For the Halo faithful

1 min read

Ascendant Justice

For many, Halo was a lot of noise about, ultimately, a run of the mill shooter. All the claims of the epic scale of the plot were vastly overblown by the pre-launch marketing and hype. Or was it?

I’ll be the first to admit that, on a surface level, Halo appears to have the shallowest of storylines. ‘Space marine fights alien menace to save humanity’ is pretty much the plot from the original Doom, if you replace ‘alien menace’ with ‘demonic menace.’ While a whole slew of related books were released, I also concede that the average gamer shouldn’t have to read a book to figure out the plot to a game.

Ascendant Justice2As such, I personally feel that a large part of the problem is that the plot to Halo was presented poorly. It required a lot of legwork from the player, and even when you discovered the subtle visual clues (and the outright revelatory terminals scattered through Halo 3), the information was imparted in a very disjointed form – although deliberately so, in Halo 3.

Ascendant Justice is a Halo blog that I stumbled upon from a link provided by by Bungie themselves in a recent news post, and it finally, and incontrovertibly, proves that Halo 3 had a lot more going on than was immediately obvious. If you’re a Halo fan, it’s an invaluable resource. If not, it serves as proof that, although poorly presented, the script of Halo trilogy wasn’t nearly as shallow as a lot of people thought. The site contains a detailed synopsis of the history of the Haloverse, delving into the questions that were supposedly left unanswered by the game.

At any rate, it’s clearly a labour of love by someone very passionate about their gaming, and that’s something I can understand – for any series.

If you run across similar websites for your favourite franchises, send them in to [email protected] and we’ll link them here for all and sundry.

Last Updated: June 4, 2008


Once upon a time, in a land long forgotten, I wrote for this site. The details were gobbled up by an errant database, so instead you’re reading this painfully obtuse default bio.

  • Miktar

    In the United States, many Halo fans had their Halo experience augmented with several well-written novels that expanded and elaborated on backstory and sidestory – and these novels are official canon.

    It’s funny: many people accuse the Halo series of being shallow, probably because they forget Bungie actually has a very good trackrecord when it comes to detailed, involved and intricated stories and theme construction. Bungie were to be the new Blizzard, after Myth II came out (in my opinion). They had all the right moves, knew how to make a good game manual with story and concept art, and also knew how to make good, polished quality games that satisfied on many levels.

    I think a lot of people sell Halo short just because it was (is?) the in thing to hate what’s popular. Just look at the GTAIV backlash.

  • j4nr1k

    I’m a huge Halo fan. I own all the novells, the comics, the graphic novel and off course the 3 games.

    There is loads more to it than just Halo 2 or Halo 3, but sadly most South Africans never bother to learn the lore before playing the game.

  • Miktar

    I don’t blame the South Africans – the Halo series never got an original foothold here like it did in the US, since we lacked the original Xbox. Also, the novels were not officially distributed here.

    Basically, South Africa sits in a distribution shadow that causes all sorts of interesting phenomenon.

  • Etienne Vlok

    Well, I also own all the novels, all the game soundtracks, the comics, etc. I must say that Halo actually has the deepest plot of any FPS released in recent memory. Bungie made you work for it, though, and I think a lot of people weren’t on board with that.

  • Halo 3: At the end of the day, while an excellent, deep storyline is great, I want to play a fun game, that looks good and plays well, Halo 3 failed on those terms IMO. (I’ll read books if my main concern is plot and theme.)

    RE: Gamer’s last blog post..Kojima Jnr disappointed with Metal Gear Solid 4

  • The problem is point of entry. I understand that the Halo universe is apparently a beautiful thing, but my point of entry is Halo 3, and Bungie/Microsoft totally screwed that up as the ideal way of offering a glimmer into that world, instead they opted for the old “kill bad guys, win” plot.

    Take something like the Matrix, or Star wars 4 (0r even 6) Although they tell a single story, they make you want to know more.

    doobiwan’s last blog post..The Games that made the consoles

  • Etienne Vlok

    I agree with you, doobiwan. If you didn’t buy into the Halo universe from an early point, the series only got progressively more difficult to get into (in terms of plot, at least.)

    The game didn’t really come across as ‘selling’ this huge, epic plot. I believe that to be more a failure of design than anything else. Perhaps Bungie, in trying to be subtle, were too smart for their own good? Still, it’s now apparent that it was not a problem with the writing.

  • I think what happened is that they tried to open things up in 2 and got nailed because they didn’t close it again properly. So in 3 they JUST closed and didn’t bother with anything else.

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