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  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Going back to the Bungie-era art designs have been very well received by the Halo community.
    • The return of the Flood in Awakening the Nightmare.
  • Badass Decay: The Banished are extremely intimidating in the cinematic and their backstory, but they spend the UNSC campaign trying and failing to defeat the crew of the Spirit of Fire. A huge step down from somebody whose army was a thorn in the side of the Covenant at the height of its power. This is reversed in Awakening the Nightmare, which features a Banished Campaign going up against none other than the Flood.
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    • Even though Atriox appeared in a few cutscenes, he is considered one of the more well-written villains.
    • Jerome's badassery and chemistry with Isabel made him rather popular, to the point of some fans suggesting a Jerome-focused spin-off. His immense popularity lead him to becoming a commander in his own right.
  • Evil Is Cool: Atriox completely embodies this trope, and he's been a fan favorite ever since the first trailer showed him curbstomping three Spartan-IIs. It helps he's completely different from almost all of his more bestial Brute kin.
  • Fridge Brilliance: The idea that some individuals are born lucky is a popular theory in the Halo universe; in the novel Halo: The Fall of Reach and the intro to Halo 3, it's explicitly stated to be the attribute for which John 117 was selected to become a Spartan. note . Yet it's unlikely that humanity has a monopoly on "abnormally lucky" individuals, and sooner or later there is bound to be an antagonist toting the same kind of good fortune which turned the Master Chief into a legend. Enter Atriox, who survived several dozen suicide missions in a row, thwarted his own execution, withstood the combined wrath of an intergalactic empire, trounced three Spartan-IIs simultaneously, and is now set to conquer the most important Forerunner installation in the galaxy. He's in some ways the Brute equivalent to John 117.
  • Narm: After Cutter's dramatic Rousing Speech, Isabel responds with an utterly anemic "Sir yes sir." It sounds like Blur Studios accidentally went with the practice take instead of one where Erika Soto actually bothered to act.
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    • There's a minor example of Narm from the Official Strategy Guide. Twice in the guide, a picture is used of Douglas hijacking the Banished Scarab in the third-to-last mission... but, due to the position of his body and limbs in the particular shot the guide usesnote , it looks like Douglas is standing atop the mech while flexing his biceps in a hammy pose.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Flood prove as nightmarish as ever when they make their return.
  • Squick: As per usual, the Flood. By the end of Awakening the Nightmare, Voridus and Pavium are absolutely caked in gunk. The first Brute Combat Form since Halo 3 is particularly disgusting, with bloated bulges rendered in loving detail.
  • That One Level: Mission 11 on Legendary is a nightmare for even highly-experienced RTS players. You start off under heavy attack from Banished forces with just enough forces to have a chance of fighting them off. And then that damn Forerunner Retriever shows up and starts mowing you down, easily bringing your base to critical damage levels and wiping out whatever you had left from your fight with the Banished, forcing you to spend a good while recovering. Afterwards, the Retriever is still around attacking everyone, your base will get attacked frequently by Banished forces, you have to secure 3 control towers within a limited time, and the computer loves to spam Glassing Beams on your forces, making those towers almost impossible to defend. YEESH.
    • Even if you turn on skulls that buff your units, income, and cooldowns, the mission isn't a cakewalk.
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  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Downplayed with Atriox. While he was well received and avoided getting abruptly and unceremoniously killed like Jul 'Mdama in Halo 5, many players felt he should've appeared more throughout the campaign. The marketing built up Atriox to be in a personal Battle of Wits against Cutter, but he's really only in the story for three cutscenes and he and Cutter only interact twice, over radio.
  • What an Idiot!: Voridus in Awakening the Nightmare. He explicitly ignores his direct orders to leave the dome surrounding High Charity intact, resulting in an enormous Flood outbreak.
  • Win Back the Crowd: After criticism from fans over the Art Evolution in Halo 4 and 5, the art direction in this game brings back a lot of design elements from the original trilogy.
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