With the conclusion of Spartan Ops Season 1, episode 6-10, here is a combined review of all five episodes which proved that 343 can do something great with this new storyline and game mode.
Though most were disappointed with episode 1-5, 343 heard us and they adapted to give us the experience we wanted to get from the game. It’s not that we demanded it, but it was obvious flaws in the gameplay that they realized, took into consideration and changed to keep us interested. The cut scenes were already amazing, but everything else fell flat. Fighting endless hordes of Covenant and Prometheans, defending multiple consoles, and just a whole bunch of back and forth that was completely unnecessary. The most disappointing part of episode of episode 1-5 was the lack of creativity with the environments, playing in the same places constantly to the point of boredom.
Yet when episode 6-10 came they took notice and not only did they create new environments, but added new elements to the gameplay that added some challenge. Episode 6 starts right after Crimson Squad’s capture by the Covenant. You immediately escape your shackles, assassinate the Elite in front of you, steal his gun, and start you’re assault on your captures to make an escape. The best part is that they corrected the wait time between waves if you defeated them too early and the action is turned up a notch so that it wasn’t as easy as before. It’s an intense start to the episode that sets the tone for the rest of the season.
Each chapter takes place on a brand new map, which added more appeal to the story overall and brought more appeal. The only negative about some of these new maps are the spawn points because you can die and then spawn farther away from the action than you expect. Besides that many are much more vibrant and allow you to explore much of Requiem that was untouched during the Campaign.
The story is very impressive and the twist at the end about the hidden Forerunner technology was a great way to expand on the already progressive plot. It only makes sense as the Librarian saw the human race as next to take their place as guardians of the universe. So many doors open with this new development and we can only expect what is to be found to be incorporated in the game at some point whether it be armor, vehicles, weapons, and so forth.
Overall, 343 delivered with this second half of the season and they proved that they are more than capable of handling this side story which answers many questions that fill in gaps to help the fans understand the world of Halo more. What made this half so much better was that more programmers and designers were free to work on them now that the main game was finished and it was that extra attention to Spartan Ops that gave it the quality touch it needed.
What we come to notice here is how both Latsky and Palmer really feared Halsey. Someone that Latsky misjudged from the beginning and Palmer warned him of since the minute she stepped onto Infinity. As Rolland said, he put a lot of faith in her that she could be trusted to help her and she betrayed them multiple times for her own agenda. But even as this goes on you notice that Latsky is more level headed than you expect seeing as not once he let his emotions get the best of him with his back constantly being up against the wall.
Palmer really played into her character because though she was very aggressive towards Halsey, it came with the territory of her position. She didn’t trust Halsey and up until she was proven wrong thought that she was working with Jul ‘Mdama which made her less than compromising when it came to dealing with her. By the end you start to look at Palmer the way Latsky looked at Chief at the end of the story. She like many Spartans only see themselves as soldiers and at a point lose themselves to that part of their lives. Latsky questioned her humanity when she was not opposed to elimination Halsey and said orders are orders and would not spare her for the sake of Latsky’s career. This was to be expected of her and you can’t blame her for it either having her ranking and to be made a fool of so many times up to then.
In the future I suspect we will see the consequence of Palmer’s agreement to go through with the assassination of Halsey and that goes to say for both sides seeing how Halsey now wants them dead. I mean they will obviously come looking for her, but what they find may not be to their liking. Not only this, but we will also see if Latsky’s command comes into question do to his morals as a human.
The character that outshined them all is the mother of the SPARTAN IIs, Dr. Catherine Halsey. From the minute she stepped into the story you knew things were about to get interesting. She is a mad scientist, war criminal, genius at large, cunning, and not one to underestimate because of her age. Everyone fears what Halsey is capable of, yet she always had the purest of intentions in mind. While they try to fight a war, she was trying to understand it as the rest should be doing as well. “Knowledge is power” she said and proved it countless times as she made fools of the lot of them. Even as she is outnumbered and in no position to make demands being a prisoner forced to help them, Halsey still manages to have her way time after time to still save the race that looks down on her for her past actions. The one thing Latsky and Palmer overlooked was that they brought the designer of the Infinity onto her own ship which was their biggest mistake.
