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Halo – 11 years and 7 games later: A Series Retrospective

Hello Gamer Codex, Matt, aka WorldofTomorrowInc here with my first review. I have posted some TCG unboxings so far, but no reviews. I plan on uploading my video review for Minecraft soon, but until then here is my Halo series review (Spoiler Warning):

Halo CE:

So the game is called Combat Evolved…and evolved they haven’t. First, I would just like to say I only played through Halo’s story mode once. The game opens with the ship you, playing as the super-soldier known as Master Chief, are on coming out of a dimensional rift from Reach (more on that later) and the Covenant immediately board your ship. Then, Captain Keyes (whose name is ironic because he doesn’t control the ship, that’s the AI Cortana’s job) gives you a pistol that isn’t loaded…where were these people trained?

Going on from that training thing, the AI characters are terrible. I know this is 1st-generation Xbox programming, but the AI can’t drive or shoot properly and they die almost instantly. I am willing to let those gripes slide, as Halo was a good game. It could have been more memorable, though. I played this game a while ago and I only remember a few specific things from the campaign.

Those times were the beginning, when the Chief punches a hole in Keyes’ infected head to get his CNI, the Warthog driving sequence at the end and the Legendary ending or, as I like to call it the Halo soft-core. For those of you who don’t know, this is where Johnson hugs an Elite and it grabs his ass. This ending, however, is not canon as Johnson comes back in the sequels. I cannot comment on the multi-player as I never played it, but I also hate multi-player in most cases.

Halo 2:

Halo 2 holds a special place in my heart because it is the game that introduced me to Halo. I played the offline multiplayer with a friend almost every day and it was very fun and enjoyable. It has amazing maps and awesome weapons (especially the energy sword that had unlimited charge).

Now on to the rest of this game. This game, however special it is to me, wasn’t memorable to me either. I don’t remember almost any of the finer details of this game. I remember that you – playing as Master Chief – fought on another Halo ring, killed some prophets, fought the Flood again (still as annoying as ever, even though I love them) as well as playing as a character known as the Arbiter in some levels. So, the game starts off with a Covenant Elite (later known as the Arbiter) being sentenced to death and Master Chief getting some award for something or other. That is all the plot I remember. I know a Halo is involved, the Flood show up, and shit starts getting bad for humanity.  Basically, a standard Halo affair.

Now I wish to get to the worst part of the game and the part that ruined it for me:  the ending. Now let me tell you first that I had finished Halo 3’s campaign before playing halo 2’s campaign and that’s why I thought it was bad. The final boss is an alien monkey (yes I know he is a brute). First, he is easy to beat. Second, why did we need a boss battle in Halo? Then you stop the Halo from firing and you see the Chief in a ship saying he will “finish the fight” (well no shit because there are still tonnes of bodies around). At that point, you think, “Awesome, that wasn’t the final boss and there is still gameplay left.”

Then the credits roll and it becomes apparent that he will finish the fight – in Halo 3.

Halo 3:

And on that note, it’s time for our look at Halo 3. Halo 3 was the first Halo game that I played the campaign all the way through. The campaign is more memorable than the others because it was the one I played the most. My favourite level was The Storm where you first see the Scarab and I probably played that mission 100 times over.

Halo 3 continues the  pants-on-head retarded trend with teammates that can’t drive 2 feet without running into a rock and sitting there until I get out, at which point they drive away.  Additionally, the AI couldn’t shoot a dead dog nailed to an armchair sitting 5 feet away.

The story starts off on Earth, where the Covenant forces have holed up and are searching for the Ark when they find a portal and the Flood show up. Then the good Elites show up and glass that area, killing the Flood. Then, they (the good Elites and the humans) go to the Ark, where the Flood show up, and they kill the leader of the Covenant. Now we get to my most hated Halo 3 moment – the level called Cortana. In this level, you travel to the Flood-infested Covenant ship to look for the AI Cortana. This level is worse than The Library from Halo 2 and that is saying something. It’s like they gave the job of creating a level to the retarded interns or something. Then you blow up the ship, save Cortana and head to the new replacement Halo for the one you destroyed in Halo 1.

