PC Gamer Ranked are our ridiculously complete lists of the perfect, worst, and the whole lot in-between from each nook of PC gaming.
Halo is now not certain by numbers, however that hasn’t stopped us from counting them up and rating them. With Halo Infinite there at the moment are eight campaigns, and the arrival of the primary open-world Halo made us rethink our favourite and least favourite Spartan adventures.
The Halo completionists on our group voted on the perfect campaigns throughout the sequence. We determined to speak in regards to the campaigns alone right here, as a result of whereas weighing multiplayer on the identical time made it too onerous to name, we have now robust opinions on what makes for an important set of FPS missions. Nonetheless, we had been in for some shock debates as we began writing about every recreation within the sequence, like:
- Is the Warthog Halo’s best power or an affront to god?
- Did we do Halo 3: ODST soiled?
- Did Morgan promote his votes for a Recreation Gas sponsorship?
Till the following Halo marketing campaign arrives, here is our rating of each recreation within the sequence, ordered from worst to greatest.
Variety of entries: Eight.
What’s included: Each FPS Halo marketing campaign.
What’s not included: Additional modes like Firefight and Halo 4’s Spartan Ops, in addition to the spin-off Halo Wars RTS video games or the 2 cell video games. We additionally did not embody the arcade-exclusive Fireteam Raven, although it’s technically a first-person shooter.
8. Halo 4
Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: I recall the second Halo 4 trotted out a QTE in its first degree, and the unhappy little “oh, no” I felt proper then. Mercifully, it was considered one of solely two or three QTEs in the entire marketing campaign, and regardless of rating final on this listing, Halo 4 actually is not a foul recreation. Nevertheless it’s Halo at its most generic.
Halo 4’s marketing campaign has a number of blatant points. The story depends on Halo’s expanded universe lore for the primary time, and should you performed via it with out in search of out in-game datapads or studying a pair novels, you’d probably haven’t any rattling thought what was occurring. Missions are noticeably extra linear than any of Bungie’s Halo campaigns, lacking that expressive play and unpredictability that makes Halo’s fight actually come alive. And most damning, the brand new enemies, the Prometheans, simply… aren’t enjoyable to shoot. They lack the reactivity of the Covenant enemies, and there is all the time a “greatest” order to assault them in, making fights really feel samey and repetitive for the primary time in Halo historical past.
On the optimistic aspect, Halo 4’s environments look unbelievable for an Xbox 360 recreation, and I bear in mind particularly liking the towering Forerunner structure. Simply want it’d been in a recreation I really loved taking part in.
Morgan Park, Workers Author: These Promethean weapons actually did suck the enjoyable out of in any other case okay fights. What a complete misfire.
Nat Clayton, Options Producer: They ruined the Warthog, guys. I made it via the sport’s first degree with a number of issues, however the second I received behind the wheel of 343’s wimpy, toy-like excuse for a jeep, I knew I used to be out.
7. Halo 5: Guardians
Wes: These two had been really tied for final in our voting, however I say Halo 5 wins the “no less than they tried” award for gamely tackling Halo 4’s weaknesses—then failing in its personal methods. The builders actually tried to make the Prometheans extra enjoyable to battle, making Knights much less bullet-spongey and stopping them from teleport-zipping across the map. Even so, one thing about them’s off, and their aggressively cyborg-y sci-fi aesthetic by no means actually feels proper, both. Halo 5 additionally tried to repair 4’s linear ranges by including alternating paths round maps, a welcome change that once more did not fairly land. These largely got here within the type of partitions you may bust down with a brand new thruster cost assault, they usually’re comically synthetic within the extra pure environments.
Halo 5 tries to inform a narrative that does not require a lore deep dive by sending a brand new squad of Spartans off to cease Grasp Chief from palling round with Cortana, however the showdown comes off as extremely contrived. A variety of the Halo tales most likely land firmly in “did not actually care” territory for many gamers, however Halo 5’s is actively and damn-near universally disliked. By the point this recreation repeats the identical horrible boss battle for the third time, I used to be performed with it, however I do suppose it was a savvy transfer to design the Spartan squads across the co-op expertise.
