Why Halo there...
...That was stupid. Let me try that again.
I have just recently finished playing through the campaign of Halo 4, so I have decided to do a review of my experiences playing through that game. I am a big fan of the Halo franchise, in fact besides Metroid is probably my favorite video game series. Halo 3 was one of my favorites out of all of them, its balance between a solid campaign and a great multiplayer made it the best all around.
At the end of Halo 3 when I saw that Master Chief was orbiting around another planet I was eager to know where his journey was going to take him next. I was even more happy when they announced another Halo game, but it turned out to be Halo: Reach, which was an exceptional game, But there was no Master Chief to be found.
Now, fast forward to November 6, 2012, Halo 4 is released on the Xbox 360, and I think to myself "Yes, back to the old. I can fight the Flood again, I get to find another Halo Installation, and I even get to meet the Forerunners, this will be great."
First thing's first
Halo 4 pretty much starts where Halo 3 left off, Master Chief is floating through space on one half of the UNSC ship Forward Unto Dawn, and Cortana is being her typical A.I. naked self. Well, it's almost the same, the one difference is that it has been four years since the events from Halo 3 took place, and Master Chief has been in cryo stasis through these four years.
Well, pretty much something happens, and Cortana has to wake up Master Chief, and guess who is on the ship with the two? The covenant, yes for some reason they are pissed off at you, or something and you gotta fight 'em again.
So, you end up orbiting a Forerunner planet s the covenant overrun your ship and it starts to crash. So, guess where you end up? Yup, the forerunner planet, so you must fight your way through the planet in order to get to Earth and save Cortana, who is deteriorating due to her age.
The game play mechanics of Halo 4 are pretty much what you come to expect. You move kind of slowly, you jump like you are on the moon, and you run and gun as opposed to trying to stay back and be sneaky on conservative. All the buttons do what they should do, X is the reload and use button, left trigger throws grenades right trigger shoots and Y switches weapons, everything seems okay here: But wait, when I click on the left analog stick I don't crouch, I sprint, what is up with that?
I don't know about everyone else but I like the speed of my character to be controlled by soley the analog stick, where I dictate my speed based on how far forward I push the stick, not by a button. Also, you can only sprint for short bursts. So, Master Chief can flip over a tank with little effort, but he struggles to run more than twenty yards at a time?
If you have ever read one of my reviews I usually don't do a "Visuals" segment, it is usually categorized under "Art" which includes both the visuals and the audio aspects of the game. This time, however, I am going to put the music in a separated segment, because there is a lot to say about the music, and it deserves it's own segment.
This game is a very good looking game, I will just put that out there first. Everything in this game whether it be the environment, the characters, or the vehicles, it looks well polished, very detailed and all around appealing to the eye. The environments are vast and epic, just like you would expect from a halo game, and, visually, it looks very Halo.
The design of the weapons, enemies, and vehicles are, for the most part, exactly what you want from them, aside from on or two things. I really don't like the look of the Battle Rifle or ,a new addition, SAW: These two weapons look a little too futuristic, almost looking plastic: they seem like they would be more at home in Deus Ex, or Mass Effect. Also, the Plasma Rifle doesn't show up anywhere as well, which i find rather annoying.
This also brings me to another subject that doesn't go with visuals, but it does go with the weapon and vehicle design. They didn't seem to reuses a single sound from previous Halo games in Halo 4, a lot of weapons used to have a very distinct sound in which you could identify which gun produced that sound instantly: Now all of the weapons have a more realistic gun sound, even the covenant weapons sound different. What's wrong with weapons having a distinct sound? Why do all the weapons have to sound the same?
Ah yes, the music: one of my favorite parts of a video game. The music must be pretty good in Halo 4 for it to deserve its own segment right?
I literally have nothing positive to say about the music in Halo 4.
