15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
The Return of Halo,
This review is from: Halo 4 - Xbox 360 (Standard Game) (Video Game)
When Halo 4 was first announced, I was both hopeful and skeptical. Halo has been my favorite video game franchise for a long time, but after being somewhat disappointed in Reach (particularly the multiplayer component) and with a new developer studio taking over the reigns, I wasn't getting my hopes up. The massive amount of media leading up to its release, though, made me buy it, and my skepticism has been washed away. The following review is divided into sections based on gameplay type:
As stated by some other reviewers, the Halo 4 campaign is possibly the best Halo campaign to date. 343 has done an incredible job creating dynamic and interesting levels with lots of variety in vehicles, weapons and environments. As with all aspects of the game, the graphics, coloring and mechanics are very refined. The voice acting and cinematic scenes are superb. However, the most striking thing about the Halo 4 campaign to me is that it has the best story of any FPS campaign I've played since Halo: CE. It is exciting, gut-wrenching and intriguing. Combine this with the improvements in gameplay mechanics and level construction that have taken place since Halo: CE, and you have a masterpiece.
The only thing I can think of to say in terms of campaign improvement was that more could have been done to explain the halo universe history necessary to get a good picture of what is going on at a couple points in the campaign itself.
Replay value: 3.5/5
Multiplayer (Spartan Wars):
Spartan Wars is 343's term for competitive multiplayer, as opposed to cooperative (more on that in a sec). Although I've only played a few hours of multiplayer to this point, the system seems extremely refined. More than anything, it just feels like playing Halo again, a feeling that (for me, at least) Reach did not really deliver. Although elements that might be considered non-traditional in Halo are included - such as sprinting, customizable loadouts and a number of new armor abilities - it all works. The core aspects of the multiplayer experience that make it Halo are all there, and it feels terrific. Sound quality and graphics are once again excellent, and the maps (at least those I have played so far) are very well-built.
There's really not much to be said here. So far I have yet to find anything that strikes me as really needing improvement in Halo 4's multiplayer, which is an achievement no FPS has managed for many years. If anything, perhaps more playlists that preserve the traditional Halo style of everyone starting with the same weapons, etc, or even some classic playlists with no armor abilities/specializations would be nice (just for when that's what you feel like playing).
Replay value: 5/5
Competitive aspect: 4/5 (due to few options for "retro-Halo" playlists)
Maps: 4.5/5 (within each playlist there don't seem to be that many options, at least at this point in time)
Multiplayer (Spartan Ops)
Spartan Ops is 343's episodic, cooperative series of campaign-style missions that are going to be periodically released over the next ten weeks. I've played a few missions solo, but you can tell that they really are intended to be played by cooperative teams of 2-4 people in terms of layout and the enemies you are facing. The additional content is great, and the missions so far are decent fun.
The missions for Spartan Ops (so far) seem to be more like Firefight mode from previous Halo titles and less like full-on campaign missions with an overarching storyline. I was hoping for more advancement of events in the Halo universe through these chapters, but perhaps that will come in some later episodes. Also, the play areas seem to be based heavily off of play areas that you also see in the single-player campaign. Not identical, but very similar in layout and graphical appearance. It would be nice to see some completely novel areas in at least some missions going forward.
Gameplay: 4/5 (Firefight with added objectives)
Replay value: 5/5 (new content being constantly released for the next few months)
I haven't actually had the chance to play around with Forge yet, but based on the media and demo information released ahead of time, it seems that Halo 4's Forge promises to be everything that Reach Forge was and more. Of particular note, I am ecstatic about several new features in H4 Forge, particularly the copy/paste function and MAGNET POINTS FOR SNAPPING PIECES TOGETHER (Thank you 343!!!!). Since I haven't actually used it yet, though, I won't include numerical ratings on its features yet.
Fantastic game, one of the best FPS games I've ever played with perhaps the best campaign of any FPS to date and extremely good online multiplayer options.
Would I recommend this game to a friend: ABSOLUTELY YES