5. Long Night of Solace – Halo: Reach
This is the level no one saw coming and is easily the best mission in Halo Reach. From a beachhead assault, to zero-G combat, and then all the way to piloting a Sabre fighter in space, Long Night of Solace has the player engaged across various awesome action set-pieces. It also shows us, from a thematic standpoint, the most critical moment of the fall of Reach. Not only does Noble Team lose their first, and most human, team member Jorge, but their bittersweet victory over the Covenant Super-carrier is cut woefully short as a massive Covenant battle group comes out of slipspace just moments after. “He gave his life thinking he just saved the planet… We should all be so lucky.”
4. The Storm – Halo 3
“Reclaim the city. Make a hole.” The Storm is the fifth campaign mission in Halo 3 and one of the most awesome missions. You encounter the full spectrum of enemies, from squads of Brutes to Grunts to companies of Ghosts and Banshees. To top it all off, a Scarab shows up mid-mission to further complicate things. From a story standpoint, you also feel like you’re making major advancements for the human race and pushing the Covenant back. Then the level culminates to a glorious cutscene that starts off hopeful, but ends tragically.
3. Regret – Halo 2
Whereas the previous level, Delta Halo, introduced players to the ancient ruins of Installation 05, the mission Regret provides a much more in-depth look into this particular ring. You’ll fight through squad after squad of Covenant as you plunge deeper into this mysterious Forerunner relic, taking laser-tethered gondolas over massive lakes and underwater elevators to go under them. This mission also provides great insight into the Covenant hierarchy, as the Prophet of Regret sends and receives messages to his two counterparts. It all culminates in an epic beatdown where you literally punch the Prophet of Regret to death. The mission ends with a spectacular cinematic of the Chief almost glassed by the largest Covenant armada ever seen, only to be ensared by the Gravemind. It’s an ending that’s as mouth-dropping as it is eyebrow-raising.
2. Halo – Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo is the second mission in Halo: Combat Evolved and highlights what made the franchise so groundbreaking. It’s the first “on the ground” view of Installation 04 and showcases the style of gameplay that made Halo so great. Using the terrain, whether for for cover or taking advantage of the wide open spaces, and the variety of available weapons to destroy the Covenant search party and rescue lost squadrons was absolutely exhilarating. It’s also the first time players ever got their hands behind the wheel of the beloved Warthog. This mission set the standard for the Halo gameplay we all know and love.