Saturday, December 8, 2012
Halo 4 Review
Like I probably mentioned in earlier posts I couldn't resist, I went and bought an Xbox 360 and then I picked up Halo 4 on launch day; I felt like a kid on Christmas. Since the Halo 4 teaser trailer was shown at E3 I was excited and the hype train went full steam ahead when the live action series Forward Unto Dawn began. We haven't seen Master Chief in action since 2007, it has been a long wait. I know I have had a little blogging hiatus, but during that time I was able to play through Halo 4. I had faith in 343 Industries, I had a feeling that this Halo wouldn't be a carbon copy of it's predecessors. Thankfully my assumptions were correct. From start to finish Halo 4 had fresh new environments and a variety of new enemies and weapons. There even "quick-time" action sequences but I felt like those felt a little clunky. Aside from that the gameplay experience was great. The mechanics felt pretty much the same as Halo Reach except that sprinting is now a permanent ability; which makes sense, Spartans are supposed to swift and strong super solders. I liked how the armor lock ability was replaced with a hard light shield, this ability is on a timer and you can walk around while the shield is up. This change really help to balance out the online play since armor lock felt a little over powered. I don't know if I am getting a little rusty but the difficulty level in Halo 4 fells pretty high, taking down Promethian Knights on Legendary is no easy task. They make taking on Elites feel like a walk in the park. In terms of the weapons arsenal I was satisfied. I was so happy to use the Battle Rifle and DMR again. All the old weapons got new audio-visual make-over which was a nice tweak. I must say I thought the Promethian weapons were awesome; watching your weapon assemble itself when you pick it up for the first time was pretty cool. If I had to choose a favourite new weapon it would have to be the scatter shot. It shoots fasts and the fact the the rounds can ricochet off walls makes things more interesting, especially online. Did I mention how pretty the game is? Hands down it's the best looking and sounding game in the Halo franchise. The vehicles, weapons and Master Chief himself all got an update, the lighting effects and the textures also looked really nice. I believe Halo 4 is the game in the franchise to use CGI cut scenes in the game itself, I honestly didn't mind. The cut scenes were photo realistic at times, for a few seconds I though the prologue of Halo 4 was live-action. After I finished the campaign, I dabbled in the online component. Some of the game types are pretty familiar and the maps vary greatly but there are few maps that stand out as instant classics. I really like Regicide, where a player is marked as the King and the marked on the map. With instant respawns, the King has to always be on their toes in this fast paced game mode. I haven't tried Forges yet as my archetectual creativity isn't the greatest.T rust me, I had a tough time creating levels in Little Big Planet, so I know that making maps is not my forte. Spartan Ops is an entertaining episodic addition. The missions are brief but still fun and it's nice that there is episode of Halo Infinity every week to carry on the plot 6 months after the event in Halo 4. I left my overview of the story for last, me being such a big fan of the Halo universe was a huge factor in why I bought an Xbox 360 in the first place. I really wanted to know what was in store for the Master Chief and Cortana and I wanted learn more about the Forerunners. As I expected, 343 delivered in the story department as well. I think was over an hour of cut scenes in the game and they helped explain the relationship between the Humans, The Forerunners and the Flood. It was interesting to see an actual antagonist in the game, it changed up the way the story moved along. During these cut scenes the relationship between Cortana and the Chief developed greatly, their relationship was a huge part of the plot. In previous games it seemed like Cortana was always protecting the Chief but in Halo 4 it seemed like the John 117 was trying to save Cortana. These two characters had an interesting dynamic and during the game you could see that the Master Chief was more comfortable with Cortana than with other Humans. I felt like Halo 4 had a more in depth and emotional plot than previous games and I thought the story was great, especially with the completely new (and quite epic) soundtrack that set the tone, every came together very well. Overall, I have to say Halo 4 is my favourite game in the franchise, it took all the great elements of previous games and built on them. I look forward to more of the Halo Infinity episodes and I am curious to see how the next game in this new trilogy will turn out.