'Halo 4:' Video Game Review

 

Halo 4Halo 4 is a great game that subtly moves the series forward without trying to redefine it. In other words, if you like Halo, you will like Halo 4. The internet seemed nervous for a while when longtime Halo stewards Bungie Studio left the series and 343 studios took over. 343 was created by Microsoft for the express point of running Halo. There are two things that a studio can do to ruin a sequel. They can follow too closely to the original (Die Hard 2) or they can stray too far from what made the original great (Live Free or Die Hard). Fortunately, Halo 4 avoids both of these pitfalls.


The campaign is a real high point for the series. The story is interesting for those of you who have read the novels and scoured the wiki, but the character arcs are incredible. The game focuses on the relationship between Master Chief, a seven-foot cyborg whose outfit would make Tony Stark jealous, and Cortana, an artificial intelligence plugged into Master Chief’s helmet. Somehow, Halo 4 makes the relationship between an AI and a battle-scarred killing machine into the best love story in any game I’ve played since Ico. Seriously, that is high-frakking praise.
The gameplay is rock solid. The controls feel tight, responsive, and most importantly, accurate. There doesn’t seem to be anything getting in the way of you doing exactly what you are trying to do. Except for the enemies, of course. The Covenant is back but the flood isn’t (thank merciful Baltar). There is a new class of enemy called the Prometheans. This new foe (I can’t believe that I just typed foe.) uses Forerunner technology and weapons, which are so much fun to play with. There are also a few moments in the campaign that are just stunning. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but the sense of scale in this game is often breathtaking.

Like every Halo game before, the single player is solid, but the reason to stay is the multiplayer. Back again are the regular multiplayer modes, like Slayer (team deathmatch), Oddball (keep-away), and Capture the Flag (capture the flag). There are some new modes, as well. Dominion, my personal favorite, is a team base control gametype with a few twists. The bases allow you to access vehicles and powerful weapons. The appeal is that someone who is mediocre at the shooting and killing part of the game, like me, can still contribute and have a good time. Halo 4 has also learned some of the right lessons from Call of Duty. When you gain experience in multiplayer, you can unlock new weapons and perks, as well as the ability to customize the toys you bring to a fight. This progression is swift and fun, and it keeps pulling me back in for one more match.

There is a brand new cooperative mode called Spartan Ops, which is as fully realized as many full games. There are a series of missions to accomplish that are designed for cooperation. The missions are fun and have a reasonably engaging story. The hook is that every week, 343 is releasing five more episodes, so there is a great deal of depth to this extra bit. The game would be an easy recommendation for the Halo fans out there if it was only the single player and the regular multiplayer. Spartan Ops doesn’t make the game, but it is a great addition to a game that is already fantastic.

Overall, 343 did an incredible job of bringing something new to the Halo franchise while not changing the core. It is hard to overstate how risky this game was. Rest assured though, Halo 4 pays off on all bets. This is easily one of my favorite games. Ever.


Five Ancient Evils Rising to Extract a Terrible Vengeance out of Five.

 

 

Last modified on Friday, 21 June 2013 01:34

Ben Rhodes, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor

Favorite Book:  Cryptonomicon
Favorite MovieYoung Frankenstein
Favorite Absolutely Everything:  Monty Python

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