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Halo 4 Review: How to Create the Brand New Reality?
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After Bungie jumped ship, it might have been baptism by fire for 343 Industries in developing this game. However, with a new storyline and an emotional battle clouding Cortana and Master Chief in Halo 4, the franchise lives to fight another day.
Even when the gameplay was a little rusty as in Halo 3, the graphics have always taken on a life of their own. 343 Industries stays true to this feat, and both the characters and alien environments are beautifully rendered, making it seem like a movie. An alien ship here is as real as it gets. The cutscenes, dialogue and especially the epic score all serve to make the graphics stand out.
Four years after the events of Halo 3, Master Chief is woken from cryonic sleep by Cortana as the UNSC ship Forward Unto Dawn careens through space towards the planet Requiem. On the iron planet, Master Chief and Cortana battle ancient Promethean warriors known as Knights. Here Cortana reveals that she is facing a degenerative sickness known as Rampancy that is forcing her to ‘think to death.’ While trying to destroy radio jammers, Master Chief mistakably releases a Promethean antagonist known as the Didact. The objective then becomes to stop this new powerful threat who thinks humanity is cancer upon the universe.
In this series, a brand new weapons cache is availed. Extended armor abilities are also introduced such as the Autosentry which is a hardlight shield, Promethean vision which shows you enemy players as silhouettes and fake holograms. A bipedal mantis has introduced apart from the vehicles and banshees that were there in previous installments. In this title, you can unlock new upgrades for Master Chief’s armor as you beat levels.
Halo’s controls on Xbox have always been fluid, and this version is no different. Since you need to shoot at the Prometheans rapidly, Halo delivers fully on that objective. You can only wield two weapons at once, but shifting between these two is even faster in this edition. Controlling the various machines such as the Banshee and especially the Mantis is also much quicker than I actually thought it would be.
Replay Value: 4.5
I had to give myself a few minutes to ingest the epic soundtrack which really has a life of its own. The introduction of a fresh story arc (the Prometheans) so quickly may have turned off a few die-hard fans, but I personally like the angle of the Forerunners. Still, new weaponry, complete emotional investment in Master Chief and Cortana’s relationship and fast-paced, customizable multiplayer modes all make Halo 4 worth replaying again.
343 Industries continues the legacy started by Bungie by creating a captivating game that both old and new Halo fans alike will get accustomed to. Though there is a bit of nostalgia for the old Halo universe, this game still perfectly delivers the core of the campaign which is Master Chief and Cortana’s relationship. The emotional investment in this installment pieces everything together, and anticipating the Didact’s defeat will keep you playing.
If you don't enjoy the emotional backstory about the Prometheans, just take in the epic score and gameplay.
Replay Value 4.5
Soundtrack and visuals are cinematic.
Introduces a new story angle.
Combat vs. the Prometheans is lackluster.