The last 16 years have been a resounding success for the franchise, which has seen nine major releases. The gaming community has been dazzled by the Halo franchise’s greatness since Halo: Combat Evolved was released. Xbox owners have had the Halo IP for nearly twenty years, and in that time they have been privileged to see games that will leave them paralyzed by its groundbreaking storytelling and dumbfounded by gameplay design that was years ahead of its time. Since no other series could compare to it at the time, successful competitors were termed “Halo killers.”
Halo has been a master class in tone, tempo, and raw, punchy first-person gameplay over the past two decades, first under Bungie and now under 343 Industries. But there is no such thing as perfection; for every aspect that makes a Halo game stand out, there is also a weakness.
The worst part of of every single Halo game are laid down here:
Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)
Certainly, firing the pistol was a thrill, and it came equipped with a strong AF, a respectable scope, and a respectable supply of ammo. However, its overwhelming effectiveness stopped players from exploring the game’s other tools. In addition to being ridiculously effective at any range, it was also far too powerful to be used in a competitive setting. It’s a relief to me that this antiquity has been eliminated.
Halo 2 (2004)
Composer Marty O’Donnell gave Halo: Combat Evolved an audial identity with a heartbreaking, bare-bones score. However, Bungie commissioned a number of alternative rock artists like Incubus and Breaking Benjamin to create unique music for Halo 2. It was cutting-edge at the time, but now it just serves to date the game even further.
Halo 3 ODST
Master Chief was always meant to be a bit of a mystery for the players, but at least he had his own personality. The main character of Halo 3: ODST, Rookie, was a blank slate who didn’t say much. This, along with wandering around a destroyed city at night while jazz music played in the background, gave parts of ODST a feeling of being alone. Aside from the squads, Halo 3: ODST always felt like a dark, sad version of Halo. It was a nice change of pace for the first playthrough, but it didn’t quite stay that way for the rest.
Halo: Reach (2010)
Halo: Reach broke with tradition and added loadouts, which let you start rounds of the multiplayer mode with game-changing abilities like a jetpack, a sprint function, or a hologram, all of which have cooldowns. These were a lot of fun in the campaign, and they made Halo’s core gameplay feel fresh without changing what makes it work. At the same time, though, everyone in PvP just spammed the armour lock to death. By the end of Halo: Reach’s life cycle, its multiplayer was less of a game of skill and strategy and more of a bloody game of rock-paper-scissors.
Halo 5: Guardians
Like Halo 2, Halo 5 moved the focus away from Mr. John Halo and onto a team of Spartans led by a man named Locke. Other well-known characters, like Buck from Halo 3: ODST, were also on this team. It went a little too far with the direction change, though. This isn’t to say that Locke and the others were annoying , but rather that Halo 5 seemed to completely forget about its longtime hero, with hardly any time spent on the main character that many people had grown attached to over the course of four mainline games.
Halo Infinite 2021
Halo Infinite came out last year without a lot of the things that made the first seven games stand out. It didn’t let you play through missions again. You’ll be able to do that later this summer. It still doesn’t have co-op play. Some cosmetics that were free in previous games cost money in this one. All of this makes it seem like Halo: Infinite came out incomplete, which has made some people in the community feel down. But I don’t see it that way: I only see room for growth. Halo: The Master Chief Collection was the first time that 343 Industries did this. With Infinite, they can do it again.