Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians is lost in its own plot but the gameplay has been sharpened and if you want Spartan action in spacious, interesting levels, it’s here. Frankly, I wouldn’t have had so much of a problem with the centering of the multiplayer by making the entire campaign about commanding a squad, but… You know how sometimes you want to tell a story about the relationship between two people and how they both change and drift apart over time but you accidentally add SEVEN extra protagonists? It happens to the best of us but it also happens to 343 Industries.

Halo 4

Halo 4, while messy and confusing, has certainly solid gameplay so it still feels like Halo. The strangeness begins with the star of the show: the Prometheans, the dull new enemy class. I understand that a new developer means changes, some fundamental, but it’s difficult to square some of these choices. Why do the ancient digital computer creatures drop shotguns? Why did the forerunners build a huge hollow planet? Why is there weird dramatic Dad tension between Chief and Del Rio? Why retcon Forerunners are not humans? Why is Cortana so horny? If you loved Halo, don’t play this game.

Halo 3

Chief’s back and more blockbuster than ever. Halo 3 is one of those titles upon which so much was riding since fan expectations were vast and everything had to be perfect. Halo 3 wants to be so much… And it is, mostly! It doesn’t have the edge that Halo 2 had or the pure awe of the original but it closes the story of the Flood competently. The music moves us, the vocal performance delivers, and most importantly, the assault rifle is back, baby. Master Chief’s adventure on the Ark is good fun, but delivering on everything means making compromises.

Halo 2

Halo is really a series about level design. The story is about architecture certainly, the colossal space stations and the aliens who love them. The gameplay too, could not be more concerned with the way spaces mold the action within them. Halo 2’s firefights are like water which takes the shape of its vessel finding sparkling frenetic joy both in the stealth mazes of the Arbiter and the elevator arenas of the Chief. It is the perfect Halo game. And, in light of the future sequels, Halo 2 is like releasing a greatest hits album before even starting your career.

Halo: Combat Evolved

It is with no hesitation that I recommend you stubbornly pretend that nothing else exists except for Halo: Combat Evolved. Nothing else within that franchise, anyway. The first title was given the love and consideration from which all first entries into long , eventually bland, series benefit: the fear that this would be the only title so it MUST be great. It’s exciting, colorful, and paces the game play premises and challenges beautifully across the campaign. My recommendation is to play it like you already love it: co-op, on Heroic, with the Old Graphics, under a blanket, and with some soup.