Halo (Series)

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

Genres: Action, Fighting, Narrative and Shooting

Released: November 2001, updated in 2020. Added to this library 5 months ago, last updated 3 months ago.

Overview

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.

Commitment

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.

Costs

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.

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.

Accessibility

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 wide range of system features including some that can be used on all games, like the excellent co-pilot mode. 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.


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Halo is in These Lists

In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to Halo in the following lists:

Matinee Fisticuffs and Shootouts

Sometimes you just want to play the hero. These games are violent and include shooting but, as with B-movies and 1980s TV series, it’s as much about the quips, characters and fantasy settings as it is about killing. The drama may be peppered with cinematic gunfire but, like those TV series, the real draw is spending time with the heroes every week.
 

Big Budget Popular Games

These games are big, brash and popular. They have big budgets which means the visual and interactive quality is particularly high. They also have strong and wide ranging player communities.
 

Exuberant Games For Pre-16 Year-Olds

There's a gap when children are starting to outgrow PEGI 12 rated games but aren't necessarily ready for PEGI 16 rated shooting and fighting experiences. The games in this list offer some options that are genuinely exuberant and exhilarating but with lower levels of violence.

We go through some really good examples of these exciting, fast-action game for a range of ages. They are all PEGI 12 or under, apart from Halo, which we have included as this is a lower ESRB TEEN rating in the US for the latest release and mostly features space-themed rather than realistic violence.
 

Free With Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service that provides 100 top-tier games. Once subscribed you can download the game at no extra cost. Of the 100 games available the ones in our recommended database are listed below.

You cannot play games you install when your Xbox Game Pass expires, although you do keep any games you have purchased at a discount with your membership. You will need to purchase any in-game extra content in addition to the subscription, although some games include this content for free.
  • Xbox Game Pass £7.99/month
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate including Xbox Live Gold for online play £10.99/month
  • Xbox Game Pass PC £7.99/month
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also enables you to stream over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles, similar to the service offered by PlayStation Now, on mobile devices.

Xbox Live Gold usually costs £6.99/month and is the Xbox service that lets you play with others online. It also offers a few free games each month and substantial discounts.
 

Play With People On Different Systems

Most online games only work if the person you are wanting to play against has the same system that you have, console, PC or smartphone. There are, however, a growing library of games that offer what is often called cross-play. This lets you play with people on different systems.

These games are a good way to extend the list of friends and family that you can play with. It also makes it less critical which system you have in your home, even if your friends have a different one.
 

BAFTA Nominated Games

The British Academy Games Awards are presented annually to recognise, honour and reward outstanding creative achievement in Games. The awards categories reflect the wealth and diversity of the games sector.

The awards started in 2004 and are presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). For parents, they are a great way of discovering brilliant games to play in their family. The games included here are from the:
  • The Family Games award highlights games that will work really well for parents and children. These often include multiplayer features and feature a cast of family-friendly characters.
  • The Games Beyond Entertainment award is also of interest as this highlights more unusual games with an emphasis on storytelling that addresses topics that parents may find appealing themselves.

 

Get Children Reading

Image 221We have partnered with the National Literacy Trust to create this resource of video games that encourage and enable reading and writing skills.

The National Literacy Trust is a charity dedicated to improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of children and young people who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life.

Video games have significant benefits for children who are reluctant or struggling readers. They give them access to stories through interaction and world building which they may not have been able to read in print. Video games also have benefits for families where parents may not be confident readers, meaning that sharing stories as a family is still accessible to all. The rise of video games on smartphones and tablets, as well as more affordable game consoles has made the sharing of interactive stories easier.

Image 222There are different ways that video games create this kind of collateral reading and aid literacy:
  • Reading In Games: Video games offer all sorts of reading at all levels. This can be from simple narrative in a game like Florence to dialogue in a game like Mutazione or even just identifying useful items and game mechanics with in-game descriptions in a game like Zelda Breath of the Wild. Then there are games like Thousand Threads that help players think about the power and the consequence of words.
  • Reading Around Games: Video games create worlds that often spawn secondary texts. This can be official novels that expand the world or guide books that offer instructions and help. Knights and Bikes, for example, has spin off books, a cartoon series and recipes to read.
  • Routes Into Books: Many popular book series, such as Beast Quest, offer a range of video games as an easy first step into those worlds that lead to then reading the books themselves.
  • Communication Around Games: As well as reading, games encourage all sorts of creative output. This can be to contribute to the many online forums and message boards to talk about the game. This can also be to write fan-fiction after being inspired about a game world or character. The Sims, for example, has an avid community writing and creating all kinds of content online.

 
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Image 210 Image 187 Image 217 Thanks for using our resource, supported by AskAboutGames, ParentZone and PlayAbility Initiative. We are editorially independent, written by parents for parents, but welcome sponsorship, partnership and suggestions. Email our editor for details on these opportunities.

The information on this database is designed to support and complement the in-depth discussion and advice about video game "addiction", violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. If you have any concerns or questions in these areas, email our editor who is quick to respond or can arrange for a one-to-one conversation.

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