Halo Games: A Ranking



I started this list as an excuse to dunk on another list from a high-profile site that named the Master Chief Collection as the BEST Halo game. That’s like saying a Matrix Trilogy boxed set is the best Matrix movie. See, I was going to go one further and list Xbox Game Pass as the best Halo game. I mean, why not? It has ALL of the Halo games. The RTS’s. Even the twin stick shooter. It has the Forza game that has the Warthog in it!


Lists are nonsense, but they’re also a lot of fun. And I, like so many others, can’t help but click on them to see if my favorite snagged the top spot. So as I started this list with the purpose of taking a pot shot at another site’s one-game-per-page list of Halo games that culminated in a pick that somehow succeeds at being both a cop-out and a troll, I couldn’t help but take the meaningless format seriously. Here it is, in ONE page, your definitive[su_tooltip text=”1. Not really…” shadow=”yes”]1[/su_tooltip] Halo ranking.

8) Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians suffers from an identity crisis, but I don’t envy 343 Studios for the task they had. A lot has changed since 2001, and the Halo formula was starting to feel old. The developers set out modernize Halo‘s action with a dash button, a squad of allies that could revive you, and some good ol’ Call of Duty-style left trigger/right trigger ADS shooting. The result was a decent game that never quite felt like Halo. Tack on a story that attempts and fails at recapturing Halo 2‘s dual protagonist trick and you’re just left with a muddy, forgettable experience.

7) Halo 4

Once again, I don’t envy the position 343 Studios was in with this one. What do you do with Master Chief after Halo 3? Even Bungie seemingly didn’t want to answer that question, instead choosing to tell two other side stories, ODST and Reach—both taking place before the events of Halo 3. 343 chose to dive headfirst into the murkiest part of Halo lore, opting to give answers to the big mysteries of the Halo universe The answers were, to say the least, unsatisfying, and the new enemy faction lacked personality.

6) Halo Infinite

Full disclosure: I haven’t finished Halo Infinite. I write these things when I have time and the time to write this one is right NOW. I’m certain Infinite won’t move below Halo 4 and 5, but it is possible, it could overtake Halo 2 as I get further. Halo Infinite is the modernization of the formula that 343 was looking for with Guardians and they make the smart, albeit a little bit clunky, choice of ignoring a lot of the story stuff they focused on in 4 and 5. I’m excited to play more and this seems like a solid foundation for the future of the franchise.

I’ll update this when I finish the game. See you in 2022!

5) Halo 2

Halo 2 is the blandest Halo. Punch for punch, it’s a better game than Halo: Combat Evolved, but it lacks the earlier game’s impact. My SEO guru says this paragraph needs to be longer and mention things like dual wielding, The Arbiter, and the game’s non-ending, but I’m going to ignore them.

4) Halo: Combat Evolved

At the time of writing this, Sean and I are in the middle of a co-op playthrough of Halo: Combat Evolved. Returning to the game that started the phenomenon, I’m impressed by how well it holds up. It is missing a lot of the bells and whistles that later games in the franchise introduced, but the core loop and the combat puzzles are all there. And any time you and a co-op partner get into a Warthog, you just know there will be some laughs.

3) Halo 3: ODST

What if Halo, but noir detective story? Moving on!

2) Halo: Reach

It’s a big shame that Halo: Reach is the only game that lets you create your own Spartan and put them into… what? I don’t need to say more about ODST. Nope! Not gonna…. Where was I?


It’s a big shame that Halo: Reach is the only game that lets you create your own Spartan and put them into the campaign. Yes, we all love Master Chief, but he’s best as a fairly blank slate that the player is free to project themselves onto. Why not just go one further and make ME the Spartan? Halo: Reach lets me do that.

Halo: Reach also introduced the DMR. That almost got it the #1 spot.

1) Halo 3

Halo 3 is the formula in its most finely tuned state. The gameplay is rock solid with just the right amount of weapon variety. The story puts a tidy-enough bow on what the first two games set up while also saving plenty of mysteries for the future. My only complaint about Halo 3 is Mission 8: “Cortana.” It’s not “The Library” bad, but it’s pretty annoying.

Side note: The Flood are a very iconic enemy, but some of the worst Halo levels are Flood levels…

Shoot, I just ended my #1 on a negative…

Another Side Note! Boarding and taking down a Scarab is up there with one of my most memorable moments in video games.

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