Which Halo Art Style Was Better?

An argument came up and now I want to help settle it.

Which Halo Art Style is better?

Classic Bungie / Halo Infinite’s Neo-Classic style?

Halo 4 / Halo 5’s art style?

  • Classic / Neo-Classic
  • H4 & H5G

0 voters

This argument mostly spawned from Spartan Armor design, but I am asking for the games overral art representation.

Not Graphical quality mind you, seeing as poly counts change over the past 20 years. I am talking about attractive and consistent art style, not fidelity of graphics as we all know a game can have terrible graphics but look appealing despite that.


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Classic and Neo-Classic for sure, but h4/h5g is still leagues better than cat ears and holographic bunny ears. Not to mention all the alternate universe silly stuff.


Classic. Reach and the non meme stuff in Infinite are where Halo’s art style peaks imo.

Although I’m partial to cat ears.

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Halo 5 was good for Covenant stuff
Halo 4 was good for Forerunner stuff
Halo Reach was good for Human stuff

On a side note I don’t like Halo Infinite art style only because it like Halo 3 and Reach had a baby, instead of being its own unique thing.

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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

Halo 4:

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.

I read all of it and most of it I agree with. The only part I had any real thoughts on was about the monitors and sentinels moving to much and having too many moving parts. Zeta Halo is old. It’s the oldest Halo still in service. It’s part of the original set of rings designed to “combat” the flood. You can go watch some lore videos on YouTube if you want more details and I’d suggest Hidden Xperia. With it being an older model with older tech I can see there being different styles of sentinels and monitors. Possibly much more early versions before the ones we’re more familiar with were refined and became the standard.

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i like both the classic and 343s original style but i hate infinites with a passion. all it does is just mash all the old styles into one big ugly mess, taking more from what seems like og halo 1, like everyone loves it for the s#%ty graphics. infinite is just so boring because it adds very little new things just feels more like a regression in both gameplay and visuals from 5. even bungie was slowly making their halo more advanced looking but 343 took it in another direction but it atleast felt like more passion was put in, unlike infinite which feels devoid of any.

I would argue the opposite.

Just because something has a lot of details doesn’t make it great artwork. Too much complications in the design can result in strain of the eye, resulting in the art piece feeling unappealing due to it having now “low detail” section to rest our eyes upon.

Halo 4 and Halo 5 were full of such designs where there was excessive details in the 2D brushwork and the 3D model just having strange shapes jutting off seemingly for the sake of just increasing polygon counts.

Meanwhile Halo Infinite’s Mark VII feels like an advanced and sleek armor design, showing that it has a clear progression and inspiration from the Mark V [B] armor design, but in a more refined and simplified manner. While Mark V [B] is a more industrial and rough design, the Mark VII presents itself with being high-quality fabrication and craftsmanship. Which is fitting because the Mark VII Gen-1 prototype was a modified version of the Mark V [B] model of armor.

343’s style was interesting at first, but the Gen-2 designs were all over the place and over-designed. Heck, we have Wernissage making videos on how to simplify and improve the deigns of Halo 4, Halo 5, and Halo Online’s armors to make them more appealing.

  • Redesigning Blue Team’s Halo 5 Helmets —

  • Redesigning Fireteam Osiris’ helmets —

  • Redesigning some Halo 4 & Halo 5 Helmets —

  • Redesigning some Halo Online/Halo 3 MCC Helmets —

Just some examples.
Honestly, it is best to go for a more simplified design as it provides an attractive design while also ensuring that development time/cost of an asset model is reduced.

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i didn’t say it was great i, myself personally, just feel halo 4 and 5 is how 343 wanted it to look. i can appreciate it but still wish they took a little more ideas from bungie but not over do it like infinite.

oh god i hate that guys videos, it’s exactly what i was talking about! like people have some weird fixation on halo 1, news flash!!! it’s not 2001 anymore games can afford a little more detail.

Yes but there is a thing known as too much detail.

Take a look at the Argus Helmet from Halo 5 and the Gen-3 rendtion worn by Spartan Linda in 2060 —

  • Halo 5 Argus Helmet —

  • Spartan Linda-S058 donned in Mark VI Gen-3 —

They shrank down the attachments on her helmet so it isn’t so bulky and large, reducing details from being all over the place to having some surfaces that are low-detail in order to not over-complicate the design. Meanwhile you can clearly tell that this is the Argus helmet through-and-through.

nighterlev malding at this poll’s results.

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Uh. Wernissage designs things mostly in Halo 3 or Infinite’s style.

Also he’s a great guy, friend of mine.

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ok i know not all of halo 5s armor were winners, there is definitely halo 5 armor that i think looks totally stupid, some people wanna completely dumb it down just for the sake of fitting it with classic halo, not “oh this looks like armor super soldiers 500 years in the future would wear.” im also not saying more detail is better, less detail doesn’t make something better either! im saying i like it because i like it and it felt like the devs liked it it too, not everything i liked but i think it’s still much better than just coping the old art.

most of his stuff looks like the box art of halo ce.

Some armor is great.

Some great ones.
But the more outlandish designs need some adjustment.

Maybe if you watched the video and actually got a better look at it all you’d recognize that it clearly is nothing like CE.

By the way… More detail =/ overdesigning. A LOT of 5’s stuff was… Very very overdesigned.

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or maybe infinite should just focus on making cool original armor.

They have been. Or, did you miss all the original pieces?