Halo 4 Review
Congratulations 343 Industries on improving upon Bungies epic classic. Halo 4 is a masterpiece and is my favorite game this year. The game developers at 343 Industries did a great job of keeping the feel and gameplay of the Halo series while improving the visuals, sound, and graphics (not an easy feat, considering the Halo series is the landmark game for Xbox). Most people already do this but I highly recommend playing the Campaign before you head straight to multi-player. The campaign storyline, video clips, and character development was so well done that both my girlfriend and I thought we were watching a movie at times. This is really on the second time in my life where a video game was so captivating that the characters really came to life and I gave me that awesome feeling (Final Fantasy 10 for PS2 was the first). I won’t talk to much about the campaign because I don’t want to give away any spoilers but my only complaint is that the campaign isn’t longer (took only about 5 1/2 hours to beat).
The gameplay experience for Halo 4 is much like Halo reach with being able to sprint, use special abilities like Jet packs, Holograms, Invisible Cloak, and some new abilities such as promethean vision (much like thermal vision), thrusters (short speed boost), and auto sentry (a floating sentry turret). There is a new set of weapons added to the game that are not of human or covenant origin. These weapons are from the sentry/robotic like race called prometheans. In my experience with the promethean weapons they are a mixed blend of the human and covenant weapons whereas the guns shoot at a medium fire rate but seem to do slightly more damage than the human weapons. There is also a new, and so far useless grenade that once thrown creates a timed sphered that eventually explodes like a frag grenade. The one issue with these grenades is that everyone can see the giant red sphere and get out of the blast radius before it explodes!
The multi-player gameplay is very similar to what we love from the other halo series but with all new maps, leveling system, and weapons. There are very few noticeable changes to the multi-player gameplay such as once you vote for a map you cannot re-vote, and there is a new loadout system (similar to COD) where you can unlock starting weapons and abilities. The modes in multi-player are all the same from previous versions except the zombie mode which is better now! The new zombie mode is called Flood and instead of being a spartan with an energy sword in previous games you get to play as the flood which is a lot more crazy looking when you are the last man standing and see 7 flood players jumping around and dashing to kill you.
There is also a new feature called Spartan Ops which seems to be a remake of the Firefight mode. In Spartan Ops a new episode of 5 parts will be released on a weekly basis where you can complete a small storyline or mission. I think Spartan Ops is far and away better than Firefight mode and adds to the everlasting experience of Halo. Spartan Ops makes me feel like a mini-campaign is being released every week which keeps the game interesting and keeps people playing online.
One of the first things you will notice is that the darker tone and lighting from the previous Halo series has been lifted to a more visually appealing and brighter look. The graphics and colors used are top notch, about the same as Crysis 2 which is known for pushing the envelope on graphics. The worlds and maps visited all have a unique feel to them which is great because it makes you feel like you are visiting different planets while playing the campaign and keep you interested during Multi-player games. The visual effects of the weapons have also impressed me from the way the spartans turn on the energy blades to the plasma bullets that fire out of covenant weapons could not be more impressive. I think with the new generation of consoles just around the corner, Halo 4 shows us the extent of the Xbox 360’s power which isn’t to shabby.
The music in Halo 4 is up to its standards and blends well with the game. There isn’t an epic opening intro song like in Halo or Halo 2 but those are classics that is hard to compete with. One of the things you will notice is the sounds made when unleashing an energy sword which sounds almost like a light saber! During the campaign the music does its job and can help captivate you into the moment but on the downside there isn’t one real epic moment like in the first Halo when you drove away from the Maw in a warthog. That would have been a great climax to a great campaign mode.
Halo 4 Rating
Gameplay 9/10 Halo 4 is probably going to become the fan favorite of the franchise which is a monumental task and a good job on the new developers at 343 Industries. Halo 4 has all of the fun looks and feel of the series but only more modernized and up to date.
Graphics 9/10 Pushed the Xbox 360 graphics to the limit and I have yet to see a game that does better than this.
Music 8/10 Nothing to special with the music in this game but it doesn’t disappoint either.
Replay Value 9/10 This game will be an instant classic and has many different gaming modes plus Spartan ops to keep you entertained for a long time.