Halo is like that old friend you can never turn down. Even if you are busy and don’t really feel like hanging out, you find time for them. Halo is the same way. I have purchased every Halo game to come out; not always necessarily because I wanted to but because I felt obligated to.
I am happy to say that Halo 4 has changed that perspective for me. After the franchise was taken over by 343 Industries a lot of concerns arose about what would become of the Halo franchise. Some saw it as a welcome, needed change; while others were worried it would completely ruin an already dwindling franchise. I am happy to say that 343 have done a fantastic job with this new iteration.
I will not delve too deeply into the story because I think that is something that needs to be experienced for yourself (as with any game, not just Halo). I would rather focus more on how the story is presented. Let’s start off with the graphics. 343 Industries has really done a great job updating the Halo universe while keeping everything looking very familiar. Chief is presented gloriously with amazing armor detail and Cortana is looking as voluptuous as ever. Enemies have all had a facelift as well, with minor and major details being added that really give a boost to the experience.
Voice acting is spot on, which really adds to the next point I would like to bring up; the story. The Halo story (let’s focus on the main story, not ODST and Reach), has always been “good”. It’s been nothing fantastic, but nevertheless a good story. The main protagonist, however, has always seemed a bit stale. While he is one of the most iconic figures in all of gaming, his personality and dialogue have always been pretty… bland. That all changes with Halo 4 . The game has taken a much more personal approach when it comes to Chief and his relationships with other characters as well. You really begin to feel for him and understand where he is coming from in this Halo release.
Controlling Chief will feel very familiar to Halo veterans but for newcomers to the series there is also button layout very similar to the Call of Duty franchise. I attempted to use the Call of Duty control scheme and I must say, it was very refreshing, but I ended up sticking with the standard control scheme.
Now onto what many consider Halo’s main selling point: the multiplayer. The Halo series multiplayer has been generally unchanged since Halo 1 . Yes, 3 introduced equipment and Reach introduced jet packs, invisibility, as well as other enhancements, but core mechanics stayed the same. Start with a BR or assault rifle and run for the power weapons. Halo 4 introduces a class system very similar to Call of Duty where you can set up what your player starts with. To unlock different things to use in your loadout you have to rank up and spend points on said items. I personally have not seen where you can add power weapons to your loadouts, so those you will still have to fight for.
Speaking of power weapons, you now have a form of kill streaks to use in Halo. No, you’re not going to be “droppin’ preds” in Halo, however if you get on a roll you will get the option to call in different power items; grenades, weapons, etc. This is a very nice feature to the game while also avoiding making you rage quit due to the six helicopters flying around shooting everyone.
Multiplayer plays very similar to past offerings, with head shots and grenades reigning. Maps are all fairly solid, all of them feeling like natural arenas of sorts, in that they are usually mirror images of themselves. A new mode has been added called Dominion, which brings in typical “Domination” of A, B, and C bases but with the added element of base defenses (turrets, etc) the longer you hold them. Leveling up is pretty typical to first person shooters, with higher levels unlocking new chest pieces, helmets, and other armor customizations. Customization in Halo 4 is second to none; the amount of color schemes and armor permutations is astounding, leaving you nearly endless combinations.
Overall, I can honestly say Halo 4 is one of the best, if not best, offerings in the series. Not only does it capture the Halo feel perfectly, but it expands it into something unexpected; a breathing, changing universe with an old friend that we are now just beginning to understand and really relate to.
Familiar Halo mechanics, beautiful graphics