The Halo series is an action packed and exciting saga, so does the newest title of this amazing line up live up to its predecessors? I believe so, with detailed visuals, an intricate and emotional storyline and respectable game play, 343 industry’s Halo 4 ticks all the boxes. Picking up where halo 3 left off, the epic saga of Master Chief continues as he faces more than just the physical threat of the covenant.
Halo 4, as with previous Halo titles contains the all admired multiplayer mode, dubbed ‘war games’. These games are generated as you and your fellow Spartans plug yourselves in for a realistic, but harmless combat situation where you are pitted to the death. New changes to the multiplayer system have introduced Load outs. This allows you to configure what you would like to go into combat with from a restricted choice of weapons and perks. Whilst receiving some criticism as to how it might turn Halo 4 into another Call of duty game, it kept its boundaries from the other popular franchise. Many new weapons were also introduced, including the storm rifle, rail gun and various promethean weapons which have been established by the newest race to the Halo franchise. Along with these saw the return of the battle rifle, DMR and other time-old Halo weapons.
Halo 4 also returned with new and old armour gadgets, allowing players to jet pack over objects, sprint at lightning speeds or even use x-ray vision. These have added complexity to combat, changing the way Spartans fight, but for the better or worse?
With these new upgrades to multiplayer comes a flashy new lobby screen, whilst slightly more confusing and frustrating at times it has a much nicer look and better integration. There are plenty of playlists to choose from, consisting of the classic slayer, capture the flag and oddball, with some new ones like dominion and Flood (Zombie) mode. Whilst hanging around in the lobby waiting to join a match you can set up your personalized load outs, configure your settings and customize your looks. Player customization has became an integral part of the halo series, switching up helmets and colours to get your personal look makes the game all that more special.
There are two general types of Halo 4 game modes, based on whether you’re trying to complete an objective or just straight out killing. I prefer both, which is offered in regicide. A player from each team is assigned king depending on how well they are playing, and each team must protect their own king, whilst trying to take out the other. This is great fun as you can mix up your play style from hiding away your king, to blasting the other team off the face of requiem.
Another playlist, slayer, tasks you with eliminating other players either as a team or Free For All. This can prove an interesting experience whether you are jumping in with friends chatting through your Xbox live party, meeting new people or perhaps even trolling. Whatever you are doing, there are many game modes to try with 343 industry’s enjoyable take on Halo’s multiplayer.
Another great aspect of what 343 has done with the game is the addition of Spartan Ops, an added feature that expands the Halo universe to more than just master chiefs story. Released by free DLC in season packages, it details the operations of Crimson team as they return to requiem 6 months after the end of the Halo 4 campaign. You are match made with a maximum of three other players for an awesome co-op experience. Unlike the campaign Spartan ops features more generic wave fighting, meaning you camp out most of the mission taking out hundreds of bad guys. These can be great fun to play with some mates, coordinate your defences, load up with some gear and see how many you can take down with you.
Once again, the story of John 117, the Master Chief, proved to be an engaging experience. Those who are familiar with the series have formed strong bonds with John and his AI Cortana, making the game an emotional tale as well as your standard FPS. This emotional side is strengthened by Cortana’s rampancy, a part of her AI stage of life where she literally thinks herself to death.
Beginning where you left of in Halo 3, aboard the UNSC Frigate Forward Until Dawn you make your way through the levels with sheer determination; what will happen next? Can I save Cortana? As you venture further into the game you will uncover more than you bargained for, revealing new races to the Halo universe as well as some old ones. The game brought a sheer sense of nostalgia as I remembered back to the original Halo games, the weapons, the characters and the epic legend of the Master Chief. No other franchise can capture that deeply instilled emotional bond with a veteran fan and that is what makes the Halo series so great.
Halo 4 registered high on my list of all time greats, including a genuinely interesting and compelling storyline, fun and exciting game play and a wide range of content choices, it is certainly a hot choice for game of the year. I look forward to further titles from 343 industries and to more Halo games, awarding Halo 4 with a mighty 9/10! Huzzah to Halo!