The Ninjabot

HALO 4 Review

Posted on November 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

I won’t beat around the bush here, my Halo 4 review is going to be singing endless praises on this game. From the breathtaking set pieces to the emotional story, Halo 4 has something for everyone. Whether you are a first time player, or a longtime fan you will be extremely happy with what you see.

Halo 4 takes place four years after the conclusion of Halo 3. Master Chief has spent that time in cryo-sleep and is the only living being on the ship, Forward Unto Dawn. Cortana, Master Chief’s AI (artificial intelligence) companion, has spent that time alone, dwelling on her own thoughts. We are treated to an opening cinematic which shows Dr. Halsey, the creator of the Spartans, being interrogated and questioned about Master Chief, which I assume is meant to set up the new Halo trilogy. The cut-scenes in Halo 4 are amazing, and the characters in them look better than anything we’ve seen in a video game before. Cortana then wakes up Master Chief as Forward Unto Dawn is attacked by the Covenant. You quickly learn that things have changed during your sleep as you are once again battling the Covenant. Your ship and the Covenant fleet are sucked into a gravity well, and you find yourself on the planet Requiem, where you will spend the remainder of the campaign. Requiem is home to the Forerunners, the ancient race responsible for building the Halo rings. Here you will be introduced to new weapons, new enemies, and even a new vehicle.

Halo 4 Review: Foreign Yet Familiar

Promethean Knight

The beauty of Halo 4 is that you are introduced to a whole new race of villains the Prometheans, a cybernetic offshoot of the Forerunners led by the evil Didact. They bring a whole host of new weaponry, but while they are visually different, they feel and shoot like the weapons you have been using in the past games. Graphically Halo 4 has no challenger on the 360. Every frame is beautiful, and I found myself stopping to take in the scenery several times during the game. The first time you see the Forerunner towers in the valley is awe inspiring; you will be amazed at how polished this game is. This transfers over to the new Prometheus enemy models, and the teleporting Knights in particular will draw your eye and ire. The cut-scenes are well done as well, and the voice acting and animation are top notch.

In a nice switch of roles, Halo 4 is more Cortana’s story than Master Chief’s. AIs are only meant to last seven years, and she has been in commission for eight. She has developed Rampancy, which means she is literally thinking herself to death. Master Chief devises a plan to get Cortana to Dr. Halsey so she can be cured. There are several times in the game where Cortana loses her cool, but it is great to see the care and genuine feelings that Master Chief has for her. He is extremely protective of her and will stop at nothing to help her, even if that means disobeying a direct order.

If you watched the web-series Forward Unto Dawn, you will be delighted to know that Recruit Lasky is featured in the game as the Executive Officer of the UNSC Infiniti. The Infiniti is your ride off this rock and brings with it a great addition to the Halo vehicles—the Mantis. The Mantis is an exo-suit (in the vein of Avatar) that features a machine gun, missile launcher, and the ability to step on your foes. I can see many multi-player games revolving around battling in these mechs. That’s another great thing about Halo 4—just when you get tired of running and gunning, they throw in a vehicle level and a flying level so it never feels stale. But don’t worry, there is plenty of running and gunning to be had.

The Mantis

The controls have always been a hallmark of the series, and Halo 4 has the tightest controls to date. Extremely responsive with the same button configurations from the previous entries, I’m a “Boxer” man myself. You are going to need those tight controls when you run into a pack of Prometheans that features a Knight that can teleport, a Watcher who heals and protects the Knight by tossing your grenades back at you, and several dog looking Crawlers who can only be killed with a head shot. This is a very common pack in the game, and eventually you will become very efficient at eliminating them. Halo 4 features the smartest enemies I’ve seen in a game as they’re able to coordinate their attacks and use power-ups to avoid being easy kills, even when you’re on easy mode. On Legendary, this game is brutal, and you’ll find your heart racing each time you live to another checkpoint.

343 Industries has done the impossible—they took a franchise from a beloved studio and improved it on every level. The graphics are amazing, the enemies are great, the story is terrific, and the set up for the next two games of the trilogy is masterfully set up.

Snackbar’s Grade: 10/10 

Pros – Great graphics, excellent story, diverse levels, Intuitive AI

Cons – Some of the hit 3 switches quests can get tiring

You can follow Snackbar on Twitter @Snackie_Cakes

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