The year is 255X. Humanity has been at war with a conglomeration of aliens known as The Covenant for thirty years. We’re not doing too hot. We had a bunch of big beefy supersoldiers, but now we’re down to one. Pursued by an attack fleet after a blind jump through hyperspace, the human vessel Pillar of Autumn stumbles across an alien superstructure of unknown origin. Forced to land on its surface, we take on the role of the aforementioned lone supersoldier The Master Chief as we blast our way across forests, caves, glaciers, and mysterious alien buildings we may or may not ever learn the purpose of. Then we do that a few more times over a fair handful of games.
Halo’s a real heck of a series, isn’t it? Seven main games, soon to be eight, with nearly as many spinoffs, all over the last nineteen years. They’re console’s biggest shooters, some peoples’ fondest memories, and currently the focus of our ongoing LP. We don’t always have the nicest things to say about it.
Hello all, I am Rekkin, or Gareth - one half of Cooperative Conversations, a ‘casually critical’ LP series where my friend Skelzor and I do a lighthearted examination of a game while playing through it cooperatively. We talk narrative, writing, level design, encounter planning, art direction, and where it all may have been inspired from. We ask questions, we try to figure out the answers, and we have fun doing it. We’ve got a lot to talk about, and we hope you’ll like to hear it. Join us every Wednesday at 12 noon eastern for the continuing adventures of the Master Chief and his cadre of colorful allies, and we’ll see this entire series through to the end, or at least to the end of what’s available on PC.
As a random additional note, while the Halo games pre-Halo 4 were all presented without subtitles during gameplay, 343 Industries, the people behind this collection, have added in-game subs to Halo 1. Unfortunately, this addition has not continued with Halos 2, 3, ODST, or Reach. As such, I have gone to the effort of adding these in myself. An unfortunately surprising amount of Halo’s dialogue is delivered by NPCs during combat, so hopefully my work on this front will help out. I’ve certainly learned a couple things that I’d never been able to hear before on previous playthroughs.
Halo’s an old series by this point, but because part of what we’re doing is examining the narrative as it’s given to us, we tend to play as if we don’t know anything beyond what we’ve already been told. We might make some allusions to future events, but for the most part we’re kind of taking everything in the moment. As such, consider this a spoiler-light series, and maybe try to keep the discussion of larger plot revelations to a minimum for anyone unfamiliar.
The latest one: Halo 4, Midnight
Want to know our ranking of the games so far?
Halo 1: Mediocre and boring. Outdated when it came out, pretty derivative.
Halo 2: Good! Pushed the established design in interesting ways, did some cool stuff, set up a real story, but was held back by an overeliance on timed defense objectives.
Halo 3: Unimaginative, badly written, risk-averse, and just plain stupid. Outright ignored the story set up by the previous game, added very little to the forumla, seemed to rely on the status quo of a previous console generation being enough to impress on the name alone.
Halo ODST: Pretty creative, an obvious flexing of the design muscles that went unused previously. Fun overall but I can see why people didn’t like it on release.
Halo Reach: An excellent standalone entry that has very little to do with the overarching story (which I absolutely consider a positive thing) and by far the best level and encounter design in the series. Let down by a lackluster final mission and a sudden demand to have something to do with the other games.
Halo 4: A confusing mess that starts off strong but just can’t stop itself from sliding into total nonsense by the halfway point. Attempts to explain background information of the world are poorly communicated and end up causing more problems than they solve. The main plot of the game takes a sharp turn away from its own setup, leaving the attempt to have an emotional core feeling insincere.
Thanks for stopping by!