This is Objection Network’s countdown of the top 25 video game series of all-time. We’re counting down to the best franchise ever on March 31. For more info on the voting process, click here.
22) Halo (2 votes, 64 points)
Chris: There were first-person shooters before Halo (love you Goldeneye) and there have been about 14.6 million first-person shooters since, but none has been as influential as this franchise. It can’t be understated how important Combat Evolved was to the early success of Microsoft in the console market. That was a killer app that put the Xbox on the map as a must-own console with a game you couldn’t experience anywhere else.
Combat Evolved excelled because of its strong single-player campaign and revolutionary approach to multiplayer. I’ve told this story on the podcast before, but my first time playing this game was actually at a an impromptu LAN party where we had 16 people lobbing sticky grenades and camping near sniper rifles. With no idea how to operate dual thumbsticks, I got my ass kicked, but still had fun doing so. (Also, it was a reminder that a lot of people in high school were waaaaaay richer than I was.)
Following its explosive debut, the series went on to complete its original trilogy and a couple of side games (ODST and Reach) before Bungie left to work on other projects. Since then, we’ve had two more well-regarded main story titles from 343 Industries that haven’t really missed a beat.
Not everything in the series has been a winner: Halo 2 ends on a blatant cliffhanger, 3 features one of the worst final bosses in video game history, and Master Chief has the personality of a soggy loaf of bread in the early going. And if we’re being honest, while Call of Duty gets blamed for spawning an army of 11-year-olds who brag about having carnal relations with your mother, that stuff first became popular in Halo’s multiplayer.
But for consistently great soundtracks, interesting vehicular options, a strong overarching narrative and more than 60 million copies sold, Halo absolutely deserves to be in the conversation when you talk about the best franchises ever made.
Christine: Does playing Halo Reach count? While I haven’t played the main games or know much about the overarching story of the Halo series, other than there’s a guy named Master Chief and an AI named Cortana who are pretty significant to the series, I can at least understand the appeal of Halo from a gameplay standpoint. I have played both Halo Reach’s single player and multiplayer campaigns and found something really satisfying about playing as a Spartan shooting or meleeing enemies with a variety of weapons at your disposal. The best memories I have of playing Reach was doing the firefight campaigns with my best friend and cousin. My kill counts were woefully laughable and I was the squishiest among the three of us during intense enemy waves, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was the three of us laughing and having a good time. If Halo is also known for its online multiplayer campaigns, I don’t think it’s wrong to say that their multiplayer is really solid. Well, at least Halo Reach has a great one. And a pink Spartan! It’s one of my proudest character customizing achievements in a Halo game.