Halo 4 is 343 industries’ first attempt at bringing the Master Chief to life and they do so extremely well. This is hands-down one of the best Halo games of the franchise second only to Halo 2 in my opinion. For the first time in the series we see some major character development of the Master Chief and even more of Cortana.
The campaign is very much attuned to that of Halo: CE, tons of Covenant, small portions with Marine allies, and a lot of just the Chief and Cortana kicking ass. Being that the majority of the game is just the Chief and Cortana we see the Chief speak more than he did in every other Halo game. This is a first for the series; we get to see who the Master Chief is or a part of him anyway. Cortana and the Master Chief are at the core of this game more so than ever before. In Halo 3 Bungie alluded to a pseudo love relationship between Cortana and the Chief. After Cortana was left on High Charity with the Gravemind in Halo 2 the separation and reuniting of the Chief and Cortana in Halo 3 represented how much they both depended on one another to survive. This plays out tenfold in Halo 4.
The game had me feeling like I was playing Halo: CE for the first time. Halo 4 has plenty of throw backs to Halo: CE and it will be evident in the first level. This is not a bad thing, if you’re a long time fan of the series you will be pleasantly surprised at how 343 directed the story and overall feel of the game. Anyone who is a hardcore fan of Halo and has read the novels will enjoy the how the lore and back-story is presented in Halo 4. It’s a nice ride with new enemies that will take the story to a new place entirely, one that I didn’t see coming; but I was surprised and pleased none the less.
The graphics in Halo 4 are top of the line. Cinematic and in-game graphics are beautiful and a few times during the cinematic scenes I thought the characters were real people, that’s how good the graphics are. Halo 4’s sound is superb and is on par or better than previous games of the franchises. The music in the campaign will send chills down your spine during a battle or at an emotional part of the story.
The gameplay has been significantly altered and it makes you feel like a super solider. We always knew the Chief was a super solider, but we never got to experience much of it other than jumping real high. This is the first time where the Chief/Spartans can sprint on demand and not have to pick it up like in Reach. Along with running like a super solider, the Chief will do some things in the campaign that a normal human couldn’t do and quite frankly it’s nice to see that, being that we’ve been playing as this super solider for the past 11 years now.
This time around there is no FireFight; Spartan Ops has replaced it. Spartan Ops is an episodic feature of Halo 4 where players will continue the story of the Spartan IV’s after the final mission in Halo 4. The game launched with 5 chapters, they’re mini missions with a lot of detailed environments. These missions can be done solo or in 4 player co-op. 343 has stated that more episodes are on the way, each installment will bring you more missions and continue the story of the Spartan IV’s.
Would you like some Call of Duty with your Halo? That was the first impression I had when I played Halo 4’s multiplayer. The game borrows from the Call of Duty franchise. Most notably are the “perks” in Halo 4 and the ability to have customizable loadouts. The “perks” fall into three categories, Armor ability, Support package, and Tactical package. As you level up you will gain points to purchase these perks and starting weapons. The new War Games modes have totally changed multiplayer in Halo. The maps are no longer littered with grenades and weapons like in the previous games. You will find that the game drops a few random weapons in locations that are visible to both teams. Along with that each player will receive their own ordinance drop. After killing enemies and filling up your ordinance bar you will be given a choice between 3 random items, usually 2 weapons and power-up. This spices up the multiplayer, you no longer know what the enemy has packing. It makes the multiplayer very enjoyable and leaves you wanting more.
Halo 4 is the first part of the Reclaimer Trilogy, which means no rest for the Chief yet. 343 has done right by people at Bungie and stayed true to most of the core values of Halo while improving the overall experience. Some hardcore fans will be disappointed with the new changes, but not everyone can be pleased. When it comes down to it Halo 4 is more of the same of the franchise we love with some tweaks to multiplayer that may or may not have you throwing your controller across the room.