Review by TonyPerez
"Halo, it's finished? No, I think we're just getting started..."
I think it just needs to be said flat out. Halo 4 is by far the best Halo game to date. 343industies have done an excellent job taking up the Halo mantle. They dove into unexplored areas of the Halo lore, some of which I believe Bungie was hesitant to do so, and they did not disappoint. Halo 4 is the beginning of a new trilogy and it does not hold back. This is the story of Spartan, Master Chief and his A.I. companion Cortana. Throughout their grand journey we'll delve into their relationship and Master Chief's humanity. We'll even discover that there is a lot more at stake than any other previous Halo game.
There is nothing wrong with the controls. Everything feels fluid and responsive. The multiplayer on the other hand is a very debatable topic. Halo 4 has a very different multiplayer experience then you might expect. Back in the times of the original trilogy it was all about the golden triangle. Guns, melee and grenades. Those where very simple times and a lot has changed since then. In Halo 4 you can now sprint. You choose your weapons before you enter the battlefield. You can build up a streak to call in a weapon drop. And there are armor abilities. Some might say that they miss the old ways and that it should have never changed. I would have to disagree. These changes where implemented very well and I believe it's a change that needed to be made to keep the game from getting stale. And considering all these new changes there are also different strategies you can come up with to have the edge over your enemy. This is still the Halo we love, it's just evolving.
I was very pleased with how the story turned out. The original Halo trilogy for some reason had you completing a level and then running back through the level a second time. They would write the story so that this would seem reasonable and it was always a pet peeve of mine. It made the game feel repetitive. And I'm happy to say that this is not the case for Halo 4. There are eight levels in this game and they are each unique and memorable. The story is just what the fans have been waiting for. We want to know about Chief! And Halo 4 is a direct sequel meaning that it takes place right after the events of Halo 3. However, this can also be a bad thing. Some people might have a hard time understanding what's going on. Having played all the previous Halo games I still had many questions by the end of Halo 4. There is a lot going on in the Halo universe that takes place even outside the games. So if you haven't read any of the books you might find yourself to be very confused. I didn't fully understand the story until I saw the hidden terminal videos, which can't be viewed in game. This can be difficult for anyone that is new to the franchise.
Halo 4 can arguably be one of the best looking games on the Xbox360. If you were to compare it to Halo 3 it's hard to believe they were even on the same console. Everything in Halo 4 has been redesigned from the previous trilogy. The guns, vehicles, enemies and all of the characters. Just by looking at the cut scenes you can tell 343industries put a lot of attention to detail. With the inclusion of motion capture, the characters look near life-like. You can easily get emotionally attached because of this. Not only that, but the way that these levels were designed, with the vibrant scenery and realistic lighting effects, they really make you feel like you're a part of this universe.
Halo has always been known for its iconic soundtrack. Its theme song is something that can be recognized by gamers everywhere. So, was Halo 4 able to live up to the expectations? Absolutely. Now I must tell you, the famous song Opening Suite (The one with the singing monks) which Halo is known for is no longer a part of this new trilogy. I know this sounds bad but Halo 4 has set a standard of its own. Every song still has that Halo feel that each sound well with the look of the level you're playing in. Even as I hear a part of the song outside of the game I can quickly remember which level it's from. On top of all of that, the sounds for every weapon, vehicle, and movement have been renewed. The human weapons sound like they can do some serious damage. And the covenant and promethean weapons sound powerful and futuristic.
The story of Halo 4 can be completed in a little over 8 hours. Depending on the difficulty you play on. However, once you've completed that there are still many reasons to come back to the game. Halo 4 has included Spartan Ops in which you can check in week after week for new missions. These are missions that take place after the main campaign. Possibly until the next Halo title? Besides that you can stay busy completing challenges and unlocking armor in multiplayer. Or even make your own maps in Forge. Play fun custom games with your friends. Or watch funny replays in theatre mode. Halo 4 is not a one trick pony; you'll find no need to trade it in anytime soon.
Being a big Halo fan, this game did not let me down. Even after having a new developer take over, Halo 4 can still stand next to Halo: CE as one of the best Halo games. I highly recommend this game to any Halo fan or anyone curious about the Halo universe.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/07/13
Game Release: Halo 4 (US, 11/06/12)
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