Review by DandyQuackShot

Reviewed: 11/13/12

Do Not Underestimate Him

The Halo series is more than ten years old and now in the hands of a new developer. So long Bungie and the Mister Chief updates. Now it is back to what made Halo the classic series that it is which is a follow up version to the series prequel Halo: Reach in terms of game play and multiplayer. Halo 4 does not introduce anything new beyond the majestic graphics, smooth campaign, and new character and weapons. It does introduce a cooperative mode featuring the Spartans of the UNSC: Infinity where you get to play cooperative missions with short objectives that interplay with the game's campaign. What is the biggest downer of Halo 4? NO DUAL WIELD! So Halo 2 will always be number one of the series in my book.

The most enjoyable part of Halo 4 is the campaign. Take a break from the very intense and competitive multiplayer and actually soak this campaign in because it flows as smoothly as a grunt's smashed brains from Master Chief's melee. The story builds and escalates with the introduction of new characters and the race to save old ones. Waking up in the first mission as Master Chief was just as big a thrill as starting off as the great hero of the first game. There are plenty of surprises thrown in the story and a lot seems to have happened between Halo 3 and 4 which makes this game's story so much more interesting to follow. What more can Master Chief do besides save humanity and the universe? Save it again!

The game play is very similar to the mechanics of Halo: Reach. The first thing you will notice is that the controls are changed and the configurations don't really allow you to play with the button schemes of the previous games. It takes a little getting used to as crouching keeps Master Chief crouched and the reload button is sometimes hard to remember where located. One thing I thought was a cool throw in was the first person view. Finally you are looking out from Master Chief's helmet. Seems like somebody would have thought to do this earlier in the series, but it is something you notice immediately was never done before. You will also notice in the campaign that ammo gets depleted faster so you will be trading weapons off more often. The new

For the Halo fans the Skulls are still there to turn and have fun with. Halo is hardly a party without the exploding head party grunts. Also kept in Halo 4 are the ability to play cooperatively through the campaign so you can take your friends through the game and the Infinity episodes.

Multiplayer has a few tweaks but follows the same path as the Halo: Reach multiplayer. The Big Team Battles are still as fun as ever and seemingly more intense. Also found in matchmaking are Regicide and Flood which I think are favorites from Reach's matchmaking. Of course if you have been seeing all the Mountain Dew commercials you must know about gaining experience points to gain rank in multiplayer which earns you points to spend on custom armor, weapons, and other goodies for your multiplayer character. I was rather disappointed in the lack of custom symbols to put on my guy's armor. I've had the skull and crossbones on the "X" background since Halo 2 and unfortunately the skull is put on a cup of coffee. A lot of the other symbols are missing as well which gives you few options in having your own symbol. Call of Duty definitely wins in this category. XP is gained by scoring kills and pulling off multiple multiplayer feats as well as assisting in kills. It is always fun to jump in multiplayer when a game like this first comes out because being a seasoned Halo player you can easily crush some of the newer players and those not used to the new maps and game types. Scoring is different in these games as you don't win by a certain number of kills but a certain score has to be reached to win. So you can have the highest number of kills but not be the highest scoring player in a multiplayer game.

What would have been cool with the Halo 4 matchmaking? Everything is still there plus more. It doesn't matter to me how many numbers follow the Halo title, but what does matter is how many sweet cracks of the sniper rifle have to go off before I drop a red or blue opponent about to kill a teammate. There are just some things about the Halo series that never get old.

The graphics and music in Halo 4 are just as majestic as before, if not better. You will see the same very huge environment backgrounds and experience plenty of new weapons with their own new unique sounds and looks. The grunts and elites definitely look much different than they did before but beyond that Halo 4 still retains that classic feel. The game's music design was well intended and blends in wonderfully with the game's unique settings. Of course the original Halo themes make their way back in the game as well. You will notice there is more detail given to things like plants and characters than there were previously although the previous games were well polished.

Final Recommendation 9/10

Halo 4 is everything you wanted it to be for fans and newcomers alike. The series just isn't the same without Master Chief. Games like ODST and Reach were good but you can't put an original hero out to pasture. Master Chief makes the Halo series what it is and he is the reason Halo 4 is such a great game. Halo 4 doesn't bring anything as innovating as its predecessors brought to the table but it is the sum of all these things combined (well without the dual wielding of course). Halo 4 is definitely worth the buy for the campaign, intense multiplayer fights, and what will hopefully be a continuous Infinity cooperative mode. There are definitely a lot of other great titles out this month, but for those who pick up Halo 4, you won't be disappointed.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Halo 4 (US, 11/06/12)

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