360 controller with the swiveling D-Pad. I'm also partial to the Gamecube controller. I know, I know, that thing wasn't terrific, but I spent so much damn time playing Gamecube games when I was younger that I can't help but feel nostalgic about it.
From a gameplay point of view, go with Reach. It's a really good campaign and plays very similarly to 4. Then I'd recommend playing some ODST. It's such a very different game and it's a nice refreshing "break" from traditional Halo.
No. Just YouTube the story bits so you'll know what the hell is going on at the beginning of III, but absolutely no. Assassin's Creed games are so mechanically complex and long that it is super easy to burn out after one. Going from Revelations straight into III is just going to cause you to burn out within a few hours most likely.
The whole giant-ass Forerunner ship showing up to Earth thing felt really weird considering exactly that fact, that basically no one seemed to notice. That said, however, we didn't really see much of what was happening outside the ship, as we were too busy being in the ship, so perhaps there was a shit ton of UNSC ships out there fighting. If that's the case, however, that should've been conveyed to the player better. It's not a huge problem, in fact it's not much of a problem at all, but it definitely strikes me as weird.
The Master Chief thing is less weird to me because consider this. By the time the Infinity crew meets up with John, they are already fully aware he is alive. They've gotten the distress signal, contact was made, so they had plenty of time to go "holy shit, the Master Chief is still alive!" to themselves. Perhaps more pomp was in order for the return of an in-universe legend, but there were kind of bigger fish to fry, like being on a giant Forerunner vacuum planet.
@Captain_Felafel: wait you BR/DMR people after removing their shields with a plasma pistol?(the load out you described implies that's how you get kills.) if so that's a very cheap way of getting kills... and its people who use load outs like that that will make me hate the games multiplayer.
343 balanced out the Plasma Pistol in this game; the charge-up time seems longer because as soon as I let off, my shields are normally 75% depleted, meaning I have to land that DMR headshot or I'm dead pretty much every time. It's far more risk/reward than it felt in Halo 3/Reach.
It's simply unrealistic to develop a fully-featured console game in 2012 and continue to be beholden to the assumption that a part of your audience won't have a hard drive. What are you people doing with an Xbox without a hard drive in 2012? Like, come on y'all. That played in 2005, but it's 7 years later. You need a hard drive.