I still remember the first time I saw Halo running on the original Xbox. I was blown away by the graphics and loved the Alien inspired story. The action was unlike anything I had ever seen and combined with large open levels in which you could approach any situation from multiple angles, I was sold right away
But, like any long-running series, the Halo franchise has had its ups and downs. From the roaring success of the first game to the lukewarm reception of the more recent titles, the Halo franchise has seen it all. For many, the high point of the franchise is, and always will be Halo 3.
Here are 15 Reasons Why All Halo Games Are Bad (Except Halo 3). There will be spoilers in the list so, if you still haven't played this ten year old game, consider yourself warned.
15 Picks Up Where Halo 2 Left Off
To say that people were pissed off by the ending of Halo 2 would be a slight understatement. For those that don't remember, Halo 2 ends with the Covenant showing up to Earth and Master Chief roaring in on a stolen ship vowing to 'finish the fight.' Game Over. Guess it turned out Chief wasn't planning on finishing the fight that game.
Halo 3 thankfully picks up exactly where Halo 2 left off with Chief plummeting to Earth in just his armor after jumping from his ship. You then proceed to fight your way through hordes of Covenant and all is right with the world.
14 More Fighting On Earth
Bungie teased us with fighting on Earth in Halo 2, but never really delivered the goods. You were on Earth for a short period of time before being jettisoned off to yet another Halo ring.
Halo 3 does a good job of balancing the alien worlds with the one we are more familiar with. Not only does this make sense in the story, but it creates an ebb and flow the series needed. At this point humanity has its back against the wall, fighting for the only thing it has left: Earth. It also delivers on what a lot of players were hoping for when an Earth mission was first teased in Halo 2.
13 Halo 3: ODST
Ok. I know this might be considered cheating, but it still technically says 'Halo 3' in the title so it counts.
One of the biggest surprises to come to the Halo universe, and the only game to change up the Halo formula in a meaningful way, was Halo 3: ODST. Instead of playing as the super-Spartan Master Chief, you are a rookie ODST, Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, the Halo universe's equivalent of a paratrooper. Instead of dropping from an aircraft, you drop in a small pod from space.
Set during the events of Halo 2 leading up to 3, ODST is such a departure from other Halo games that some gamers weren't pleased. Stealth plays a much larger role. Since you aren't a super-powered soldier, you must choose your fights carefully, choosing to take out an enemy or two when you can and not charging blindly into the pack. It is a great change of pace for the series with a short, but sweet campaign.
Multiplayer has been a huge part of Halo games from the very beginning. Halo 3 is no different, but what really set this entry in the series apart from all the others was how refined it all felt. This was Bungie at the top of their game. From great Co-Op gameplay in the single player to brilliant competitive multiplayer, it was clear Bungie had figured out the formula for great multiplayer.
The addition of equipment adds a nice new wrinkle in the traditional Halo combat. Duel wielding had been further refined, along with numerous tweaks to weapons new and old. And, while I don't want to get ahead of myself, the multiplayer maps in Halo 3 were nothing short of extraordinary.
11 Gravity Hammer
The Gravity Hammer was originally shown in Halo 2, but the player wasn't actually able to pick it up. It seemed like such a tease to see the Brutes in Halo 2 running around with them, yet the player unable to use them.
Halo 3 thankfully changes that. While not all that practical, they were a lot of fun to pick up for the first time. Nothing gave me more satisfaction than hefting one of these large hammers and using it to knock a group of grunts or jackals off a ledge and watch them go flying. Or, even better, picking it up in multiplayer to blast your opponents (or friends) away with a single stroke.
Brutes first appeared in Halo 2. In that game, they are part of a power struggle within the Covenant that continues through to Halo 3, but it wasn't until that game that they came into their own.
Heavily armored, they are hulking, ape-like things that will duck and dodge your shots until they've had enough and come charging headlong into you. It can be a terrifying moment when you are reloading, and an angry Brute is coming straight for you. Not only did the Brute AI improve in Halo 3, Bungie gave them jet packs, making them a threat from the ground and the air.
Yeah, yeah, I know this may be cheating too, but I'm already doing it, so we're just going to roll with it ok?
One of the biggest surprises (besides how different ODST was from the other Halo games) was the addition of the Firefight mode. In it, you and up to four friends fight off waves of increasingly tough enemies. It was a great mode to play with other people that just got more and more intense as the waves increased. It may seem strange to include this, but back when ODST first released very few games included a mode like firefight. Now it seems every shooter has some form of Firefight attached to it.