And sure, as a result of I am that nerd who learn The Fall of Attain, seeing OG Spartan IIs Kelly, Linda, and Fred present up in a recreation did make me briefly comfortable.
Morgan: I nonetheless suppose Halo 5 was one of many strongest multiplayer shooters on consoles again in 2015. It keps a few of Halo 4’s greatest qualities, added enjoyable new Spartan talents, and had an particularly satisfying pistol. The issue is these issues all reside in a marketing campaign that is not a lot enjoyable in any other case. 343 additionally added reviving to co-op so you may get revived earlier than dying, which mainly kills that enjoyable scramble the place a surviving teammate searches for a secure nook to allow you to respawn.
Wes: It is nonetheless not on PC, by the best way, however I’ve a tough time believing it will not grow to be a part of the Grasp Chief Assortment sometime.
6. Halo 3: ODST
Nat: Sincerely, what the fuck at sixth place. Halo 3 ODST won’t be the most important, greatest, or most “Halo” Halo, however for my cash, it is probably the most memorable Halo—an experimental tone piece that turns Halo 3’s sci-fi antics right into a moody jazz EP.
Lengthy earlier than Halo Infinite, ODST experimented with turning Halo right into a tightly managed open world, stranding you within the jazz-soaked streets of New Mombasa as an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper—elite troopers who hurl themselves into battle by dropping out of spaceships in huge steel bins. You are good, however you are not Grasp Chief, and skulking via nighttime streets has an actual stress as you dodge patrols of Covenant invaders.
ODST’s New Mombasa has a lot extra character than Infinite’s pine forests, pushed largely by the town’s Superintendent AI. Feeling misplaced? Go searching, and you may see billboards and road indicators flash with instructions to secrets and techniques and goals. Extra conventional Halo missions play out in flashbacks as you discover proof of your squadmates (voiced, for higher and worse, by the forged of Firefly). Someway, ODST manages to drag extra visible and thematic selection out of 1 Earth metropolis than Infinite can wring out of a complete ringworld, going from vertigo-inducing skyscraper brawls to a Warthog romp throughout a safari park.
However ODST is at its greatest once you take time to soak within the metropolis streets, turning off your night-vision and choosing up logs that inform a surprisingly thrilling noir aspect story. If somebody requested me what entry greatest outlined Halo, it would not be ODST. However should you’re on the lookout for the bravest, strangest punch Bungie ever pulled with the sequence, properly… get set for drop.
Wes: Did Mombassa’s streets actually have such selection? I do not bear in mind having that a lot to do in them however stroll from one mission set off to the following and battle some small patrols on the best way. However that additionally does not actually matter to me, as a result of the streets are simply there for vibes. And boy, the vibes are goooood. That soundtrack! The precise missions are all snacky enjoyable, too, and Bungie was clearly liberated by crafting vignette motion scenes with out worrying about all of them being strung collectively. The cool jazz and popcorn rooster Halo.
Morgan: I’ve learn numerous fascinating takes on ODST’s distinct tone through the years and have not actually linked with them. I just like the format of the marketing campaign and admire that Bungie went full Bioshock with audio logs, however I believe it is a weaker-playing Halo. I ended up connecting far more with the characters of Attain!
5. Halo Attain
Wes: My recollections of Attain had been lengthy tousled within the modifications Bungie made to its multiplayer, with awkward implementation of loadouts and dash, and the maligned armor talents like Armor Lock. Once I revisited it for a review of the PC version in 2019, I noticed simply how good Attain’s marketing campaign actually is. It is lean however substantial, no fats, no ranges that go on without end whilst you discover an identical Forerunner hallways. It delivers a number of of the nice, sprawling setpiece ranges I crave from a Halo marketing campaign, with open-ended areas to discover in automobiles or on foot. I particularly love the mission the place you are serving to evacuate the doomed human metropolis of New Alexandria because it’s overrun by the invading Covenant, combating via places of work, jetpacking throughout buildings, manning the turret on a flying troop transport, and at last driving your Warthog to assaunt an island of dug-in aliens. It is received the whole lot.
