I continue today at number four. This is how these things typically progress.
Halo 5: Guardians
A lot of what I’ve heard surrounding Halo 5 was negative, or at least, relatively negative compared to the other games in the series. Since my placing this on the list differs from what many have said, I need to explain my history with the franchise first. Hopefully this will give some insight into why this game stood out for me.
My first Halo was the third in the series, which I received alongside my XBOX 360 in Christmas 2008. I sold that one, but at some point was goaded into purchasing the original from the XBOX Live Arcade (or whatever it was at that point in time). I actually had a better time with Combat Evolved than I did with Halo 3, which prompted me to seek out Halo 2 in around 2011 or so. (I had a copy of ODST and Reach at one point as well if I remember right) I purchased an XBOX One in 2014 with the expressed intent of getting the Master Chief Collection, so I could play the original games online for the first time in a long time. Of course, that game’s online multiplayer was a disaster for a few months, but I got to re-experience those first two games again.
I stuck to those first two games more than I did the later ones for some reason. I don’t have any idea why, but there’s a certain feeling that Halo 5 has that kept me better connected to this game. Whatever intangibles kept me hooked to those first two games felt like they were back for me. When mini-boss fights happened, or when a new room became available to explore, I was excited to continue the fight, not like it was happening too often as I felt with the later games (especially and probably most specifically Reach).
The multiplayer modes managed to change what I wanted to have changed about Halo but kept most of what I enjoyed as well. There was about a solid week where I just played the Free-For-All deathmatch mode and it was legitimately the best online experience I’ve had in a few years (though, to be fair, I don’t play online often)
I know a lot of the response to this game was lukewarm, but this was the perfect Halo for me, especially after years of spinning my wheels with this franchise. Something clicked here that hadn’t over the XBOX 360 generation.