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HALO 4 (X360)
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With a new developer, an improved engine, and Bungie well in the past, how does 343 Industries get on with their first original Halo game?

Posted by Staff on Nov 19, 2012 14:37 (Nov 19, 2012 14:37)

Written by: Ian
An angelic return?
With a new developer, an improved engine, and Bungie well in the past, how does 343 Industries get on with their first original Halo game? This is a big risk potentially for Microsoft with their mascot. 343 are basically a studio of Halo fans, even if they have been assembled from some of the most talented studios in the world. Can they succeed in this ever-more competitive FPS area with "Halo 4"?
Halo has always had a bit of a ridiculous storyline, with more acronyms and anagrams than you can shake a stick at. The sci-fi nonsense doesn’t stop here though, and I felt that the game does a pretty poor job at trying to entice new fans into the venerable series, despite the opportunities a new trilogy presents to 343 Industries.
Anyway, once you get into the game, which is set 4 years after the events of Halo 3 (at least you don’t really need to know what went down in the previous games too much), all you really need to know is that the Master Chief, Cortana, and the Covenant are back. For those that didn’t care for The Flood, like myself, they are gone, replaced with an all new enemy that will form the focus of the new story arc. Really, I think 343 again could have done better.
Halo 4 screenshot #1
Too much of the game is spent building up to the moment, which means that too much of the game is spent fighting the same old enemies and AI patterns as the previous games. Let’s hope with the next game 343 has the confidence to break out of the mould and really nail it.
Halo games have always had ‘different’ combat, and despite some other aspects drawing on Call of Duty, the core combat remains very different to the majority of shooters. After a few years without a proper Halo game, it was actually quite disconcerting really to have this sense of openness and choice to the combat mechanics. Even the lack of a constant objective marker, someone to follow, or a huge squad around me left me feeling alone, lost, and more than a little scared. But these aren’t bad points- far from it. It meant that Halo felt fresh and new, and each death wasn’t a result of being jipped by the AI or a carefully sequenced event; it was down to my lack of tactical nous and my command of the battlefield.
Halo is also very different in the way it forces you to become proficient with just about any and every weapon. Even on the lower difficultly levels the game can only be described as ‘tight’ with ammo, and on Legendary, it’s just downright mean. You’re constantly forced to pick up the weapons lying around or dropped by dead foes, and conservation is a must. Many times in the campaign I was forced into using melee or having to retreat to a previous checkpoint. This could verge upon tiresome at times, but was never awful.
Halo 4 screenshot #2
You get a good amount of content in the main campaign; the 8 levels doesn’t sound like much, but they’re big, expansive sorts, and even on normal you should get 7-10 hours out of the game, which is as much or more than you can expect from a modern shooter. You get all the traditional gameplay you like, with a mix of corridor and open shooting, tank or vehicle gameplay, chases and escapes. There’s also new enemies and weapons in the mix, so no-one can really complain about the value proposition, especially when you check out the multiplayer component.
The one downside with the game is that disc 2 is an install rather than another disc- so you do need plenty of space available to enjoy the full game- 4GB owners beware.
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