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[Video Game Review] Halo 4 (2012)

Halo 4 Official Website

Game Summary: Halo 4's story begins four years after the ending of Halo 3, and the player assumes the role of the Master Chief.  The Master Chief and his artificial intelligence companion Cortana are left stranded in unknown space aboard the remains of the frigate Forward Unto Dawn as they drift toward the Forerunner planet Requiem and encounter hostile Covenant and Forerunner's called Prometheans.

Developer: 343 Industries

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Platform: Xbox 360

Genre: First-Person Shooter

Modes: Single Player, Multi-player

Review: by Anthony

When Microsoft first announced that they would be making a Halo 4, I wanted no part of it.  Bungie Inc. had developed the first 3 Halo games along with Halo: Reach, and Halo 3: ODST, and Bungie had stated that their Halo games were intended to be a trilogy.  Then the news broke that Bungie was leaving Microsoft Studios tree, so they could work on their own project. They stated that they would still work with Microsoft in the future; however, the rights to the Halo Franchise would stay with Microsoft.  Shortly thereafter, Microsoft announced that 343 Industries would make a fourth Halo installment, to be creatively titled Halo 4.

I thought that it was just a ploy to get the money of the Halo hardcore fans, knowing that they would buy anything with the Halo name on it, and they would drum up some terrible writing to void Bungie’s previous statement of Halo only being a trilogy.  More foreboding news came out when 343 Industries stated that the Master Chief and Cortana would undergo “radical” changes in appearance and Halo 4 would mark the beginning of a new trilogy, the Reclaimer Trilogy.

Then the game released, and, like the gullible Halo hardcore fan I am, I bought it.

Campaign: The story in Halo 4 delves deeper into the Halo universe than previous games, utilizing the background fleshed out in the Halo novel series. As players, we learn more about the advanced alien race of the Prometheans and a plan to convert the human race into Prometheans.  As the Master Chief, we have to try to thwart this plan, whilst coping with the malfunctioning Cortana. As a “smart” AI, she has an effective lifespan of 7 years before she degrades into rampancy.  At this point in the game series, Cortana has been in active service for eight years.  As we go through the campaign story, the Master Chief has to balance both of these issues and find solutions for them, all while continuing to fight off hostile Covenant and Promethean forces.

Multi-player: The majority of time spent playing Halo 4 will be in multi-player, and Halo 4‘s multi-player is just as addicting as it was in previous titles.  In adapting and changing to compete with other popular FPS games, such as the Call of Duty franchise, Halo added ordinance drops as rewards for player achievements, which can change the flow of any multi-player match instantly.  There are a few new multi-player game types to spice things up as well, such as “Dominion”.

What I Liked:

This game is visually STUNNING and the audio is AMAZING!  Who knew Halo could look so good?! This was one of the first games I played with my new stereo headset, and I could hear EVERYTHING.  It was great. I immediately forgave 343 Industries and took back all the terrible things I said about them.

The gameplay is slightly different from the last Halo game, Halo: Reach, but not enough to cause alarm.  The changes from Halo: Reach to Halo 4 really flow with the fast pace style of the game.  The button layout has changed a bit in order to incorporate the new default sprint function, but in “options” a more familiar button layout is available.  There are new UNSC weapons, like the railgun and SAW, which are fantastic.

What I Didn’t Like

The campaign of Halo 4 pales in comparison to the earlier titles’ campaigns in both difficulty and ending. Even when playing on Legendary, it didn’t feel quite tough enough, and the ending felt a little lack luster.

The multi-player map options are all fairly large maps, best played with teams of 6-8 player per team, and there aren’t enough small to medium maps for 6 player Free For All (FFA), Doubles (2 vs 2), and the standard Team Slayer/Objective (4 vs 4).

The new enemy introduced in Halo 4 are the Prometheans, and fighting and killing them is just annoying and tiresome because no new technique or method need be employed to take them out. They can be treated just like the Elites from previous Halo titles.

In response to Gears of War‘s “Horde” mode, Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach featured a “Firefight” mode which was great to play either solo or with friends, taking on wave after wave of enemies with increasing difficulty… but in Halo 4 it’s GONE.  Instead of “Firefight,” we have “Spartan Ops” which feel like missions stolen from a Halo fanfiction.  The only saving grace for “Spartan Ops” is that there will be more added via DLC, so the option for some epic-ness is always there.

You can purchase Halo 4 from Amazon here:

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