Rayne wrote:Halo. In my mind it's just the best FPS experience available, the controls are natural, the enemies are designed brilliantly and the online is a blast.
What I love is how the franchise gets solid play from me every year. Whether I'm replaying the campaign, playing online, couch co-op, firefight or Forge there's always something for me to do. I also love the connected books, comics, shows and anime shorts.
I will never understand the love Halo gets... I played it on PC and found it to be a very average FPS by PC standards. Of course, I played it after Doom, Unreal, Half Life, Deus Ex, etc.
Mind you, I never played it online, so I'm probably missing a huge chunk of what made it popular. The single player was very average to me. Having the second half of the game be the first half backwards except with brown paper bags to shoot at was just cheap.
Halo is also guilty of introducing everything that is wrong with modern console FPS games - regenerating health, limited weapon selection and slow, plodding, movement (compared to Doom anyway).
I feel like most of your criticisms are more due to the divide between PC gaming and Console gaming. Remember that Halo was the one of the first times that the FPS genre had a game that was designed from the ground up for consoles. While I agree that online is a big part of the experience it's by no means it's key asset, I feel like the series stands alone.
While regenerating health was introduced in later entries the original game balanced both a regenerating shield and separate health system. Best of both worlds imo. I've always preferred 2 weapon selection to playing Johnny-All-Guns, I find it forces you to react more on the go, jump to weapons you may not otherwise use and spend time evaluating how bad you'll need a one-shot Rocket Launcher vs a less powerful but more reliable Assault Rifle.
I've played Doom and Unreal Tournament and never understood why people like the zippy ultra-fast movement. While you describe Halo as having plodding movement the reality is that is has some of the best movement in any FPS game, ever. I'll let this rather fantastic Kotaku article describe why: http://kotaku.com/the-unusual-excellenc ... 1631041139
"The combat arena in Halo is a dance floor, and the short range of your assault rifle is an invitation to get up there and dance your heart out." QFT.
I felt like the various levels are all incredible in their own way. As others have said, from the design of the Halo ring to the tight corridors of the Pillar of Autumn everything feels fresh. While a few locations are revisited they each provide completely different experiences the second time around. The emergence of the Flood in the last part of the game was also a stroke of genius! Just as you're becoming confident dealing with the Covenant suddenly you're forced to re-adapt to a new type of enemy that behaves completely differently and has different weaknesses/strengths. Tactics have to be revised and old weapons you'd rely on have to be switched out with weapons you may not have used before.
Lastly a word has to be given to the superb AI in this game. Elites actively duck and flank, Jackals hide just out of effective range behind shields, grunts charge and cause chaos. Every enemy type has a specific purpose and requires careful action to put down.
PC gamers all too often scoff and Halo and each and every time I shake my head. I've played all of the games you've listed at length and while they have their strengths I don't feel they come close to comparing