With all of the Xbox 360 editions of the Halo franchise now backward compatible on Xbox One there’s an additional way to get your fix and play Microsoft’s flagship franchise beyond the divisive Master Chief Collection. And that doesn’t even touch on the two games that might appear soon when original Xbox backward compatibility arrives.
Below are my thoughts on those Halo games now available on Xbox One via BC and what might be worth checking out again.
Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary – the game that started it all… Now on Xbox 360! By its nature of being the original game, it’ll have the most rough edges in its design but it also has some of the most open areas for exploration and combat you’ll see. The visual facelift given to it by Saber Interactive really does give the game a massive boost though, especially in areas that were previously confusing to navigate through. I think the campaign still plays incredibly well and will take players a decent amount of time to get through.
Halo 3 – this has to be the best all round Halo package ever made with a huge, sprawling campaign coupled with a massive suite of multiplayer options including four player co-op. If Call of Duty 4 hadn’t arrived to change the shooter landscape this would have been the one who was top of the heap. Of all the games that may be reinvigorated as a result of backward compatibility this is the one I wish the best for.
Halo 3 ODST – the campaign in this one might be more attractive to people due to its future Earth location and story about a lost soldier trying to piece together what happened to his team. The overworld is much like the story itself with branching narratives and areas tied to specific plot points. It’s almost like a smaller scale Halo novel being turned into a game and totally succeeds on that level.
Halo: Reach – the campaign falters somewhat because it was telegraphed early where it would go but like Halo 3 there is a mountain of content backing it up. Either game offers a lot of gameplay, especially if multiplayer spikes again, but I still give it to the earlier game just on the strength of a story that brought much more to the end.
Halo 4 – I never expected to see an even better looking Halo game on 360 but somehow Halo 4 did that with some incredible visuals. Multiplayer issues put a dampener on the game at the time though (fixed I believe) which was a shame as the Spartan Ops co-op missions were a fun challenge outside the other game modes that also helped push the game’s narrative too.
Halo Wars – Not only do you get an RTS with a campaign designed to not overwhelm you with managing units using a controller but you get to watch some sweet cutscenes from Blur, the company that Microsoft needs to keep on a permanent retainer for this exquisite stuff. The gameplay is more niche than the shooters but it does a nice job of expanding the universe beyond the Master Chief much like ODST.
Do you think any of these old Halo titles deserve a second chance? Or have they reached their use by date already and become relics like the Forerunners the games are based around?