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The story is fairly OK, TC, I'll admit. I disagree with some of the narrative choices made (killing Cortana, turning Halsey into an antagonist, etc.) but overall, it is an interesting turn of events, and I would like to see how it goes.
That aside, the gameplay sucks, which basically makes the Multiplayer, one of the main focuses of the Halo franchise nowadays, unplayable.
How did they make Halsey a villain? She did not do anything different than in the other games/books. She was being treated as a villain by the interviewer but that was it. She simply agreed that the Spartan program was not as altruistic in intention as it ended up being.
in terms of characterization between john and cortana, agreed. but for me to say bc of that alone it makes 4 amazing is pure 100% blasphemy (seriously, that characterization was one of the very few saving graces of this game).
play multiplayer and/or spartan ops if you can (assuming you have internet access) to get the full effect of the game
I am glad you brought up "alienation" because I think the music directly plays on the idea. The music was intentionally given to a new composer for this game. We are in aliens world and hear music that fits the trope but it is also "alien" in the sense that it doesn't necessarily sound like the sci-fi sound the game franchise usually has. Then we have this whole new element of big string orchestras that I think are a symbolization of John's movement throughout the story; strings being characteristic of romance/emotion (not lovey dovey romance). Again the strings are intentionally alien to the ear/series to point out the meta-narrative.
The game has a new composer for the music because Marty O'Donnell(the original composer) still works for Bungie. Which is a shame because the music in HALO 4 sucks compared to literally every other HALO game, even HALO Wars. Although I'm not saying Wars has bad music I merely pointed it out for the sake of saying that it wasn't Marty either. Honestly, when I play this game(which hasn't been for a few months at least) every time I'm at the menu the music is so annoying that I start playing the music on my hard drive & pause it so I don't have to hear the game's music.
RE4, REmake, HALO 1 & 3, & other videos here v http://www.youtube.com/user/Jaidabecca