You possibly can actually really feel Bungie flexing its storytelling muscular tissues right here after getting bored with Grasp Chief’s solo adventures, and I admire the snippets of camaraderie we get from Attain’s doomed Spartan squad. Their sacrificial moments keep away from veering too far into melodrama—it is actually a surprisingly subdued recreation, contemplating it is a few bunch of supersoldiers combating a doomed battle to avoid wasting a complete planet. The unbelievable ending actually drives residence that somber tone. It is simply probably the most assured and constant Halo marketing campaign of all of them.
Nat: I beloved Halo Attain on the time, and I nonetheless suppose it is an important recreation. However with every passing 12 months, it feels just like the turning level for the place Halo goes flawed: a muddier, fussier artwork fashion, a brand new emphasis on Spartans past Grasp Chief, and elevated exposition for a sequence that’s greatest handled with imprecise grandeur. Attain finds a steadiness, nevertheless it’s really easy to see the place 343 took the weather it laid down and ran them into the bottom.
As a tone piece, nonetheless, Attain is impeccable. It is a splendidly tragic last be aware for Bungie earlier than the developer handed off the sequence to new palms.
4. Halo Infinite
Jody Macgregor, AU/Weekend Editor: Halo Infinite is the back-to-basics marketing campaign, placing the Chief and an AI on a hoop to zap aliens just like the previous days. The Banished could also be The Covenant we have at residence, however that is wonderful—their finances Grunts have the perfect barks but. When one ran from me, arms within the air, one other stood its floor and declared, “I am going to by no means run! I am too lazy!”
Halo began as a quippy motion film with the occasional little bit of house grandeur, and Infinite is similar. It is humorous, fast-paced, and solely sparingly cranks up the rating whereas one thing explodes or hangs there, being dramatic and mysterious.
In some methods, Infinite looks like what Fight Developed would have been with an even bigger finances and extra time. Its “large hall” open world is a scaled-up model of the primary recreation’s largest ranges, good for joyriding with a gang of unruly marines. Essentially the most important new addition, the grappling hook, makes barreling throughout that world into an excellent time even when you do not have a car. See that mountain? You possibly can yank your self up it, then fling your self excessive, secure within the data there is no fall injury and you may most likely land in the midst of a firefight on the opposite aspect.
Morgan: This one’s too excessive for me, acknowledging I have not completed Infinite’s marketing campaign but as a result of I hold getting a tad bored. As Nat famous in her assessment, I do not suppose the open world is used very properly. Wandering the rolling hills of a halo ring with no restrictions is neat for some time, nevertheless it comes on the expense of “traditional Halo” car moments that I did not understand I maintain so pricey. On the intense aspect, Infinite is probably the most enjoyable that Halo fight has ever been. Too dangerous it is soured by the entire “no co-op at launch” factor. I am unreasonably aggravated by that bit. Halo performed on their lonesome is not Halo in any respect.
Wes: I miss the nice design touches of Bungie’s marketing campaign ranges, however I saved shocking myself by discovering or creating enjoyable moments out within the open world. It is the primary time I’ve really most popular taking part in a Halo recreation on Regular as an alternative of Heroic, as a result of hyper-aggressive grappling hook play is the one method to reside. It actually does want that co-op, although.
Nat: The extra time passes, the extra I believe I used to be too beneficiant in my Infinite review. I’ve most likely performed extra Halo within the final 12 months than any video games journo on Earth, however Infinite commits the crime of leaving me frustratingly detached. It is the perfect Halo has ever felt, wrapped in a tedious open world and a narrative that is missing in any of the sequence’ spectacle and (regardless of 343’s greatest efforts) fails to make me care about any of the characters concerned.
Of us have complained that Halo Infinite will not allow you to replay missions, however let’s be trustworthy: Are you able to identify even one mission you’d wish to revisit? Outdoors the open world, Infinite’s marketing campaign blends into an vague labyrinthe of alien corridors and antechambers, properly designed fights that you’re going to overlook about immediately.
Infinite is pointedly nostalgic, and once you’re exploring shimmering Forerunner tunnels or whipping a Warthog over grassy plains, that nostalgia even typically hits. Nevertheless it’s a reminder that via sheer power of weight and time, Halo can now not be the unusual, enigmatic world it was once.
