Halo (Series) Review

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Posted: 8 months ago, last updated 6 months ago.

Author: Andy Robertson.

OverviewOverview

Halo is the longstanding sci-fi shooting video game series that started when Halo: Combat Evolved launched alongside the Xbox in 2001. The franchise has featured on every Xbox platform since then, with Halo 5: Guardians serving as the latest entry in the series on Xbox One.

Weapons must be used to deplete opponents’ energy shields before being able to damage them, so multiplayer combat encounters are a game of cat and mouse. Add to this the melee of attacks, varied terrain and advanced artificial intelligence of the enemies, and you can see why it takes a long time to master.

The game’s futuristic setting, dramatic music, fantastical weapons and diverse enemies makes Halo 5: Guardians competitive, exuberant and fun, without taking itself too seriously. Whether in its single-player campaign or online multiplayer modes, players revel in the lore, story and heroic characters as much as the necessary quick reactions and headshots.

The original trilogy:
  • Halo Combat Evolved is on original Xbox
  • Halo 2 is on original Xbox
  • Halo 3 is on Xbox 360
Interstitial games:
  • Halo 3: ODST is set after Halo 2 and on Xbox 360
  • Halo: Reach is a prequel to the original trilogy on Xbox 360
A new Reclaimer Saga trilogy:
  • Halo 4 is on Xbox 360
  • Halo 5: Guardians in on Xbox One
  • Halo Infinite is on Xbox One
Spin-off games
  • Halo Wars is a strategy game on Xbox 360
  • Halo Wars 2 is a strategy game on Xbox One
  • Halo: Spartan Assault and Halo: Spartan Strike are a mobile shooting game on iOS, Android
Rereleased and updated games:
  • Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is updated for Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection is remastered Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3 ODST, Halo 4, Halo: Reach on Xbox One and PC.

DetailsDetails

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 15/11/2001, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS.

Genres: Action, Fighting, Narrative and Shooting.

 

CommitmentCommitment

Duration: This game will take between 8 hours and 12 hours to complete. In addition to this time to complete the story mode in these games, the online multiplayer modes can keep players entertained for many years.
 
Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online. Along with the online and split-screen battles in arenas, you can play through the main story co-operatively in Halo games:
  • Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary with 2 players, split-screen or online
  • Halo 2: Anniversary with 2 players, split-screen or online
  • Halo 3 with 4 players online or 2 players split-screen
  • Halo 3: ODST with 4 players online or 2 players split-screen
  • Halo: Reach with 4 players online or 2 player split-screen
  • Halo 4 with 4 players online or 2 players split-screen
  • Halo 5: Guardians with 4 players online, no split-screen mode.
Cross-Play: You can play Halo Wars with people on either Xbox One or PC.

CostsCosts

Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience.

In the online part of Halo 5: Guardians, you can purchase REQ packs to unlock cosmetic items.

You will need Xbox Live Gold (must be 18 to create, then configure family accounts for younger players) to play online with Xbox One. You will need Xbox Live Gold to play online with Xbox 360.

This game is free with Xbox Game Pass.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Halo 5: Guardians was rated PEGI 16 with violence. The examiner's report expands this rating with the following: The majority of the campaign is concerned with dispatching enemy alien characters, however human characters can also be attacked with melee weapons, explosives and various firearms. Enemies which are shot or stabbed usually fall to the ground and there may be a small amount of blood.

During multiplayer gameplay, players can assassinate heavily armoured human characters by jumping on their back and twisting their neck, with a breaking sound. Some more non-realistic guns can blow your enemies up into glowing parts which disintegrate.

The game features online playing capability which may involve real-time interaction with other players.

As reflected in its age ratings and descriptors, Halo 5: Guardians marks the first time the series was given a ESRB TEEN rating in the US rather than its usual MATURE 17+ classification. This not only makes it an alternative over other, more violent, first-person shooters, but also takes its gameplay in a more layered, strategic direction.

Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.

AccessibilityAccessibility

Halo Master Chief Collection has the following accessibility options:

Reading

How much reading or listening comprehension is required, and how accessible this is.

Moderate Reading: Moderate reading required.

Subtitles

Large Clear Subtitles: Subtitles are large and clear, or can be adjusted to be.

Any spoken content has subtitles: All spoken content has subtitles, or there is no speech in the game.

All Dialogue is Voiced: All of the game dialogue and narrative can be voiced.

Controls

How you control the game, different options for alternative inputs and whether you can remap these settings to suit your needs.

Multiple Buttons & Two Sticks: Can play with multiple buttons and two sticks.

Mouse and Keys: Can play with mouse and multiple keys.

Remap Controls

You can customise the controls for the game as follows:

Select Preset Controller Mappings: Select preset button layouts.

Remap Buttons: Re-map all buttons/keys.

Swap Sticks: Swap the sticks over.

Remap Mouse and Keyboard: Remap mouse and keyboard.

Invert X/Y Axis: You can invert the direction required to control looking and aiming.

Holding Down Buttons Optional: Holding down buttons not required or can be turned off or switched to toggling the action on and off.

Vibration Optional: Controller vibration not used in the game or you can disable it.

Adjust Mouse/Stick Sensitivity, Deadzones and Thresholds: Adjust how sensitive mouse/stick controls are and the related deadzones and thresholds.

Image

How you can adjust the visuals to suit your needs, and offer additional information if you can't hear the game.

Audio Cues for Visual Events: Audio is provided to indicate visual events.

Audio

How you can adjust the audio of the game and whether audio cues compensate for aspects of the game that are hard to see.

Customise Audio Levels: Control volume levels of specific events and elements in the game.

Audio Events

Visual Cues for Audio Events: Text or other visual indicators of audio events.

Visual Depiction of Directional Audio: Indication on screen with arrows, icons, located colour splashes and the like, to show where directional audio for damage, footsteps, environmental or way-finding sounds are coming from.

Communication

How you can communicate with other players in the game and what options are available to customise and control this interaction.

Voice Chat: Chat to other players by speaking with headset.

System Settings

Android has accessibility settings including ways to navigate and interact, although not all games support this. Windows has extensive accessibility features. Some, like colour correction, work with games. Lots of accessibility software can be used with PC games, from voice recognition to input device emulators. Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games. iOS has a very extensive suite of accessibility settings including ways to navigate with voice and comprehensive screen reading, though most of the features don't work with games... read more about system accessibility settings.

Supported by PlayabilityInitiative


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Games Like Halo

The following games are like Halo. They address a similar topic or offer a similar way to play. They are good options to play next and also good alternatives to Halo for younger age ratings.

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