Once you get there, you head to the control room when the tits-up button is pressed by the Flood, who promptly show up to mess up your day. You get to the control room where the monitor (floating ball telling you what to do) goes insane and attacks you. Like I said, I don’t see why a boss fight in Halo is needed, as the difficulty of the boss is equal to a retarded beach ball with anger issues. You really can’t die against this boss unless you kill yourself with grenades (as they are ineffective against the boss), you fall off the bridge, or your teammate decides to murder you. Then you beat the boss and you set the Halo to blow up and you run to…yup you guessed it: a Warthog. Looks like we went full circle in this trilogy.

So you drive along the unfinished bits of the Halo while shit goes down and things blow up. You eventually reach the spaceship and you fly through a portal. The portal collapses when the ship is halfway through it, however, and the Chief is left behind with Cortana while the Arbiter goes back to earth. Then, in the special ending, you see the Chief and Cortana in the ship and he goes into a cryo pod (like I said, full circle) and he tells Cortana to “Wake me, when you need me” (foreshadowing, maybe?).

Halo 3: ODST:

First, I will say that I liked Halo ODST; it was a nice change from playing as the Chief, the atmosphere of the game was awesome because you were alone in the city with the Covenant, and the storytelling was good with its flashback sequences. I also liked how they brought back the Brute Plasma Rifle.

The game also came with all of the Halo 3 multiplayer maps, but I do not care about those much. The Firefight mode gave me and my friend’s hours of fun just playing and trying to survive as well as trying to get the Firefight achievements. I really don’t like the Brutes in any of the Halo games; I have always preferred fighting the Elites in Halo.

This is mostly because I favor the Energy Sword over the Gravity Hammer, but whatever. The game was, however, very short and there were no skulls to collect. If you had found them in Halo 3, you could use them here, which I prefer to do rather than just use them whenever. The last thing I didn’t like was the whole Superintendant/Covenant Engineer thing. It just didn’t make sense.

Halo Wars:

Now I am going to say first that I loved Halo Wars. It is probably my favourite Halo game. Now I know this is like a signed invitation for the Halo fan boys to jump out from under rocks and belch reasons why Halo Wars isn’t a Halo game and why it sucks, but hear me out here first.

Other than Aloe 2 this is my first RTS game and it is really good and easy to learn. Now I know they messed with the storyline and everything but I prefer to think of this game as more of a Halo fan fiction made into an RTS game. I love the introduction of the Flood (not in story context, just that you play against them) and the story mode (not the storyline, just the campaign mode) because of the different things you do and places you go.

Now remember, I never played this game online, but the skirmish mode where you play as a faction against AI bots is amazing. You choose between either one of three UNSC characters who have different units and abilities or one of three Covenant aliens who have the same differences.

There are a couple balancing issues such as the Spartans jacking vehicles being hard to do and temperamental. When playing as the Covenant, if you create a Scarab, it is almost a guaranteed win because it takes so much damage, it can be healed and it cannot be jacked by enemy Spartans.

Halo Reach:

Halo Reach was a good game. Admittedly, not as good as Halo Wars but good none the less. I didn’t like how the Brutes were there, even though they weren’t used much before the events of Halo 2 and I could have done without the armour abilities. Well, all of them except the sprint function, and I did love the new weapons and vehicles.

The story was pretty well written, though it was easily spoiled if you knew anything about Halo lore because whenever Reach is brought up anywhere in the lore, it is referred to as a place where tragedy occurred. I also really enjoyed the new assassinate function. How it worked was if you held down the melee button when hitting an enemy in the back, it would do a quick assassination kill which never ceased to be awesome.

The new Forge World map made specifically for Forge was amazing to play on and try to build things on (I never was good at building stuff in Forge) and the Firefight mode is back, which made me very happy to waste hour of my life with friends killing more Covenant. The one thing that I really hated about the campaign was that Bungie boasted about having space combat. OK, first it doesn’t count if it lasts 10 minutes at best, Bungie, and second, it wasn’t even that good of a space combat section.

Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary:

*twitch*…*twitch* OK, I am not going to say much about this game, as I haven’t played through it to the end yet. I played the first level and a half at a sleep over…then I got bored and played MW3. It didn’t bring anything that made me want to play it other than a graphical update (which you could switch between 2001 and 2011 graphics), skulls to collect on the 2011 graphics side and some minor and somewhat stupid Easter eggs that I don’t care about. Also, why in 10 freaking years has Keyes not loaded that stupid pistol???

~Matt Tennant, Owner of WorldofTomorrowInc, Writer signing off

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