If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Are you ready to kill hordes of aliens without breaking a sweat? Are you ready to … never mind there are so few things actually HAPPENING in this game all I can talk about is killing aliens. This is Halo 4… or 3? …5 I don’t know they all blend together.
That all may sound overly negative but in reality I quite enjoy many aspects of the Halo franchise. I think that the environments are interesting, I always liked the setting and I enjoy the over arching story. Now, I want you all to keep in mind that I’m also not an apologist or a hater. My personal favorite Halo games have been the ones that feature protagonists other than Master Chief. So now that you know a little about my standings I can get to the review. I will talk about the multiplayer first, then the story, then a brief statement about the fandom. Ready?
(I dig the new character models.)
We have to face facts, if they removed the multiplayer from the Halo franchise, it might make the story longer, better, more intense, and an all around better experience that even the most hard hearted gipsters (Gaming Hipsters) could appreciate. But in doing so the games would lose two thirds of the more troglodyte-like players. People who think anything more than face a direction and push a couple buttons is just too complex and “not good brah.” So in keeping with this money grabbing method Halo 4 basically ported their multiplayer from Halo Reach, with a few minor tweaks, over to Halo 4. One thing I have to say is, I am really not a hater. I think Halo’s multiplayer is really fun. Its fast paced, short matches are really awesome for when you only have fifteen minutes to kill, and the longer matches can keep you entertained for … well, longer. The controls are simple enough a young child with cerebral palsy could become an expert, and you never
have to worry about running out of bullets because chances are you’ll die long before you get the chance. All that is well and good but there is something that has been nagging at the back of my mind almost every time I played it. This just isn’t quite as fun as Halo Reach. I can’t really formulate what it is. I wish I could because maybe then I could get over it and enjoy it to its full potential, but I can’t. Just something about it isn’t quite as good. It’s close, very very close. Just not quite there.
(New enemies with dark secrets.)
They also added a pseudo story mode to the online matchups. You can take your Spartan that you have built and do missions either alone or co-op that have real and actual objectives. I say it’s a pseudo story mode because it’s a lot like the story modes in those games built to be multiplayer from the ground up. Your Unreal Tournaments, or your Quakes. Its basically just get from point A to point B and blow up everything in between. Not terribly deep, but fun. One of my main problems with the gameplay as a whole is that it needs to evolve. When the first game came out, its controls where so tight and had such a great feel you couldn’t help but love them. Now, though, the controls feel downright clunky at times. They play so similarly to every other Halo game they are all interchangeable. All they have really done is add more diversity to the controls. In my mind they require streamlining. Also for the LOVE OF GOD OR WHOEVER, LET ME AIM DOWN THE
FRIGGEN SIGHTS. Not only is this an emersion issue, it’s also a gameplay one. I don’t know if its lazy design or artistic choice, but I find it hard to believe even Master Chief is this good at shooting from the hip. You get the feeling like your wasting ammo. Some guns allow you to aim threw scopes but that’s not the same. Every shooter has done this, and if they didn’t they would get marks off for it. Why is Halo the only one that gets away with it? Just as a final thought, an example if you will--Borderlands 2 is another very straight forward, easy to use shooter. Its controls are light years ahead of this. Why hasn’t Halo been held to the same standard required by the rest of the genre?
(One thing missing from previous Halo games? GIANT MECH SUITS!)
This is where Halo 4 falls short. The story once again is overly simplified, which I can deal with, but the biggest sin of all is how SHORT it is, SHORT SHORT SHORT!!! There is no reason whatsoever for ANYONE to pay sixty dollars for a game to be able to beat the entirety of the story in two days. And that’s taking brakes. I know the games have always been kind of short, but Halo Reach was longer than this, so was Halo 2, Halo Combat Evolved, and Halo ODST. The only one that I beat quicker was Halo 3. Don’t be an apologist and say “turn up the difficulty, the more you die the longer it takes.” That’s a huge cop out; you shouldn’t have to die every five seconds in order to stretch the narrative out to a decent length. That’s one of the worst arguments I have ever heard to defend the length of these games. “Well what about the multiplayer? The amount of hours your dump into that should more than make up the difference.” Ohh I’m sorry,
you’re right, I should just be satisfied with a story I can beat in one lazy Sunday because I can then go get yelled at online by teenagers because I happened to have my back turned at the wrong moment. No, it’s unacceptable. Halo has a lot of potential and this was a fresh start for the franchise, they really could have done a lot with it. Instead they took what could have been an amazing sci-fi shooter and used the same tired formula, mixed it up with bits and pieces of some legitimately neat stuff, then got bored and just filled in the blanks while they programmed the multiplayer maps.
(The game really builds on the characters of Master Chief and Cortana.)
All that being said the story is a step up from Halo 2, and Halo 3. It’s not only paced better, but also has more variety. Each level brings a new and cool environment. Each level also is pretty much guaranteed to have a really spiffy set piece designed to keep you in awe of this robust universe. I sense some of you may have scoffed at those last two words. But I feel it’s true. The Halo franchise has a fully realized, believable science fiction universe, complete with various aliens that TRULY look and behave alien, beautiful space scenery, and planet hopping. No sci-fi is without its flaws. You could spend all day blasting galaxy size holes in almost any sci-fi. Star Wars and Star Trek included. As a matter of fact Star Wars when you break it down isn’t all THAT complex a story either. Neither is Star Trek, no sci-fi story no matter how good can escape that by their very nature they are implausible and silly at times. This Halo story is one of
the better ones told. I wasn’t disappointed so much in the content but instead its length. Is it truly that bad to want more of the game? Are you listening out there 343 Studios?
(About to mess some stuff up.)
I think Halo is a hot button issue in gaming. You either are for it or against it. Like anything political you have the two crazy sides. One claiming it is the end all be all past present and future of gaming. Nothing will ever come close. Those people are crazy. Then you have those who loathe it with a passion. They claim it’s bringing down the gaming community as a whole. Its simplicity has acted like a vacuum of stupidity bringing every game that’s even remotely related in theme or gameplay with it. Those people are also crazy. Then you have moderates who see the game for what it is. It’s just fun, it’s not as chest-beatingly manly as Gears of War, or as manufactured as Call of Duty. It’s just a fun game built within a fun universe that has crossed boundaries within the gaming community. Is it simple? Yes I have said that this whole time. Does it have its dumb parts? Absolutely, just as any sci-fi does. I can totally see why some people
don’t like it. Hell, I went through a gipster phase where I thought it was awful. I came out the other side though and saw it for what it was. It’s just fun. No need to hate it based solely on its appeal with Bros. You hate them, I get it, I do too. EVERYONE EXCEPT OTHER BROS HATE BROS! That’s no reason to condemn these games. If you truly don’t like it that’s fine, I do.
Anyway, my rating.
I give the game 3 out of 5. Mind you that still means I like it better than half the stuff out there.
For the short story, and lack of originality in framing the story I have to take off a lot of points. Maybe if you play multiplayer a whole lot then you can justify paying sixty dollars. I on the other hand cannot. Wait for the price to drop to about thirty five or so.
Written by: Kevin Mason (AKA: LempiElinika, btw also my x-box gamertag.)
Edited by: Sarah Lawhorne