It was destiny that Halsey met with the Librarian. We know as fans how important Halsey is to the human race because it was planned since the beginning that she would create Chief, give him Cortana, and remodel the suits for the Spartans. The Librarian knew her by name and the key she gave Halsey was meant for her alone to carry which means something since she didn’t even give it to Chief when she first encountered him. There is no doubting her place in the Universe and all it takes is the rest to take notice of that instead of questioning her intentions. Now, this goes without saying that the UNSC put out a hit on her which basically landed her right in the hands of Jul ‘Mdama, who holds the other part of the key. Their failure to rescue her even after she tried to keep both halves only pushed her further as the Exodus Conclusion had shown Halsey without her left arm and now seeking revenge against the UNSC.
Watch this through to the end and you can see the different directions this story can take based on the UNSC’s actions and Halsey’s reaction to her near assassination.
She is the game changer in the series and holds all the cards which is what you want to see her play when the time arrives. I mean who knows, she may just be playing Jul ‘Mdama for a fool again, or maybe she’s genuinely tired of being undermined, insulted and assaulted for trying to do good. Every character has their time to shine, and she shined bright with her appearance.
The Covenant were the big surprise because in the previous games they always seemed like they were mindless brutes that were willing to give up their lives without a second thought, just for their honor. Though here they seemed to have gotten smart, like they know what they want and they are going for it, nothing would come between them and the secrets Requiem held. They aren’t pushovers anymore and that’s something I was excited to see. They worship the Forerunners and believe that they have the right to whatever was left by the Forerunners when they died off. In an audio tape you even hear them calling out “Didact” for months trying to get his attention to open up the door to Requiem.
In this story it was the Didact’s right hand that was the main antagonist showing what the rogue Covies are really capable of when they act on their own. From the minute the UNSC stepped foot on Requiem they were playing his game. Just as Halsey managed to play them for fools so did Jul ‘Mdama as he out smarted them at every turn. He gave them a false sense of victory and was studying them while the UNSC was still trying to study artifacts. When you are playing through this story you almost feel as if you are going back to your rivalry with the Arbiter because he was just as cunning if not still more.
By the end you see that he heavily relies on Halsey’s intellect and the fact that she is able to use Forerunner technology with ease. This will be an interesting event to unfold because as Halsey said, knowledge is power, and both have their drive for it.
Fire Team Majestic really stepped up by the end of this season as well. Though it was Thorn mainly, they all made their presences known as they were the best Spartan team and the one both Latsky and Palmer trusted most to carry out the most important missions.
Thorne proved why they are Spartans as he took on many Sangheili warriors at once, and though they overpowered him he still killed a few which is an accomplishment for someone that was clearly outnumbered and had no helmet either. Then to escape after with Dr. Glassman and almost make it back to Galileo base before having a run in with Gek who had him beat. That was very impressive in my opinion and something I was expecting from his character from the minute they introduced him in the first episode. The best part was when they picked up the Sangheili gear because you always did wonder why they never picked up foreign weapons till then and their reactions to how they work really sold the moment. Though it wasn’t a monumental moment, it was still good to see that when Lastky asked them for that personal favor to save Halsey, they didn’t question him which was what I feared for since they were made aware of what she is capable of.
Fireteam Majestic is a team of personality if I may call them that. As Halsey said that they weren’t true Spartans because they didn’t act like them, they showed that Spartans are still humans under that heavy suit of armor. That is something a lot like to see and they do add some comic relief when tensions are running high. In episode 10 I was very entertained to see how they could all work as a team between Miller, Rolland, Majestic Team, and Crimson Team. All of them showed their resourcefulness when their backs were against the wall and facing their imminent doom as Requiem drifted towards the sun and pulled Infinity with it.
By the end of this season they stepped up as more than just soldiers that they sent out to fight and reclaim, they took an active role in the important situations and for that I hope they continue to be important players to the future story.
If there were any negatives it was that there was still parts that felt repetitive, but were still different all the same. And beyond that like I said before, spawn points were an issue because you can die and then spawn farther away from the action than you expect
I give episode 6-10: