Halo Haters: 5 Things Under Appreciated About Halo

Halo is this weird kind of dividing line within the gaming community. On one hand, it’s overrated by the throngs of people who go crazy over it and swear that it could perhaps be the greatest FPS on any platform, PC or otherwise, EVER. On the other hand, there are people that just don’t seem to “get” Halo and what makes it fun, and in fact, would rather hate the game just to hate it, regardless.

For some reason, there are many hardcore gamers that have never been able to embrace the franchise or its signature character, Master Chief. Either they are blinded by the fanboy ravings, their own fanboy prejudices, or they’ve never give the game the time of day. So I thought I’d put together a little list to take a look at what makes Halo unique.

5. Robust Multiplayer

I know this is a duh, but you have to acknowledge the raw staying power that is packed within each Halo’s game disc. I mean, people were playing Halo: CE for almost 3 years locally before Halo 2 arrived, and Halo 3 is a year old and still tops the charts each week on XBL. From 4 player co-op to Forge to the insane amount of options available for custom games, you don’t even have to play the game the right way anymore and there’s still stuff to do.

4. Vehicular Awesomeness

Let’s get real. I have yet to play an FPS that does vehicle physics in a way that’s even remotely as fun as Halo: Combat Evolved, and that game came out in 2001. Sure, you’ve got your Battlefields and such, but nothing compares to using the handbrake on a warthog and power sliding around the bend of one of Halo’s mountainous paths, while enemies hurl grenades at you or chase you down in a ghost. That is pure, unadulterated bliss.

3. The Golden Triangle of Combat

The thing that makes Halo so accessible yet rewarding and deep is a set of three ridiculously honed but simple features: melee, grenades and weapons. Each of these three pegs of the triangle function so seamlessly together it makes combat both shallow on the surface but also something incredibly complex to balance. While some PC gamers would argue that it takes away from aiming, I think it’s awesome that players must juggle 3 aspects appropriately to be an effective killing machine. It creates an experience entirely unique to Halo, and it just feels right for a console shooter.

2. Easter Eggs

I know, I know, you might be saying “huh?”, but the Halo games feature some of the most entertaining easter eggs out of any series of games, ever. Heck, searching for them could be its own mini-game. If you don’t know what I’m talking about beyond just finding skulls, check out the hidden Red Vs Blue dialogue in Halo 3, or learn more about the mystery of Ling-Ling’s Head, or beat Halo:CE on Legendary.

You may wonder why this matters at all, but I think it’s so cool that a developer would pack its game full of all of these hidden surprises just for their fans to find and tell each other about. Some could even consider the scenery an easter egg, since Bungie designs these games with a distinct, clean art style that helps them look timeless yet gorgeous. Check this video out if you don’t believe me.

1. Rich Mythology

I’ve heard a lot of people complain that Halo has a really convoluted story, but that’s partly because the game has such a rich mythology behind it that orchestrates it.

Did you know that Master Chief is a Spartan II, part of a top-secret government program that kidnapped children, flash-cloned them (the clones were sent back to the parents) and then trained them to be efficient killers. Or what about Captain Keyes, who was the first ship commander to take on the Covenant while outgunned 3-to-1 and to come out with a victory. Or how about the Spartan III’s, who battled sentinels in the depths of Onyx and who are now trapped there, waiting for release from a Forerunner microcosm?

Halo has a rich tapestry behind it, and the games are designed to bring this tapestry to life if you know it’s there, but to hide it if you’re unaware of its existence. One could argue that perhaps the games should have included more of this mythology in them to enhance the overall games, but doing so might have instantly lost the game some of its audiences. And besides, it doesn’t make the mythology any less awesome.

Try reading more about the mythology and then playing the games. You’ll be surprised at how much is actually there. Personally, I find this idea of really fleshed out mythologies something that is undervalued in gaming entirely (Mass Effect, anyone?), and Halo’s is about as awesome as they come. Kudos, Bungie.

What are your thoughts on the Halo series? Do you think it’s under/over-rated? Is it possible for the game to be both of those things? I think it might be.

Written by

I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

24 thoughts on “Halo Haters: 5 Things Under Appreciated About Halo”

  1. I think its a lot of fun, but I think it is a bit of both.

    I have heard it suggested that Halo is this generation’s Star Wars and I take umbrage to that. SW was a mainstream event and Halo, while still pretty popular is nowhere near the level of SW.

