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#21 Nightshade

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:37 PM

Seems like the honeymooner phase is over with a lot of the internet, and now there are some real problems (that I agree with) being addressed by the community. How 343i responds to this, more-so than anything else, is what will tell me if the Halo franchise is in good hands or not.

#22 DualX

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:51 PM

Spoiler
I wanted to wait a few days before giving my impression so I can take in all of the game has to offer. I am thoroughly enjoying this game. I can really see all of the hard work that really paid off. The campaign itself has really good pacing, and didn't really have too many lull moments. There are a few plot points that I didn't quite understand my first play through, but I really appreciate how much more attention is given to character development in this new series especially with the hint of the back story in general (although I really thought that the FUD series was going to play a bigger role with Lasky in the game). So yes, I give a thumbs up for campaign. I even applauded the end of the first mission when the Halo 4 logo was shown. I can't wait to see where this will take us. With the above said...I'm not so sure what to think about the Spartan Ops as they are extremely short, and don't really give any kind of anything in regards to what they are really trying to achieve other than to just blow shit up. Maybe the future missions will make more sense of things? Halo 4 is the best online shooter in the series hands down (it would have been the top Halo game period for me if it had Halo 2 quality maps), but it has some questionable new items. For instance, most of the Spartan armors look downright ugly and most of them don't even look like they should be a part of the Halo universe. Some of the weapons are also...weird. With all of the balancing that's been done, we still end up with weapons like the Storm Rifle and the Suppressor. Both are worthless in both campaign and multiplayer. The Forerunner has some other pretty worthless weapons to include their grenade type and the Scattershot (point blank, shot a dude three times, didn't kill him). Let's not forget the human weapons as well. The Battle Rifle makes a fairly decent return, but why is it suddenly 5 shots? That makes it even less of a go to weapon especially because it isn't as accurate with the spread that was placed on it. I don't believe the weapon is as fast as the DMR, so just keep it at 4 shots to make things even. I also noticed that there isn't a Bulltrue medal of any kind in this game. After playing numerous games of Flood in the past few days, there has been numerous moments whenever I'm charged at (lunged) by the flood/zombie character and I pull the trigger of my shotgun, we both die. Even when I see him die in front of me, he still gets a kill. This is also something else that I spoke about with number of folk. Who designed the menu UI? Why didn't anyone do any QA on that? It's really clunky, and hard to maneuver around. I've had the hardest time trying to figure out how to make my own gametypes. All in all, I'm really glad it looks like the Halo series is in good hands. I only press my concerns about the game now because I hope they will be addressed in the future, and because I want this new series to be the best the Halo series has to offer. Other things to add... Game sounds amazing. Game looks amazing. I really like how ordinance drops make it more balanced because you don't have to worry about a team controlling weapons. The Shotgun, Assault Rifle, DMR, Railgun, and most other weapons I haven't mentioned feel great. Why do you slow down when you get shot? The M6D needs to make a comeback now...and this is how you do it...as a power weapon. Booster seems to boost you horribly shorter than what it did in the videos I saw before. Why? Weapons disappear too fast after you die. You can't run back to the Rockets you dropped before in most cases... On Dominion, after you activate one of the control points on the map, your character just kinda sits there for a few seconds which leaves you open for attack. This is also the same with the shield, but I'm sure at least that was intentional.

#23 Slightly Live

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:26 PM

Even Halo Wars had better menu/UI than Halo 4. It's really terrible. Confusing, obtuse and simply ugly for the most part.

It's the only part of the game I'm happy to say is 100% wrong.

#24 Kinetic

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 11:25 PM

I can't make a full opinion on the campaign yet, but one thing I know will never change in my mind is that this is the third best single player in the Halo games behind Halo CE and Halo 3. But that's mostly because the others are absolute shit. Halo 4 is a solid "good" in my book, but isn't even close to approaching the two that sit above it. I might give a full response to it when I've fully digested it. Alright, one thing. Cortana and her merry band of Cortanas gang raping the Didact didn't make any goddamn sense at all. I hate deus ex machina crap like that.

#25 UHYVE

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 04:42 AM

I literally said "that's bullshit" when the Chief didn't die from blowing up a nuclear warhead in his hands. There is literally no way Cortana could've protected him at that range.

When I first watched the ending, I kind of assumed that she used the Composer to turn MC into an AI for a bit. Not so sure that makes sense now though, didn't the MC become immune to it? Also, the Composer would have got blown up like a millisecond later so...

