Halo: Nightfall’s First Episode Gets Quickly To The Point

by Mike Futter on Nov 06, 2014 at 02:14 AM

Note: While there are no new spoilers in the preview below, we will mention previously revealed and publicized information.

It’s easy to think of Halo: The Master Chief Collection as one in a long line of remakes and upgrades. Microsoft and 343 Industries have worked to make it more of an event than many others, though. A big piece of that strategy is Halo: Nightfall, one of the few fully realized projects from the now-defunct Xbox Entertainment Studios.

We had the opportunity to preview the first episode of the series, and it moves at a fast pace. Nightfall does not take long to get to the point, setting up a desperate rush to stop a Covenant plot to wipe out humanity.

Thankfully, there is an explanation for the Covenant’s aggression. Despite the peace treaty, the aliens continue to strike at human outer colonies. There is just enough exposition to set the stage before the action begins, as Office of Naval Intellgence (ONI) Agent Locke (Mike Colter) and his team hunt a smuggler on the colony world of Sedra.

Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of welcoming those new to the series. If you’ve never played a Halo game, you won’t understand what an Elite Zealot is or why Halo rings are important (or why we blew them up). It’s also fair to assume that Halo: Nightfall isn’t written and produced for the uninitiated, though. It's fan-service that directly connects to both Halo: The Master Chief Collection and the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians.

I’ve read a number of the Halo tie-in novels and it was interesting to see reminders that the UNSC and outer colonies aren’t always best of friends. Before the war with the Covenant, the UNSC spent a lot of its time dealing with insurrectionists (“innies,” for short). The undercurrents of political unrest are still present, even after humanity’s fight against the Covenant. It's a subtle reminder that the Covenant and humanity aren't so different.

I also noticed that the Master Chief is simply referred to as “Master Chief” at one point. That’s a slight error that will only irk the most devout of fans. There are also no AIs present, at least in the first episode. Those have been such an integral part of the lore, it’s a surprise that they are entirely absent.

All told, Nightfall gets off to a fast start that has me excited to watch the rest. It launches alongside Halo: The Master Chief Collection on November 11, with every copy (digital and retail) including access to the series via the Halo Channel.