Halo: Combat Evolved – Why it Matters

With the release of Halo: Infinite on the horizon, fans are hoping for the series to reject it’s modern traditions and return to simpler roots. For someone who hasn’t played Halo, this might come as a surprise. So, why do people want to see a less “modern” Halo?

The First Game is Something Special Even After 20 Years

For many, Halo was a formative experience. Launching in 2001 for the original Xbox, it opened eyes to what was possible on a home console. It put the tight, sharp controls of a PC shooter into the hands of console gamers. Even now, it has immersive storytelling, engaging gameplay, and great writing. I was someone who didn’t grow up playing Halo, so I wanted to see for myself what set it apart. After buying the Master Chief Collection on Steam, I played through each game. I now understand why this franchise is so important to its fans.

Halo Holds Up

Many video games that are multiple decades old tend not to age very well. For Halo, this is an exception. Although it shows it’s age in simplicity, it ages incredibly well in terms of it’s accessibility, intuitivity, immersion, and fun. By today’s standards. it’s still an incredibly fun shooter with one of the most fun single-player campaigns I’ve ever played. I expected the Master Chief to be this “blank slate” sort of character. However, his interactions with his fellow soldiers and Cortana are genuinely endearing. Although he’s simple, he is certainly no blank slate. This game teaches you everything you need to know, and from there, the rest is up to the player.

What Makes The Modern Games Different?

After being followed up by Halo 2 and 3 with massive success, the original studio (Bungie) split from Microsoft. Since then, 343 Industries has been at the helm. During the Xbox and Xbox 360 eras, there was a massive influx of gritty, realistic shooters. In a market of Call of Duty and Battlefield, Halo set itself apart by crafting an expansive sci-fi narrative, letting gameplay speak for itself. Starting at the fourth installment, fans have noted the series taking a direction that many have disliked. Although the sci-fi elements were still there, the gameplay elements of the original trilogy had begun being phased out in favor of more “modern” concepts. One particularly divisive issue among Halo fans is the ability to sprint (added in Halo 4). This trend has continued throughout the modern franchise.

Next-Gen Halo

After being announced in 2018, Infinite has been slated for release in Winter 2021. Multiple betas for the multiplayer have been tested, with no new footage on the single-player campaign. Fans are hoping desperately for a return to form, as are 343 Industries. Will they be able to stick the landing? Or will Halo: Infinite be another disappointment to long-time fans?

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