Also, I mean, it's hard to believe that Cortana is dead when 343 put in so many otherwise completely random story points in there. Why tell us that the AI compiler in the Composer is almost exactly the same as the one Dr Halsey created? Oh and that if you can get her back to Dr Halsey, she can totally be fixed somehow. And where did we last insert Cortana again?

I otherwise don't have many issues with the story other than, well yeah, the assholery of Del Rio was just unrealistic, there was no motivation for being a massive dick to the guy who saved the entirety of humanity multiple times. And as I've said before, click three buttons before going to the objective, it was fine the first time through, but after noticing it, the campaign started seeming alittle silly.

Edit: Kinda wish we can turn down the sound effects slightly, while they sound great, they overpower the music a bit.

Edited by UHYVE, 09 November 2012 - 08:00 AM.


#26 JCTucker

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 09:41 AM

OK. I can't help myself, I watched the last cutscene / QTE with Didact. So, Chief is holding a nuke, punches the shit out of it to set it off, yet SOMEHOW Cortana uses her last bit of sane juice to protect him. From a nuke going off. IN HIS HANDS. O..... K..... Wow. I hear everyone on the switch hitting. That gets ridiculous. Found the cartographer thing in Mission 2, then it glitched and I had to go press a couple switches on either side of the room, while running between Covenant groups. So you're telling me there's more of that?

#27 Kinetic

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 11:50 AM

I hear everyone on the switch hitting. That gets ridiculous. Found the cartographer thing in Mission 2, then it glitched and I had to go press a couple switches on either side of the room, while running between Covenant groups. So you're telling me there's more of that?

You and Master Chief's left hand become best friends by the end of the game.

#28 JCTucker

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:16 PM

OK. I am really hoping to finish the game before my boy is born. The visuals in this game are far and away better than what Bungie ever did with this franchise. Even though I've only played through 2 levels, I''ve seen some effects and visuals that just blow me away. After the crash, when you come out of that crevice and see the giant structure. Amazing. The audio. Oh my goodness, the audio. So beautiful. Everything from the rumble of the Assault Rifle to the music. Just amazing. To hear that I can look forward to repetitive "blue key / red key" mission design is deflating.

#29 Syracuse022

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 03:01 PM

You and Master Chief's left hand become best friends by the end of the game.

Hold X To Play-lo 4

I've actually enjoyed the game a ton so far. I've finished Campaign on Heroic and Legendary, beaten Spartan Ops Ep. 1 by myself because I'm anti-social, and played something stupid like 9 hours of multiplayer to boot. Yes, I am sleep deprived, thank you for asking.

