Game Review: Halo 4

Game Review: Halo 4
Game Name: Halo 4
Platforms: Xbox 360
Publisher(s): Microsoft
Developer(s): 343 Industries, Microsoft Studios
Genre(s): First Person Shooter, Adventure
Release Date: November 6, 2012
ESRB Rating: M for Mature

It’s been 5 years since Halo 3 left Master Chief in cryosleep floating out in space. This year’s Halo 4 wakes him up from his slumber ready to kick all sorts of ass.  With 343 Industries taking over the reigns for Bungie Studios, we get to see if they can bring something new to the table while staying true to the Halo universe.  Oh, and did I mention that Halo has never looked better? Well, it does and plays like you remember with a few new twists.

STORY (5 out of 5)

Halo fans will love this story, even more so if you have read all the novels and other media out there, there are many nods to the books in this game. Our story picks up 4 years after the end of Halo 3 which left Master Chief floating through space in cryosleep with Cortana keeping watch over him. Cortana being a Smart A.I. has been in service well over her 8 year limit and is now starting to experience Rampancy (or “going crazy” to put it in layman’s terms). Something mysterious begins scanning their ship and trying to pull it to the Forerunner planet, Requiem, prompting Cortana to wake up the Chief . This beginning scene springboards the narrative and sets the player on a journey that gets better with each passing moment.

Don’t make a girl a promise you can’t keep.

DESIGN (5 out of 5)

What’s old feels new again. Much of what you love about the Halo franchise can be found here. Halo 4 mixes what many loved about the first Halo, the open world feel, with what others loved about Halo 2, the action and epic set pieces. The pacing and location changes fit the story well, and you never feel like you are somewhere you shouldn’t be in reference to what is going on around you. Oh, and how about that shiny new coat of paint on Master Chief? This franchise has never looked better. It’s like 343 used all of what the 360 had to offer in order to achieve what may be the best looking game on the system. The environments look fantastic and the character models are extremely detailed right down to the chips in Master Chief’s Visor.

Mechanics/Gameplay (4 out of 5)

Now, if there is one thing Halo needed was a bit of an update to its controls, and 343 hits a home run by adding a sprint button. That one minor change makes the game feel new again but still Halo. Now if you are into multiplayer  that sprint button will add a whole other layer to your game once you master it. Speaking of multiplayer, there is no shortage of things to do. Want your versus games? Check out the War Games modes. Want some more co-op fun? Check out Spartan-Ops, which features regularly updated content. Want to make your own maps? Go play in the Forge, giving you infinite possibilities (get it? infinite, Infinity? Cause the multiplayer takes place on the Infinity Ship). Or if you just want to play back that awesome Multi-kill, go play it back in the theater.

Presentation (5 out of 5)

343 Industries brought out the big guns in terms of the presentation. All of Halo 4‘s guns sound new and better than in any Halo before (see what I did there?). The graphics  are top-notch and show off this new chapter in Master Chief’s legacy like no other Halo game before it has. If anything I do miss Martin O’Donnell’s famous score, but Neil Davidge’s ambiance music approach serves itself well in setting the mood and atmosphere throughout the game. This is a big-budget game and it shows.

How about some Lost Plant in your Halo?

Overall (5 out of 5)

Microsoft and 343 set out to do big things with Halo 4 and they did just that. If you have played and loved Halo since the beginning Halo 4 will not let you down. If this will be your first mission with Master Chief, then get ready to be blown away as you’ll be playing the game at its best. Oh, and for all you Call of Duty players out there, try the ‘Fishstick’ control scheme to ease your transition into Halo. Master Chief changed the world of FPS’s once before and he’s setting out  to do it again.

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