Since then I've been making my way through the series in order of release except for 2; I didn't order it at first to wait out the inevitable HD remake a la Combat Evolved Anniversary but since then have gotten it and backlogged it. Me and a friend recently started CEA co-op so 2 will be up next.
Earlier today I finished 4, completing the series. What an experience it has been. Playing CEA really hit me hard right in the nostalgia, and it was quite a ride through the series. Definitely not disappointed with my 360 purchase, even though I've not even played half the games I bought yet.
I haven't played any multiplayer in any games because I don't have Gold, but I have a trial code and UK has graciously offered me some of his own, so I may foray into MP sometime soon.
After blasting through all of them sans 2 in such a short amount of time, it made it simpler to choose favorites, so from best to worst IMO:
Combat Evolved Anniversary
I'll touch on a few points to explain my choices:
-I'm not a fan of the Flood, hence my top 3 not having them
-Reach's emphasis on a squad lent itself well to gameplay, as I love having allies with me. It also made for the most engaging and interesting story, because instead of introverted Chief, you had a lot of interplay between squad mates. Also since you were your own Spartan instead of a predefined one, it made me feel more involved in the whole thing. Though I feel many of the deaths were cheap and thrown in solely for gameplay purposes; especially Kat's, seriously what was up with that????? ALSO SPACE LEVEL, it reminded me of Star Wars Battlefront
-ODST also dropped you into a no-name character like Reach, but the story didn't really engage me at all. Perhaps if I played 2 I'd have been better in tune with what was going on. I really liked the open hub level you were thrown in between "real" levels, it was a nice break from more linear offerings. ALSO NATHAN FILLION!
-4 hooked me in easily with the neon TRON effect on Promethean stuff and the disassembling weapons. It had some really great and challenging gameplay, sometimes borderline frustrating, but it never went overboard. The graphics were phenomenal for such dated hardware. The story felt pretty cheesy and honestly I had no idea what was going on most of the time (I'll get to that in the point about 3). Unfortunately it followed the trend of having no separate health bar, but it was just so fun I can forgive it.
-CE... it's just a classic. While it may be meandering or confusing at some points, it was a great game at it's time and still holds up. The improved graphics in Anniversary looked great and are a welcome addition.
-3... oh man, 3. Such a TERRIBLE GAME. The simplest of issues is the lack of a separate health bar, but that seems to be the norm today. The new Pure Flood Forms are a pain in the butt. The story made no sense (hence me barely following 4's), partly from my lack of playing 2 immediately before hand, and partly because it was SO BORING. Not just the story was boring though, throughout the entire game all I was thinking was "this is gonna be getting good soon!" but it never did. Though there were times I thought "this is terrible," i.e. the Flood Ship, which may be the worst level of all time ever. This apathy towards the game led to me barely being able to follow the story. There was nothing that made me excited to play, nothing I can think back on and go "that was pretty neat." Not everything was bad though, like turrets and ripping said turrets off their mounts, but overall it was definitely the weakest in the series. For being the intended end of the trilogy, it really was a let down.
I ended up typing way more than I originally planned, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on my thoughts, and how you would rank the games based solely on the campaign.