Lost In Translation : Halo
Let’s get one thing absolutely clear before our resident Halo fan puts his angry hat on and flays me alive; this is about every Bungie Halo game after the first Halo, and is aimed at the campaign modes of those games, not at the brilliant multiplayer offerings. So, not Halo 1 or 4. Phew. Maybe he won’t even notice this article.
The problem I have, is that the campaign for the first Halo was brilliant, with an excellent premise which was full of mystery and wonder, an epic feel to the combat, with massive battle areas and innovative features. It defined the Xbox. This may very well have raised my expectations far too high, as the following games paled in comparison.
I expected the series to continue to innovate, and outside of the multiplayer options, it just hasn’t broken any new ground, and having to fight the same fucking enemies over and over, in each and every game, is painful. You get the little aliens, running around scared, the snipery ones in their towers, fat guys and the occasional enemy with a sword. Wait a minute, that’s the Covenant? Really, that’s all there is? The same enemies from game to game, sometimes with different names? You also have the Flood. Yep. The Flood.
It is like they just couldn’t be bothered
The only game I can think of that actually tried to do something different was Halo 4, so maybe the problem is that Bungie are massively overrated as a developer.
Part of the problem with the storyline of the games is that you never see any civilians, just a few soldiers here and there and the odd scientist. It is really hard to want to protect a civilisation that is entirely absent from proceedings. The pathetic range of end game bosses, each limper than the last, means that none of the games sign off with a bang.
Taken as single player, or co-op games, Halo 2, 3, Reach and ODST just aren’t that good. ODST is perhaps the best of the bunch, with a slightly more intriguing premise than the others.
Yes, before anyone asks: I play on Legendary difficulty. The combat and gameplay are good, but none of the games ever step out from the shadow of the first Halo, and become utterly forgettable. Online versus multiplayer is brilliant and progressive, which makes the total lack of progress in the single player all the more disappointing, and it is telling that, asked to name the best three campaign modes from the entire Halo series, I would say Halo, Halo 4 and Halo Wars.
Put it this way; if any other developer had put he single player elements of the games in question, into stores, labelled as something other than Halo, then they would have been ignored as generic sci-fi puff. It makes me worry about what to expect from Destiny, although perhaps Bungie, freed from chains of their own design and producing a non-Halo game, can surprise me.
Now, I need to find a quiet corner of the arcade to hide.
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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.