A few of my thoughts on Campaign and the Story (I'm not ready to make judgments on Multiplayer yet, but I've enjoyed it so far):
Campaign
+ They've finally figured out that I don't want to have to scrounge for ammo - ammo caches are plentiful in ways they haven't been since Halo 1 (okay maybe that rose-colored memory was more the 'infinite ammo' glitch that I abused to no end). No more juggling plasma pistols and needlers (or at least less of that) and much more freedom to choose how to approach encounters. Perfect.
+ There was a moment during Mission 3 when I realized how easy it's become to dispatch any variation of Covenant squadron you can throw at me and just how effectively the subtle shake-up in the battlefield hierarchy for the Prometheans makes me approach battles in a different way. I quite enjoyed this realization.
+ After umpteen iterations of sniper alleys, they've finally tuned the difficulty just right. I got zapped a few times, but the difficulty for all of the various Promethean and Covenant sniper enemies felt perfect. Also, that disintegration animation... too fucking cool.
+ See above, but insert 'Hunter' where I said 'sniper,' and this time I'm talking about how satisfying that disintegration animation is when I inflict it on a Hunter or two with the Incineration Cannon. Sploosh.
+ The entirety of Mission 4. Jungle environments are always cool, Lasky is a compelling character (largely on the strength of Forward Unto Dawn), the Spartan girl who refuses to wear a helmet because she's too attractive had a hilarious introduction, and, oh yeah, the Spartan tank run, which might be the best tank run in a series that seems to have built itself around the thrill of the tank run. I'll be playing that mission again.
+ LOL, did I see that they scanned someone for Cortana's body in the credits? Can we meet her?
+ This might be the most focused, concise Campaign yet, and it's better for it.
+ The X-wing, er, Broadsword trench run
- The overly lengthy switch-pressing section that follows all of the adrenaline of the Broadsword run.
- Switches, in and of themselves, are not a bad thing - they're one type of MacGuffin game designers can employ to get us where we want to be (blowing stuff up) without getting in our way with too much of a heavy-handed narrative. Arbitrarily large quantities of switches, however, venture out of 'Who gives a shit why I'm here, there's stuff to blow up,' territory and into 'Okay, were they really this starved for ideas to motivate me?'
- A gondola section? Really? As soon as I stepped into that room, I couldn't even help it, my jaw dropped and I said, 'You're joking...'
- Are you kidding me with the Banshee AI? There was only one area in my entire Legendary playthrough where the game stopped being fun. A controller was thrown, words were yelled, I'm sure neighbors were less than amused. Why? There's a room full of Banshees who can take steeper attack dives than I'm able to, who are just a little bit too accurate with their fuel rod bombs, and who are backed up by an entire squadron of Ghosts and Carbine-wielding Elites. Total Legendary play time? Something like 6.5 hours. Total time spent in this room at 0% enjoyment level? 1+ hour. Fuck that. Eventual strategy? Plasma pistol overcharge, hijack the vehicle, hide it, repeat. Ad nauseam. For all 12 or so vehicles in the area. Gross.
- I'm not playing around right now, Banshee AI gets two minuses. I'm glad that Banshees are harder to fight this time, but they took it too far. The second minus is because there's yet another room swarming with Banshees later in the Campaign. Know what I did there? Hijacked the first Banshee that tried to dive bomb me, then proceeded to boost that motherfucker all the way to the exit door. Total time spent in this second Banshee room: 25 seconds.
- Covenant vs. Promethean battles. The only time these get even remotely cool is during scripted events. Seriously. Play Two Betrayals in Halo 1, sit back and watch the two way battles. The two sides are fighting like something is at stake. In each area, the fights are vicious, and one side wins (not always the same side either). Now take the same 'Wait and see' approach in Mission 3 of Halo 4. Prepare for '5th grade birthday party at the paintball complex in the suburbs' AI. The battles here feel like the two sides have switched on Bond villain firing mode and are hoping that Master Chief will show up soon. Major disappointment.

Story
+ The cut scenes were quite good. I could do without all of the extreme close-ups of wreckage and Master Chief's appendages though. Half the time I didn't even know what I was looking at during those shots.
+ Epic scope - Forerunner shield world, brief Halo sighting, and Didact brought us to Earth to debate immigration policy in Arizona or something.
+ They still haven't completely cut out the cheese, but they're getting better with each iteration. This game is definitely venturing into more serious territory in terms of tone. Keep moving this direction!
+ Seriously, I'm not mad at the QTE ending at all. It was vastly preferable to actually having to deal with some 1990's nonsense (ahem, Tartarus). I'm not even mad at the Cortana light-bridge shield because of how cool the shot is when the debris starts raining behind the Chief. I think the ending was handled quite well, all in all, a satisfying conclusion that also manages to leave players with a ton of questions. Both Cortana and the Didact will be back, in my opinion.
+ The terminals were quite well done and added a lot to the story
- It is a huge loss (especially in terms of involving more casual fans) that some of the narrative strands from the terminals were not integrated directly into the Campaign.
- The irrational, irascible authority figure trope (Del Rio). So incredibly bush-league.
- Forerunners are too physiologically close to humans. The Librarian's character design was 'Meh,' The Didact's was just bad. His armor's cool though. How do I unlock that one for MP?

Spartan Ops
+ The CGI cutscenes are cool as fuck
- Laughably bad graphics in many places, especially when compared with the main game - I'm looking at you, snow level skybox, did you get copy-pasted from Goldeneye?
- Bahahaha somehow it's switch-pushing with even less story.

