With more work, Halo Nightfall could have been something special for fans and it could have connected the events from Halo 4 and Guardians in some entertaining ways.
I’ve always felt that the Halo series would go along well with a movie or series. Sometimes the games don’t make enough of an effort to explain the events that transpire in the Halo universe and even a two-hour movie would complement the story nicely. Maybe someone at 343 Industries feels the same way which is why they brought us Halo Nightfall, a five-part digital series that follows Agent Locke, one of the secondary playable characters from Halo 5: Guardians, as he investigates the origin of a bio-weapon that only targets humans.
Nightfall tells the story of a group of ONI and UNSC soldiers who travel to the remains of a Halo ring to drop a nuclear weapon and annihilate the surviving aliens before they can attack Earth again. But the soldiers suffer an accident on their way down to the planet and they need to salvage a ship and the small ship only has room for just two people. Apparently, the use of technology attracts the swarm of flesh-eating worms that infest Halo and the survivors need to escape before the sun comes up and scorches the surface of the planet.
While everything you remember from the games is here in some form (Covenant, UNSC soldiers, Elite, Halo and so on,) the special effects aren’t that good and the story’s nothing to write home about. I feel like Nightfall comes from a good place, but the series’ budget doesn’t align with its ambitions. As a consequence, Nightfall feels like a SyFy Channel series.
Forward unto Dawn, Halo’s previous webseries that came out to promote the fourth entry in the series, also shared some of these qualities. It also felt like a promotional material that was unnecessary. If you’re going to make the effort to release a Halo series, you should at least try to tell a compelling story with characters we know and love and something that complements the game it promotes. Neither Nightfall nor Forward unto Dawn are the series that Halo fans have been looking forward to.
It’s worth mentioning that I reviewed Nightfall from Halo: The Master Chief Collection where the series is available as an extra. The series is accessible on the Halo Channel application where you can watch all five episodes, as well as other content like promotional material, Comic-Con panels and so on. The entertaining part about this webseries is that, as you keep watching, you unlock short videos called “Second Story” that reveal more about the context and random characters. None of these videos are essential to understand the arc and if you watch them as they unlock, the process can be somewhat disruptive. That said, those looking for the most complete version of Nightfall should watch it from this compilation.
With more work, Halo Nightfall could have been something special for fans and it could have at least connected the events from Halo 4 and Guardians in some entertaining ways. But its poor special effects, a string of events that barely ties to the games and a story that’s not that memorable to begin with, Nightfall is a nice diversion to have if you get Halo the Master Chief Collection or if you want to watch it on YouTube, but that’s about it.