Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Halo 4- A Review

This is going to be my review of Halo 4 after completing the Campaign and some Spartan Ops and multi-player.

imageI have to tell you before I even started playing this game. I have to tell you about the lead up to my most wanted game of 2012. When I first heard that Bungie was leaving the franchise with Halo:Reach I was a little bit worried. Here was the group that solidified First Person Shooters for consoles and they were leaving their bread and butter behind. Fast forward to Microsoft and 343 Studios announced Halos 4,5 and 6 titled the Reclaimer Saga. I was a little worried but confident in the fact that a good portion including project lead Frank O’Conner were previously with Bungie. Any one who has read my blog long enough knows I am a die-hard Halo fan and have read the books and comics and have more than enough Spartans in this house to stop any impending Covenant invasion. I shied away from any “leaked” footage and reveals pertaining to campaign or otherwise. I went into the game fresh face with no knowledge on what to expect.

The game is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! 343 Studios has more than “polished” the game engine in comparison to what they did with the re-release of Halo CE: Anniversary. That game was very pretty but Halo 4 out did it in spades. To see how lush and colorful the world is fantastic. There are many times when you want to look up and just admire everything around you as you did the first time you touched down on the original games “Ring world”. Everything in game is crisp and clean and the levels are not redundant. From flying a Pelican through Requiem’s sky to battling the Prometheans. The world is jaw dropping. My score from 1 to 5 is definitely a 5 out of 5.

If you have never played a Halo game in your life and you want to jump in to this one. You will have no problem as far as how the game handles and the layout for the controls  are laid out. I have heard from friends that it feels very “Call of Duty”-ish. I myself do not see this on account I have a tendency of switching my controls out. I can say that I do miss the classic controls of the original trilogy and I still have to adjust myself to where certain things are set to the controller.
The game plays very fluidly and fast. Especially when it pertains to any level with Prometheans. These new enemies are very slick and try to goad you into fall sense of security only to swarm you with their backups. From the moment you pop out of cryo-sleep after four and a half years you are inundated with fighting an unknown force to figure out where you are. Does not help that Cortana your always reliable A.I. is going through Rampancy which is a form of “dying”. The way the story unfolds it is more Cortana’s story and her “emotions” for the Chief. Your main goal is to get back to earth and Doctor Halsey to prevent any more damage to Cortana’s psyche.
Never has the Chief been so expressive in his actions especially towards getting his job done.  You later on when you climb aboard the UNSC Infinity do you get to see the “new” Spartan IV’s led by Commander Palmer. This is where the story gets a little on my nerve. As in Palmer has no affinity for the Chief and his accomplishments. Another character Captain Del Rio has no love for the Chief even to the point of abandoning Chief and Cortana on Requiem. The only saving grace that Chief has is Commander Lasky a character introduced to everyone in the min-series Forward Unto Dawn.  The story is a great introduction to the Forerunners who have been all but a mystery in the Halo lore and are being more fleshed out with the Didact a powerful Forerunner weirdo obsessed with humanity’s demise.and the Librarian his wife who protected humanity.
The game is an amazing piece of storytelling and I hope it continues to being so. I know Halo has not always had the best story with the previous games but this tends to make up for it. You want to support these characters and some outright dislike them. You will get to a point of hatred of Watchers respawning your Crawlers or Knights after you sent them to sweet oblivion.
I am looking forward to continuing the saga in whatever concept where it is this Generations system or the next Microsoft machine. Halo 4 has reinvigorated my love for the franchise. 5 out of 5


The one thing that is a blessing for the franchise is Spartan Ops. I am enjoying this and going through the brief episodes to advance my Spartan IV. Granted this is not Firefight which was Halo’s answer to horde mode but you can still see some of that still remain in certain episodes of Spartan Ops so it is not fully dead just revamped and compacted. Multiplayer runs beautifully and playing with others in whichever game mode you choose whether it be Slayer, Capture the Flag or any of the other new options brought forth for the game you will definitely find a good time. My only gripe with the Multiplayer aspect has nothing to do with what 343 has brought to the table but the actual people playing. This is a team based shooter on multiplayer and it takes communication to get certain tasks done. That means microphones should be a must!! I do not want to go through a capture the flag match without some semblance of a plan. Shame that so many people have completed isolated themselves on account of “immaturity” on Live. My best suggestion is grab three other friends and go to town as a party other than that you will see a lot of lone wolves. 4 out of 5.

Overall Halo 4 is a definitive must buy for any fan of Sci-Fi or just shooters. You will find yourself involved with the story and want to see what happens next and bring your fight online with friends. Kudos to 343 studios for trumping my expectations in my most beloved of franchises.

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