It really bugs me how Arma 3 does Halo better than the new Halo does Halo. The official Halo game after Reach have slowly but surely gotten farther and farther away from what made the first trilogy great. Where there used to be a sense of wonder and awe as you discovered the Halo rings, fought off the endless waves of the zealots belonging to the mysterious Covenant, and just survived disaster, friends in tow. In the newer Halo games, any of the more genuinly exciting moments are quick time events and cutscenes. It feels almost hollow, like the fun had been scooped out and placed elsewhere. And that scoop must have landed in Operation: Trebuchet, a fan-made modification for Arma 3. Operation: Trebuchet (or OPTRE, for short) sets the game in the years before the Spartans were public knowledge. The player team plays the UNSC marines (the friendly mooks of the series) and are forced to start using real world strategy, tactics, and planning to complete objectives. Personally, I have been playing through an OPTRE Liberation map, where my friends and I have to defeat the Insurgent Forces (rebels fighting for freedom) by freeing every city from their clutch. OPTRE creates situations that feel like the original Halo games. Cookie, Lizard, Gub (a personal friend), and I, armored head to toe, were dropped from orbit as Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODSTs, protagonists from Halo 3: ODST, go figure) in the middle of a city-wide firefight. Dropships filled with friends and foes zipped back and forth from their respective bases, fueling the battle further. Our mission on the way in was to secure a building to prepare a forward medical base. Our mission when we got there was to survive. Moments that would be quick time events in the new Halo games are fully played and thought through. Cookie carrying Lizard’s unconcious body across No Man’s Land to get to me so I can sew his innards back in him, or Gub narrowly escaping the watchful eye of enemy helicopters, looking for targets. Tense moments and exhilirating moments came by completely unscripted, and often left us wishing to return back to base to watch funny videos and relax instead. Watching the burning husk of a transport, freshy lit ablaze, falling from the sky in the night, knowing it was our way home, evokes the same emotions that the new Halo games can’t quite reach.