Equipment was probably the single biggest change to the way Halo 3 worked in respect to previous games. Players could pick up different items and deploy them at will. The ability activated depended on the equipment picked up. For example, the bubble shield equipment, when deployed, produced a small 'bubble' shield around the player, protecting them from any incoming fire for a limited amount of time.
Equipment hasn't really made the transition to later games which is a shame because many of them really changed the way Halo's gameplay loop worked. The bubble shield was a quick fix if a player got caught in a tough situation, while the regenerator was great for deploying around teammates to help assist everyone in keeping their shields up.
7 Expanded Skulls
Skulls were first introduced as bonus items in Halo 2, but Bungie really expanded upon them in Halo 3. They affect the Campaign mode in ways both meaningful and ways not so meaningful.
In Halo 3, skulls are split into two categories; gold and silver. Gold Skulls affect the difficulty of the game, for example: if a player dies playing solo, the level is restarted (Iron Skull). Another skull had enemies drop less ammo (Famine Skull). While Silver Skulls are more just for fun doing things like making Grunts explode in a shower of confetti and children cheering whenever they are shot in the head. Skulls not only extend the life of the game by allowing players to modify certain aspects and make them more difficult, but they also are a lot of fun to find. Skulls were hidden in hard to reach places throughout Halo 3, and finding them encouraged you to dig into each level.
While later games have continued the use of skulls, Halo 3 was the first in the series to really perfect the feature.
6 Scarab Fight
Who could forget their first Scarab fight?
Certainly not me.
You climbed on board, gunned the engine, and then, suddenly, there it was. That massive, hulking machine scoping you out. Driving like a madman, zipping around the open map, a Marine firing rocket launchers from the back seat as you as you did your best to down the machine.
The rockets from the Marines seemed to fill the sky and you could almost feel the heat from the plasma cannons as the Scarabs fired back at you. And then, finally, with one last burst of energy, it went down in a brilliant explosion of blue and green.
Whew. What an experience.
5 Multiplayer Maps
I feel confident in saying Halo multiplayer maps will never be as good as they were in Halo 3. Sure there are some classics from earlier games (and even Halo 4 and 5 have some good maps), but Halo 3 really set an impossible bar to reach.
Let me just throw some names at you: Standoff, Guardian, Last Resort, and Valhalla.
The first two maps are on the smaller size, making them great for Slayer games. Last Resort with its open beach, bottleneck roads, and, of course, the giant spinning wheel in the middle of the map made it a go to for just about any mode. And finally, Valhalla. Yet another remake of the classic Halo map Blood Gulch and, in many ways, the finest variation on it. If you don't recognize these names, maybe you should go back and give them a try.
4 Chief Is The Ultimate Badass
Let's get this clear: Master Chief has always been a badass. By the time Halo 3 rolled around, he had already saved the entire galaxy from complete destruction how many times?
However, what sets the Master Chief apart in Halo 3 is how powerful it really feels to be him. Ripping down an enemy turret and charging down a battlefield while blasting at them with their own turret felt great. Duel-wielding Needlers made you nigh unstoppable, and throwing down a bubble shield in the middle of a battlefield made you feel like a master tactician.
The other Halos told you how awesome Chief was, in Halo 3 you actually get to play it.
Forge is another thing that feels like it has been a staple of Halo forever now, but it was originally introduced for consoles in Halo 3. It is another new feature added to 3 that has become canon for any Halo games going forward.
Back when it was first released for Halo 3, it was unclear if a community would develop around it. Needless to say, a strong community did develop creating some really great maps and some ones that, while they might not function in a proper Halo gamemode, are fun to download and play with your friends anyways.
2 Last Main Halo Game Developed By Bungie
While Bungie would go on to develop two more Halo games after 3, this was the final game in their Master Chief trilogy. More importantly, it stands out as a climactic conclusion for the series. The refined and memorable campaign, the superb multiplayer, the score, the weapons, all of it went into making a game that truly stands out in the Halo franchise.
343 Industries has done a fine job taking over the franchise from original developer Bungie. And, to be fair to 343, they inherited a near-impossible task. How do you take over a hugely successful franchise from the original developer and make a game that feels fresh while still maintaining what made the original games so great?
1 Wraps Trilogy
The enemy is defeated. Captain Keyes and Sergeant Johnson are dead. Spartan 117 is MIA, presumed dead.The faceless here, Master Chief, locks himself up in a cryo-chamber to rest until he's needed again.
What better way to end a story about a mythical-like being who has literally saved humanity again and again? It is a triumphant story, but not one without loss. Bungie not only wraps their epic trilogy in a fascinating and heartfelt way, but they leave the door open for Chief to come back if humanity needs his help again.