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My Halo 4 Review

Halo 4

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#1 Va1or

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 07:28 AM

**Spoilers Below** Campaign If Halo 4 shines anywhere it?s here. It?s a good Halo game. It?s a better game than I thought it would be when I first heard the reins were being passed to a new studio. Having finished the game on Legendary solo, here?s some thoughts. The visuals are fantastic. I could live without some of the character designs and redesigns. The Prometheans are kind of cool but don?t visually fit into the Halo universe to me. The Knights look a little cartoony for my taste with their wee beady eyes and such. The Forerunner should have looked as magnificent and beautiful as the super structures they left behind, not Jim Henson puppets. I thought it was a bit campy how Didact got his bad guy fangs from a failed experiment. If he looks goofy the Librarian looks worse. Why the need to explain chief?s new armor duds fictionally (firmware upgrade) but no need to explain multiple alien races? biology changing overnight? Many of the missions were cool. I liked the Mantis. I liked the Mammoth. I liked flying the pelican and getting in and out of it as if it were any other vehicle in the brilliant buttery-smooth transition from 1st person shooting to 3rd person piloting that Halo has nailed down. Yeah, the pelican bits were a bit short and it was basically a ferry, but it felt cool. I thought the flying mission in the fighter jet was surprisingly well done. I actually really liked that bit. I wish it were just treated like any other vehicle though (hold ?X? to enter), etc. I should have piloted the vehicle into Didact?s lair and landed it myself, not a cutscene. The sound effects were great. Yeah, maybe some of the guns and sounds should have been more reminiscent of the old stuff, but all-in-all it was top shelf. I?m not really sure where the story is going. Is Chief going to smooch a hardlight Cortana as the Didact lays slain at his feet in Halo 6? As mentioned above the Forerunner were a big disappointment to me. It seems a bit silly to me that humans are now waging war on Forerunner whose technology is so vastly superior it ought to be like men fighting ants. I don?t like the fact that the fiction has turned that way. I?m not sure I really like where all the fiction is heading in general. I lost track of Halo fiction years ago and maybe this has been established lore for a long time. Some quick thoughts: Cons -Way too linear -?Return to Battlefield? threat is annoying, common and in places you might expect you could go -Invisible walls everywhere -Real lack of exploration in this game -Not many epic battles/moments -Forerunner a disappointment -Promethean encounters are typically not as fun as Covenant -Storyline a bit clunky -No flood (I may be alone here) -Perfect opportunity for the return of the isolation and mystery of the first Halo squandered -Forerunner world, Requiem, feels just like another (albeit beautiful) location to shoot dudes Pros -Awesome visuals, vistas -Great sound effects -Vehicles feel great (Hog) -Mantis is fun -Fly a pelican (finally) -Fighter jet section well executed -Some excellent cutscenes -Good voice acting -Great faces / animations create believable characters (Cortana, Lasky, Palmer, etc.) -?AAA? production values throughout Multiplayer The multiplayer is an enormous disappointment. Way, way too much COD in my Halo. Here?s a list of COD ?inspirations? I can remember off the top of my head. -Perks (some of which mimic COD perks in function) -Perk unlocks -Ordinance drops -Weapon unlocks -Enemy perspective death cam -Constant sprint -Win according to point accumulation, not kill count -?+10?, ?+5?, etc., pasted on your HUD -QTEs (like crawling a wounded soldier with the left stick) -Illustrating damage inflicted on enemy with flaring lines by reticule -No death cool-down timer in slayer -Spartan Ops (see Spec Ops) I saw Reach, her weak maps and above all her armor abilities as the franchise?s weakest MP offering. I had hoped that Halo 4 would be a return to basics, to greatness. I couldn?t have been more wrong. Halo 4 takes the biggest failures with Reach and standardizes them, canonizes them, in a sense. It?s hard to imagine Halo 5 now launching without all of the perks, unlocks, abilities and other ?advancements? that have been established as default in this new trilogy. This seems especially true when so many in the games press keep heaping praise on these distractions. It?s all incredibly unbalanced. I am looking through walls, watching the enemy with x-ray vision for crying out loud! I can spawn with camo and camp like an eagle scout. My whole team can spawn with a plasma pistols and plasma grenades, nerfing vehicles to an absurd extent. You can?t throw the flipping flag! I could literally go on for pages about the game breaking mechanics and missteps in Halo 4 MP and how it couldn?t carry the jock of Halo 1-3. What?s the point? It?s enough to summarize it as a completely frantic clusterbomb. It?s chaotic gibberish. By numbered Halo standards, it?s truly terrible. It?s not for me. It reminds me of trying to watch a movie with three of my kids pulling on my shirt, ?daddy!, daddy!? Or trying to play a game of basketball where there are five balls on the court all at once. I think to myself, ?who could possibly prefer it this way?? Spartan Ops This is serviceable. I?ve heard it said that this mode was ?oversold? and it really was. In its guts it?s simply a more orchestrated Firefight mode (on 90% rehashed environments, even MP ones) gussied up as ?missions? via simple mission objectives. The narrative is dispensed through radio chatter and a brief CG cutscenes. The big pro over Firefight is that each encounter is more clearly designed and you get added story bits. The big con is that you lose all the options and control you had to tweak your Firefight encounters. If these options were also included it would have been a win-win. I?m somewhat indifferent to all the Firefight/Spartan Ops business in the first place. That?s not where my Halo bread is buttered. If I have any preference it is probably Spartan Ops because of that extra crafted and less random feel of the encounters. A more campaign feel. A beautiful, fun, action packed campaign with moments of brilliance, some questionable characters and storytelling, a broken multiplayer mode and a mildly entertaining diversion in Spartan Ops. Va1ors definitive rating: 8.5 out of 10. (My email to Metacritic is on the spoke.)

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