Is it the best Halo ever? Possibly. Is it the best game ever? Far from it.
Halo 4 continues the story of Master Chief, who is now facing the covenant and an army of advanced aliens called “the Forerunners”. There’s some generic bad guy thrown into the mix and AI friend Cortana’s demise as a plot point, but the overall story just doesn’t have much substance. At least, for someone who’s not a hardcore Halo fan.
Sound: The music is alright, but I’m not going to go out and buy the soundtrack. It’s the usual Halo orchestral stuff, and nothing really stands out from the sound of bullets ringing and guns reloading. As far as the guns themselves go, they sound fantastic. The click of a reload and the pop of a pistol shot all help to suck you in to the gameplay and the Halo universe effectively. The voice acting is good by video game standards, but neither Cortana nor Master Chief’s voice actors can match the talent of Adam Jensen’s Elias Toufexis. Sound: 7/10
Presentation: The graphics are good, but not the system-sellers they’re advertised as being. There are the occasional texture pops and lengthy load times, and online lag is a messy yet common occurance. When the game is performing at its best, it’s definitely a sight to behold. But these truly engrossing moments are far too rare to be considered normal for Halo 4. Presentation: 8.5/10
Gameplay: You have a gun. You shoot aliens with that gun. You traverse some platforms. You shoot more aliens with your gun. That’s Halo 4 in a nutshell, with the occasional exception of the vehicle segments which are fun but a bit on the clunky side. The first person aspect is fun, but there’s no iron sights mode and your success in a firefight is left up to either your uber-powerful gun or your ability to spray enemies with skill. The large assortment of new guns makes this experimentation with firearms fun, and the promethean weapons really bring the series to new heights, as do the prometheans themselves. They are an interesting new enemy type that successfully distract you from the bland covenant enemies while still providing you with a sense of familiarity in terms of how you go about fighting them. Nothing feels too new in the gameplay department of Halo, but there’s enough variety to keep you entertained. Gameplay: 7/10
Multiplayer: The split-screen co-op is kick-ass. The online co-op is kick-ass. The dozen or so multiplayer modes are kick-ass. The Spartan Ops mode is kick-ass. Halo 4’s multiplayer is kick-ass.
Co-op is great. If the campaign is too hard for you by yourself, grabbing a friend along for the ride to act as a human checkpoint makes things exponentially easier and downs the campaign’s difficulty substantially.
Competitive multiplayer sports the standard slayer modes but introduces fun additions like flood into the mix, adding extreme gameplay variety and making great use of all the tools at the games’ disposal.
Spartan Ops is really interesting, and I like where 343 Industries is going with it. It’s a weekly (or monthly?) installment of episodes that you and three friends can play as a sort of mini co-op-campaign, and it’s really fun. The best part is getting to playas your custom-made Spartan. Multiplayer: 10/10
Length: If you have friends, you can destroy the campaign in a measly six hours. Without friends, that six practically doubles itself to twelve. The multiplayer is where this game really shines though, allowing for hour upon hour of online deathmatch fun. Length: 8/10
Overall: Halo 4 gets a solid 8.1 out of 10. It’s got a crappy single player campaign riddled with poor checkpoints, achievement glitches and a lot of frustration, but that can all be remedied by adding a couple of co-op friends into the mix. The multiplayer is obviously where this latest Halo installment earns its title as the best Halo yet.