Every Halo Game, Ranked From Worst To Best

Halo 3 PC

Season 2 of Halo is streaming on Paramount right now, and despite a very rocky start in its first season, it’s actually getting some pretty solid reviews. At the time of writing it’s sitting on an impressive 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, putting it almost 25 points higher than its predecessor.

With fans digging into the latest piece of Halo media, we thought we’d take a stroll down memory lane and look back at the games that made this all possible. This is our definitive ranking of every Halo game, from the very worst entry in the series to the very best.

Halo 5

I wish I had a bunch of positive things to say about Halo 5, but very little comes to mind. It’s a game that you play and then it’s over. The campaign isn’t particularly engaging, with the story doing little more than spin its tires in the mud for 8 straight hours, and while the gameplay was more or less solid, everything felt a little bit sterilized and clean. Halo should be a little bit messy, a little bit off-the-cuff, and Halo 5 doesn’t even try to approach that. I’m loath to call it outright bad, but it’s not outright good, either.

Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite tried, at least. <p>Microsoft</p>
Halo Infinite tried, at least.


Oh Halo Infinite, you poor thing. Infinite was supposed to be the saving grace for the franchise, bringing Halo into an all-new era and boosting sales of the Xbox Series X. It didn’t really do those things. It abandoned splitscreen co-op for its campaign, one of the staples of the series, and its story was fine. The campaign gameplay, though, was rock-solid, with its open-world aspects surprisingly fitting into the series very well. It’s a big step up from Halo 5, but that’s a low bar to clear.

Halo 4

Halo 4 was the first game in the series developed by 343 Industries, after Bungie departed to go work on Destiny. It gets a bit of a bad rap these days, but despite some weird, uneven storytelling, it definitely checks a lot of the right boxes. I’m told the multiplayer was very lacking, but as someone who primarily played Halo for the campaign, that doesn’t factor into the decision at all. I played through all of Halo 4 in co-op with my sister, and it was probably the most fun I’ve had with the series in the past decade.


The original Halo is a master class in game design, from top to bottom. The gunplay is excellent, the story is mystifying and fascinating, and the soundtrack is one of the greatest ever put in a game. It’s hard to overstate the massive cultural impact that the first Halo game had, and it’s even harder to believe that for the most part, it holds up today — but it absolutely does.

Halo 3

Halo is good, huh?<p>Microsoft</p>
Halo is good, huh?


There’s no denying that Halo 3 is a good game, because it absolutely is. In terms of gameplay and execution, it’s the best of the original trilogy of games. It basically does what Halo 1 does but better in every way. The reason it doesn’t get the top spot of the original three is because it sticks to that script a little bit too closely, and as a result ends up feeling a bit flat. I do think it’s better than the first game, I just wish it had tried a little harder to do something bold and fresh.

Halo 2

Speaking of bold and fresh, Halo 2, folks. What a game. Before you jump down my throat about this one: I will be the first to admit that Halo 2’s ending is a hot mess. I have absolutely no idea what anyone involved was thinking, but it should have been workshopped just a little bit more. That’s a few moments in an otherwise bombastic and fantastic follow-up to the original game, though, and the rest of Halo 2 is so dang good.

Halo Reach

I tossed up between Reach and the winner of this ranking more than once, because it was a really close competition. I think Reach is a better co-op game than it is a single-player game, and that means the single-player campaign suffers just a teensy bit. It’s got a great cast of characters, though, and the gameplay was phenomenal. It’s just as worthy of being at the top of this list, honestly, but just for different reasons depending on what you value most.

Halo 3: ODST

Halo 3: ODST asked a question that I didn’t think would have a satisfying answer: what happens when you take away the big, bulky, self-charging power suit and throw a vulnerable little meat puppet into Halo combat? You’d think it would end up just like any other shooter, but ODST manages to carve out its own little niche in a way that surprises me and surprises most players. It’s a tight, almost cozy romp through New Mombasa city, with some really effective nonlinear storytelling, and some almost survival horror-ish moments scattered throughout. ODST excels at making you feel vulnerable, and in the same way, shows a game that’s vulnerable itself. It’s utterly fantastic in just about every way.

Related: You Can Watch Halo Season 2 For Free With Xbox Game Pass