Graphics
+ Nailed it. I honestly even like the Grunt redesigns (I'm less sold on the Jackalosaurus, but it's not a game breaker).
+ Seriously, they nailed it. It looks just like the concept art. Which was cool as shit. It's even cooler in motion.
+ Give Corinne Yu a raise

Sound
+ The main themes (117 and whatever the one is that has directly aped the Bourne series chord progression) are incredible. Some of the subtle callbacks to O'Donnell classic Halo themes were handled just right.
+ OMG. The sound that the Spartan Laser makes just before it unleashes hell, the brrrrrraappppp of the SAW, the thunderous crack of a far-off Wraith mortar or Incineration Cannon shot connecting. So. Fucking. Good.
- Separately, the two pluses above are incredible. Together, they are not mixed as effectively as I'd like. Bungie ratcheted Marty up to 11 because of their whole inferiority complex ('Marty is what makes our games good so we pay him like he's an NFL QB,' or whatever), 343i seem to have done the opposite and put Davidge in a corner. I paused the game early on and searched for a way to tweak the audio mix so that the music could be brought to the front a bit more. No such luck. Seriously, the music is great, let it out to play!

Sandbox
+ DMR is the best gun since the M6D (referring more to multiplayer here)
+ Binary rifle, incineration cannon, and scattershot are all great additions
+ SAW. Assault rifle am cry.
+ Railgun. Too fun. I wish it had larger ammo reserves.
+ Sticky Detonator. Not quite pro pipe levels of fun, but it's not a bad substitute (why was the pro pipe removed again?)
+ The needler is actually fun in this game, first time I've said that since Halo 1.
- Plasma rifle and whatever the Promethean equivalent is called. Lose them. Still, only two throwaway weapons is the fewest a Halo game has ever had.
- Promethean grenades are so unsatisfying. Bleh.
- Bring back the pro pipe!

All in all, I'm inclined to give this game a tie for second favorite Halo campaign. I think that Halo 3 had higher highs (The Storm, The Ark), but it had MUCH lower lows (Cortana and everything in the last level that wasn't the final vehicle run), so they can stay tied. One is a solid 8 who knows her way around the bedroom, the other is a 10 with her make-up on but a 6 when she's in sweat pants, and man does she like to throw plates (weak metaphor for shitty Flood levels) when she's angry.

343i have done very well. Keep up the good work!

Edited by Syracuse022, 09 November 2012 - 03:07 PM.


#30 Kinetic

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 09:06 AM

This is as good a time as any to write this I guess.

I'm not going to comment much on graphics, weapons, and sound because it seems to be well-tread territory. They're easily the best in any Halo game by a country mile, and I agree with Cuse in that I wish the music would punch me in the face a little more during gameplay. The battlefield is less epic when I don't have an orchestra right at my back, and in Halo 4 it cowers behind a rock, which is a shame because it's very well done. Also, where the hell is the Halo theme?

Though I will say something about grenade balance, which no one has commented on yet. Thank God the Spartans remembered how to throw the deep ball. Absolutely love how grenades are balanced this time around.

Level Design
Level-design wise, this campaign trounces Halo 2 and Reach. That in itself isn't saying anything at all, but I think this one is standing just behind Halo 3, trying to push it out of the way. It's close to my second favorite, but Halo 3 edges it just barely. Halo 4 is consistently "decent" to "pretty damn good" while Halo 3 ranges from "shit" to "best Halo levels ever ever ever". If we didn't have to infiltrate the giant Flood vagina in Halo 3 to rescue Cortana or we didn't have to press RT to win the game in Halo 4, it wouldn't be as tight of a race. But even Halo 4's worst mission for me, Shutdown, doesn't even approach the levels of awful that Bungie reached at least once in all of their entries. There's nothing here that made me groan like The Library, all of Halo 2, Cortana, and most of Reach. Now, I think there's a reason for this. 343i seems stuck between trying to forge their own path and trying to keep the feel that Bungie laid out before them. The latter cases are clumsy and lazy, and this is why Shutdown is such a bore for me. The Pelican section is a render of that horrible flying mission from Reach with the hotels and shit, and the rest of it is taken from the worst parts of Halo's past (gondola, navigating narrow-ass platform after narrow-ass platform). This is sprinkled throughout the campaign, but is at its worst in Shutdown. It's like part of 343i was too afraid to try new ideas in how the missions flow, even though the presentation and cinematics saw drastic changes. 343, I've played Bungie's Halos. That ground isn't going to create anything that's going to wow me. Trust in yourselves and do your thang for Halo 5, because you did great work in just about every other aspect here.

And I'll pile on about the switches a bit. I was playing Requiem last night when I realized how bad it is. When you're activating the Cartographer you have to press a switch to activate a light bridge. What do you do after that? Walk 15 feet and PRESS ANOTHER FUCKING SWITCH. And you do this twice. And then umpteen more times later in the game. Wat?