The High 3
3. Halo: Fight Developed
Tyler Colp, Affiliate Editor: Halo: Fight Developed gave us the phrases to speak about shooters the best way we do now. It gave us the corridors, the choral intro, the projectile weapons, the Power Sword, and the Grasp Chief. It additionally gave us a stark, alien world strung collectively by a riotous soundtrack and an austere artwork fashion. Everybody is aware of Halo as a result of it outlined a selected time in tradition that’s nonetheless felt right this moment.
It didn’t comprehend it at its 2001 launch, however Halo was the shooter for non-shooter gamers. It took the pace of the video games earlier than it, slowed it down, stretched it out, and made a playground of motion. On the time, shooter fight didn’t pop and hiss like Halo’s funky assortment of weapons and automobiles, and I believe they nonetheless don’t right this moment. It has its faults. The Library degree frustrates many, however when so many fashionable shooters desperately attempt to slide you thru an expertise, it’s good to have a definite reminiscence of a factor, no matter its high quality. Halo: Fight Developed could possibly be described as numerous issues—it’s rudimentary, it’s repetitive, it’s bizarre, nevertheless it’s undoubtedly not forgettable.
Jody: The Warthog Run nonetheless sucks, although.
Morgan: Wha… what?
Nat: I’ll battle you, Jody.
However significantly, Halo has a tense, alien vibe that later video games by no means handle to recapture. That is partially as a result of technical limitations—plans to have roaming herds of animals had been scrapped, and of course Forerunner buildings seem like that with these polycounts. However that lends the enigmatic ringworld an actual sense of the unknown, a quiet place that stood undisturbed for millennia, harbouring grotesque secrets and techniques that might have stayed buried had Chief and the gang not crashed a ship into it.
Lately, everybody is aware of what a Forerunner is, who the Flood are, and why there is a sequence of large hula-hoops scattered throughout the galaxy. However Halo CE felt unusual and terrifying in a manner that I am going to always remember. And the Warthog run bangs, really.
Wes: The simplicity of Halo: CE’s story actually is considered one of its nice strengths. Understanding so little about its universe is what drew us in. It actually might’ve been an unbelievable piece of one-off sci-fi if Bungie had by no means made a sequel. Bungie actually had a knack for nailing these moments of marvel: stepping out of a tunnel to seek out your self in a snow-covered valley, mentally mapping out the geography of The Silent Cartographer’s island, sneaking aboard a Covenant ship at the hours of darkness of evening.
2. Halo 2
Morgan: I grew up listening to that Halo 2 is the worst of the unique trilogy. I performed it alongside everybody else in 2004, and as a dumb 8 12 months previous, all I absorbed on the time was “this Scorpion half on the bridge completely guidelines.” Flash-forward to after I performed each Halo marketing campaign final 12 months through the Grasp Chief Assortment and my new takeaway was, “this Scorpion half on the bridge completely guidelines.”
Then I remembered all the opposite cool stuff that occurs in Halo 2. Having energetic camo on the contact of a button whereas taking part in because the Arbiter? Sick. Chief giving the Cuv’nent again their bomb? Iconic. Absurdly highly effective rendition of the Battle Rifle? Please and thanks. Twin-wielding Needlers? I am on it. I am comfortable to acknowledge the missteps that Halo 3 corrects, just like the tragic lack of the Assault Rifle and the Legendary issue mode that is so flippin’ onerous in co-op it is usually an unfun slog. I might additionally remind you of the wonderful Delta Halo mission that lets gamers battle via a jungle temple biome with Warthogs, rocket launchers, Scorpions, and sniper rifles. It is adopted instantly by that cool half the place you snipe Covenant on a transferring gondola going each methods.
Truthfully, I am undecided my Halo 2 revisit would’ve hit the spot if I hadn’t been taking part in the Anniversary version. It is a spectacular remaster. I admire 343’s colourful tackle Bungie’s unique fashion, and I particularly love the up to date move on gun fashions and sounds. (Have you ever seen the H2A Sniper Rifle?) Then there are, after all, the Blur-produced cinematics which might be so good that I lastly consider a Halo TV present might work. You need to admire that they did not simply re-create what occurred within the previous scenes. Total sequences had been added! Barren Covenant council rooms had been reimagined to be grandiose and intimidating. For a minute there, these cutscenes nearly made me care a few Halo story.
