The Complete Package
Halo 4 is the most ambitious game of the franchise since Halo Wars. After Bungie left Halo to pursue other titles, 343 has picked up where Bungie left off and taken the franchise to new heights. This is a whole new trilogy set 4 years after the conclusion of Halo 3 and starts a chain of events that set the Reclaimer Saga in motion. Master Chief is officially back and better than ever, and for good measure he has brought a Spartan army along with him.
As stated earlier this is a totally new saga for the Halo franchise and sees new characters, enemies and even a new species into the mix. For the first time the beloved Forerunner lore is finally touched on after only being a shadow of the first 3 games in the franchise(not including Reach or ODST). Unlike the previous titles this game feels like a Sci-fi James Bond movie with the Chief as 117. As always Cortana is a the support character to help the hulking Spartan along his journey throughout the universe. The voice acting is amazing and completely sucks you into the action as the chemistry between Master Chief (Steve Downes) and Cortana (Jen Taylor) is the best the franchise has seen so far.
The first landscape you visit will be the planet Requiem which is actually a Forerunner installation. Here you will quickly discover that Cortana is going rampant. In other words, Cortana is past her expiration date and has become highly unstable. You will find the Main Villain, the Didact; who is an imprisoned Forerunner that manages to break free after your trip to Requiem. You will also find one of the newest vessels the UNSC has to offer, the Infinity which is the largest ship in the fleet and has a new army of Spartans on board. The Infinity oddly enough comes crashing down onto the planet and of course it is up the Chief to clean up the mess.
Boasting some of the best graphics ever to be released on an Xbox 360, and certainly gives bragging rights for 343 Industries to boast about. When looking at the single player campaign missions the game has the most polished look for a Sci-fi game to date. The audio has also been totally revamped to bring out the sound system in your house and to totally annoy your next door neighbor at 3 AM in the morning. Each scene in the game has detail beyond belief and creates a truly immersive experience. This is noted when running through the corridors of a ship that is in peril. Almost rivaling an Aliens movie where Ellen Ripley is making her escape. However some drawbacks when considering Co-Op, is the fact that there are some missions where the Master Chief is alone and takes away from the experience, which is rather upsetting seeing that Halo: Reach found the perfect solution to this dilemma. Yet that is not to say Co-Op isn’t a welcome experience to the single player, it just feels odd knowing more than one Spartan shouldn’t be there.
Gameplay in Halo 4 is unlike any other before it. Well not really with the exception of a few tweaks to gameplay known as the staple of the Halo franchise is here. However, the inclusion of the Sprint ability for ALL Spartans is a welcomed with open arms to the franchise. It really makes the gameplay of the game both faster and more frantic than ever before. Of course everything you know and love about Halo is back including the HUD view from the 117’s visor with a shield bar at the top, ammo and grenades that follow. Yet some things have been taken out such as dual wielding weapons and oddly enough some weapons are missing from the series, the most notable being the SMG.
Armor abilities are back and there are more than ever, some notable metions include: the Jetpack, Thruster. and the oh so deadly Active Camouflage. Another addition to the load outs are Tactical Package and Support Upgrades. Yet this only is a factor in your load outs for both the Spartan Ops and War Games on the Infinity. This is not available for the Campaign missions. Now lets take a look at what it is like onboard the UNSC Infinity.
Multiplayer takes place aboard the Infinity, the flagship of the UNSC. There are different aspects of the Infinity to note, mostly the War Games and the Spartan Ops areas. War Games is the section of the ship that allows Spartans to go Head to Head in multiplayer modes, while Spartan Ops digs into the story of the Infinity which lead up to the events of Halo 4’s Campaign. The Forge is also back yet only creative gamers will really dive into this mode and create some interesting forms of Multiplayer maps and modes for the rest of the community. The other area to talk about is the theater area which houses all of your favorite multiplayer games and gives the players an area to spruce up their game or show it off!
War Games is where most of the Spartans reporting for duty will be playing Halo 4. As it brings modes like Slayer, Big Team Battle, Regicide and Flood to the vast selection of game types for Halo 4. Each Spartan is able to be customized via different Armor for looks as well as entering a personal call sign and stance. While none of these things directly effect Multiplayer gameplay it is good to know that your character can look different from other Spartans in the lobby. This is also included with the introduction of a Loadout system never seen before in Halo. Spartan Points earned after leveling up will be rewarded to the player. From here you are able to unlock weapons, perks and even grenades for your loadouts. The experience is both rewarding and really adds to the multiplayer experience in Halo 4.
The ability to adjust the attributes of each spartan as stated earlier is a joy to gamers allowing them to complete challenges thanks to your DMR to unlock new Spartan Armor. Not only that but in certain game types you are able to fill up an Ordinance Meter to drop a drop pod with a new kinds of Weapon or Armor Upgrade. The drops are random, however the player has control of which item he or she wants or needs on the battlefield. Ordinance consists usually of a power weapon like a Rocket launcher, Sniper Rifle or a Binary Rifle, a smaller weapon like a Needler, pulse grenades or an Armor Upgrade which gives the player a Overshield, Faster Movement etc. Spartans are limited to one choice, which makes decision-making tough especially when in a close match. The decision is made via the D-pad and is a much welcomed addition to the Halo Multiplayer.
Spartan Ops brings episodic content to Halo 4 gamers each week. The best thing about this is that it is all FREE. Meaning that 343 Industries will be developing new chapters for the weekly episodes for gamers to enjoy. While the first episode feels more introductory than anything. As the series progresses you better be damn sure that the intensity in the story and in the gameplay is going to heat up. Seeing what the Infinity has been through before the events of Halo 4 is also a real treat. As you will be playing as the fire squad, Crimson throughout the new side campaign. All leading up to the Infinity crash landing onto Requiem.
Halo 4 for the Xbox 360 is the complete package of the Halo experience. Be warned though as some of the die-hard Halo fans might be a little frustrated with where 343 Industries is taking the franchise. As the game has become more of a production as far as the single player campaign is concerned. And with multiplayer the vast amount of frantic activity might be a little overwhelming to the Hardcore Halo player. Halo 4 isn’t to different from its predecessors, but it adds just enough to feel like a true sequel. The music feels more epic than ever as the Halo franchise as truly taken a step in the right direction. Missing out on this game would mean that your AI core must be running Rampant.