9.5 / 10 review
The Halo Franchise Returns With A Vengeance
Master Chief is back, and he’s bringing a new developer. 343 Studios promised to deliver a new edge to “Halo 4” while still holding on to the core mechanics that made the series great.
They accomplished this beautifully with an interesting campaign, a well refined multiplayer and other improvements.
“Halo 4” takes place five years after the events of “Halo 3.” Master Chief has been in cryosleep the whole time, and his AI companion Cortana has been maintaining life support on the derelict half of the USNC Forward Unto Dawn starship.
During this time alone, Cortana has been scanning for friendly ships, sending out distress calls, and has slowly been going insane, which creates an interesting conflict for Master Chief and other characters they encounter.
The campaign in “Halo 4” has 10 levels, each with beautiful backdrops and a well crafted soundtrack
The voice acting is top notch and the character models look very realistic.
One thing I noticed was the great detail on the faces of the characters and how realistic their expressions are. There is one scene where a woman has a look of horror on her face as she realizes that something bad is going to happen. It looks very real.
The game also grabs you emotionally, something that wasn’t too prevalent in previous Halo games. This campaign will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Multiplayer is the money maker for the Halo franchise, and was also the biggest source of concern prior to its release. 343 Studios wanted to refine the multiplayer while still holding on to the core mechanics that made Halo great, which made gamers nervous.
I can guarantee there is nothing to worry about. Nothing has changed with the core mechanics. Fans of the previous Halo titles will enjoy a seamless transition into “Halo 4” multiplayer.
The gameplay is smooth and very graphically pleasing
343 Studios brought back many of the old multiplayer game types and playlists and added a couple of their own.
One game type that players should immediately check out is “Dominion,” which is the Halo version of a domination game. There are three bases and you get points for controlling them. If your team controls a base you can fortify it with barriers and spawn vehicles to help your team dominate the map.
All in all there are 13 multiplayer maps, nine game types and nine Xbox Live playlists to choose from. Gamers will be satisfied will the variety and with the promise of new content down the road.
Spartan Ops can either be played solo or with other players over Xbox Live, and offers players an opportunity to get more out of the “Halo 4” story. Spartan Ops features the Spartans being trained aboard the Infinity and their missions on the planet Requiem. This series helps to explain why the Infinity is so close to Master Chief when the main campaign begins.
The game comes with one episode of Spartan Ops, which includes one cutscene and five missions. 343 Studios is planning on releasing more episodes over the coming months.
Forge and theater modes have remained pretty much the same
The one major change from “Halo: Reach” is that Forge mode does not have Forge World, a vast map with multiple areas to edit. Players can still edit all the normal multiplayer maps and create their own game types.
Like in the previous four Halo games, “Halo 4” offers avatar customization. Players can add new armor pieces, new loadouts, new emblems and other things as they level up their Spartan.
New weapons, armor abilities, tactical packages, and support packages can be purchased with Spartan points, which are earned by leveling up your Spartan.
The easiest way to level up is to play the multiplayer, but there are challenges within the campaign and Spartan Ops that can also give players an experience boost.
“Halo 4” is a wonderful step forward for the franchise. I was worried about a new studio taking the helm but they have quieted my fears. 343 Studios has the franchise heading in the right direction. I give Halo 4 a 9.5 out of 10.