Overall classic, but I never avidly hated the 343 style. Its just that we needed a gradual ease into it. It felt like shifting gears on a car, but forgetting to clutch and the car stalled. I’ll go into a rant now but my opinions over time were that
Covenant: Not too different, a little odd, but I figured they were a splinter group like Halo 2’s heretic faction. Basically non-military gear. And I was kind of right, since they were meant to be religious fanatics. Sadly, the storm rifle/covenant carbine started a trend of making alien looking guns less alien and we still have that issue.
Forerunner: The Halo rings were dormant and dusty, when 343 Gulity Spark said they were on stand-by, I took it literally, like the whole ring was holding its breath all this time waiting to exhale and exterminate the galaxy. So when we came to Requiem to see a shield-world bright, vibrant, moving, and full of artificial life, I took that as a sign that there wasn’t any waiting. Requiem was an active facility. If the Halo rings were cold, dead, and abandoned, Shield Worlds were warm, alive, and lived-in. And that would make sense considering that the Halos were galactic nukes and shield worlds were fallout-shelters. And the Prometheans were cool. You took a physical being, digitized them, and tried to cram them into a robotic body, I feel like crawlers, knights, and watchers make sense in that way instead of more sentinels. It makes me think that in the conversion some nerve and muscle movements cause glitches in promethean bodies, which is why they have weird faces and little arms. I took it as human left-over data that needed an outlet. That would tie into how the forerunners couldn’t un-compose someone back to organic form.
UNSC: Utterly jarring. So much changed for no reason. Each game does have artistic differences, but at least a frigate from Halo 2 looked the same in Halo Reach. Chief’s Mk VI changed a little between 2 and 3, but not enough for most of us to notice. Instead it shifted so suddenly that I was immediately thrown off. Of course the UNSC moved away from being a balance of practical and futuristic and more toward futuristic and over-detailed. Reach partially started this, but Halo 4 finished it. The mongoose looks like a generic 4-wheeler. The warthog has gas cans (despite using water) and handlebars all over the place. The marine armor looks more like pillow-suits and spartan armor looked like cardboard w/ greebles glued onto pastel morph suits. The BR doesn’t look like an actual gun, more like a car-part. Some of it might have made sense if they waited to show all this off when the Infinity came, but they didn’t hold the artstyle back for consistency.
Then Halo 5 came along and that made me actively dislike 343’s original style.
Covenant: Looks so alien and weird, but this is meant to be a small religious faction, how in the world did they get all this stuff? Where was it in Halo 4? Where was the Halo 4 stuff here? It confuses me how they had so much newer more advanced tech despite less resources.
Forerunner: Somehow they tried to mix the decaying dormancy of the halo but on a shield world. And it didn’t work for me. It is like the two styles tried to meet but clashed instead. The promethean changes were welcome, but the soldiers not being the composed modern humans with knights being composed ancient humans is a massive writing mis-step. Because now I run into the “Where were they in Halo 4?” issue again. And why do the guardians have a face?! Prometheans, I explained what I thought, warden, he’s an AI, sure. Why the dubstep owls?!
UNSC: Most of my complaints carried over, but even the classic stuff that came back like Mk. IV armor, and Reach items looked off. Like they were put through a fish-eye lense. So it took something I was already not liking and made it worse. Like how the scorpion doesn’t look like a scorpion anymore.
Halo Infinite is a welcome return to form, but still not where I’d like it.
Covenant/Banished: They moved away from the Halo Wars 2 style of covenant stuff with scrap metal welded on and painted red over the metal, and made them look more like it is covenant stuff painted red, with scrap metal welded on top of the paint. It sounds small, but it is a world of difference to me. Also, why does the pulse carbine and stalker rifle have stocks?
Forerunner: This felt like what they tried to do with Halo 5 but made it work. Zeta Halo doesn’t feel alive, but more like it is comatose. Slowly trying to pull itself back together to sleep again like Alpha and Delta Halo. I feel like the monitors and sentinels move a little too much though. I liked how faceless and cold Spark and the old sentinels were. Adding more moving parts to older designs takes away from that to me.
UNSC: Better, but not quite. Mk VII and Mk. V [B] Look way too similar. Rakshasa is cool, but where does the power come from?! Mk. VI gen 3 is cool, but I don’t want Blue Team to just be Mk. VI gen 3 with a different helmet. All of their new depictions show that. Give Fred some bulk, Kelly some paint, Linda some ammo pouches! Chief’s armor is meant to be factory mil-spec, lets see some variation in the Mk. VI gen 3 core! Picatinny rail on the guns is a nice touch too. But we still have the over-detail issue like the mongoose and warthog. But these issues are so small compared to what came before I can overlook them.
If anyone read all this, thanks. I went overboard with sharing on this topic.