The best & worst Halo games, ranked
Here’s all of the best and worst Halo games ranked. This will be all of the main titles, so spinoff games like Halo Wars and Spartan Assault will be omitted.
With the release of Halo Infinite upon us, we thought we’d rank all of the Halo games from worst to best, so you know which games you should be playing if you’re a prospective player looking to get into the franchise, or a returning fan looking to experience the best games.
For the premiere gaming experiences, we recommend playing older Halo games on the Master Chief Collection on PC or Xbox One. You can always play the games on legacy Xbox 360 hardware, but the MCC is the best of both worlds, giving players the opportunity to change between remastered and old graphics on the fly for the first two games.
Games like Halo 3 and 4 will only give you the classic experience on Xbox 360, but playing on PC or Xbox One will give players a more high definition and smooth experience.
#7 – Halo 4
For the worst on the list, we went with Halo 4. This game was highly hyped, and upon release didn’t feel anything like a proper Halo game. The campaign was a bit lackluster, and the iconic multiplayer was revamped to play more like a Call of Duty title.
The custom loadouts and Spartan abilities were highly debated among the community, making Halo a much more casual game overall. While on paper this may have been a good idea to onboard more players, it, unfortunately, took away the classic formula with it, which drove away some hardcore players.
The only decent part for this title is the Campaign, which does have a few memorable moments. It starts off quite slow, but picks up as time goes on.
#6 – Halo 5: Guardians
Halo 5: Guardians was a let-down to many, and offered a poor campaign experience, which came under scrutiny due to the dodgy marketing called “Hunt The Truth”. Players were led to believe there would be a huge showdown between Spartan Locke and Master Chief, which ended up as a huge disappointment. Since then, many fans have accused Microsoft of misleading marketing regarding the campaign.
While the campaign is by far the worst of the franchise, the multiplayer is better than 4. Most of the original formula is still present, rewarding players for well-placed headshots and removing loadouts. Halo 5 has drawbacks though, with spartan dashes, ground pounds, and sprint for every player, which made the game much faster when compared to previous titles. This game also introduced loot box microtransactions to the franchise, which also sparked heated debates.
#5 – Halo 3: ODST
Note: From here on out for the list, all of these games are stellar Halo titles made by Bungie. They are all great in their own ways.
Halo 3 ODST is a campaign only “DLC” of 3, that was released as a standalone game. It sets a much different tone than the other Halo games, opting for a gritty and dark open-world experience in the city of New Mombasa on Earth.
The story follows a group of ODST soldiers during the initial Covenant invasion of earth. As the main character, you’ll uncover stories of the elite soldiers who fell during the invasion and get to experience the fights and sacrifices they made while fighting for their home.
Overall, this game is a must play for any hardcore player interested in the story of the Halo franchise.
#4 – Halo: Reach
Following the success of 3 and ODST, Bungie doubled down on prequels and delivered fans Halo Reach. Players will experience the heartbreaking story of the fall of planet Reach, through the eyes of Noble squad.
The game also includes a revamped multiplayer experience, which was the start of the divide of the Halo community. Loadouts were introduced in this game, giving players the option to choose spartan abilities, which included sprint, which was never an option in previous titles. A wave-based mode called “firefight” was also introduced.
#3 – Halo 2
Halo 2 is the second chapter of Master Chief’s story, and arguably the best campaign. Take control of both the Master Chief and The Arbiter as their unique stories unfold. Play as both the hero and the enemy, and discover there’s more than just one side to the war…
As for the multiplayer, Halo 2 is the ultimate classic gameplay experience. The servers for the old Xbox system are shut down, but you can still play classic gameplay through The Master Chief Collection.
#2 – Halo: Combat Evolved
Play where it all began. Experience the game that put Bungie on the map. Halo Combat Evolved shows the legendary beginning of the Master Chief story, and the beginning of one of the most iconic franchises in gaming.
You can experience Combat Evolved on the classic Xbox, or get the remastered version on Xbox 360. Steam also offers Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary in The Master Chief Collection, where you can play the game with the updated graphics, or the classic graphics. Online servers are currently running for classic gameplay in the MCC.
#1 – Halo 3
Halo 3 is one of the most iconic games of the Xbox 360 era. Halo 3 was the first Halo released for the Xbox 360, and gave players online experiences that will last as memories for a lifetime. The campaign was masterful, putting players in the shoes of the Master Chief as he fights to finish the Covenant War.
Beautiful set pieces, an amazing story, and a bittersweet ending await all players who experience the game. Once you finish the main story (or before), you can hop into the iconic Multiplayer experience and relive one of the best multiplayer games ever released.
Image Credit: Microsoft/343 Studios/Bungie