With the distraction of many PC games, it’s taken more time to get through Halo 4 than anticipated. Luckily, the time finally came to finish off the first story in the new chapter for the Halo franchise. Encountering new forerunner technology, the stakes are just as high in this story of “reclamation” as they were in the installments leading up to Halo 4. As expected, the fate of the human race, and the galaxy, rests in the battle tested hands of the Master Chief. Along with the help of Cortana and the stray UNSC vessel, Infinity, the Master Chief takes us through another wild ride of epic battles and long forgotten technology.
The overall impression of Halo 4 is that it was a great game, but wasn’t the best Halo in the series. 343 Industries needs to fill shoes that are quite large in the absence of Bungie. It’s clear they put a lot of effort into ensuring that the longtime fan base of Halo does not leave disappointed. It was a fantastic game and a great start to a new trilogy. But it didn’t have it all just yet. The mood of the story as well as some of the particulars, Cortana’s look, the music, the enemies, all felt a bit foreign at times. With the trilogy just beginning, hopefully these new characters and places will begin to become familiar over the next two stories.
Things I would change
Soundtrack – The music in the past Halo titles was such an important part of the experience. I can’t imagine driving around the halos in a warthog gunning down grunts and elites left and right without thinking of that iconic Halo theme song. I suspected that the switch in development would bring a few changes, but I was really hoping the music wasn’t going to be one of those changes. Unfortunately, it was. It’s obvious this is just the Halo fan boy talking in me, but I could really have used the old music with this game.
More UNSC ammo – Halo 4 saw the introduction of a lot of new weapons. Each side, UNSC and Covenant, had a few new additions to the arsenal as well as the addition of the Promethean weapons. Since these enemies dropped weapons as the Master Chief fought his way through their attempts to block him, the Covenant and Promethean ammo was plentiful. The UNSC ammo was not as easy to find. Would have like to see more chances to use the UNSC weapons throughout the campaign.
Things I would keep
New weapons – Although the UNSC weapons are always a favorite, the new weapons in Halo 4 were a nice addition. The biggest set of new weapons were the Promethean weapons. All were energy based weapons and each corresponded to a weapon seen previously in other Halo games. The Suppressor, an automatic rifle, was the cousin to the assault rifle while the Lightrifle played similarly to the Battle rifle. It’s always great to add some more variety to the Halo arsenal and this iteration of weapons didn’t disappoint.
Mission variety – This was the first Halo title where mission variety was a real strength of the game. Rather than a bunch of run and gun missions, Halo 4 intermingled a few challenging missions that required the Master Chief to use his superb evasion skills rather than combat skills. Whether it was escaping a collapsing planet on a Covenant ghost or assaulting a forerunner ship with a UNSC ship, Halo 4 offered a few new mission options to keep things fresh. It certainly helped keep the pace of the game moving along quickly.
3.5: The story was fairly exciting and the game play was action packed. Some missions were a bit repetitive, causing certain sections to drag on a bit.
Bang for your buck
3.5: The single player campaign was fairly short, around 7 hours long. However, there is plenty of multiplayer action to keep you busy for weeks.
How hard is it to get good
3.5: Some prior knowledge of Halo controls and tactics are definitely necessary for this title.
2.5: This was the weakest area for Halo 4. It will take someone a lot of time and work to knock these cheevos off.
4: 343 Industries has certainly taken the Halo torch well and understands the importance it holds to many Halo fans out there. Halo 4 showed they paid the development of the game its proper attention.