While I haven’t posted specifically about Spartan Ops until now, I’ve enjoyed the addition to the Halo experience. Getting a brand-new dose of fiction on a weekly basis was enough to pull me in, and I have liked the game play as well.
It doesn’t quite fill the place in my heart Firefight did, but I don’t hold that against Lasky and crew. It isn’t Firefight, it’s Spartan Ops – that’s how I’m looking at it.
Much has already been said of a lack of quality characters and dialogue, so I won’t go into that here.
However, during the roughly month-long break between the first five episodes and the sixth something happened – I missed it. I missed the weekly escapades of Palmer, Miller and the other Spartan-IVs. What was happening on Infinity?
While I initially thought it was a bad idea, the holiday break of “SpOps” was perfect timing – since the first offering was out there, fans could now take stock of what the mode had offered so far and see what direction 343 Industries would take it. More a same? A step up from what we had already seen?
Fast forward to 1.21.13 when Episode Six (“Scattered“) was released, and my vote falls clearly in the “step up” category.
The new environments particularly stood out to me, with Crimson Team chained to a wall in the space (appropriately) entitled “Lockup”, the opening of a massive cave formation in “Warrens”, and some exploration of the multiplayer map known as “Vortex” (but labeled “Cyclone” for Spartan Ops).
When I came over the ledge to look down in the “Warrens” cave-scape, it reminded me of that moment during the second campaign mission (“Requiem”) in Halo 4 where the planet’s surface is laid out before you in a big reveal. If you can remind me of that moment, then you’re on the right track with level design.
The addition of the Harvester to the canon in Chapter 5 called “Switchback” – and the opportunity to play inside it – gave Spartan Ops some serious fiction atmosphere and the mode is all the better for it.
Episode 7 (“Invasion“) kept the good vibe going with Crimson back on Infinity and logically moving through great environments in the ship (the engine room was a personal favorite). Mr. Tomsk said it best when he talked of there being something special about defending your home turf, and I echo that astute observation 🙂
Side note: I’ve also noticed the increased use of Phantoms in Spartan Ops; “noticed” here defined as “being killed repeatedly by”.
The real treat of Episode 7 was the cutscene where Dr. Catherine Halsey commandeers Roland’s obedience and we see what develops from there. This was the first scene of Season One where I found myself not breathing at the end of it, and that’s a good thing.
I have yet to play through “Expendable“, but I’m confident it’s going to be a great ride. Spartan Ops has grown stronger with time and that’s encouraging when looking to future Seasons.
>>>>>>>[Post tenebras lux]