Every mainline Halo game, ranked

The Halo series is twenty years old this year, with the initial video game introducing on Nov. 15, 2001. The enormously prominent franchise has actually had its ups and downs, and moved advancement groups for many years. Bungie began the series, made 5 of the video games on this list, and after that turned it over to 343 Industries, a Microsoft studio comprised of lots of Bungie veterans. And ahead of Halo Infinite, the 3rd video game from 343, we’re going to rank all the mainline Halo video games.

It’s worth keeping in mind that we’re concentrating on the FPS Halo video games. We won’t be ranking the top-down Spartan Attack or Spartan Strike. And while we’d like to rank the great Halo Wars series, they’re a little too apples-to-oranges for this list. Plus ranking 7 Halo video games seems like a good tribute to Bungie’s preferred number (and the variety of Halo rings out there).

Without more ado, the Halo video games from finest to worst.

1. Halo 2

Master Chief fights alongside ODSTs in Halo 2

Image: Bungie through Halopedia

Halo 2 is the conclusive Halo video game. It not just seals Master Chief as one of the greatest computer game badasses ever, it likewise offers gamers the opportunity to play as the Arbiter and get a within check out the Covenant. This produces the greatest story the Halo series has actually seen up until now. It turns the Covenant into a living and breathing militarized cult, instead of some wacky aliens getting dropped off into arenas.

Halo 2 likewise includes a few of the series’ greatest functions like hijacking and battle wielding, offering measurement to play without sidetracking from any of the action. The renowned Fight Rifle makes its launching here, along with lots of brand-new weapons. And it’s one of the launching Xbox Live multiplayer video games.

Halo 2 is still a near-perfect example of how to increase the scale of your follow up. Whatever is larger and much better than the initial, however it still seemed like Halo.

2. Halo: Battle Evolved

Master Chief and a group of marines storm a beach in Halo: Combat Evolved

Image: Bungie through Halopedia

Halo: Battle Evolved introduced among the greatest computer game franchises of perpetuity. It’s got a few of the very best project levels ever made, and the video game’s renowned Magnum handgun belongs in the FPS hall of popularity. It was accountable for numerous slumber party and LAN celebrations that it specified the last pre-Xbox Live generation. And possibly most significantly, Bungie utilized Halo: Battle Evolved to show that consoles can be house to FPS video games, which formed the video games market permanently.

It’s tough to explain how prominent and crucial Halo: Battle Evolved is. It’s got some essential defects in its project — significantly the Flood being a substantial discomfort to combat, and simply how typically you backtrack through levels. However it’s an outright titan of a video game, and every console shooter or very first individual video game would look various today had it not existed.

3. Halo 3

Master Chief stands in front of a background, with Cortana’s eyes looming

Image: Bungie via Halopedia

Halo 3 is more fun to play than Combat Evolved — it carries over some of the big, modern improvements from Halo 2 — but it just barely misses that number two spot. It’s a bit safe mechanically, especially compared to the leap from Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo 2. It also suffers from some forgettable levels — and the less-fun-to-fight Brutes taking over for Elites, while narratively cool, hurts the overall combat. However, it served up the best multiplayer in the series’ history, with endless maps like The Pit buildable through Forge, and very few games have come close to toppling its arena shooter action.

Halo 3 is imperfect, but its massive scale and multiplayer outshine all of its relatively minor issues.

4. Halo: Reach

Artwork of Halo Reach featuring four Spartans

Image: Bungie/Microsoft

Halo: Reach is where the series starts to lose a bit of steam. Bungie uses its status as a prequel to introduce a deluge of new weapons into the game, most of which are forgettable compared to the original suite. However, the sheer variety of gameplay that these new weapons and armor abilities provide keeps the game’s levels from getting stale. There’s always something new to play with, even if the moment to moment gameplay isn’t as tight as the original trilogy.

As Bungie’s last Halo, Reach is a bit of a disappointment. It feels like Bungie was running out of steam on the franchise, ready to pass the mantle to someone else. But despite that funk, Halo: Reach remains a decent spot to end an era.

5. Halo 3: ODST

The Rookie, protagonist of Halo 3: ODST, stands explores the ruins of New Mombasa in a rainstorm

Image: Bungie

Halo 3: ODST is a great experiment that doesn’t quite come together as a fun video game experience. Instead of a group of Spartans, it follows an ordinary crew of ODST marines (those folks that drop out of the sky in pods). Its characters are all a bit loud and obnoxious, its missions are largely forgettable, and the combat is less exciting when executed as a normal person. Part of the fantasy of Halo is playing as a giant alien or a big-ass super soldier.

However, for its shortcomings, ODST actually has a really interesting, semi-open world format. ODST tries to do something different, and some of it works, but it ultimately misses.

6. Halo 4

Master Chief looking at the sky in Halo 4

Image: 343 Industries/Microsoft Studios

Halo 4 is the very first post-Bungie Halo game. It takes the story significantly off the rails, giving the Forerunners a shot at the main antagonist title. And it’s that Forerunner focus that ultimately lands Halo 4 further down on this list. 343 Industries adds cool mech vehicles to the series (allowing for third-individual stomping through legions of baddies), and actually has some fun and memorable missions. But the Forerunners are aggravating and it’s unclear how to fight them. Even their weapons, which look incredible, are overdesigned.

As a first shot for a new studio, taking a stab at one of gaming’s most prolific franchises, Halo 4 isn’t actually too bad. It’s even got one of my favorite Halo missions, escorting the Mammoth in “Reclaimer.” But it’s all a bit messy, and pales in comparison to the rest of Master Chief’s adventures.

7. Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5 Guardians

343 Industries/Microsoft

Halo 5: Guardians doesn’t feel like Halo. After Halo 4, 343 took a lot of liberties with Halo — which, as Bungie’s successors, is understandable. But the result was a mashup of tons of other AAA video game mechanics (like jet boots), which morphed it into something unrecognizable. The squad-based combat, bananas story that prioritizes a group of boring new Spartans over Master Chief, and unimaginative mission structure just don’t come together to make for a very fun Halo game.

Halo 5: Guardians goes some places to offer something wildly various, and it is pretty cool to fight alongside the Arbiter and Elites on their home planet. All of that is commendable and not without some merit, but outside of the aesthetic and a few of the weapons, it’s hard to even see Guardians as a Halo video game.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.