Halo Wars 2 – Story Impressions

Another E3 has come and gone, and, as I predicted, it’s a Halo-lite year – as tends to be the case in the year following a major release (I’m sure many of you will recall the Great Lore Drought of 2013). Microsoft has other IPs to give the spotlight to, the one I’m most excited about being ReCore – I can’t wait to see what Joe Staten has cooked up for us and everything I’ve been seeing of and hearing about the game has me rocking back-and-forth in counting down the months until release.

However, we were given a taste of the upcoming Halo Wars 2, set to release this coming February – just like the original, if you, like me, live in the UK (for everyone else it was March 3rd, which I felt very smug about at the time). I didn’t think, especially after finishing the Halo 5 postmortem, that I’d have the drive, energy, or interest to write anything about this game. I didn’t think we’d actually be shown or told much worth writing about.

But, for approximately the third time in the recorded history of Living Time, I was wrong.atriox2 Continue reading

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Halo 5, level-by-Level Analysis – Afterword

Well, here we are…

If you’ve made it to this point with me, well done! No, really. You have hitherto consumed 106,625 words about the good, the bad, and the ugly of a little-known game called Halo 5: Guardians. If you’ve read all of that, then it can only be presumed that you care about this as much as I do, and, looking at some statistics, the analysis has been collectively viewed (that is to say, adding up the view count of each post adds up to) 28,837 times.

So it’s safe to say that this is something that matters to some people. People care about this story, these characters, the setting, the universe – all of it. It has been immensely gratifying to learn over the course of these last seven-eight months since the game released, with the numerous discussions I’ve had, that it’s not just me.

There is a great deal of disappointment that has been felt by where this game has landed us, and while the subject matter is not itself enjoyable to contemplate, the productivity of the story and lore fans in discussing why this is so undesirable has been good. Of course, I’d rather we weren’t in this position and were instead able to praise the writing of this game, but that’s quite simply not where many of us are at – I think it’s fair to say…half0 Continue reading

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Halo 5, Level-by-Level Analysis – Guardians

As Cortana prepares to leave Genesis and send her Guardians out across the galaxy, Osiris has to race against time to recover Blue Team from the Cryptum they have been sealed in.

Following on from last week’s scathing rumination on The Breaking, I fear that this final piece on the campaign will be comparatively more sedate. There are issues, huge issues, with the writing, but there is a fair amount of good stuff to talk about as well – I actually ended up rather enjoying this mission for the most part upon replaying it.

Let’s not tarry any longer. The finale is here, so let’s just get right into it.genesis12 Continue reading

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Halo 5, Level-by-Level Analysis – The Breaking

So far, I have been giving my own short summaries of the story as we’ve been progressing in the opening paragraphs, but for this one I’d like to actually quote the mission description:

“The Master Chief and his team face their greatest threat, and his hardest choice as the true power of Genesis is revealed.”

This sets us up for three things: the Greatest Threat™, the Hardest Choice™, and the True Power™ of this fully armed and operational battle station Genesis. Just sort of keep that in mind as we go through.

Yes, we’re at the final stretch now. In preparing for this, I decided to read through all the previous posts going back to Osiris and make notes on the points I have to pay off for the endgame – I ended up with three whole pages of bullet points to talk about. So we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, and I can only hope that I manage to articulate these criticisms as best I can. And, believe me, this is where I am giving no quartergate1 Continue reading

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Halo 5, Level-by-Level Analysis – Genesis

Having hitched a ride on the Guardian at Sunaion, we pick up where we left off with Fireteam Osiris arriving at Genesis in-pursuit of Blue Team.

I said at the end of the last post that everything following Battle of Sunaion just falls apart, but I’m genuinely taking that back. I replayed this mission expecting that this was the point where I was going to get frustrated beyond relief, that I would have very little in the way of positive things to say…

But I ended up having the exact opposite experience, barring several issues which I’ll talk about, this is a really strong mission.genesis48 Continue reading

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Halo 5, Level-by-Level Analysis – Battle of Sunaion

The time has come for Thel to lead the Swords of Sanghelios on the final great battle against the Covenant to kick them off his world, while Osiris navigates their way through the pre-Covenant city in order to reach the Guardian.

I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, I really have. I love this mission, it is quite easily my favourite in the campaign. When I finished replaying it for the purpose of this analysis, I immediately quit back to the menu to play it over again. To me, it’s easily the crux of Halo 5’s quality regarding the campaign.

Expect a good deal of gushing in this post, though we will be looking through a very critical lens at the end as we talk about the implications of the Covenant’s future and the main issue with the conflict in Halo right now.half178 Continue reading

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Halo 5, Level-by-Level Analysis – Before The Storm

Osiris has recovered the Constructor and returned to Thel’s camp as everyone gears up for the battle of Sunaion which will bring an end to the Covenant (or so we’re led to believe).

Let me set the tone here, because there’s so little to actually be said here in terms of analysis: this mission is a complete waste of time… I would go as far as to wager it’s the most pointless mission in the franchise.swords38 Continue reading

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