How does one describe the Halo series? We know the numbers. The games have sold over 40 million copies worldwide, and the series as a whole has grossed more than $2 billion including merchandise. We know that the series put Xbox on the map and revolutionized shooter genre as we know it today. But why do we LOVE it so much?
First lets start by saying Master Chief is a beast. No matter how you look at it, a 6’10’’ genetically enhanced war machine is the epitome of cool. If 90’s action movies have taught us anything it’s that big explosions and macho protagonists warm our hearts one action sequence at a time. For those sentimental types, he’s not just a soldier but a man. Though he is better known as a SPARTAN-II commando of the UNSC Naval Special Warfare Command, he will forever be in our hearts at John-117.
Master Chief is not a futuristic Captain America. He certainly lacks the gusto and overt enthusiasm for justice. He’s not a nameless Storm Trooper though his name was only uttered once. The Chief is a man that just gets the job done. He can pilot everything from tanks to aircrafts and hover carts, fire any weapon from sniper rifles to alien needle-shooters, and kill any foe from giant ape men to parasite monsters. Sounds like my kind of man.
Halo’s mechanics weren’t the facet that made the franchise a namesake among every gamer. There are no cover tactics like Gears of War or RPG elements like Fallout 3. It’s a run, gun, drive, shoot, flying action adventure that has been fun (for the most part) across the board. The gameplay might not be the most unique but the ability to share that experience with friends is what put it on the map.
Cooperative gameplay is in itself an under utilized mechanic. Especially when considering Halo: Combat Evolved, the first addition to the franchise, was released November 15, 2001. It was a rarity to feature full co-op gameplay of this level. I remember playing Halo 1 with my brother; conquering the Normal then Heroic then Legendary modes. Even after developing strategies for each level, after memorizing every inch of the map we still played together and it was still enjoyable.
The multiplayer features add to this same effect allowing 4 players to play the competitive mode locally or online. Now-a-days we’re lucky to get any local connectivity at all which personally drives me insane. I’m use to actually wanting to be in the same room when playing with my friends not being restricted to an Ethernet cable and wifi adapter.
Halo had the potential to be a forgotten smudge on gaming history. From first glance, the sound of a super soldier and his AI pal on a quest to save the world sounds more like a happy-go-lucky Banjo Kazooie clone than the action-packed, sci-fi shooter that we know and love. Bungie managed to escalate the concept, develop a deep backstory, and keep us entertained game after game.
Good thing Halo 4 is already in development. To fans and all members of the “Halo Nation” lets hope the newest addition to the Halo Universe lives up to it’s predecessors; preferably Halo 2 which was my personal favorite. I hope Bungie has a wide array of Master Chief goodness for us in the future. Let’s hope the series ends with a bang…a fulfilling bang.
Check out the latest Halo 4 trailer:
How do you feel about Halo 4? Are you excited or wish they would end the series already?
Originally published on 04/29/2012 at GamingPrecision.com