End of review that’s it I mean this is how the cool kids write blogs right?
Alright, but seriously, Halo 4, you know aliens, Master Chief, the thing everybody knows from the original Xbox. Halo 4 is no different from its predecessors in terms of overall gameplay but Halo veterans know and feel the differences once they pick up the controller and play the game (for example B to crouch!? *cough). From new enemies, to new weapons, to amazing visuals, and an unexpected story, 343 Industries does a great job taking a series many were upset Bungie to leave; integrating senior Halo players while simultaneously introducing the game to the new audience.
Story: Like all Halo’s, the game revolves around John-117 aka Master Chief and his partner/AI system Cortana and their struggle against an inevitable evil. Halo 4 continues right were Bungie left the game off at Halo 3, with Master Chief and Cortana waiting to be rescued on the ‘Forward onto Dawn’. About four year, seven months, and ten days pass* (explained below), before a disturbance on the ship causes Cortana to wake Master Chief from his slumber and thus your adventure officially begins as you step out of your sleeping pod. As you investigate the ship, wondering why the UNSC still hasn’t saved you from a distress single you’ve sent out from the end of Halo 3, you notice that Covenant (the aliens) have overrun the ship and are looking for something [oddly enough the treaty you have with the Covenant is of no help here]. Since there are new enemies to be introduced 343 takes the path of familiarity in the first two missions/levels, having Master Chief investigate a strange sound wave and try to contact a UNSC ship, while fighting off the Covenant. Because of this ‘strategy’ of 343 Industries you are left off just as confused as Master Chief and Cortana and just proceed to do what you think is correct while learning about Cortana’s condition, rampancy. The reason why there is an asterisk on the specific time passage is because due to the Chief’s long slumber, and Cortana being already alive for about four year before Halo 4, she has “lived” past her obsoleting date thus causing her to become rampant. Upon later circumstances (can’t spoil it but I’ll have you know the Covenant unify with the bad guy) you meet the new hoard of enemies replacing the Flood as the main antagonist called Prometheans, and their leader the Didact (pronounced Die dact). With this new menace a threat to the human race itself, it is up to Chief and Cortana to stop him and save our planet, while at the same time to get home to save Cortana before she becomes completely rampant and dies.
Gameplay: Halo 4 is obviously a First-person shooter and like I’ve stated before plays like its predecessors, although more towards Halo 3 rather than Bungie’s last game Halo Reach. Assassinations still exist, most of the weapons are still intact with a few new ones, and legendary is still a pain in the butt requiring you to become more patient than the Zen Master (any Laker fans out there?) There are three types of “gameplays” on Halo: The Campaign, Spartan Ops, and Multiplayer. The Campaign bit is fairly simple, choose a difficulty and fight your way through eight levels as Master Chief, aka the one man living army. Campaign is recommend for beginners because it teaches them the fundamentals of the game while at the same time teaching them about all the different guns in Halo and the different abilities.
Spartan Ops is basically multiplayer meets Campaign, without Master Chief. You play as ‘your’ Spartan (the guy you customize for online play) and work for the Infinity (an important ship in the Campaign) clearing out short missions. You can either play by yourself or with your friend, but are REQUIRED to have Internet/Live to play. Each Spartan Ops is broken up into Episodes with five Chapters; but at the same time they are about 20x shorter than any campaign mission.
Multiplayer (dubbed War Games) is…well multiplayer, nothing new and nothing old at the same time. From team slayer, to regicide, to oddball, to TONS of games; Halo multiplayer proves once again why everyone loves this game long time. New additions to multiplayer have been that off a pseudo Call of Duty loadouts (allowed a maximum of 5 loadouts), where you choose what ability you have, what your primary and secondary weapons are, and what perks you want (called Support Upgrades and Tactical Packages).
To break it down the Primary and Secondary weapons are standard issue weapons from all three sides (UNSC, Covenant, and Prometheans) so no ‘special’ weapons like shotguns or rocket launchers. Support Upgrades vary from Ammo, Awareness, Ordance Priority while Tactical Packages range from infinite sprint, faster reload, etc.
Music: Halo has always had an amazing soundtrack and Halo 4 is no different. While not as memorable as Halo 2 or Halo 3’s soundtrack, the OST in this game is something that never leaves your head while running through mission campaigns.
Graphics: The game pushes Xbox to its very limits and all I have to say is WOW. I had to play the game in standard 360p output and I was already blown back. Once I saw it in 720p I have to say Halo 4’s graphics are pretty close to just looking out the window and holding up your Xbox 360 Controller.
Replay Value: Very High. If you aren’t replaying the campaign because you were too noob to run through it the first time Legendary Solo, or you just want that one co-op achievement; I’m 100% sure you are playing Spartan Ops and War Games till 3am in the morning…oh wait that’s me.
Overall: 9.6/10 Halo 4 game out with guns blazing and I still feel like this monumental success still has room for improvements. 343 Industries has exceeded my expectations (along with many others) and has proven to us, the Halo community that they can be trusted with a series we all have come to love. Here’s to Halo 5…wait I mean 4 it isn’t even a month old yet!
Michael Troina writes features and reviews Nintendo games for Analog Addiciton. When he’s not writing or playing games or sports, he’s out at his job at the Daily Bugle taking pictures as the web-slinger we all have come to love…either that or he’s getting sandwich saving one world at a time. Find him anywhere with this flavors.me/michaeltroina