When I first started playing Halo 4’s Spartan Ops, I wasn’t particularly thrilled with what I saw. Everything I read about the mode leading up to the release of the game suggested that Spartan Ops, or SpOps as I like calling it, was going to be something special. The original Firefight mode in Halo 3: ODST was just wave after wave of enemies. It was an arcade mode. Halo: Reach expanded upon the options somewhat, but it was mechanically more of the same. SpOps was supposed to be different. It was supposed to weave in narrative elements to continue the campaign.
Episode 1 was an exercise in tedium and monotony. It left a very sour impression upon me. I played through each episode as they came out in the following weeks, and I remained unimpressed. When I sat down and played through each episode again in preparation for the Recap series, I found something different. Episode 1 was still as boring as I remembered it, but Episode 2 was different.
Before, my expectations were being tempered by 343i’s hype machine. When I sat down to replay the first five episodes, my expectations were tempered by reality. That is to say, yes, there is going to be a lot of running around and a lot of killing Covenant. I knew there wasn’t going to be much in the way of story content for each chapter. So I paid more attention to what little content I thought there was.
Surprisingly, I found more than I expected.