Halo 4 Review by Fraser Graham (XBOX 360)
Can Master Chief and a brand new developer usher in another successful era for the Halo franchise?
That’s the question on every Halo fan’s lips these days, and in my personal opinion....the answer is yes. 343 bring you a visually stunning masterpiece that’s good at mimicking the bits you remember best from past games to make it clear that, Bungie or not, this is the real thing.
Halo 4 begins right where Halo 3 left off, with Master Chief floating through space in a damaged spaceship with only his borderline insane companion Cortana. After impacting a Covenant ship, Master Chief is jolted awake and once again begins his slaughter of anything non-human, this time after landing on a Forerunner planet infested with old, sentient Forerunner machines.
Being a huge fan of Halo, I had high expectations of this game and it did not fail to deliver.
All the graphics have been completely redesigned and have become extremely detailed, right down to the grip material on the handle of the weapons. There is epic scenery to behold including gigantic clashes in space and battles that lead you to the very core of the mechanical forerunner planet.
As expected Halo 4 brings along with it an array of new weaponry, along with the new enemy - The Forerunners. All the classic human and Covenant weaponry is still there but with a few additions, including the humans "sticky detonator" which is a personal favourite of mine. Just make sure to aim for the enemy's face and be careful it doesn’t go off in your hands though!
Although 343 have given characters a lot more dialogue and in-depth backgrounds, even to the point that you start seeing Cortana more as a person (rather than the advice given in your HUD), the storyline itself is a bit lacking and I think most players would feel the same on their first playthrough. The levels themselves, although extremely detailed and beautiful, were quite linear and straight forward, unlike the more open world feel of the previous titles. However 343 have been very clever with their design throughout the game there are hidden info points that you can download and each of these found, unlocks a video on Halo's WayPoint app on the XBOX. Each of these has it’s own segment of back story to the Forerunners and the origins of the Halos, indeed even very shocking revelations into human history and our role in the original flood onslaught! (That’s right, we were there.......)
Opening the game up further, is the release of a live action series called "Forward Unto Dawn" that is viewable on Youtube here. By watching this, you find out a little more about a few characters from the game and, apart from anything else, was highly enjoyable to watch, especially when John - 117 appeared on screen in full live action glory.
Spartan Ops also adds more adventure to the game with weekly updated episodes for you to play through, with an absolutely jaw dropping CGI short that establishes each episodes story foundation and though brief, each episode offers even more insight into some interesting side-stories involving the now ubiquitous Spartan soldiers.
Now for "that" word, that word than can put both the fear of god and the rage of Achilles into the heart of any Noob or indeed any veteran Halo player.....Teabagging.........I am of course referring to Halo 4's amazing new multiplayer - "Infinty". A lot of massive changes to the multiplayer mode here, I myself am a big fan of the multiplayer in Halo: Reach, and this was one of the main parts of the game that I was excited about. I was not disappointed. With massive new maps and an array of new game modes, Halo 4's multiplayer far exceeds that of the original games with no lack of the glorious graphics that the campaign mode delivers. The big team battle maps are epic although as yet, there is not one as large as the spire from Halo:Reach, but, with the promise of new maps through DLC, I am hopeful for a remake. The game seems to have taken to heart advancements in multiplayer design that have become standard in other first-person shooters. Halo 4’s multiplayer now features loadouts and more in-depth player customization. Leveling up, in a manner familiar to any Call of Duty fan, makes Halo 4 altogether more accessible and enjoyable. With these changes you can now find it easier to pick your customized loadouts to fit each game mode. Vehicles include the standard lot, Warthogs, Banshees, etc. but now in certain maps you will find new ones such as "The Mantis", the hulking mech from the campaign mode which brings plenty of Noob splattering fun and best of all: you can even teabag in it!
Overall a great start to the new series and I am more excited than ever for the next addition to the franchise. I gave this game 40 out of a possible 42. Perhaps 343 will earn those last 2 points if they remove the instant respawn option in multiplayer....... as it is ruining my good teabagging! We shall see........
42 Level One
Overall Score - 95%