    But its a great game.

  2. Hmmm, I don’t agree on 4,3, and 2.

    (Keep in mind, this is all MY opinion)

    2. Hardly any Easter eggs are worth trying to get or seeing really. There’s not much to see.

    3. The combat is what I hate about Halo.
    Melee + shoot=kill

    Nade spam without aiming + melee/shoot once or twice=kill

    It’s all a borring melee and nade fest. It’s also a “Who shoots/melees first.

    4. Personally, I don’t like the driving physics. They aren’t that great, but not bad. Also, curse you ghost whores on Snowbound!!!!

    The matchmaking and mythology I will agree with however.

    This was all my opinion, so don’t get butt hurts for people who don’t agree.

  3. Me too. I think it’s the best game in history, for now…

    On the rich mythology part, It started to make sense about the story of the spartans. I bet you guys already saw the legendary finish credits and movie, he was going to a capsule to sleep and said, “Wake me up when you need me”.
    They wake the spartans up, only when they need them to fight. Kinda cruel, sad, and badass.

  4. Embrace Chief? Perhaps the most boring character ever? Uh…

    1. For the story, I should not be forced to pay extra just to understand the story better. The books are based on the games, not the other way around. This makes the story in the games shallow and uninteresting.

    2. As previously mentioned, the easter eggs aren’t that great.

    3. Something isn’t ‘deep’ when ‘simple’ is in the same sentence describing it. It’s essentially shoot your target, run close, melee. Hiding behind a door? Spam the hell out of it with grenades. Power weapons? Whore the hell out of them. Deep is not something that describes Halo.

    4. Yeah, awesome, when I jump in a vehicle when my shields are dead and someone runs up to me and kills me, the vehicle EXPLODES, when otherwise it would take a million bullets before doing the same thing. I’m sorry, but linking your health to the vehicle’s is stupid. Also, really? You actually USE the powerslide? It might as well not even exist in the game.

    5. I would rather play Superman 64 than a game online where the ratio of douchebags to normal people is a million to one. I pretty much only play with my friends offline and that doesn’t even happen much anymore.

  5. I’m not saying that Halo is the greatest game ever, or that people should love the game for the reasons I’ve listed, but rather they are 5 great qualities that people often ignore about the series. As a whole, it’s severely overlooked by people who would rather get upset than give it the time of day.

    Just because something’s simple doesn’t mean it’s bad. Case in point, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros, etc.

    Making something complicated, on the other hand, doesn’t make it great. Case in point, Metal Gear Solid 4’s controls.

    Also, have you played any games online? Douchebags aren’t reserved for Halo. That’s just an online thing. People like to shout at people for no reason online. Custom games with friends are always an option, which is more along the lines of what I was talking about.

    Most of the things you listed sound like personal preferences to me, rather than flaws with the game. Thanks for the input!

  6. Playing on Legendary is hard as hell to get close enough to a target to Melee it and then it takes like 4-5 times. And isn’t FPS shoot and melee? Most FPS don’t even have vehicles. But I will say that the game is really over hyped. But they have the right to over hype. It’s still one of the most played games.

  7. Don’t hate the player hate the game BUT I do believe Halo is one of the best FPS games of all time! I’ve played Halo since CE and truly find it to be and extremely unique styled game. I think people truly hate it when they just can’t keep up with others at it. The combination of using shooting, meleeing, and gernades is genius! Do i think that many players become extremely lame and use only gernades yes, but it’s a style that you can always work to get better at defeating. You different styles that everyone plays with challenge the true gamers at getting better. Definitely a top game on my list of all time! Great post Eddy!

  8. I find Halo 3 to be my favorite shooter of all time. I have played COD 4, I have played Gears, but the sheer simplicity of Halo’s controls makes it by far my favorite. Eddy, that was an awesome post, but I think you forgot a few things. The vast array of weapons, for example. The ability to duel-wield different kinds of guns. Or hos about the Machinima the game has spawned? RvB, Arby and The Chief, etc etc. Halo 3 is fast becoming a mainstream game/cultural icon. I mean, even the Daily Show has referenced the game. Halo 3 is the complete package of gaming.

  9. If you dont read the books that go along with the game the Halo story is shrouded in mystery. The way the books play out are also 10x that halo can be. MC is 10x what he is in the games in the book, a much more real version of the Spartans.

