The quality of the Halo franchise's multiplayer sort of damns its story, inevitably. People tend to put aside their interest in the single player experience because they want to jump online. I don't know if I'd have predicted the speed at which the multiplayer mode in Halo turned into what can essentially be called a competitve sport. It's just such a refined formula that people concentrate on it instead of the half-ass story. Bungie knows how to make damn good first-person shooter GAMES. They aren't so much concerned with storytelling, which isn't to say they should be allowed to write off that aspect of the game, it's just what's happened.
The Bends is so much different from the rest of their stuff. It's almost like they sought to fill the mold of what others wanted them to be (90's music) untill they finally figured out how to use all that brilliant talent they have.