HALO 4 CAMPAIGN
What We Liked:A beautiful game with a variety of weapons, breath taking graphics and sound to create a brilliantly immersive experience.
What We Disliked:Vehicle controls, and weapon carry limits
HALO 4 Campaign Review So here it is at long last, after a year long wait, Halo 4 has landed on our shores once more, handed over from it’s original developers Bungie Studios to the fresh face 343 Industries, we have their first foray into the Spartan world of Halo. This is 343’s first [...]
So here it is at long last, after a year long wait, Halo 4 has landed on our shores once more, handed over from it’s original developers Bungie Studios to the fresh face 343 Industries, we have their first foray into the Spartan world of Halo. This is 343’s first installation of a new Halo Trilogy that is going to be referred to as “The Reclaimer saga”, focusing on enemies both new and old in their quest to destroy humanity. Our buddies over at Microsoft were nice enough to drop a copy of this brilliant piece right into our laps, so with a box of cigarettes, a bottle of wine, and Xbox Live, both myself and site admin John jumped into a Co-Op campaign on Legendary difficulty.
The first thing to note is that this is a look at Halo 4 from a fresh perspective, we have dabbled in Halo before, played it on and off, and indulged in the occasional druken night of team Deathmatches. However neither of us know the first thing about the storyline and have not read the novels either. All we know is that there is a Chief, a rather good one (Some may say he is a Master), with an AI named Cortana, with enemies named the Covenant who want to destroy humanity, and it is up to Master Chief to destroy’ em.
We begin the game with a stunning pre-rendered cut-scene, and right off the bat, you can tell this is a beautiful looking game, we had to stop and take stock of everything. At first we were under the impression that 343 had actually chosen to go the way of using real actors and live actions cutscenes…it didn’t, the graphics are just that damn good.
This time the Halo story revolves around stopping the Forerunners, the original race that came before humanity, you are fighting to stop the Didact, the primary antagonist of the game, from using the Halo’s created by the Forerunners as emergency weapons to wipe out all life in the galaxy, to protect it from destruction if need be. Also throughout this adventure you have new guns to experiment with and new enemies to fight, the Prometheans, alongside the standard Covenant forces. Throughout this tale you will fight them all, (They will kill you several times) as you learn their history, and the chilling truth behind the Prometheans.
To this end you are running through all sorts of different locales from spaceships to jungle environments, all of them beautifully rendered, breathtaking sights that stretch as far as the eye can see. The textures are brilliant, the engine handles all of this with no troubles at all, and not a single hint of texture popin’ or slow down, even with the amount of enemies we were facing over an internet connection.
Now as this is Halo, the quintessential first person shooter, gameplay is quite standard fare, Halo has always been an easy to pick up shooter with deeper levels of varied gameplay, that’s part of its charm, and thankfully 343 have decided not to mess around with what isn’t broken. The play in Halo 4 is just fine, you can choose to hide behind cover or in plain sight, with a huge range of guns at your disposable, through a linear path. Speaking in terms of the weapons you use, the guns are all quite balanced. You have a good choice of different weapon ranges and each weapon has its own unique features such as the Needler which can track enemies around corners, to the cleverly named Binary Rifle, (Binary is either a 1, or a 0, with this gun, either you’re alive, or you’re shot with it, and you’re dead).
You are limited to two guns at a time, and one clip of ammo for it, as much as you pick up when you first grab the gun. This is a good mechanic as it encourages you to become adept with every firearm at your disposal, rather than just sticking to one and refilling it with generic ammo pick ups, there is a variety of guns at your disposal, use them goddamnit! Gameplay is also changed up with the use of different armour abilities that can be picked up in world, these range from deploying a sentry to back you up in a firefight, to the ability to turn invisible and sneak behind enemies to deploy a swift smack round the chops with the butt of your gun, using whichever one you have at any given time can completely change the flow of a fire-fight, and the gameplay itself. Sadly, if you die mid level in co-operative and re-spawn, you cannot retrieve whichever one you had, and the game reassigns you a basic one.
Alongside this, there are vehicles to use in the game, this is another staple of the Halo series, with a full range of both human and alien crafts at your disposal, from the classic Warthog (Jeep with minigun on the back) to the one man magnetic hovercraft, the Ghost. Now while all of these vehicles do change the flow of play exponentially, and on harder difficulties are damn near instrumental to success, they can each take a little getting used to in regards to controlling them, particularly your flying crafts.
Alongside the gameplay and the guns is the sound, as we always say at XClann, the sound can be the most integral part of a game, without decent sound, guns can feel weak and the entire the flow of the game can be disrupted. Halo 4 does not disappoint on this front, with a award worthy score framing the epicness of the adventure you undertake. Alongside this each gun sounds and feels unique, with just the right levels to make it all blend into a seamless experience. Now we won’t say anything about the storyline, from what I have heard, the internet is divided over 343’s interpretation of the Halo story, having taken it over from it’s processors for a “Reboot”. Some say that the new story is a slap in the face to old halo fans, others say “STFU! Let them make the game they want to make.” We won’t comment on that, what we will say is that the story is more than functional from a newbies standpoint, and bitter-sweet enough to keep you ready for the next instalment.
Now while the game as a whole is a great experience, there are some small niggles to get by, being restricted to only two weapons can sometimes be a hell of a task, leaving you restricted to only two ranges to work functionally in, on harder difficulties, a shotgun is instrumental in taking out harder enemies efficiently, so it’s actually more like one. Alongside that, the vehicle sections can really be frustrating from time to time, that being said, to date there is not a single first person shooter that has decent enough vehicle play.
In closing, Halo 4 is the beginning of something new for the series, something different, 343 Industries have been outspoken in their quest to put their own spin on the Halo series, and thank the gamers for trusting them and taking the journey with them. It is something worth picking up and playing, there are a ton of achievements, some awesome multiplayer fun to be had and if you can get past the vehicle controls, you’re looking at one of the best games around.
As Halo 4 has so much to offer we have split this review into two articles, so to follow in the next few days is the review covering Spartan Ops and the all important Multiplayer.