They said it couldn’t be done, giving the mighty Halo series to a new company would surely kill it. They were wrong, utterly pant wetting-ly wrong. Halo 4 is, in my opinion, the best of the series. This game flows so well its unreal with the story, graphics, characters and music. It is so good that you will just look and play with a big smile on your face the whole time. We join the story four years after the events of Halo 3 where Master Chief John-117 and Cortana were left adrift on the ship after striking the final blow against the Covenant. Chief entered into cryo sleep until the time he is needed. That time is now with a new foe afoot. The Prometheans are an ancient civilization bent on humanities destruction; of course Master Chief can’t have this. Not only do we have to rescue humanity but our AI friend Cortana as well as this relationship is bought into close scrutiny during the emotive campaign.
If the initial cut-scene is anything to go by then hold on to your seat, it’s wonderful, shear class. The lighting, sounds, shadows and story itself is told in such a way you just applaud and begin to drool. The controls are dead on feeling fluid and smooth. Movements, shooting, grenades and zooming are done instinctively and anyone who has played a shooter on the Xbox is at home here. 343 Industries have really done their homework as each button and trigger is used perfectly for the purpose you would want it to be used. The feeling you got when you played Halo 1 is bought back here when you crash land on the Promethean home planet. You will simply gasp in the beauty and complexity of the land and goosebumps will appear all along your body.
At its heart beats a shooter game, the game mechanics have been improved and mastered in a way none thought possible. The aiming, movements and character designs are spot on. The smart AI that the enemies had in previous games is back and with a higher IQ it seems. They run, hide and are great shots. Not annoyingly so though as you die but then you think,” damn I had that guy.” You then play again and again. It’s a nice balance 343 industries have struck in gameplay. Of course there are the vehicle sections which are as pleasing as before, if not better. The new Promethean enemies give us a new challenge in that they send out little dogs, these fire from a distance whilst the main enemy supports and jumps all over the place. The weapons are masterful as the design of each individual gun is stunning. The firing and reloading mechanism for each weapon is intricate yet smooth and fast. It’s insane as the AI fight together and I can even remember seeing an enemy push another out the way to get a better position to shoot at me.
The graphics will stand out as soon as you play with deeper colours than anything else on the Xbox 360. The massive vistas you encounter are flawless in all aspects. You can not help but look around and just be in total awe. The movements of the enemy and the Chief are smooth and each transition of the weapon during combat is clean. Frame rate is never an issue and even when tons of enemies are on screen there is no lag at all. Multiplayer fares the same and no lag is once again seen. The detail in Cortana’s face and the emotion Master Chief and her share is beautifully realized throughout the game.
The campaign is eight missions long but this is the perfect length as there are so many incredible moments in each mission you really love playing them. Playing the campaign with up to three buddies is a treat for your eyes and mind. Be careful however as once again the AI will change their tactics based on yours. To make things interesting you can enable skulls that are modifiers which give enemies more health or removing bits of your heads up display (HUD). This all adds to the difficulty and fun of the game. Do you want more Halo 4? Then we have the Spartan mode which is set six months after the ending of Halo 4. It’s a ten weeks series of missions you can undertake with friends or solo to see what happens next. Another mode is called the War Games, deathmatch is back as well all the others forms we are used to and so love. Flood is so called because the humans are like zombies but with super speed, Regicide is when the highest scoring player is given a bounty on their heads and its up to the others to take them out although they get some perks sometimes to help them. Another masterful aspect is the sound, the music, character voices and dialogue is crisp, clean and perfect. The haunting sounds and music that play during game are fantastic and the mood changes with each note you hear which is a real joy.
343 Industries have done something no one thought possible; they have elevated the Halo franchise into an even bigger juggernaut. The audio, graphics and gameplay as the best I have seen in any Halo game. The fluid movements of both the characters and story is lovely. The main and biggest change is the story telling ability. This aspect has sometimes been the achilles heel of Halo, not in Halo 4. The pure emotion between Master Chief and Cortana is heart wrenching at times and downright comical other times. Buy this game, you will love it and want to marry it.
- A deep story that is perfectly told.
- Stunning graphical fidelity that will blow your mind.
- Multiplayer is the best in the series.
Summary: 343 Industries have achieved what some thought they couldn't. I am in love with Halo 4 and can't wait for Halo 5 and 6. Bring on the Xbox 720.
- Format: Xbox 360
- Developer: 343 Industries
- Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
- Release Date: November 6, 2012