My thoughts on it often go in circles.
I imagine I’m probably one of only a few people on here or otherwise who have owned every Xbox and is largely indifferent regarding the franchise. I’ve only owned two games in that timespan, Halo 2 and Halo Wars 2, and have only played two others, Halo 3 and the Halo Wars demo, though with GPU I obviously have access to all of them now. With Halo 2 an Halo 3, almost all of my time was spent playing multiplayer; I recall trying to co-op 2 some with my older brother who bought it and not caring or understanding what was going on so we dropped it. I bought Halo Wars 2 because I like RTS and remembered liking the demo for the original, and thought it would be fun to play through; while there was clearly a lot going on, I understood the story enough and I’m glad it will play directly into the plot for Halo Infinite, which I am plan on jumping into for both campaign and multiplayer.
So, no, I wouldn’t consider myself a fan, but I am excited for Halo Infinite. Obviously, I have no opinion on how 343 has handled the franchise, but I am aware they get a lot of flack online. Despite this, I have faith that what I will be playing this fall will be incredibly fun.
Its hard to worry too much about whether the IP is in decline, but I will say I believe every popular property falls into the issue 343 find themselves navigating. At this point the franchise is familiar, which isn’t necessarily bad, and will have an uphill battle to reclaim the momentum the original trilogy had. My favorite XGS IP, Gears of War, is in the same situation and its just the reality of life.
I hesitate to wade too deep into discussing online discourse regarding these things, but I don’t think what we perceive as the narrative on forums or articles are necessarily reflective of the actual state of things surrounding a property. The people who participate in giving these opinions typically have a vested interest in the medium, and will support a long lasting franchise while citing another as tired, and that representation will vary greatly from title to title. There is a larger portion of players who enjoy things who won’t post about it online, and with that there is often a missing perspective in these topics. While Call of Duty is relentlessly critiqued as tired, it performs incredibly well; and while something like Dishonored is critically lauded, it doesn’t perform as well. Perception, quality, freshness all vary greatly depending on the person, and nothing is absolute.
Regarding these topics…
"Do not try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth…there is no spoon. Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. " - The Matrix