On November 15, 2001, Halo: Combat Evolved was released to become the flagship game of the new Xbox. It was the game that put Microsoft’s console on the map, and it was the game that brought first-person shooters to consoles.
Many of the norms of FPS games today were set by Halo (the two-stick movement, holding and switching between two weapons, regenerating health). This was one of the games that had a huge impact on the entire gaming world, and the series of games that followed is one of the pillar franchises in gaming.
I believe there is more to the greatness of Halo than those bits of history, though. It is my personal belief that the Halo series has the most quality, cost-effective games that a gamer can buy, and they are a perfect choice for Christian gamers.
The reason Halo games give you the most bang for your buck is how many features are included in their games.
The Campaigns in the Halo series are amazing. The stories are great. The characters are colorful. The gameplay is superb. The music is some of the best you will find in gaming. Look, the lore in the Halo universe is expansive, and (although you do not need to know this lore in order to enjoy the games) it really shows in the story and world of Halo. Especially in Halo 2, you get a sense of a galaxy full of history and colorful, varied cultures. Master Chief is one of the greatest protagonists in gaming. He is a cold killing machine that says little, but sacrifices much. The series will suprise you with heart even though the two main characters are a man-of-few-words super soldier and a computer AI.
Some might argue that the story is not as nuanced as other FPS campaigns, like Bioshock, but what it has better than just about any other FPS campaign I’ve ever played is great game play and enemy balance. Halo games make use of the fact that you are shooting aliens extremely well. Grunts, Jackals, and Elites all have different attacks, movements, and health amounts. No single enemy feels like a boring, bullet sponge when fighting the Covenant. The Campaigns of Halo are a great adrenaline rush, and the soundtrack helps with that immensely.
I know some would disagree with me about the Halo campaigns having the best gameplay, but they are wrong (just kidding). No one can argue that the Halo games do not have a record of great campaigns, though.
If you don’t believe me, check out this awesome video by HaloFollower that shows some of the great moments in Halo (spoilers).
Besides the campaigns, there is multiplayer. Halo 2 brought some of the first online multiplayer to the Xbox, and the arena-style shooting multiplayer has been amazing since the beginning. The maps are well-balanced, every player has the same weapons (except in Halo 4), and the red and blue team colors make it easy to distinguish friend from foe.
There are games out there that have a better reputation for online multiplayer, but Halo always has a very active and very loyal community for each of its games. You can log onto Halo: Reach today and still find a game quickly.
Now, here’s why Halo has such value. There are many FPS multiplayer shooters out there, but many of them either have no campaign, or a really boring campaign, and very few people care to play it (Overwatch, COD, Star Wars: Battlefront). There are also plenty of FPS single player games that either have no multiplayer, or their multiplayer has very few active players (Doom, Bioshock). My point is, no one combines multiplayer fun, and single player FPS campaign gold like Halo.
I have not even mentioned split screen co-op and competitive multiplayer that has existed in every halo game except Halo 5: Guardians (and I hope they bring it back in the future). I haven’t mentioned the unparalleled detail in the Custom Games’ settings where you can craft any sort of unique game to play with your friends. I haven’t mentioned the different special co-op game modes like Firefight and Spartan Ops that are in Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4. I haven’t mentioned the absolute ridiculous cherry on top that is forge mode, where, ever since Halo: Reach, players can create their own maps with a wealth of options (there has been some seriously good maps made in the community, and Halo’s developers have always been good to highlight the best ones and make them available).
Honestly, I am not sure of any game series that gives its players the wealth of options of play that Halo does. There are definitely no FPS games like it.
So, that wraps up the value section, now on to why Halo is great for Christians.
Halo games are usually rated M, but anyone who has played a Halo game thinks that is ridiculous. The blood and gore is subdued for an FPS, and the language is, over all, pretty mild. There are no real sexual themes, and the worst sexual aspects to the game is that Cortana, the AI, appears as a blue hologram of a woman in blue, form-fitting tights.
My favorite part about the Halo games is their main protagonist, Master Chief. The man otherwise known as John 117 is a very noble hero that is willing to sacrifice anything to defend humanity. He is shown to be the absolute epitome of manhood, and he is a virgin.
Well, this is not fully acknowledged unless one were to read the background lore, but it is true.
Most “manly” video-game heroes are depicted as womanizers who do not value the opposite sex at all or, at least, very little. In contrast, Master Chief is a very Christian example of what true manhood is. He has never committed fornication, and in today’s media, that is very rare to find.
This is something so rare, that I can not help but write about it. I truly appreciate the example that Master Chief sets.
Also, you shoot aliens in the games, not people, so if violence is a problem for you, it’s better when you know they are not human.
All in all, I believe Halo is an excellent choice for Christians who are fed up with the negative messages in games, and also a great choice for parents who are wary of allowing their children to play violent games.
As far as FPS games go, you can’t beat Halo.
Thank you for reading, and God bless.