Wednesday, February 20, 2013

HALO 4 Review

  •  Publisher: Microsoft Studios
  • Developer: 343 Industries
  • Genre: 1st Person Shooter
  • Release Date US: November 6, 2012
  • System: Xbox 360
  • Rated M for Mature

Halo 4 is the new era of Master Chief’s saga, but does 343 studios have what it takes to compete with the legend that Bungie has already imprinted?

We last heard from Master Chief in 2007. *spoilers* The previous installment of the core Halo series we left Master Chief frozen on board the Forward Unto Dawn. We had no idea if our hero would ever return. Well finally after 5 years the Chief is back and better than ever. Halo 4’s start feels very familiar to how we started back in the first Halo. You really have no idea what is going on and then before you know it you begin combat with a familiar foe…the elites. It’s not much longer after that you get acquainted with the new foe….the Prometheus. This new foe brings a whole new dynamic, but the Prometheus  isn’t even your biggest threat…Cortana is about to mix things up like never before. 
 Good Morning Master Chief. 

The first thing that anyone is going to notice about Halo 4 is how amazing it looks. Be ready to experience the Halo world like never before. All the environments are rich in detail with realistic textures, animation, and lighting. The cut scenes do a great job of driving the story with facial capture that fully expresses the characters emotion and motivation. The graphics are top notch and the audio does an excellent job of tying the whole experience together. 343 studios has gone above and beyond in the sound department. Every gun fire, grenade explosion, and grunt battle cry has been given an extra “umf” to really bring the sci-fi world to life. However the music doesn’t exactly live up to the tracks of previous iterations. The soundtrack is far from bad, but I found none of the tunes ton behind why be very memorable.

Halo 4 provides a wealth of options to keep all types of fans busy for months and even years to come. I find myself, like many other people, mostly interested in the multiplayer. The Halo lore is great, but it is the matchmaking that will keep me returning to the battlefield with the Spartans. The matchmaking option in Halo 4 goes under the name War Games. War Games adds a bit more of a reason to why Spartans are fighting other Spartans. War Games is a type of training course taking place aboard the UNSC Infinity Ship between Spartans in training. The narrative aspect really ramps  up in the mode Spartan Ops…which I will touch on more shortly. Matchmaking brings back the standard games we have all become accustom with. Team slayer, Capture the Flag, Oddball, Swat, and others return. I was actually slightly let down in the lack of new game modes. When first booting up matchmaking you will notice a few  new names, but you will find these to just be slight alternations to game modes we already know. Modes like flood where…players take control of the flood are great additions, but all things considered…it is really just infection wrapped in a new coat of paint. Though the game modes are familiar, the core of multiplayer has been changed. Scoring is no longer just about kills, by adopting a more “Call of Duty” style score set for matches it gives Halo a new feel. Customization has also been upgraded, allowing players to create custom load outs to use for each match. This abundance of Call of Duty and Battlefield style perks in the multiplayer is a nice way to keep players coming back for more, but may need a turn off to some fans since it isn’t really very “new” I would have liked to see 343 flex their creative muscles  a bit more as far as game modes. While the modes may not feel extremely creative, the maps defiantly do. I was very pleased with variety of maps found in the game, and I look forward to seeing what the company has up its sleeves for future downloadable content.
Lookin' good Chief. 
So how about that Spartan Ops that I mentioned earlier? Spartan Ops has replaced the spot for firefight, giving players the chance to team up with some of their friends or anyone from around the world and go through a campaign style adventure. Instead of giving the players all the missions to the story up front, 343 is dividing the story up into seasons similar to a television show. The first season includes 10 episodes which hold 5 missions in each. The missions also include cut scenes to drive the story. Sadly I found nothing too renovating  about Spartan Ops as cool as the concept is. The action isn’t terrible and it can be fun when grouping up with some friends, but I found no real motivation to stick through the full 10 episodes of season 1. Spartan Ops isn’t finished, which means there is still possibilities for Spartan Ops to change my mind.

To add to the great multiplayer of Halo 4 is the infamous Forge and Theater mode that debuted in Halo 3. These modes have not changed much, but still provide hours of additional fun and more reasons to  keep playing more. I still find the ability to record matches excellent, and being able to look back months later at an awesome grenade stick or kill streak great. All the customization of Forge is still intact and you can get lost in the wealth of options available.
  Prepare to lose days of your life in the multiplayer.

We have covered so much content and we bailey even scratched the surface of the Campaign. I found myself engaged more than ever before with what was going to happen next to Master Chief and Cortana.  While I found the story a bit hard to follow at times, it wasn’t enough to keep me addicted to finishing the story. I won’t spoiler any of the story, but minus some slight confusion it left me with I truly enjoyed the full experience. All leading up to a great ending. Coop also has returned up to 4 players, and wither you go it alone or bring some friends along for the ride, you will be thoroughly satisfied with the experience in the campaign.
Halo 4 is a massive game. There is so much to cover that it is tough to fit it all into a single review. With breathtaking graphics and sound, solid controls, and a wealth of game modes, Halo 4 doesn’t hold back. I found Spartan Ops a bit on the lacking side, but gives hope for something better for the future. Multiplayer also did not keep me as engaged as long as it normally does. I blame this complaint on the lack of freshness of matchmaking. This complains are small in comparison to the awesomeness of this game. 343 Studios worried the diehard fans when they took the reign of the series, but Halo 4 puts those fears to rest. Master Chief has returned to set the bar higher than ever before. The killer app of the Xbox is here to stay. See you in 5.



  1. Terrible Grammar, Sentence structure, an abundance of errors within this review.