After having the beautiful story telling of Bioshock I'm trying to prepare to get back into "traditional FPS mode" for my ("unfortunately" requisite, but not in the Bioshock awesome way but the "how can I own a 360 and not own that" way, not that I don't like Halo) pick-up of Halo 3 today after class. Gabe (Penny Arcade) linked a cliff's notes of the Halo story so far that is maybe a bit wordier than it needs to be (if I wanted to read the novels I would read the novels, heh), but it gets the point across. Much more interesting to me are the videos intercutting the games' cutscenes with some simple explanatory intertitles. I've known since Halo 1 that there was an interesting story in the games, and I've seen a good portion of the cutscenes before in my own play and in my watching others play and I've even seen some of the wild exploration of Halo thematic elements, so I can't claim to not know what Halo's story "is". I can claim that I forget it easily and have to be reminded often. Halo is an interesting FPS, but it's an awful story-telling vehicle, particularly in contrast to Bioshock, but everything can be pretty bad in comparison to Bioshock...
Halo's game play really is the interstices that make for intertitles of "making your way halfway across the planet and mowing down lots of enemies on the way". So much of the story really is so much of the cutscenes and the cutscenes are far enough apart that it's hard to remember where you are in the story. I can certainly understand why some think that Halo has no more story than Quake, because you really do have to be paying attention to catch it, much less retain it.
Again, it's not that I don't like Halo, I just think it could be done so much better. I compare it to Bioshock today, but I compared it to Half-Life 1, which I think has slightly less story delivered but does in more interesting ways, when Halo 1 was new.
I'm curious to see if Halo 3 draws me in more than its predecessors did. I'm much more used to console FPS' now, and don't have that hang up anymore, at least. I also actually personally own the console this time around.