Halo 4 has finally come out and after getting rave reviews (9’s and 10’s across the board) everyone is doing 2 things:
- How is the game play and graphics?
- Should I get this or Call of Duty: Black Ops 2?
After playing through the entire campaign (Wow this game series actually has a storyline!) and getting acclimated to the new Promethean weapons, as well as the upgraded UNSC weapons (shotgun and DMR = SEXY) I was ready to jump into the online multiplayer. Now for this review I will do it piece by piece, just to make it easier… and honestly in case all you give a damn about is how the multiplayer is then you can just scroll to the bottom and be done with it. Halo 4 which was given to 343 Industries after Bungie separated from Microsoft and I have to say… damn 343 Industries didn’t just nail it, they obliterated it.
The graphics have been upgraded to a point where we haven’t seen a straight shooter game be. The Covenant are much more detailed from Grunts to Elites, they look less cartoonish and more realistic. Like a real species you would expect to see. The environment and inside of ships have been detailed and are vastly improved over Halo: Reach. Hell even Cortana was made hot. Just the simple things in Halo 4 make the biggest impacts to me at least. Take the shotgun for example, it has always looked relatively simple, but now the shotgun is just badass looking. You feel like you’re holding raw power in your hand when you grab the boomstick. The Covenant weapons are upgraded and look much better as well, and Promethean weapons are truly awesome to look at, wield and fire. Graphics really make this game even better.
This game series has always been on the high end of in-game music. The symphonic scores have been a staple and continue so through Halo 4. The music always plays itself to the situation and truly creates the atmosphere for your emotions. It captures the right moments to change your feel. When you are getting ready to run into the Promethean Knights for the first time, it keeps a creepy and metallic subtle sound. It gives you a small chill and keeps you on the edge. While the Promethean fighters are no creepier or weirder than the Covenant, the music just gives you an uncomfortable feeling… like it’s about to hit the fan… and then it does and you get an adrenaline rush. The music is absolutely wonderful has it has been since the Halo series began.
Weapons & Combat
All weapons across the board have been upgraded both in look and in style. The DMR and Battle Rifle both have strengths and weaknesses and both are truly awesome looking. The Covenant has done away with the Plasma Rifle in favor of the Storm Rifle, which is basically the Covenant version of the UNSC Assault Rifle. The Promethean weapons are powerful and fun. The Promethean DMR, called the Lightrifle is phenomenal and to me personally, the best gun in the game. The UNSC apparently added in the SAW just in case you wanted the Assault Rifle with triple the ammo and twice the balls. The Covenant sniper, the Beam Rifle, is finally a worthwhile weapon that isn’t something you pass by and think… uhhhhh id rather have my human sniper with 1 shot left than that fully stocked crap Covenant sniper.
Here we go, here is what you want to know isn’t it? The meat of any shooter lives online these days and Halo 4 doesn’t disappoint. Infinity Slayer and the reinvigorated Big Team Infinity Slayer are absolutely addictive. Instead of choosing your load out with a distinct power (hologram, jet pack, sprint, etc.) you set your own load outs. Everyone can sprint (Thank God) and you can change up your weapons, powers, attributes, armor upgrades, weapon upgrades and more between 4 different weapon load outs. Weapons are relatively scarce, but the did this in favor of ordinance drops that allow you to turn the tide of battle simply and effectively. Power weapons become more useful because they do not respawn in the way players have been used to in previous titles.
More than anything else though, the field seems more even. Vehicles are more prevalent, teamwork is important (Why I am not a CoD fan) and knowing your weapon and your strategy is key. Instead of playing to 50 kills, you now play to point totals (a good steal from CoD) of 600 in Infinity Slayer and 1000 in Big Team Infinity Slayer.
The armor upgrades are better and don’t use the credit system that personally, annoyed me. Now you just have to get certain titles (ex: Master – Splatter) to achieve the different armor styles. Everything is much more customizable and allows you to feel like your Spartan online, is truly yours.
The game is very well made. Graphically speaking it is above and beyond. The gameplay is solid and weapons, targeting, grenades and everything is better than the previous titles. The game feels upgraded, you immediately feel more power and more like you play the game instead of the game playing you. The storyline is a beginning of a new triology that has been dubbed the “Reclaimer Series.” Yes, that means there will be 2 more Halo games coming in the next few years and probably Halo 5 rolling onto new systems in 2014 or so.
The online is fantastic. It is a definite upgrade from Halo: Reach and offers more to players to make their Spartan as I said, more customizable. Allowing players to create as they want is important these days and by taking some of the good points from Call of Duty, they upgraded their already well done multiplayer.
In the end, this is the premier game to play online. With more maps and more upgrades set to come throughout the next few months there will be plenty to play. As far as I am concerned this episode of the series is by far the best and gave me everything I’ve looked for. Microsoft and 343 Industries nailed it and is making me remember why I loved this franchise in the first place.
Overall Grade: A-
My Gamertag: shawneffect