Forums / Games / Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Xbox)

Just finished CE... holy mother of backtracking

OP Mihael Langley

Finally finished Halo CE on TMCC, this is my third time completing this game although its been a while since my last playthrough so it was a good chance to refresh my memory. The game starts great, and it stays great... until the canyon in the snow level, where the game radically plummets in quality. After this point we start seeing a massive re-use of buildings and structures, repetitive missions that has us do the exact same thing in rooms that are supposed to be different rooms but look exactly alike. Then we have The Library level, one of the worst levels in the history of video games, with the Flood, organic beings that completely destroy Chief's armor with a few touches.
A level so repetitive and devoid of any interesting design, and yet so familiar... Exercise: what other recent game has us battling a hoard of enemies over and over again while a small Ai bot unlocks a door? Thats right, Destiny. Seems like Bungie is stuck in a rut when it comes to game design.

Anyway, moving along. After that dreadful level i sigh of relief, only to discover the game asks me to backtrack all the way back to the start of snow canyon, backtrack all the way to the Covenant ship (the one we played early in the game) and only then, after padding, padding and more padding the game's length we finally arrive at the final run. A broken mess of an ending that requires us to meticulously drive a vehicle with -for some reason- lower gravity than everything else on that planet. Floating and flipping at every turn, the warthog is worst than the MAKO from ME1.

And then we have other problems like unreliable checkpoints, sometimes they show up, sometimes they don't even in previous save spots. Lack of weapon variety is also another issue. The level design is bland and unintuitive. What a mess. The music is fantastic and the first half of the game is great... the game should have ended much sooner, there was no reason for it to be longer than the Library level.

So i guess my question is...how do you guys put up with it? i know some of you love this game, do these issues not bother you?
Some people, I for instance, liked that you got to back track on some of the levels. Bungie also did a great job with tying it into the story. Going back through the levels doesn't feel repetitive and it helps with navigation because you're familiar with the level. If you want to talk about back tracking, look at Crow's Nest from Halo 3.

As for the Library, it's a known fact that that's the worst campaign level of all the halos. Bungie admitted that they screwed up with that. Even though it's a bad level design, I still find it fun.
The Library and Two Betrayals are probably my favorite Halo levels. The Library is just a relaxing time, shotgunning hoards of flood like nobody's business. Two Betrayals starts off VERY annoying, but once you leave the starting area it becomes extremely fun.

I guess I just like killing flood more than I do the Covenants.
Amount of backtracking in Halo 4: None.

That's one reason I love Halo 4's campaign so much.

But how do I, a massive CE fan, put up with it? (and to qualify myself, I am wearing a CEA t-shirt as I type this) Well, "Assault on the Control Room" and "Two Betrayals" are the same map. But it's the objectives and enemies that makes it different. Backtracking is rarely fun, though. And even though Halo 2 doesn't have much of it, it does have a lot of redundancies. (Hell, you're right about Destiny; it might just be a Bungie thing).

Also, my first play-through ever was a fantastic experience. You don't realize that you're backtracking the first time...it's just mystery and exploration and survival. I do remember it kinda annoying me that I was on this massive Halo ring but only seeing the same four or five locations over and over.

"The Silent Cartographer" is a brilliant level and I think that's only because we see it once throughout the campaign.

As far as limited weapons, well, yeah that's true, but I like to think of it like this: The Autumn crash landed there. It was last on Reach. Most likely many of the weapons and supplies it carried were relocated to ground forces to try and save the planet, since the Autumn typically engages in space battles (hence why there are no DMRs or Spartan Lasers around in CE) ... but that's just how I make sense of it "canonically".

But you have to remember, only two guns at once was a big deal in 2001. And the Plasma weapons and Needler and such were incredibly unique and fun weapons. No one noticed a shortage of guns back when it was the only Halo.

The weird thing is, I play that campaign a lot. And I mean like once every month or two I'll spend two days and just plow through it. I love it. And I don't know why ...

... oh wait, yes I do: it's nostalgia. It was the greatest game ever from 2001-2004. That's how a lot of us remember it. Last year I downloaded the original Perfect Dark on the 360 and my wife was like "what the hell is this?" and I said "it's incredible! It was my favorite video game before Halo." But she never saw it before. She didn't see it back when it was new and had "amazing graphics". Although Perfect Dark has some pretty solid level design with little backtracking.

I guess my answer would be "perspective & nostalgia". And the mechanics are so fun.
Idk, the only halo campaign I like now is Halo 3's because it was so much fun with 4 players for the first time in Halo on separate Xbox's, as well as the music and fun scarab battles. All the other halo campaigns were a drag for me.
good perspectives, thanks guys. I still love the game, but coming off fresh of the frustration i felt.
Idk, the only halo campaign I like now is Halo 3's because it was so much fun with 4 players for the first time in Halo on separate Xbox's, as well as the music and fun scarab battles. All the other halo campaigns were a drag for me.
Odd, after replaying all the campaigns in MCC I found Halo 3's campaign to be the least enjoyable by far. Especially now since all the games have co-op over live. Eh, we all have our differences.
Hexor wrote:
Idk, the only halo campaign I like now is Halo 3's because it was so much fun with 4 players for the first time in Halo on separate Xbox's, as well as the music and fun scarab battles. All the other halo campaigns were a drag for me.

Odd, after replaying all the campaigns in MCC I found Halo 3's campaign to be the least enjoyable by far. Especially now since all the games have co-op over live. Eh, we all have our differences.
I agree with you there. It's the only campaign that I feel like I'm just trying to get through to get to Halo 4. For CE, 2, & 4, I feel like apart of the campaign and story, immersed in it, but Halo 3 for some reason just feels like I'm going through the motions to get from point A to point B ... which is exactly what I'm doing in the other campaigns, so I guess Halo 3 doesn't hide it as well.

