Halo 4 has been the highest anticipated game of the year for most, including me. We’ve been excited but also full of anticipation – taking over from creators, Bungie, 343 Industries had to step up to the mark and create a first class game with true Halo elements for fans and brand new modern multiplayer and singleplayer elements for first timers. And it has – Halo 4 comes with its own unique twists and additions without subtracting from Halo’s amazingly grounded gameplay.
First and foremost the gameplay. Everyone who has ever played a Halo game knows the format: A selection of guns, grenades, enemies, vehicles and backdrops for intense non-scripted firefights. Halo 4 doesn’t radically change this – however as 343 promised to delve a little deeper into the characters we now are presented with small cut-scene like action scenarios. These vary from jumping across falling ship-parts to holding down buttons in cut-scene combat. These aren’t radical enough to upset the hardened fans but definitely help the player feel more involved in the plot of the story. The new Forerunner enemies are a fantastic new addition to the story and really set a huge contrast to the Covenant and Flood that we’ve already seen. 343 have once again included a brand new enemy like other Halo games have before done so well like the Brutes in Halo 2 or the Skirmishers in Halo: Reach. New enemies means brand new weapons which are nothing but fun, I mean if its called an “Incineration Cannon” can you see yourself getting tired of it?
Halo 4 continues that step up in graphics ever since Halo 3 and really does look fantastic. The graphics engine really gets its teeth into the new Forerunner backdrops with their pulsing orange lights and steely colours. Each multiplayer map and campaign level looks stunning and creates a feel of a fresh new and exciting game. And of course it goes without saying the first time you fire every gun in this game a little part of you will grin – gun sounds are just as memorable as before if not more so! Continuing on an audio theme Halo 4′s new soundtrack is written by Neil Davidge, another new addition to the Halo franchise; he adds his own twists onto traditional scores without taking away from our favourite Halo motifs – so you’ll still find yourself humming along to certain parts.
Halo’s multiplayer has always been one of the biggest attractions for many gamers with the franchise; with Halo 4 343 have made some big changes. Each player has the choice to create different loadouts with differing weapons and perks; armour customisation has also remained from Halo: Reach with great new armour types and visor colours. The great new creation from 343 is the inclusion of Spartan Ops – a new storyline that runs alongside the main campaign. With new episodes being released every week in addition with short cinematic scenes this a great, new and fun way to stay plugged into the world of Halo 4.
To be honest there isn’t much to complain about. Some might say that the new Forerunner “Knights” are too powerful and others might say that the storyline is somewhat hard to follow. However I personally found them a pleasant change interspersed within Covenant forces; furthermore the storyline is based upon the novels behind Halo – therefore anyone with a complaint just needs to study up! I know intend to.
343 have told us that this is the first of more in the Halo series and all I can do is hope that its true. Halo 4 is a truly brilliant game with everything that a hardcore Halo fan could want. Not only is the gameplay, graphics and cinematics all absolutely top notch but there is finally an in-depth storyline for players to finally sink their teeth into. Players finally get to, metaphorically, see the man behind the helmet (we’re still hoping for that face) and delve deeper into the Masterchief’s relationship with Cortana. Truly a game worth buying and one that’ll take many many hours of my life from me.