Average User Score: 7.0Nov 18, 2012This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. After many sequels in this well known franchise, 343 manages to fall short of it's promises to re-invent the story and characters in a way that will fulfill all it's renown loyal fanboy's wildest dreams.
The reality is that it's depressing to be able to see the intentions of the game developers as they fail.
In the prologue of the game, 343 sets the tone of the game by laying down this thick emphasis on a moral question of Chief's ethics and emotions, and whether his success was based on his Callus nature.
All of this is too much for the viewer, as the first thing they want to hear about their favorite character after years of absence isn't a diss from an old lady, (who's imprisoned for reasons that aren't explained in the game.) Nearly everything the campaign sets out to do it fails. Seconds into actual gameplay, it's clear that 343 have decided they'll try to make Chief less of a brooding character and more of a guy who thinks out loud and feels human emotions. The most obvious sign of this is the many many lines of dialogue throughout the campaign, compared to the under twenty he displayed in his last installment. Even the littler things make you think that this isn't a Halo game. The quick-times, the unexplained presences of enemies, and the stupid motivation for nearly every character.
So putting the actual plot/execution aside for a minute, the actual core mechanics that are involved in a good campaign are either missing or broken. The game introduces new enemies into the Halo universe (The Prometheans), but these enemies are anything but fun to engage with. Your choices range between Shooting the Knight first, or the little support drone he constructs. Admittedly, some of them posses one of the armor abilities from multiplayer, and that can make things interesting, but the teleportation gimmick they all utilize exists only to annoy.
This game misses the brilliance that some of the levels from Halo 3 demonstrated. Players of Halo Reach's criticism of the campaign was that it had no 'Big level'. It had no fight with scarabs, it had no scaling up the big metal pyramid to fight the monitor, and it had no Vehicle dependent level like Halo 3's 'The Ark'. Halo Four demonstrates this, and seemingly Less. Halo Four tries to add to this, but it's attempts come off as kind of dry. They put in a level where you get around via a powered-up Pelican, which is relatively cool, but they just make you fly from platform to platform, and don't really do anything with it. The Shooter on rails at the end of the game feels uncharacteristic of the franchise and kind of makes you wonder whether it was only put in to fit the expectation that every action game published in the last five years needs to have a mission where you're on a motorized vehicle with explosions and a million guys chasing you at the end for it to be fun and cool.
Players from day one (Such as myself) are getting a little bit tired of the series' Go from A to B, and shoot everything in between' formula. Maybe it was old by the second or third game in the series, and I just didn't notice because I cared about the characters, and Chief/My Achievements were still impressing me. But the magic's just gone. Halo four tries to capitalize on Cortana and Chief's potential weird Romantic relationship that's based on trust and experience, but it does it in all the wrong ways. (Again, i'll make a comparison to Halo 3 as it's the most relevant Halo game) At the end of Halo 3, the metaphor for Chief's human side and what he's fighting for dies in the form of Srgt. Johnson. This powerful scene was executed brilliantly because of Chief's body language, and Cortana's very digital attempt at comforting Chief in a concept she shouldn't have a clue/care about. Johnson's characteristic one liner drove home the point, and the proceeding fast paced escape scene meant that much more because you felt like you had just experienced an influential time in the protagonist's life. Flash forward to Halo Four.
Halo Four executes cutscenes by not having Chief pointing his gun aggressively, not defensively, not with him saying one line here or there, but by making him the tipsy blond in the room that can't keep up with the conversation. Making the player smarter than the character does not add anything to the experience, especially when the character's intelligence is inconsistent. Drawing impossible conclusions from prompts Cortana feeds him now and then makes no sense after you watch Chief fumble with the concept of authority and courses of actions.Play the ending yourself, decide if you want another Halo.(Regardless, it's on it's way) I should finish on a good note, and that's that I thoroughly enjoy the multiplayer. I'm not that great at online FPS's, but for some reason I find this one to be very easy. It could be the similarities it now holds to the Call of duty series, which has a debatable effect on the originality of it all.… Expand