identify with any single game. Therefore, the episode can be watched five years from now and still make sense, assuming the next game has Jeff Steiz. That was a smart move, if it was intentional.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go watch an old (seasons 1-4) episode of The Simpsons. You should notice that the episode is not clearly from a distinct era in modern history. You could watch Marge vs. the Monorail and think that the episode aired a few weeks ago, when it really aired in the early 90’s.
I also liked that the episode was short, simple and relaxed. The characters work because there is a funny guy and a straight man, an important comedy technique. It didn’t make -Yoink- jokes (something that was a mistake in the trailer) and it made a creative twist on a common Halo joke (using the announcer’s voice in daily life) and made an ending that I didn’t see coming, even seconds before the credits.
The animation was smooth. I often hate cartoons these days (I still watch some of my childhood favorites, like Spongebob, Rocko’s Modern Life, Darkwing Duck and Freakazoid!) , yet modern cartoons tend to, even when they have good writing, have very bad animation. These characters didn’t move like robots and their expressions had life. The cuts were good and the timing was (mostly) on par.
The voicing acting needs work. The straight man (which means the level-headed character, not the heterosexual) had a bland voice, even when he should have been frustrated or angry.
The gag would have been funnier if medals appeared on the screen as they spoke.
The apartment should be COVERED in Halo merchandise.
Overall, I give this episode a solid A-. It would have been a B if this was an established series, but pilot episodes tend to be the worst episodes in a series (watch some, if you don’t believe me).
If I were to make specific suggestions:
-Give both the main characters girlfriends. It sounds stupid, but there’s a certain humor in watching The Simpsons or Family Guy and wondering how those men have loving wives. Further, a female voice would add a better dynamic to the cast, as the only voices so far have been similar male voices.
-Have them drive the car that was depicted in the beginning. That thing is begging to be a recurring gag (have one of them have to sit in the turret, with the reason being a lack of a trunk).
TLDR: It was a good start to an interesting idea that I didn’t think would go well.