I'm going to redo my ratings. Over the past few weeks I acquired Halo CE and Halo 2 (The originals, not remasters) and now having played every Halo game for the first 2 generations of consoles some things have changed.
I'm going to rank them in 3 categories.
1. Halo 3 : Definitely my favorite campaign. It was a memorable finish to an amazing trilogy, even though it was my first Halo game. The story was beautiful, the environments were beautiful, and it was definitely my favorite.
2. Halo CE: Although it's been over 15 years, playing the first Halo game was a trip back in time for me. Seeing Halo in its original form was fantastic, and had a story like no other. I come from the breed that doesn't need top notch graphics in a game, entertainment is far more important. The Halo rings, while clearly borrowing from other entertainment, still contained its own essence of originality.
3. Halo 4: While definitely it's not a favorite of a lot of the community, I feel Halo 4 was a good step for 343i to take. It's not a Bungie game anymore, and something new from the Covenant/Flood wars was needed. Exploring the Forerunners and their history was fantastic. It was an original storyline but still kept its air of familiarity, and for the most part, played very similar to Reach. I don't get people who have nothing but praise for Reach and nothing but negativity for 4, because they were similar games in a lot of ways. I'll never forget cresting the ridge on Requiem and seeing the massive Forerunner structure. It was a very impressive moment, and should have defined Halo's next step. My only gripe with Halo 4 is that the campaign was very short. I liked the Spartan Ops idea, but they used it to cushion the lack of campaign, which I didn't feel was a good move.
4. Halo 2: I thought that alternating between Chief and the Arbiter was an interesting concept, and an entertaining one. Seeing things from the Covenant side was interesting. It doesn't place as high though because it got kind of boring because of how similar it was to CE. Halo ring, Flood, Covenant, it felt like a direct sequel (Which it obviously was) but as such, it got kind of boring. Throughout it I looked more forward to the Arbiter levels than the Chief levels. This is of course my fault because I played 3 long before 2, but Halo 2 felt so much like 3 just far less polished.
5. Halo 3: ODST: It was refreshing to not play a supersoldier or a powerful alien. Being just a regular guy put a different spin on traditional Halo, and opened up a score of different strategies you had to use. Although I enjoyed it, there were some things that made me scratch my head that broke the immersion. An ODST carrying a mounted turret moving faster than a Spartan-II supersoldier? How?
6: Halo Reach: I hate to put it almost last on this list because of how much praise it receives even now, but I didn't find Reach as compelling or interesting as the others. It broke a lot with the book "The Fall of Reach", and being a prequel but having new things that the other games didn't was puzzling. It was cool to play as your own Spartan, but the nameless/facelessness didn't necessarily have to be reused from ODST. Still, it was not a bad game, and it was enjoyable. The space mission was an awesome twist in regular gameplay, and I was glad when they brought it back in a similar capacity in Halo 4 on Midnight. The sacrifice Noble 6 made to get Cortana to the Pillar of Autumn and allow safe passage for it was a good finale, but I disagree with the assertion that Halo Reach marked Halo's demise.
7. Halo Wars: It had a good story, but that was about all that was good about it in my opinion. It was a chore to get through, and it wasn't terribly memorable. I'd much rather play Starcraft on my PC for an RTS game.
1. Halo 4: Now before you hate me, hear me out. Hardly anyone favors Halo 4's multiplayer, often saying it ruined Halo, but I strongly disagree. First, it brought multiplayer into the Halo canon as "war games" for the Spartan-IVs. Second, I felt loadouts were a grace, not a hindrance. Not everyone can be a pro with an assault rifle, and it's agonizing to never be able to find ones on the map if you aren't very, very familiar with them. I felt that building sets of weapons and buffs to match your play style was great, and I don't really think it unbalanced multiplayer at all, instead, it just revealed a set of people considered 'bad' at Halo that were now able to be competitive. Every combination had its pros and cons, and nothing was really 'better' than anything else. For example, carbines traded power for rate of fire, BRs traded power and rate of fire for clip size, and DMRs traded clip size and RoF for power. People say it was too much like Call of Duty, but I don't feel the same way. It kept a lot of traditional Halo elements and made it more accessible for different people to play. Third, it eliminated common problems from earlier games: Personal ordnance gave incentive to fight well, and sparse power weapons drops by map got rid of the people who would just camp power weapon spawn points.
2. Halo Reach: Halo Reach had a very similar feel to 4 in multiplayer, although of course not having the loadout feature.Armor abilities added a unique element Halo hadn't seen before. I felt firefight was a fantastic mode to play and mess around with settings. Me and my friends like to play "Terminator Firefight": 4x overshields, 200% health, and fast shield recharge, full player gravity and reduced speed, and loadouts consisting of power weapons, most notably the Fuel Rod cannon and the Focus rifle.
3. Halo 3: Halo 3 could be fun, but most of the time, it was just a mad dash for power weapons and BRs and whichever team or person got them first won. If you didn't make it to a power weapon, sorry! You're at the bottom of the leaderboards this match because everything outclasses your assault rifle. Still, i think Halo 3 had some of the best maps- Sandtrap, High Ground, and Last Resort are my favorites.
4. Halo 3: ODST: I can't really give this a multiplayer rating because multiplayer was firefight, and it was very far behind Halo Reach's in my opinion, which is OK because Reach came after ODST.
5. Halo Wars: Console RTS is a pain in the -Yoink-, 'nuff said.
I can't really rate 2 and CE because CE didn't have online, and Halo 2 matchmaking was shut down long before I played it.
1. Halo 4 (Not a popular opinion)
2. Halo 3 (It's a very, very close second.)
3. Halo CE
4. Halo 2
5. Halo Reach
6. Halo 3: ODST (very close to Reach, and might not be fair to rank it the same as it's an expansion)
7. Halo Wars