When Microsoft entered gaming, they needed a killer app. There was no separating the N64 from Super Mario 64 or the PlayStation from Final Fantasy VII. Microsoft put their faith in a small first-person shooter by Bungie. Every risk paid off immensely. Halo, and it’s protagonist Master Chief, would become the face of the Xbox platform! Microsoft would acquire Bungie in 2000, and part with them in 2007, but all the while, Halo has stood as a major pillar for Microsoft.
Embroiled in a genocidal war with the alien Covenant, the crew of UNSC ship Pillar of Autumn come across Installation 04, the Halo, a world perceived by the Covenant as a gateway to paradise. Before retreating to Halo, Captain Jacob Keyes awakes Master Chief, a SPARTAN soldier, from cryo-sleep. Master Chief and the A.I. Cortana quickly uncover the true nature of Halo and the parasites living within it. The story of the campaign is often told in elaborate cutscenes with dialogue and animation that holds up.
Halo is a very simple first-person shooter. You can have two weapons, and a few grenades, on you at all times. You’re not on Earth, ammunitions are limited. You’ll have to scavage for enemy weapons and ammo after killing them. On your adventure, you’ll run into a few different types of vehicles. They’re all fun to control, but none of them are as iconic as the Warthog. I simply wish you used them more.
Halo is a sprawling adventure that truly would’ve felt “next generation” at the time. You’re not running around tight hallways without the ability to jump. You’ll truly have to explore and find your way on an alien planet. The game can feel too directionless, but it’s nothing you won’t eventually solve.
The big focus on Halo back in the day was multiplayer. Not only does Halo have one of the most fun online battle-modes in gaming, but the entire campaign is playable with a friend. Microsoft released Halo: The Master Chief Collection in 2014. The Master Chief Collection made many QoL improvements. Online Co-OP was added, and the graphics were completely remade. You can switch between the graphic styles at any time by pushing select. It truly is as simple as that. Sometimes finding your way, or weapons, is easier with classic graphics.
Microsoft didn’t send Halo into the front-lines for nothing. Halo is a simplistic shooter in a complicated world that is sure to secure your heart. Master Chief has become one of the most iconic forces in gaming. Halo goes above, and beyond, to prove that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to drive home a victory.