    The Halo series is not the best series of games out there, but no one can say that the games truly are bad games. They are far too successful.

    And think of this, when wast he last time you were on Call of Booty 4 and you said “damn wish I could save that match as a vid” Halo 3’s ability to save games should be mandatory on all FPS from now on XD

  10. Halo’s not bad, but it’s nowhere near my top list of games. Only Halo game I own is the first one on PC but I’ve played 2 and 3 numerous times (mostly multiplayer) it’s not bad, but there are much better games out there that don’t get near as much attention as the Halo series does, and that’s what makes me angry with Halo it gets undeserved attention for being slightly above average while outstanding games get hardly any attention at all.

  11. Yeah, I agree Munchlax, Halo is definitely given too much credit, which is something I find fascinating. I really think that it is both overrated AND underrated (along with a couple of other games I can name, but I’m saving that for another list) in a lot of ways. There are definitely better games that get left out of the discussion far too often.

  12. Yea I agree to that, it gets way over rated.

    I still think the game is horribly fun, but it isn’t even one of my top 3 best games.

    Halo CE on PC….that was the best version of halo šŸ˜€

  13. WOW!!!!!!! thx soooo much for posting this. i would not like to call myself a fan boy but i guess i kinda am. the games to me are mediocre, not the best, but good, but then again, what is the best? gow is just as good, and cod4 is just as good, its not the best game, but theres not many others that will be so fun, to so many people (except cs, which is pretty much the inventor of cod4). ive read all the books, and halo is my favorite hands down. the games, like i said, are mediocre, but the halo universe is fucking b.a. a great post and i dont care care what anyone says about it, halo is pretty much amazing.

  14. I personally like the Unreal Tournament 2004 vehicles much more than the Halo 3 ones. To me, they’re much more creative than the ones the Halo series has offered, and they offer more balance than any other vehicle game. All of the vehicles can be taken down by a single person on foot with enough skill.

    I still think it’s overrated…

  15. I do love Halo 1-3 Especially 3…but its fighting system isnt what i like. I play css in leagues etc…so i play that game a lot, im use to a click and headshot, not spray…spray…spray…melee kill lol.
    And i hate people who think that getting an no-scoped sniper shot in halo is skill.
    It isn’t, you have a cross-hair.
    Still a good game, less realism, odd fighting system…o.k. graphics…i don’t do story mode often etc. and hmmmm, annoying fan base. šŸ™‚

  16. Does anyone know of any game that uses the same engine (although, hopefully revised/fixed) that Halo Combat Evolved uses? I think that the first Halo is the best game ever, even with it’s glitches here, there, everywhere. Anyone shares my appreciation for the game?

    I still play it by the way, almost everyday.

  17. [quote comment=”806″]Does anyone know of any game that uses the same engine (although, hopefully revised/fixed) that Halo Combat Evolved uses?

    I think that the first Halo is the best game ever, even with it’s glitches here, there, everywhere. Anyone shares my appreciation for the game?

    I still play it by the way, almost everyday.[/quote]

    I believe Stubbs the Zombie uses the same engine. You can get it on Steam or for the original XBox.

  18. Speaking of engines, does anyone know if half life came out before halo? Or is it the other way around? Because I heard a legend that halo was first a mod of half life.

  19. Halo pwns. After all this time, millions of people are still playing the first one, which has arguably the best MP of any fps.

    It also has the largest age-range of fans. From veterans who fought in wars long before i was born (’88) to middle-aged gamers proving they can still completely own you to the 12-year-olds who have been playing since it came out, i havent seen a game with a wider fan-base since Donkey Kong came out for the SNES.

    In short, Halo’s MP is most certainly underrated, the combat system is really all up to how good the gamer is and nothing less, and driving hogs through Ice Fields or Death Island never gets old…

  20. I downloaded/installed and played Subbs the Zombie, wasn’t impressed. I guess I’m looking for another combat game that has the same engine as the first Halo. I think it’s just a matter of time for someone to release something like it, I mean… would you buy a game that is reviewed as having the same feel as “Halo:Combat Evolved”? I would in a second, I would also pay premium for it too. It’s true about the age-range and halo, I was in a clan (in a galaxy far, far away) where the youngest was 15 and the oldest was 54, it was a all-halo clan. “Those were the daayyys!”

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