Author Topic: Halo 4 In depth review (campaign and multiplayer)  (Read 836 times)

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Offline Theo

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Halo 4 In depth review (campaign and multiplayer)
« on: November 07, 2012, 06:28:19 pm »
-There will be some spoilers, I will keep out any earth shattering changes anything included will be minor and only meant to help you better understand the more complex turn the Halo series has opted to travel.

Since H2 I've always gathered with friends and made it a point to play through each halo games whole campaign on the day of release, and on the weekend before to the release playing through all prior games campaigns in story chronological order.  I dont fanboy either, while I am a fan, each game has to legitimately win me over, Halo Wars did not, and thankfully it was an offshoot.  The series is near and dear and the shift away from Bungie was quite worrisome, albeit many from Bungie stayed on with 343 to handle production and story.  Its been five years since the last main series halo release, the wait was well worth it.

Flash summary:
-There are fewer missions than either Reach or H3, eight in total, however they last a good 14-16 hours if you play through the game on legendary(I highly recommend you play through on a lower difficulty to get your bearings, then hit up legendary)   

-Gathering and reading/watching the Terminals from prior releases will greatly help you understand the plot of the game, reading the Halo books will help even more so.  Without being up to snuff it might seem like a bunch of new things were added to the universe and be a lot to absorb.     

-There are a smattering of new weapons, only two feel redundant and not in a manner that is too worrisome.

-The Campaign is visually stunning, bar none the best graphics on console games and better than most pc experiences aside from powerhouse custom builds with graphics mods, outside of cryengine 3 of course.

-You will press a lot of buttons, a whole lot of buttons.  The campaign is fantastic, but the amount of buttons you press was a slight damper. 

-There is, as always, something a little extra if you beat the game on legendary.  However, this time around its way less extra than prior games added, literally the extra surprise is a fraction of a second, and may or may not involve the first glimpse of the master chiefs adulthood face.   

-Significantly changed, many elements will feel reminiscent of CoD, but frankly are done better.  However, it will still feel like halo multiplayer.  Some of these additions include kill cams, load-outs, weapon skins, click stick running, and care package-ish weapon drops that can be made in game. 

-The graphics hold up well, however some colors on spartans get a wee bit odd under the lighting engine, its not terribly noticeable.

-The new multiplayer menu is significantly overhauled but is easy to adjust to, its seems to have made voting and quick adjustments to your spartan much more streamlined.

-You will have to earn EVERYTHING.  xp and credits are now separate systems.  Advancing in rank will allow you to unlock more icons, colors (thats right, even the list of player emblems is locked until you fight through many a battle), armor, weapons, armor abilities etc.

-If teams are unbalanced or a player leaves the match, matchmaking may now insert new players looking for a game mid match to keep it balanced.  This was a much needed addition 

-There currently are a small number of maps that turn up in heavily trafficked playlists.  This is said to be changed and expanded in the future.

-Firefight as we know it is gone as far as I can tell, this was the only big downer, it seems to have been replaced by SPARTAN OPS, but thus far the missions feel short and a not up to par replacement.     


The new trilogy opens with the celebrated Dr. Catherine Halsey being interrogated on her motives in creation of the SPARTAN program, this sets up the tone for a recurring theme on what it means to be a soldier, in particular a spartan, and what being human truly means in the fabric of it all. Its a refreshing insertion that was seldom seen in the video games.  The faces of characters have all been painstakingly mapped and captured in a fashion similar to LA Noire, though done quite a bit better.  Voice acting has continued to new heights and compliments the faces fantastically and imbue a level of emotion not before widely seen in videogames.  The graphics are remarkable on  most levels, and a step up for the console, its a fitting send off for the last halo game on the xbox 360 and a heartening launch pad for future titles on Microsoft's new gaming system once its released.

"I need you chief".  Cortana wakes you and the crisis of combat arrives on a ship imperiled in a manner somewhat reminiscent of Halo CE.  You'll make your escape and encounter the Forerunner world of Requiem, and so ends the first mission. The campaign story is centered around two dilemmas,  the waking of the Didact( the last surviving forerunner, who, unlike his wife the librarian, saw humanity as a threat unfit to bear the Mantle) who seeks to cripple humanity once again as he did over a hundred eons earlier, and the deterioration of Cortana into rampancy(UNSC AI's deteriorate rather fast after seven years by thinking themselves to death, Cortana is eight and barely staving off an insanity of sorts).  As your journey progresses you will see humanities progress in the four and a half years you were in cryo, including meeting the SPARTAN IVs, who are being produced en mass.  Not every hero will leave the campaign unscathed or even alive, fair warning,  my friend and I may have actually cried at games end and buried our heads in the bedsheets.  As you travel through the games plot further, all the disparate threads will come together in the halo universe,  and humanity will have a purpose,  which is why the new game trilogy is titled the "Reclaimer Cycle". 

