(Due to the large scope of the game, this review is solely based on the campaign of Halo 4. A multiplayer review will be coming along shortly.)
Here it is everyone, the long awaited return of one of the most pivotal franchises in Xbox history. Halo 4 is up to bat in this review. With 343 Industries taking over where Bungie left off, can they handle the franchise and make it worth our while? Personally, I’ve never really been more excited with a game release than now. Yet, I ventured this route a little differently than most. I retracted myself from the media and everything Halo 4 related. I knew 343 was going to make this game their own and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise until I played the game.
My patience payed off once I hit the ground running. The twists and turns, the heartfelt moments shared Between Cortana and John (SPOILERS: It gets emotional!), the stunning CGI. These graphics make you constantly wonder whether this was shot in real life or if technology has truly outdone itself! There’s also a completely phenomenal story line that draws you in with each firefight and cutscene. This game brings some new and improved elements into the multiplayer scene. All in all we have a lot to discuss with the newest installment of Halo 4
Diving right in! We’re 4 years after Halo 3 took place. Chief’s partially destroyed ship (Forward Unto Dawn) was separated in the slip-space portal after escaping the Halo array he destroyed to save the world. Master Chief wakes to Cortana informing him the ship is being scanned and snooped over by someone. Upon discovering a whole Covenant armada has decided to take interest in the ship, Chief is thrown into the fire with guns blazing and new weapons to use. The HUD system is only slightly altered and controls have changed a bit, too. Still, it’s nothing that can’t be accounted for with a bit of practice though. The fighting is still pretty similar to any Halo you have played, but if you’re new, it won’t take you much learning to understand the basics of combat.
Moving on! After being forcibly drawn into the planet and figuring out where to go next, the true nature and feeling of this story begins to unfold. The mission isn’t to save the world anymore, John’s only goal is to get off the unknown planet and save Cortana. Oh…SPOILERS! Cortana has started rampaging after being active for 8 years. Slowly, she will begin to deteriorate and actually think herself into destruction. Once aware of the danger inside his long-trusted and needed AI, John makes her life his priority. This is when you finally get to see the side of Chief you’ve always wanted. He shows the deepest compassion you could imagine. The life of his companion, who saw him through some of the most difficult of times, is truly dependent on his actions to survive.
As could be predicted, things won’t ever go as easy we would like. Along the way to figuring out what this planet is and who is inhabiting it, the faint transmission of a UNSC ship, INFINITY, is picked up along the way. The glimmer of hope has become a full flame for Chief to make it back home and save Cortana. Unfortunately, once near the source of the transmission, we find that it was a deliberate decoy to free the antagonist in Halo 4. Ladies and Gentleman, may I introduce to you, the Diadect. Former Forerunner imprisoned by the librarian for his crimes against humanity. (For anyone who knows the terminals from Halo 3, you will find fault within the story between the Librarian and Diadect.)
Here’s where the campaign takes a drastic turn for the inner Badass inside everyone. Although the greatest enemy known to mankind has been released, The UNSC ship, INFINITY, was not just a clever decoy. This massive, and I mean MASSIVE, ship crash lands onto the planet and you make your way to assist. Now, there is truly something special about this ship and the time since John was last in contact with Marine forces. Spartans….Spartans everywhere! After the war, a mass production of Spartans were initiated and all aboard the INFINITY. No longer having to fight along side the marines, Chief fights with Spartans who don’t die from just any enemy. The AI in this game does a wonderful job of not completely sucking, which is a huge sigh of relief for any solo campaigner.
With the introduction of new Spartans, comes the introduction of new enemy forces. No longer are you just fighting the Covenant, you have the Promethians to fight off, as well. A type of digital-defense creature that was once human, but was turned into this state by something called, “The Composer”. These creatures also bring a whole new set of weapons, but they have a twist of use and firepower. From the Incinerator Cannon to a Binary rifle, these new weapons hold great power and embrace the technological side of Forerunner tech. The great thing about the new weapons is that both sides gained new toys! The Rail gun, for instance, is a blast to use. It is a mini-rail gun to use in your hands. Though, lets be honest, the long missed and awaited Battle Rifle is what makes Halo 2 lovers rejoice everywhere! The 3-shot burst just makes you happy every time it’s fired. The truly good thing 343 did was to balance the power of each weapon against each other. Whether you are using a DMR for long range shots with the light rifle, or medium ranged shots with the BR and Carbine, each weapon has a better use than another or an equally debilitating weakness.
Moving on with our story! We find Cortana slowly losing herself, right in front of our eyes. Seeing the pain and struggle of Chief being powerless to save her, unless he succeeds in stopping the Diadect and reaching Halsey as soon as possible. You truly see the weight of the struggles bearing upon one man. This plot finally brings out the human side of our never faltering Spartan 117. You will not be able to play this game without getting the least bit emotional, I promise you that.
Starting to wind down the story, without ruining this game completely for you…After quite a few missions and firefights, you move to fight the Diadect, before he destroys earth and wipes out humanity. Cortana is nearing her wit’s end, completely losing the seams that hold her together. Among all of this despair, John is starting to break down, as he begins to realize he might not be able to finish this mission…Lucky for you, i’m not going to spoil what happens at the end. IF you really are a Halo fanboy/girl, or just someone wanting to play a great game, I URGE you to pick this up or rent it. Anything to play this masterpiece. Now, unfortunately, the campaign is short lived, being able to beat it in roughly 6-8 hours of dedicated time. But don’t let the short length of single-player discourage you from playing Halo 4.
343 stepped up to the plate with this game and knocked it out of the park. With some of the most profoundly astonishing CGI and cutscenes, the in-game graphics are truly beautiful. They left nothing to be curious about with attention to detail, whether you’re looking at surrounding enemies, weapons, or the extravagant scenery. I sometimes found myself just stopping and exploring to take it all in. Though it is a short game, the story deep within the framework here makes this something to genuinely treasure, in my eyes. Halo 4 easily takes its place as my favorite story in the Halo franchise, so far. On the edge of your seat with action and adventure, finally bringing in the emotional ties between Cortana and Chief.
I have to gave Halo 4 4.5 “Attractive Spartans” out of 5
By Luke Wyatt
For everyone wanting to know about the multiplayer Review. CLICK HERE(TBA).