We are about to experience everything that the latest Halo adventure has in store for us with the much-anticipated release of the delayed Halo Infinite - a game that was originally supposed to launch alongside the now 1-year-old Xbox Series X.


It looks to be the biggest and perhaps the best yet, with open-world elements included in the franchise for the first time and a hugely exciting adventure awaiting us.

But what if you have never really delved into the epic Halo story before, where is best to start your experience with the franchise? Here is all you need to know about playing Halo in release order, as well as chronologically if you want to experience the narrative in order.

How to play the Halo games in release date order

There are a few things to note here. Halo: Combat Evolved is the first game in the series, but it was re-released in 2011, and it is also included in the Halo: The Master Chief collection.

That collection comprises Halo 1, 2, 3 and 4, along with Reach and ODST - a great way to get a bunch of games in one go and it is also on Game Pass.

  • Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)
  • Halo 2 (2004)
  • Halo 3 (2007)
  • Halo Wars (2009)
  • Halo 3: ODST (2009)
  • Halo: Reach (2010)
  • Halo 4 (2012)
  • Halo: Spartan Assault (2013)
  • Halo: Spartan Strike (2015)
  • Halo 5: Guardians (2015)
  • Halo Wars 2 (2017)
  • Halo Infinite (2021)

Buy Halo: The Master Chief collection at CDKeys (£18.99)

How to play the Halo games in chronological story order

It's all fun and games until you start to look at the chronological order of titles – and Halo is no exception. Luckily, we're here to help, and here is how to play through all the main Halo games if you want to experience the story from its earliest days to the latest adventure.

To be fair to Halo, it is much simpler to work out the order of the games than it is with many other franchises - working out the Zelda story order made our heads hurt, and don't even talk to us about the Kingdom Hearts order. But for Halo, the steps are quite simple. Check out the Halo games in story order below.

Halo Wars


Halo Wars is a real-time strategy game that takes place about 20 years before the first game in the series release-wise, Halo: Combat Evolved. The story is set on the Spirit of Fire as UNSC soldiers and scientists do all that they can to try and stop the Covenant from getting hold of an armada of ancient Forerunner ships - and things would not end well if they did.

Halo: Reach


Covenant invaders are attacking the planet, Reach, and your team has to try and stop them. However, the odds are stacked against them and it soon becomes clear that this is a tragic tale in the Halo universe. Special mention must go to the closing credits for Halo: Reach, which end the game in a bleak yet awesome manner - as well as perfectly setting the story for what comes along in the first Halo.

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Halo: Combat Evolved

halo combat evolved

Halo: Combat Evolved is where it all began for Halo players as the first game to be released for the series. Story-wise, it takes place straight after Halo: Reach ends. We meet the iconic Master Chief here and follow his mission to fight against Covenant forces and the Flood as he makes his way across the Halo ring.

Halo 2


Ask a bunch of Halo fans what the best game in the series is and you will no doubt hear Halo 2 said a fair bit. It is well-deserved praise as this really is a stellar game that still holds up now.

It picks up where the last game left off as Master Chief's adventure continues - and the threats only get bigger and far more dangerous as you make your way through it.

Halo 3: ODST

halo 3 odst

Halo 3 ODST is a Master Chief-free zone as it takes place while he was busy fighting for his life in Halo 2. Here you play as a member of the ODST and despite still very much being a Halo game, the setting and style felt different and it ended up being one of the most compelling games in the series - not bad for a title that was never meant to be AAA.

Halo 3

halo 3

The original trilogy of Master Chief-focused games came to an epic close with Halo 3. Here our hero is looking to rid the universe of the Covenant and The Flood for good, while also trying to rescue the AI Cortana, Master Chief's trusted friend who has been taken by the enemy.

Halo: Spartan Assault


You play as Spartan Sarah Palmer in this game that was originally designed for mobile and, based on what we can tell, it takes place after Halo 3 but before we move onto the Halo 4 story. It's not an essential game in the series truth be told, but a sequel was released and there is fun to be had with it.

Halo 4


The Reclaimer Saga begins in Halo 4 - but things are just as complicated as ever for Master Chief! The relationship between Master Chief and Cortana is at the forefront of the story here as the pair go up against the Forerunner known as the Didact, and they also have a rogue faction of the Covenant causing them problems.

Halo: Spartan Strike

halo spartan strike

This is a bit of a tricky one to place as the Spartan sequel takes place not only while the events of Halo 4 are taking place, but some is also set around the time of Halo 2. Here makes the most sense to play it as the Halo 4 content would confuse you if you saw it that early, but be wary of a bit of time jumping!

Halo 5: Guardians


Cortana has been taken again, but there is much more to her story than just a simple kidnapping in Halo 5: Guardians. Desperate to find his friend, Master Chief goes rogue and his quest to hunt Cortana down, and fight off many enemies, is made tougher thanks to him being pursued by Spartan Locke and his team.

Halo Wars 2


The Spirit of Fire crew is back with this Halo Wars sequel and this time they are up against The Banished. This is another game that is not exactly essential for getting the full Halo story, but it has enough elements to make it enjoyable and there are some nice teases there for what to expect when the Halo Infinite story gets going.

Halo Infinite

halo infinite

This brings us right up to the present with the about-to-be-released Halo Infinite! As many of us have not played the game yet, we'll just give you the synopsis for this one:

"Halo Infinite's plot focuses on the Master Chief's efforts to locate a new artificial intelligence (AI) known by the codename 'The Weapon' and, with her assistance, determine the whereabouts of the Chief's former AI companion, Cortana, and finally end both threats."

It's pretty clear that Halo Infinite takes place after all of the previous Halo games, so you've got quite a lot to play through if you want to do it in story order! And that's before we even factor in the many Halo books, the Halo movies, and the upcoming Halo TV series. Blimey, that Master Chief has been busy.

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