Gameplay wise all the weapons have been redone in the design department, including scope zooms, for the most part this has been for the better, especially for the fuel rod cannon,  as for the rocket luncher I am still not sold. Weapon damage and rate of fire has been slightly tweaked as well for most weapons, you should not notice too much and will fall into the rhythm of shooting again easily.   Enemies have bee redesigned as well, this is most apparent for grunts, and hunters.  Be warned, melee damage has been noticeably reduced, however assassinations still instant kill as always.  in the new enemies department you must fight the prometheans, forerunner warrior constructs that are quite ferocious.  Prometheans come in three types, the knights, flying repair and support units and crawler dogs which dish out suppressive fire and draw enemy attention.  Even on legendary the knights seem to fight conservatively,  they will kill you very fast if you get too close,  but for the most part hand back and take pot shots at you.  aside from their teleport ability and lunge, knights are also fairly slow.  The three classes work together to inflict maximum frustration, I find killing the dogs, then flyers(flyers will repair and shield knights if let to live) is your best bet, leaving the knights til last or just running past if the game permits.  Forerunner weapons are very different from one another,  you will have at your disposal: the boltshot, the suppressor, the scattershot, the lightrifle, the binary rifle, and the brutal incineration cannon.  Forerunnner weapons are very powerful, but also are very situational and tend to run out of ammo quickly.  The covenant have new weapons but they honestly are so limited and the same that they will not be mentioned.  on the UNSC end of things, all the tradtional vehicles have had a slight redesign,  the warthog looks better than ever though.  As for new human weapons, the BR is back and all new are the m739 SAW, the remote projectile detonator and the railgun.  The SAW is essentially a very loud and devastating drum fed heavy machine gun, while the remote detonator is essentially a sticky frag grenade that can be detonated at will.  The railgun takes a few moments to charge and has no zoom, but it is a one hit kill with a slight amount of splash damage, it is not as lethal to vehicles as the spartan laser however. 

On another note, finding all the terminals and skulls in campaign is highly recommended, they add a whole lot more fun and depth to the whole game.  And before the campaign is over you wil enjoy such highlights as flying a pelican, strapping a nuke to your butt, and pressing all the buttons your heart could possibly desire.   

in depth multiplayer to be posted later.

The verdict is:  Do yourself a favor and play this game.  The legendary may not be as tough as H2, but everything else is a stellar if major shift to the universe we know and love. 

Its a big galaxy out there.  I'll see you all starside.     :badger:   
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 03:50:58 am by Theo »
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Offline Woolly One

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Re: Halo 4 In depth review (campaign and multiplayer)
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 02:16:55 pm »
I just played through the campaign on Heroic, played in all of the multiplayer playlists, completed several Spartan Ops missions, and have just donged around in the Forge and Theater mode. I'd say that it's a spectacular Halo game and I already feel more confident in 343i managing the Halo franchise. Among the things I really enjoyed were the new arsenal of weapons, all of which felt fitting for the Halo universe, fairly balanced, and fun to use. I enjoyed the new Promethean class of enemies; they were tough to kill, somewhat frightening, and they had a highly interesting origin. And I also enjoyed how the storyline included content from from the books. It was interesting to see elements from the Forerunner saga, Kilo-Five trilogy, and the other books make there way into this game. It feels like the Halo universe is really coming together.

I did have a few minor gripes such as the omission of Firefight, Neil Davidge's score not being able to rival that of Martin O'Donnell's, and the somewhat abrupt and confusing ending. But I find that the sheer amount of work put into the game's art, gameplay, artstyle, and storyline more than makes up for these niggling flaws. 343i have proved that they can make an original and high-quality Halo game of their own, without having to resort to simply recreating the experience of Bungie's Halo games. Overall Halo 4's a good game and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Halo, myself. I can't wait to hear what's in store for the future of Halo!
« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 03:54:42 pm by Gage »
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