Halo campaigns are known for having some of the best moments in gaming. Here’s a round up of just a few of our nostalgic favourites.
Infinite is right around the corner. So, what better time than now to look back at the Halo series, and list the greatest twists and biggest gameplay moments from the past? These are the best moments in Halo campaign history.
The Fall of Reach
Halo: Reach is a game where you fight a war you know you’re going to lose. With each mission, the stakes get more and more dire until you’re essentially fighting in the corpse of a city. That city is New Alexandria, and it is there that the true extent of the Covenant’s destruction is seen.
As you traverse a city skyline illuminated by a horizon of flame and plasma, you truly start to feel the hopelessness of the UNSC’s fight on Reach. Shortly after, another member of your team is killed, and you return to the remnants of Sword Base to see the ruin it has become.
Halo: Reach nailed the feeling of desperation and anguish that must come with the destruction of a planet, and its campaign was one of Halo’s most memorable as a result.
When it was revealed that half of Halo 2 would be spent playing as the enemy, some people were shocked and disappointed. People want to play as the Master Chief, not some random alien.
In retrospect, the Arbiter became one of the best characters in the franchise and a worthy counterpart to Master Chief. Without Halo 2’s deeper look at the Covenant hierarchy and themes of betrayal, the Halo story would be a lot more one-dimensional.
Halo’s creative director Joseph Staten recently said, “In my mind, Halo 2 was always the Arbiter’s game”. Playing through that game again now, it’s clear how much of the focus was on building him as a character and expanding the scope of the story into new areas. Almost two decades later, we can look back and see how much of a triumph that was.
My favourite moments in Halo’s campaign gameplay have always been when the game opens up and allows you to tackle situations in different ways. Halo is often linear, but its sandbox makes it feel non-linear. Those moments are best defined by the scarab fights.
Scarabs are immense Covenant machines that fire huge beams of plasma to destroy anything in its path. We see a prototype of one in Halo 2, but Halo 3 was where we truly saw them in all their glory. These fights are a prime example of what Halo can be – a huge battlefield where creativity excels.
Whether it’s breaking their legs and boarding them from below or leaping out of a mongoose in mid-air to drop on them from above, scarabs bring out the best in Halo’s gameplay. And when two of them drop out of the sky at once in Halo 3, the fun is enhanced twofold.
The Flood Reveal
Halo: Combat Evolved was a pioneer in the FPS genre. That simply can’t be argued. What can be argued is whether the game still holds up today, and in my opinion I think it fares less favourably than Halo 2 or 3. That said, it’s still home to one of Halo’s greatest moments.
When players arrive in the murky swamplands of the mission 343 Guilty Spark, something immediately feels off. As you descend into an alien structure, you get the feeling that something else is in there with you. You see the corpses of Covenant soldiers behind battered barricades. And then you find one of your own soldiers, and his helmet cam reveals your worst fears. There’s another enemy on the Halo ring.
Back in 2001, no one knew about the flood or what they represented. That made the twist in the middle of Halo: CE more effective. It essentially turns into a horror game, and the rest of the game is spent dealing with this new threat that somehow makes a faction of planet-destroying alien zealots seem weak. It’s the perfect twist, and one of Halo’s most iconic moments.
The Warthog Run
There was no way I could include anything else as number one on this list. The end of Halo 3 will always be my favourite moment in Halo history.
That’s in no small part due to the music, which is just incredible. But the sheer intensity of escaping in a warthog, just like the end of Halo: CE, is the perfect way to end a Halo campaign. It’s just unbelievably epic.
The end of the final mission “Halo” instantly became one of the most memorable endings to any game ever – from the second the drums kick in, all the way to the climactic jump into Forward Unto Dawn, everything you’re experiencing is peak Halo. This is where Master Chief finishes the fight (or so we thought), and it’s a perfect finale to an amazing trilogy.
Thinking about playing through all of the Halo campaigns before Infinite releases next week? We’ve ranked them all from worst to best.
What are your favourite Halo moments? Let us know on social media!
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Featured Image Credit: 343 Industries/Microsoft