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Halo’s “Elite” Status
Halo’s multiplayer is masterfully done. Beginning with the first entry and ever evolving with subsequent titles, Halo online has captivated gamers for years. I jumped into Halo’s multiplayer with Halo 2. Normally a co-op oriented person, Halo 2 drew me into many competitive sessions with friends and family (Xbox live wasn’t the necessity it seems to be these days). One of the main abilities that drew me into Halo’s multiplayer experience was the fact that I was not limited to a Master Chief clone Spartan; I could also switch to the Covenant elites called the Sangheili. This coincided with the story’s interesting “Covenant rivalry” twist.
Halo 3 was no different. Now on the Xbox 360 and powered by Xbox live, I customized my Elite with my signature color scheme and outfitted him with the many armor pieces now available. Knowing my competitive skills were basically non-existent, I figured I would hop on, have fun, and do the best I could. This may sound weird, but while online, I became my character. During my games I rarely fought with a battle hardened attitude. Instead, I looked at the situation and asked myself: “How can I cause trouble here?” My Elite was a prankster, cared only about having fun and if ever confronted with an assuredly fatal encounter, would aim the trusty rocket launcher to his feet and blow both himself and his opponent away. I finally had a game to play online and understood why it was so much fun. Then Halo Reach came out…
While being mildly underwhelmed with the story, I hopped online to continue my hijinks. Something was wrong though. Where was my Elite? Why could I play yet a shadow of his former glory on one game type that rarely came up? What the hell was going on? Sure I played and yes I had fun but it just wasn’t the same. I didn’t feel the same connection to my Spartan character. Time passed and I began to play less and less. Eventually I stopped. It wasn’t fun anymore. That was how the very game that led me to online gaming had forsaken me.
Halo 4 has just released and while it does look good enough to pick up for the campaign alone, I just can’t help but feel a slight aversion to it knowing that one of the features I grew to love surely would have been completely removed. I know they were not as popular as the Spartan model; how hard would it have been to simply include them for the diehards that loved them? Why give them the same treatment as the Spartan model just to slowly and painfully take them away? To butcher them in Halo Reach as they did is an insult to everyone who used them. Wouldn’t removing them completely in one motion a la a Band-Aid have been better? It’s one thing for something to die but to have it writhe in agony as it lay dying of blood loss? That’s just cruel!
Bungie, the masterminds behind the Halo saga, announced that Halo Reach would be the last game they worked on. Fans knew from the get-go that this meant there were going to be some changes. I can’t help but wonder that if they hadn’t been departing the franchise, would Bungie have given the Elites a little more lovin’? Would they have been as flushed out as the Spartans in Reach? One can only speculate. Halo 4 moves away from the established story to branch out into a whole new arc so it is safe to say the Elites will never return. This leaves the question; will we ever get another cool alien race to take their place? I don’t know about you readers but I play a human being in real life 24/7. Granted, I do not have a set of power armor but given the chance in my videogames, I’d much rather experience something new and play as the cooler, usually bad guy, alien race.