Story
This is the best overall cast of character's we've seen since Halo CE. Though they didn't all get as much exposure as I'd like (FemShep, for instance), I'd put this group up against the originals, if only to watch Captain Keyes pimp slap Andrew Del Rio. Speaking of whom, he is the only waste of space this time around, but I wouldn't put him on the level of Miranda. Del Rio, despite having literally no purpose for existing in Halo 4, at least stays out of the way for the most part. Honestly, I think his asshole personality was conjured up just so we could all be shocked at Mr. Master Chief disobeying a direct order. Lasky, however, is incredible and almost steals the show. Shame we couldn't have seen more of him. I would have been fine with him commanding the Infinity and bro-fisting with M. Cheif the whole game.

But the real treat was the interplay between Chief and Cortana. Again, this is the best it's been since Halo 1. The banter between objectives, the spreading rampancy, the reduced (but by no means extinct) cringe-worthy deliveries during emotional sections, it's fantastic. I never felt it crossed the line into the creepy cyborg-on-AI boning realm until the very end. Up until then, all of the heated exchanges between the two were as such not because they felt for each other romantically, but rather NEEDED each other just to function. Over 4 games, think of all the times Chief hasn't had Cortana in his head and what he did when she wasn't there. Priority number 1 was always this: he tried to get her back. He isn't the same badass super soldier without Cortana, and he knows it. Besides the ending (god DAMMIT the ending), 343 hit this classic relationship out of the park.

One thing that both surprised (the good kind) and annoyed me was how deep into the fiction Halo 4 went. I didn't even know who Lasky was until I read a review for the game, so I was taken aback a bit when he walks up and says "Never thought I'd see you again, Chief!" and I'm all "Maaaan, don't act like you fuckin' know me." And then the Librarian bits with the tightly packed revelations that will take me at least 2 playthroughs to fully comprehend, and leaning on characters from the Halo 3 terminals for all of the game, it was a little too much for me. I never thought I'd say this, but I hope Halo 5 is more accessible story-wise. I don't have the time, money, or interest to read every book, watch every mini-series, play every ARG, or read every comic that deals with Halo. I love that 343 is so married to the established fiction, but that's one of the things that hindered the story to me and also gives me pause for future games. What happens when they're REALLY out on their own, story wise? Do we get more stuff like flying Cortana balls knocking the Didact into a glowing pit, stuff like Mass Effect 3's patented space magic saving Chief from a POINT BLANK NUCLEAR EXPLOSION, stuff like Lasky telling me to "Use the force, Luke" while trying to guide my nuke into the Death Star's ventilation shaft? Or do we get stuff like the cinematic excellence that makes up a good chunk of the rest of the game? We'll see, bros and hos, we'll see.

That's it.

And I don't think I can comment on multiplayer based on less than a week of play. So far though it's a lot like the campaign's level design: nothing horrible, but nothing super-memorable. Every map is in the solid to good range so far.

Edited by Kinetic, 10 November 2012 - 12:39 PM.


#31 DualX

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 03:45 PM

Found it.

#32 Jironimo

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:20 AM

Temptress Cortana
Posted Image

Depressed Chief
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#33 JCTucker

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:30 AM

"Light isn't the only thing Cortana makes hard." - Badman

#34 Jironimo

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:41 AM

"Light isn't the only thing Cortana makes hard." - Badman

Apparently the initial theory that she used hardlight for a bubble to protect the Chief is wrong. They are actually in the Domain which is the like the Forerunner internet where they archive species for reseeding later.

#35 Vanwadilion

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:16 AM

Apparently the initial theory that she used hardlight for a bubble to protect the Chief is wrong. They are actually in the Domain which is the like the Forerunner internet where they archive species for reseeding later.


"Cortana was trying to archive the MChief's penis to reseed her later" - Badman

#36 Syracuse022

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:31 AM

I lol'd at both Badmans. Well done gentlemens. Ivan, where did you hear this Domain explanation?

#37 Merguson

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:45 AM

So if it's not hardlight, how the hell does the Chief survive?

#38 JCTucker

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 12:47 PM

Apparently, armor can be archived, too. Whoda thunk?

#39 Drew

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 03:49 PM

So if it's not hardlight, how the hell does the Chief survive?

It's magic, they don't gotta explain shit.

#40 Kinetic

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 04:22 PM

As much as I thought the hardlight explanation was poorly thought out, being on Forerunnersgonewild.com is worse.



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