I'm not a code-writer or video game programmer for a multi-million dollar franchise (and nobody in this thread sounds like one), but I'll just leave some common-sense here:
While designing Halo, Bungie always put an emphasis on detail-rich environments and stunning visuals, hence the need to free-up RAM by making their game run at 30 fps. Don't you think, if it were humanly possible on 6 year-old technogy, that they would have made their game run as fast as possible while still being able to maintain said visuals that they would have? Having a lot of rich details needs to draw memory from some place (it would seem to me that having such detail is inversely propotional to frames per second--extremely complex explosions=lower frame rates needed: watch some of Reachs we docs where they give LECTURES to university students on how to program such things. If they're being paid to do it, they're probably good at it).
Anyone who says CODs graphics (I'm talking graphics: motion-captured enemies and PCs, environment, textures, explosions, etc., not the speed or smoothness awkward figures run around at) is high. Detractors of Halo running at 30 fps while maintaining stunning visuals and environments seem to think Halo's creators did this on purpose.
There's a reason they did it--Xbox 360 doesn't perform the way they want in order to maintain the quality of visuals. They aren't lazy. They werent rushed into making the game. They are infinitely smarter with computers than you, because they made millions off these games. Stop complaing Stop trying to play programmer and go rot your brain out on some more Xbox. If you hate the framerate Halo runs at, I dare you to do better.
All of this gets negated by the fact that a majority of the things they spent so much time making look good are negligible to the actual gameplay. They spend so much time making the skies look good even though 90% of the time you're playing in that same day light blue sky.
Halo looks like a toy compared to some of these new shooters. I'm not saying they should have gone all grey and grainy but Yoink! at least make the game look next gen... it looks dated.
60fps is a must. The silky smooth feeling you get from 60fps can not be matched in a 30fps game. Ya just can't.
Outside the Halo hardcore fan base a majority of gamers regard Halo's graphics as subpar. You need to understand this, get out of the bubble, get outside the walls, and open your eyes.
Things need to change and one of those is going from 30fps to 60fps.