It nonetheless amazes me that if I get bored with the brand new graphics I can simply slap a button to be proper again in untouched 2004 land. Now that is a rattling Halo recreation.
Nat: Halo 2 Anniversary’s remaster realized the appropriate classes from the considerably botched remake of the primary recreation. That is necessary, as a result of the unique Halo 2 is a brown smear of a recreation, proof of its tortured growth cycle. Anniversary, in distinction, is a correctly lovely factor.
Halo 2 is not my favorite Halo. It is a troubled center chapter, and it does not fairly hit the highs of Halo CE, Halo 3, or ODST. However its modifications arrange an outstanding gameplay basis for Halo 3 to construct from. Most necessary of all, Halo 2 realised that what Halo wanted, greater than anything, was a wholesome injection of Keith David.
Wes: Halo 2 launched a number of issues which might be core Halo DNA to me. It wiped away fall injury, dramatically altering what it felt prefer to play as a Spartan supersoldier. It gave us the Battle Rifle, immediately changing into the Halo weapon of selection. It added car boarding and the Gauss Warthog, the as soon as and future king of all Halo automobiles. Halo 2 even sped up defend recharging considerably, altering the cadence of battles. The marketing campaign drags in a number of spots, however that is the sport that set the template for a way all future Halo would play. It solely took Bungie yet another recreation to get it simply proper.
1. Halo 3
Wes: Not solely does the Warthog Run not suck, Jody, however its reprise in Halo 3 might be nonetheless probably the most thrilling finish to a FPS marketing campaign I’ve ever performed! Halo 3 ends the trilogy with a Warthog race throughout the exploding ring, theme track roaring gloriously within the background. And once you handle to finish it flawlessly in co-op in a single go… that is peak videogames, proper there.
Halo 3 stands as probably the most ingenious and replayable marketing campaign of the sequence, which is additional spectacular contemplating it has no less than one outright stinker of a mission: the notorious Cortana, a visit via a complicated rectum of Flood enemies that stops you each couple of minutes so a mad AI woman can yell at you. It is even worse than The Library in Halo 1.
However rattling, does the perfect of Halo 3’s marketing campaign make up for that weak spot. You have received Tsavo Freeway, The Covenant, and The Ark, sweeping open missions that expertly steadiness car shenanigans with on-foot fight. The Silent Cartographer will get all of the identify recognition for being the proper Halo mission, however The Covenant, a transparent homage, is a fair higher journey. Halo 3’s battles towards the enormous Scarab walkers are nonetheless a blast as a result of you’ll be able to take out their legs to board them, or you’ll be able to hitch a journey with an AI pilot and get dropped on high, or you’ll be able to launch a Mongoose off a ramp and yeehaw your manner on.
Bungie’s lighting and artwork course maintain up phenomenally properly on PC 14 years later, and so do bits of Halo 3’s writing—mainly any phrases that come out of Keith David’s mouth as The Arbiter. I might go on about Halo 3 without end, actually, however I am going to wrap up by reminding you that Halo 3 is liable for giving us the cheering Grunt Birthday party cranium for the primary time. What a blessing.
Morgan: It is unattainable to separate my love for Halo 3 the sport from Halo 3 the cultural occasion. My faculty went completely bananas within the weeks main as much as it, and the hype was contagious. I bear in mind huddling across the one child who had a first-gen iPhone to look at trailers. My dad was bringing Recreation Gas residence by the 12-pack. Then Halo 3 got here out and dominated as onerous as all of us wished it to.
Nat: I’ve wasted away hours replaying that one little bit of The Covenant that drops two Scarabs in your face and asks you to determine one thing out. Halo 3 is Halo perfected, each degree providing some brand-new spectacle, that includes a sandbox of weapons, automobiles and (then-new) gear all interacting in a chaotic, slapstick physics engine. It is nonetheless a bloody lovely recreation, too. Bungie’s skybox artists are on the top of their craft, with matte work lending the trilogy-closer an appropriately legendary air.
Halo: What to learn subsequent
That is the place we stand on each Halo FPS marketing campaign, however do we have now extra to say about Halo total? In fact we do.