In previous Halo games the music was orchestrated, in Halo 4 the music is also orchestrated, so that doesn't sound too bad huh? Well, the music in Halo 4 sounds nothing like the music in previous Halos, it's way too choppy and it doesn't flow, nor does it give off an epic, almost eerie, sci-fi feel. It sounds more like Star Wars music, which works well for Star Wars, but not Halo. Also, during game play, you don't really notice the music, it doesn't add to the game play, it feels like it's just sitting in back trying not to get in the way.
But, that could all be forgiven, they may have gotten a different music composer: but, this next thing that they did with the music is unforgivable. While I was playing Halo 4, from the moment I put the disk in to the moment I finished the game and turned off the the console I did not once here Halo's iconic theme song, not once. Halo, has to have one of the best theme songs I have ever heard, it would be hard to find a gamer who does not recognize that theme, and why wouldn't they, it's an epic song that is well composed and it's one of the things that you attribute to Halo. However, in Halo 4 it is no where to be found, and that is unacceptable: and if it is somewhere in that game, I haven't heard it.
Now, I really don't want to spoil anything about this game for anyone, but I fear I must. I will keep this brief a to not give away too much, but there are two things in this game that I must tell.
1. There are NO Flood in Halo 4
2. You never step foot on another Halo installation
I know that Halo: Reach didn't have flood or a Halo in it, but that's what I don't like about Reach, but I forgave it because it took place before the first Halo, but still the game is called Halo, and a Halo was built in order to top the Flood. So, when you take those two key elements out of a Halo game it is very disappointing. I was so excited to have to fight another Flood infestation, or take out another Halo installation, and there are so many ways Halo 4 could have implemented the Flood and a Ring into the campaign, but they didn't.
Something else that Halo 4 did was the put in a "Boss" at the end, now I put Boss in quotations because, while he is the main antagonist you don't really fight him. You do defeat him and kill him, but you never really fight him: What happens instead of actually fighting him there is an interactive cut scene, for lack of a better term. The scene takes place in first person, and you do put some input into the controls, but I really don't think you could lose that fight. I know that other Halo games put on a Boss fight, Halo 2 had it with that brute Chief and Halo 3 had it with 343 guilty spark. While those Boss fights weren't the greatest Boss fights, at least in those games you actually, I dunno, FOUGHT THEM.
In fact, the Boss fight in Halo 4 was very similar to those in Call of Duty games, in fact quite a bit of stuff in Halo 4 seem liked they were "borrowed" from Call of Duty, whether it be the sprint ability, the more realistic gun sounds, or the few scenes that seem to have quick time events. Another thing is the game seemed very short, in fact it was short: I beat Halo 4 in less than 6 hours, and I don't think it was short because the levels were just designed to be short, but because it was easy. I didn't once get the feeling that a level was going to be nearly impossible, I got that feeling from all the other Halos, but not this one.
All Said and Done
In no way is Halo 4 a bad game, and it does still feel pretty Halo-ish. But I do not get the full Halo feel from it, in fact I got a more Halo feel from Halo Wars, which is a Real Time Strategy game. The way the story plays out feels more like it would be an action adventure game, like Legend of Zelda, there was even a Ganondorph like antagonist. I was not really immersed in the game, it felt so shallow, it didn't feel like I was really accomplishing anything. I mean, in Halo: Combat Evolved at the end of the game you feel like you saved man kind, you felt accomplished and you just felt great for beating it. Even Halo: Reach at the end you felt great for beating it, you saved Cortana, and you even sacrificed yourself to save Captain Keys. After beating Halo 4, it felt like a very hollow victory.
As I said before, in its own Halo 4 is not a bad game, but if there weren'tt any Halo games before it, Halo 4 still could have been made. What I am saying is, Halo 4 is not a very good Halo game, there is a lot they could have done with it to make it feel like a Halo game, but it just feels like a different game with a bit of Halo sprinkled in.
Halo 4 was a great disappointment to me, and is by far the worst of all the Halo games. it is not worth the $60 price, but I won't say to completely avoid the game. If you are a big fan of Halo,prepare to be disappointed. It most definitely didn't live up to it's legacy.