If it's crap ... We'll tell you
So, I just beat it... I'm not sure how to feel. The ending is quite sad(I won't say more for now, but I hope we can discuss it later)... and the gameplay was the same as it's always been.
However, I got just what I wanted from a Halo game. That epic sci-fi power fantasy, one super soldier out to beat ass, and big ass space ships. This time around it felt more cinematic, they certainly took some cues from from the Modern Warfare series.
Some of the quick time(kinda, don't worry, you can take a sec and not die) were interesting, added a little to the feeling of being inside the helmet. However, they were oddly spaced. I think it only comes up about 4 times.
As for the music? Yeah, that's a let down. The new composer is far from O'Donnell. I can name several spots where Star Wars was invoked wholesale. It's a shame, the score was always one of my favorite parts.
I felt one of the Human characters was... well, horribly unrealistic. The Captain of Infinity to be precise. I can't imagine anyone reacting that way to humanity's greatest hero, especially after finding out he's alive after 4 years of presumed death.
But now I'm off to find out how multiplayer has held up. I hear firefight is gone, which means I gotta take some points off.
When I get back, I hope to hear yall's thoughts.
Didn't the whole thing just seem pointless to you? When you were playing it did you feel the same way you felt playing the first few Halo games. To be honest I can't remember most of the story and that tells me most about how the game left an impact on me.
Ehh, I've read all the novels religiously, so I guess I'm more invested. I found the story pretty moving myself, and(spoilers) was really out to save Cortana.
Edit: But I can see how they should included a lot of that in the actual story of the game, and as Jeff said, shouldn't be hidden in the EU.
Gameplay is pretty much exactly the same, but that's how I like it. Though, I went back and played Halo 3... yeah, they needed that sprint button for years now.
Will anything ever catch how I felt the first time I played Halo: Combat Evolved? Oh hell no.
I loved the more personal story they were telling in this game, having some different insights on these character was a nice change of pace. I loved in particularly getting more in depth with just how screwed Chief is. And having a story that can connect with me emotionally is always nice. As far as my complaints go I'd probably go with the villain, he's very over the top. I get they are just setting up a trilogy and they need a Big Bad. Idk he just seemed a little too cartoon-ie. Last thing This is a little boyish, but goddam Cortana is hot.
However It is just ANOTHER Halo game, but I'm okay with that. Solid Gameplay, I just need some bigger set pieces which is something all Halo games have kind of lacked in.
I have to disagree with you about the music. It may not be as good as O'Donnell's original stuff, but I felt like it was very solid. It had some nice quieter moments and then some epic ones with some really great moments especially towards the end. I hate how everybody compares score to Star Wars lol. No one will be John Williams.
The Captain of the Infinity was a little over the top, but thats the point so we can like the second in command guy more.
I'm going to be that guy and say that I really dug this game. Is it my favorite game of the year? Nope. Is it the best in the series? Not in every aspect. However, I think it is a solid entry in the series and distinct enough to really be the start for a potentially fun series. Just a breakdown:
Story- As far as writing goes, this is the best written of the whole series. Not that it was flawless though. The villain plot kind of lost steam at points only because the villain was not a terribly compelling character. The side characters were fine overall, but they could have used a bit more flair to make them as likable as Sergeant Johnson or The Arbiter. And I will agree the way they handled the Captain of the Infinity was stupid for not giving him a believable or rational reason to distrust the Chief.
What made the story work so well, however, was its focus on developing the leads. Like any good story, a grand plot has to be elevated by the character arcs that support it. Master Chief and Cortana have been good leads before, but this added a new layer to the series' storytelling. Master Chief evolved so much as a character in this game. Just having him actually hesitate to do something for once was a huge step. The whole sociopathic element was a great introduction too, as it gave a compelling "why" for the Chief's behavior that had only been hinted at in the novels (which are actually really good). And Cortana is still the charming character she has always been. Even if they shed some of her entertaining snark, they made her much more of a human character by giving her some frailty. I sensed the series would eventually explore the pseudo romantic element to the Chief and Cortana's relationship and man did they deliver better than I expected, especially in the ending. That right there is something the rest of the series could never match.
Graphics- :O That is how I was when I saw the game in motion. The new art design bothered me at first in the E3 demo, but seeing it in play was a completely new experience. Smooth animation, improved character models, stunning cinematics, solid framerate and some truly expansive settings. Best technical graphics of 2012!
Sound- High quality like always. The usual bangs, booms, zooms and clicks that the series has worked with are all back and better than before.
Voice Acting- Even if few people got to shine outside of Chief and Cortana, the ensemble gave their best for what little they were given. Steve Downes and Jennifer Taylor gave their career best work as the leads though, so it is really hard to beat that.
Level Design- I will confess that this is not a strong point. The artistic design was stunning, but the levels were not terribly complex or intricate. It's mostly standard Halo with a few alterations. Not a bad thing, but they could have done a lot more.
Controls/Weapons/Vehicles- I thought the weapons were all expertly balanced and the controls were as Halo as it can get (which is good, but distinct from other shooters). The Mantis walker is a great new addition, but everything else is what you expect. Nothing to change the wheel. It's Halo.
Music- I am divided here. On the one hand, I agree it is not as iconic as the rest of the series score. They didn't even have the march from the previous series. I did miss the brass and heavy rhythm of the early scores, as it kind of made the action in this game not as intense. However, it is definitely a lot more intimate and emotive a score than most of the series. Like the story, the score seems to downplay the grandiose elements to create a more low key tune for the more personal character drama. It loses some of the flair, but still retains some emotional power.
Multiplayer-.....honestly, I am that guy who plays this for the single player (I know, shock). I have no gripes with the multiplayer because it is an overall solid multiplayer, but I personally don't enjoy playing multiplayer. So it's hard to give a fair judgment here.
OVERALL- It's hard to say if Halo 4 is the series' best (I still personally lean towards Halo 2 in spite of its completely turd cliffhanger), but it is a great evolution for the series. I had a good time playing it and felt that the payoff was worth the time I invested. I really respect 343's desire to distinguish this series as its own and hope they continue to develop that. If they take the legitimate feed back (not the simplistic "this game sucks donkey balls" rants) towards gameplay and apply it for Halo 5, things really could pick up even more. As it is, Halo 4 is a totally solid if not revolutionary shooter.
I haven't played Halo 2 through Reach so I don't have the knowledge of what went on in those games. The story was pretty satisfactory to me. While I got the impression that the frame was almost too close to the first games story frame (the one I did play0 with the inclusion of a major singular villain, the actual details in it were hooking me in. The Master Chief-Cortana dynamic was compelling me and I will admit I did feel sad at the end for both of them.
However, Halo introduced some characters that I wanted to see more of. I know it's probably somewhere in a Halo book, but I'm talking from purely playing this game. When they introduced Halsey in the intro, I was suspecting something was linking her with this new threat or that she'll prove a great complication with Chief and Cortana as they try to repair the later or Master Chief's humanity would be tested by her. Then the Didact...I really did feel that the villain, while a concept I found interesting, didn't have a personality that I would even remember after I put the controller down. The only thing I can even remember now is his face; there wasn't much substance to him.
Multiplayer I found addicting and I don't mind the Call of Duty-esque award systems/loadouts they're doing because that is one thing of the Call of Duty multiplayer I like.
Btw, was I the only one that felt like they seen Captain Del Rio before? It's a digital character, but the actual facial/body appearances remind me of some actor or figure I remember; I kept going back to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Ehh... I think I was so busy trying to get over his bad characterization, I don't remember anything else about him.
Need to put that game in...