Average User Score: 6.9Nov 18, 2012My scores up to this point for reference follow: Halo 1 - 10 Halo 2 - 8 Halo 3 - 9 Halo ODST - 7 Halo Reach - 8 Halo Anniversary - 7 (lots of flaws the original didn't have, and artistic direction was just awkward)
Halo 4 - 10
This is the single best Halo experience I have ever had. It may not be as revolutionary compared to what had come before it as Halo 1 (how could it be?) but it is the most fun I have had at Halo, the most enthralled I have been at Halo, and the most passionate I have been about it.
On to the grit.
Graphics: The graphics are beautiful. The artistic design is delightful, the character designs border on the inspired. In certain moments, these are the best in game graphics I have ever seen on the system, in others though, graphical artifacting and glitching mar the experience. Misloaded textures take away from the experience and suspend disbelief. These may be the fault of my aging system (same box I have owned since the month of launch), but regardless of where the fault lies, It damages an otherwise flawless visible presentation.
Sound - The sound library is improved in several ways, with the gun, grenade, and terrain sounds all minorly boosted. The biggest aspect of sound, and by far the most notable, is the change of musical direction. I'll be honest, I wish they could have retained the composers from the original, because they help identify the world, even in the face of Bungie's departure. That said, the songs are beautiful, and capture the feel of the game very well. Gone are the days of the music track defining the level, and it is replaced by music that helps focus the environment. While the raw talent may not be as high now as it was, the skill with which each level has its song composed and matched, is superior.
Balance - Gun balance is the most important part of Halo's overall balance in design, for me. And this game wins in a big way. Everything is useful here. The Assault Rifle has finally figured out its balance. It being the default gun for most missions over the course of the game finally makes sense in story, as the gun is ridiculously useful for mid and close range engagement, an does not fully lose itself in long range. The pulse rifle, which was overpowered in campaign, is gone as is the terrible Reach equivalent, and in its place we find a far better balanced weapon in the storm rifle. The storm rifle is getting a lot of flack online as terrible, but it is because people do not understand it. This gun is probably the single best support weapon in the game, when used along with your allies' battle rifles and DMRs. All of the new [race redacted to avoid spoilers] weapons find their balance, except the boltshot which would be perfectly functional if it had its magazine size doubled but finds itself hampered by its required reload. The new grenade balance has boosted the game, with the frag grenade more lethal but with a smaller area of effect. The new pulse grenade is getting a lot of hate online, but as an area denial tool, and against vehicles it is very useful. If you have the grenade skills and timing you can also kill a fully charged enemy with a single shot. Overall, the balance functions to lessen the domination of the br/dmr, and open up better representation for the close support, as well as the true long distance, weapons. Grenade play is vastly improved in my opinion and heavily rewards precision, the pistol has finally found its balance, and all that is left is the sniper rifle. I am disappointed with the sniper rifle, as it retains all of its benefits from past versions and picks up far greater 'shoot from the hip' precision, making open-shot sniper rifle dominant when it shouldn't be. Hopefully they address this in a future patch by returning the imprecision to open sight shot with the sniper rifle.
Emotional affect - I cared more about this campaign than I have cared about anything but 3, and I care about the two main characters more than I ever have. Brilliant success. The script writing is better, the acting is better, the emotion conveyed to the voice is better. Heartbreaking, and 'real'. I cannot overstate how much impact the story had compared to everything else out there. This game shows the fullest potential of what video games should be, in every area but social conscience, and as a philosophic journey, I think it outpaces Bioshock in its final question.
AI - This is the best AI in the history of the game. Organic AI is improved, and the new race has the best AI I have ever played against. Pathfinding is sometimes predictable, and could benefit from more randomization.
Glitches - A few graphical glitches mar the experience. One or two sound glitches threw me off, Cortana whispering more quietly than the background music at one point was bad. Wall artifacting at one point. Nothing game-ruining.
Overall - Arguably the best game I have ever played on the xbox. At the very least in my top 5.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3Nov 11, 2012This is a great game.
There are some terrible bugs, glitches, and a few gameplay issues in the game that stop it from being GOTY quality., but it must be understood that this really is a GREAT game.
The bugs and glitches are quite clearly a matter of them not having enough time to smooth out the product. This may be the producer's fault, it may be the studios, but either way it is a shame because this could have been a game of the year if they had had 6 more months of refinement.
The gameplay issues are a real disappointment.The game is at its stylistic best when you are in full espionage mode, not taking a shot, but while there are times that this play is rewarded, the vast majority of the time you are guns blazing and killing 40 people per level.
But when the game hits, it hits hard. There is real choice in this game. The black isle system for storyline branching is just better than other games, and their writing makes you care more. Your choices matter here. They matter a lot, and it makes you care. The graphics are okay, a bit low end but nothing terrible. The sound is good, the acting is decent, But the gameplay by and large is ridiculously fun.
This game would have gotten 10, if it weren't for some unforgivable bugs. But I can't recommend it enough, my 'fun factor' exceeded dragon age, the mass effect trilogy, and the elder scrolls series. This was my favorite RPG of the last 7 years, and I am left wondering how much better it could have been if they'd taken another 3 months.… Expand