Halo is a standout franchise for a number of reasons, from its innovative gameplay to its intricate lore and backstories. Halo also features some of the best campaigns the FPS genre has to offer. Often featuring a broad range of gameplay scenarios, from the standard first-person gameplay to vehicular assaults across wide areas and aerial battles in banshees, hornets and falcons, Halo campaigns really have it all. What are some of the best missions in Halo’s history, however? That is what we are going to find out today! These are the top 5 Campaign Missions in Halo.
5. 343 Guilty Spark
Topping off this list is the level from the original Halo that makes your skin crawl, ‘343 Guilty Spark’. The majority of this mission features tight and claustrophobic level design that really goes against the grain when compared to other missions from Combat Evolved. This mission does a better job of setting a foreboding and tense mood than any other in the entire franchise. Ambiance oozes from this level, with its horror tropes of cautious intrigue and the found footage from Private Jenkins showing what happened to the doomed soldiers.
What seems like a simple mission trying to stop the covenant from accessing a weapons cache quickly becomes a fight for your life. This involves Master Chief attempting to escape from the dangerous underground facility. The reveal of the flood is unforgettable. It adds an incredible new dynamic for both the story as well as the gameplay. Punctuated by the haunting Marty O’Donnell track “Devils… Monsters…”, the chaotic and disturbing reveal of this ancient monstrosity is something every Combat Evolved player remembers. The foggy swamp before the flood’s reveal is perhaps the most unique environment in the entire game.
4. Tip of the Spear
‘Tip of the Spear’ has, quite possibly, the best intro for any Halo mission. This mission sets the stage for a massive battle between the UNSC and the Covenant forces invading Reach. Noble 6 and Kat break off from the rest of the force to destroy giant AA cannons and stop the Covenant from setting up a foothold on the planets surface. As cool as the opening cutscene is, ‘Tip of the Spear’ is a fairly basic level up until the end. After taking out the last AA cannon, the player gets into a falcon with Jorge. The mission then becomes an on-the-rails rampage with an infinite ammo grenade launcher.
The falcon crashes and you are greeted with one of Halo: Reach’s most recognizable multiplayer levels, ‘Spire’. This behemoth of a structure encourages you to find your own way up it. Either take the gravity lift to the top, or grab a Banshee and fight your way up. The end of this mission shows that the UNSC is more out of it’s league than initially anticipated. A Covenant cruiser destroying a massive frigate with ease symbols the beginning of the end for planet Reach.
3. The Ark
‘The Ark’ is an awesome mission. It has just about everything you could want in a Halo level. Huge open areas with large scale fights, powerful vehicles everywhere, and a surprise scarab fight make it memorable. Scale is certainly the most notable aspect of this mission. It goes BIG as its building up to a massive climax in the next level. The scale of this mission is quickly understood when the immense UNSC frigate Forward Unto Dawn lands within spitting distance of Master Chief and blows destroyed vehicles away just with its presence.
This level isn’t all action however. It has some great comedic moments in it, like 343 Guilty Spark zapping a marine because he “Didn’t want him to come to any harm”. It also has one of the most memorable expressions in the franchise. “Tank beats everything.” The ending fight with a brute chieftain in one-on-one combat is a unique boss, with the surrounding Brutes cheering for your head. If it wasn’t for a certain Halo 3 mission, I may have considered this the best. If only it wasn’t so similar.
This level earns its position for one reason alone: the band Breaking Benjamin. Not enough? Okay. Gravemind is the most pivotal mission in Halo 2. It features the titular hivemind of the flood as well as the first meeting between the Chief and Arbiter. Being able to explore the holy capital city of the Covenant for the first time is an awesome experience. It adds so much to the gravity of the situation. Some views of the skybox in both the original Halo 2, as well as Anniversary, are absolutely jaw dropping. There are a number of gameplay elements that make ‘Gravemind’ one of the most unique levels in the franchise. The most prominent, of course, is the introduction of the brutes. If you’re playing on a harder difficulty, you’ll realize quickly how much of a threat these beasts can be, especially when they start berserking.
This level’s implications for the story are also significant. It shows the beginning of the Covenant civil war, known as the Great Schism, between the Brutes and the Elites. You’ll often find yourself in the middle of a firefight between these two factions, making this whole mission that much more interesting and dynamic. And yes, the huge battle that takes place in the Mausoleum of the Arbiter while “Blow Me Away” plays doesn’t define the level, but it does make for a cherry on top of an already fantastic mission!
1. The Covenant
‘The Covenant’ from Halo 3 is, without a doubt, the absolute perfect Halo level. It has got everything you could possibly want in a large-scale Halo mission. It is exceptionally epic, cinematic, and its combat arenas are tuned to perfection. Any mission that starts with a song as impactful as “One Final Effort” and features a spartan laser as your primary weapon is bound to be legendary.
Taking cues from the beach landing of ‘Silent Cartographer’ in Halo: Combat Evolved, ‘The Covenant’ kicks you into gear and gets you hyped up for what’s to come. The level ends up being a true saga with three teams sent to shut off shield generators. All in order to stop the Prophet of Truth from firing the Halo array from the Ark. This level loves to throw some crazy curveballs, like two Scarabs dropping from orbit to stop you as well as the highly unexpected temporary truce with the flood.
This mission might just sound like a massive battle. However, it’s actually one of the most impactful levels, both from a storytelling perspective as well as an emotional one. The death of Miranda Keyes by the Prophet of Truth is shocking and unexpected. Likewise, the silencing of the final prophet by the Arbiter seems almost poetic. With the stakes being as high as they are and the final victory over the main antagonist of the entire franchise, you would be forgiven for expecting this to be the end of the game. Without the flood, it very well could be.
Those are the top 5 missions in Halo. What do you think of this selection? Do you agree, or is a particular favourite of yours missing? Let us know over in the forums, or on our social media. You can check out more from our team below:
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