Review by Parabellum09
"Combat finally evolved?"
its been a long wait for Halo 4, but has it been worth it? 343 Industries are at the helm of one of gamings finest icons; the Master Chief.
The Halo engine has been heavily modified and one of the first things any player will notice is the amazingly sharp and detailed textures in the game. There are some spectacular lighting effects and amazing shaders at work here. Bump mapping has been toned down, for the better.
Animations are spot on, amazing mocap on faces make the ingame cast look uncannily real. Especially the full motion videos, but ingame graphics are where the surprise is, on an old console using an old engine its amazing to see what can be done and all at a nice high, steady frame rate.
a beautiful soundtrack plays up the mystique and aura of the Halo universe as soon as the menu loads up, but unfortunately its the only memorable tune in the game. A lot of the game was rather quiet, relying on the sounds of battle for its atmosphere. Which is where the sound design comes into its own. The sound effects are amazing, the weapons sound davastatingly loud and harsh, like you'd expect a futuristic weapon would. I can't fault the sound effects.
The most impressive aspect of the campaign is the narrative, 343 have done a brilliant job up opening up the closed end of Halo 3. The narrative is thorougly mature and is the biggest driving force of the campaign. The sheer level of evolution of Cortana and the Chiefs relationship is Halo 4 rivals that of all previous generations.
So its a shame that the campaign itself feels stale. Old ideas and skirmishes in new pretty locales does little to change the fact your fighting a very usual enemy all over again. The pacing is decent enough but there is simply not enough variety and challenge to keep you fully engaged. There are some highlights such as piloting a long sword and pelican but most players will find the campaign old hat.
The mode that might sway the most votes in modern FPS is always going to be multiplayer so you may be happy or indeed upset, to learn that Halo's multiplayer has had something of an overhaul. Firstly there is a create a class system akin to COD that allows players to have up to five different loadouts, players can select between human, covenant or promethean assault rifle type weapons or burst fire weapons. Theres a large selection of armor abilities, most new. Some intriquing additions such as promethean vision that allow you to briefly see through walls or sentry, where you can summon a small AI bot to support you.
Then there are passive abilities such as unlimited sprint, double ammo, replenish grenades, increase grenade blast radius and reduce grenade damage to self. Most of the abilities do a good job of mixing things up and theres lots of room to experiment.
Ordnance drops are another new feature, after acheiving so many points by killing enemies capturing points etc youll be allowed to instantly call in a power weapon, ability or grenade. Thia really helps stop power weapon camping and means fights break out all over the maps. The maps themselves are the best yet, theres a big empathasis on big scale fights and various vehicles are thrown into larger maps to spice things up.
The only downside is that there are only so many maps per mode, so selection is quite low at the moment but forge is back and youll be sure to see more maps arrive for free in the coming months.There is a ton of armour customisation just like in reach and the selection has increased further. You can even unlock specialisations that unlock even more armour options.
Halo 4 is a step in the right direction, the main downside is the campaign being stifled by old ideas. But ultimately, Halo 4 is combat evolved.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/16/12
Game Release: Halo 4 (EU, 11/06/12)
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