Halo 3 is also my least favorite multiplayer of the four, yet I can't really find any fault with it. I just don't have as much fun as I do in CE, 2, or 4. It's weird, I know. I just suck at Halo 3.

But it is the best for co-op. Just hands down the most fun vehicle play in the series.
I noticed it at that exact moment too. I never had the motivation to play all the campaigns all the way through until mcc and I was really surprised how much backtracking was in CE.
Hexor wrote:
Idk, the only halo campaign I like now is Halo 3's because it was so much fun with 4 players for the first time in Halo on separate Xbox's, as well as the music and fun scarab battles. All the other halo campaigns were a drag for me.


Odd, after replaying all the campaigns in MCC I found Halo 3's campaign to be the least enjoyable by far. Especially n


I agree with you there. It's the only campaign that I feel like I'm just trying to get through to get to Halo 4. For CE, 2, & 4, I feel like apart of the campaign and story, immersed in it, but Halo 3 for some reason just feels like I'm going through the motions to get from point A to point B ... which is exactly what I'm doing in the other campaigns, so I guess Halo 3 doesn't hide it as well.

Halo 3 is also my least favorite multiplayer of the four, yet I can't really find any fault with it. I just don't have as much fun as I do in CE, 2, or 4. It's weird, I know. I just suck at Halo 3.

But it is the best for co-op. Just hands down the most fun vehicle play in the series.
I agree with everything you said. I also like halo 3's multiplayer the least. But halo 3's 4 player online co-op is unmatched. Doing annual is a blast. It would be my guess is that bungie had this in mind when they designed the game.
Halo 1 is my fav next to halo 2. I get nostalgia just by playing sp in halo 1 in classic mode. I prefer it that way
Walls of text everywhere
The game gets repetitive towards the end because bungie ran out to time to finish the game before launch. FYI.

But they sure didn't screw up a launch like 343 did - Bungie actually had the multiplayer running BEFORE they launched the game.
The game was made in a year, to a platform that Bungie hadn't worked on before and in a place that Bungie hated.

What else would you expect?
Actually, I disagree with the assertation that Halo CE's campaign wasn't great because of its tendency of backtracking.

You see, backtracking is actually a more immersive experience. It makes those locations you go back to actually feel signficant. In Halo CE we had the Pillar of Autumn. You started the game there, and you ended the game there. As described in The Flood, the Marines were running low on ammunition, so where did they have to go back to? The Pillar of Autumn. When the Flood were trying to get off the Halo ring, where did they go to? The two ships that were essentially grounded, because those were the ones they could reach, and possibly fix.

The Truth and Reconciliation? It's damaged. Despite it being a couple of hundred metres up, it's basically grounded for repairs. So, what do you do? You use it as a command center, and direct all prisoners towards it. Where's the Gravemind going to develop? On the ship most likely to be able to actually get off the Halo Ring.

Assault on the Control Room. It's the control room for a galactic superweapon. Of course you're going to go back to it. The Library...sheesh. The entire installation is artificial. Have you been paying attention to modern construction techniques? They use a repeating, modular design. The repetitive nature of the Library makes sense because it's nothing more than a DNA bank and quarantine zone which surrounds the Index.

Halo 4 on the other hand...most of the environments that I passed through didn't matter to me at all, because I never went back to them. Spartan Ops tried to mitigate that, but it did a terrible job because the storytelling sucked and the gameplay was incredibly dull and lacked variety--although both of those did improve significantly in the second half.

But as to Halo 4 not reusing the same assets and not backtracking? You haven't been paying attention. Go back to the Forerunner level and start shutting off those pylons again. Play "Shutdown" without skipping 90% of the level. Oh, and how about "Composer," when you keep passing through and going around the same area--around the Composer itself.

We can put up with Halo CE because it uses the exact same tricks that Halo 4 does. Come on, if you got bored of the "lack of variety" in weapons and enemies in Halo CE, then you must have gotten bored in Halo 4, because it had the exact same problem, especially on Midnight, when you were just fighting the Promethean infantry. IMO, the Flood were more fun to fight than the Prometheans.

I know you didn't mention Halo 4 in your OP, but I'm just throwing it out there because it's probably a good idea to mention the oldest and newest games, to see what has actually changed. The answer is: not much.

As to the Warthog being floaty in Halo CE...no, IMO it actually had a better representation of inertia and momentum than any of the other games. Here's a Halo driving tip: use the brakes when necessary, and don't worry about compensating for the Warthog's tendency to slide all over the place. The Warthog will always go towards the little blue arrow on the HUD. Oh, and just in case you're confused about the brakes, pull back on the joystick in CE and they will light up. Think about it for a minute. That vehicle weighs three tons and has a massive machine gun mounted on the back of it. It's not going to be able to handle too well in the first place.

The best-designed mission in the Halo series IMO is still the Silent Cartographer. You might want to go back and have another look at it before you say anything about "backtracking" and "reusing assets."

Oh, and the Mako? That vehicle didn't know about physics. There were several times when I landed it perfectly on its back, wheels spinning in the air, unable to go anywhere, and yet if you keep your hands off the controller, it will bounce and flip straight back onto its wheels again. Wheeled vehicles aren't supposed to be able to drive straight up vertical cliffs.

@Cobra 087 Just an FYI--I would consider the Cortana level in Halo 3 to be far worse than the Library. For starters, the Library didn't have Gravemind or Cortana moments.