Halo 4 Reviewers All Glad That The Fight's Not Finished Yet

Players jumped in by the millions to finish the fight in Halo 3, back in 2007. And yet, like many a franchise before it, the one-time trilogy of Halo games finds itself with a new fourth sibling, years later.

This year, the old franchise — Halo first launched in 2001 — found itself in new hands, no longer developed by Bungie but by 343 Studios. Fans wondered (and worried) if a new developer could keep waving the flag, carrying the torch and so on. Reviewers now universally agree: indeed they can.

The most negative review of Halo 4 finds it too much like other Halo games, while the most glowing all praise its devotion to characters and a story that fans have spent over a decade learning to love.  How do the single-player saga of Master Chief and the multiplayer spectacle of Spartans at war fit together?  Read on.


The first 15 minutes of Halo 4 almost fooled me. Taking the fondly familiarized formula of a recently awakened Master Chief under siege and standing it on its ear, the opening moments of 343i's first flight in the captain's chair looked a lot like a revolution. Halo 4 comes out flexing like the Hulkster, showing off a drastically improved lighting engine, a pair of perilous interactive sequences, and a white-knuckle grasp of the elements that made the Xbox family's flagship title what it is today. In fact, Halo 4 looked an awful lot like the future of sci-fi shooters.

But after the thrill of better visuals wore off and the eager anticipation for more non-shooting thrills went mysteriously unfulfilled, I was left with a frustratingly similar Halo experience that other top-tier shooters have long since blasted into the oblivion of dog-tired gaming conventions. And while many of the Forge faithful will breathe a resounding sigh of relief at the sameness of it all, I can't help but wonder if yet another by-the-book romp was what we needed.


The trump card is the same as always: a sense of solidarity in movement and aiming that makes weighty sense of fighting through the bio-enhanced body of a supersoldier. And Halo 4's focus is tightly pulled onto close-quarters encounters, highlighting this kinetic accomplishment. The grand staged battles favoured by the preceding sequels are gone, replaced by tightly mapped fights with small clusters of Prometheans and Covenant; the lessons of Assault On The Control Room have been learnt and are repeatedly put into practice.

Gaming Nexus

We have barely scratched the surface, because the bulk of the Halo 4 experience is the multiplayer component. 343 made it their goal to inject more of the Halo universe into the multiplayer options, and that is exactly what they have done. Everything that has to do with multiple players, be it cooperative or competitive play, is now housed within the confines of the UNSC Infinity, home of the Spartan IV program. Basically, multiplayer is presented as if it is a training program for up and coming Spartan soldiers, which makes perfect sense.

Everything that Halo fans know and love returns in Halo 4 on the multiplayer level. You have matchmaking, endless customisation options, theater and recording options, and a revamped and more accessible Forge mode. On top of these familiar features, there are also a ton of new bells and whistles added to the mix.


343 Industries may be fresh to the series with Halo 4, but this is a studio that clearly worshipped at the altar of Bungie. The feel of the game is virtually identical to past releases in the series. There are improvements to be sure, but it's very surface-level stuff. Things like the in-helmet HUD, which feels more like a head-encasing shell than it ever has before.

The graphics in general are the best so far for the series, to the point that it will now become difficult to go back to playing Reach and its predecessors. Lighting and textures see massive improvements over what's come before. This is offset somewhat by the minimal amount of destruction you can cause, but the abundance of eye candy definitely helps to diminish the sensation of running through a series of static environments.

Official Xbox Magazine

Halo 4 may be a tightly presented package with multiple ways to hook into the series' fiction, but its star attraction is never really in doubt. With its revitalized focus on storytelling, characterization, and choice, the campaign manages to completely modernize the franchise — placing the importance of its tale on the same level as the tech and gameplay that make telling that tale possible. Whether it's Spartan Ops' fun-if-somewhat-thin peek into the battle-weary life of newbie Spartans, the satisfying, emotionally charged campaign, or exploring maps and slaughtering friends in all the War Games variants, this Halo's the first outing that's felt like a cohesive, bona fide experience in far too long.


Chief's alarmed awakening in the Forward Unto Dawn, a ship misplaced and beset by invaders, is at once a perfect remembrance of Halo: Combat Evolved's opening and an ideal showcase of 343's quickened approach. The game waits for you to advance, as most games do, but the rousing music and implied degradation of the environment makes a leisurely pace seem... wrong. Halo 4 is an expert at making you play along with the unfolding spectacle, and makes sure you're never ensnared by it.


There are a few issues to pick out in Halo 4, whether they're to do with the storyline or gameplay. But my experience with Halo 4 was an enjoyable one. The campaign held my interest as I watched Cortana and Master Chief's emotions unfold. Missions were fun. Multiplayer is diverse and just as fast paced and unique a first-person shooter multiplayer experience as I have come to expect from the series. As afraid as you may be of Bungie passing the torch to a new development team to handle a franchise that has the foundation of years of quality behind it, I strongly urge you to keep an open mind for Halo 4, because you just may enjoy it as much as I did.


    I read that entire EGM review yesterday, it was the worst piece of videogame journalism I had read in a while. For the love of god it bashed Halo lack of iron sights. I mean the entire review summed up is that 'Halo needs to be another COD clone'.

      Yeah i read it yesterday and it was as bad as you said. It was clearly a grab at trying to be the lowest score to stand out and get some hits on their website - i am pretty sure it is the lowest score i have seen by far - i think the second lowest score i have seen was 80.

      Also this from the website that apparently gave MW3 a score of 90...

      Last edited 04/11/12 10:59 am

      Yeah, I mean come on, it complained about having to think about a battle before engaging.

        Because you know thinking about strategy before going to attack someone is just a stupid idea

      It was a pretty bad review, but not as bad as the Wall Street Journals Borderlands 2 review...

    yea that was a silly review. Its like he expected/wanted a 'CoD, Battlefield, MoH' type of experience, but he got a Halo experience. The gameplay, combat mechanics and open environments have been a staple of the Halo Franchise, expecting a departure from that is just silly.

    My only problem with Halo is the fans. I am so tired of hearing them argue about the lore (most of which) is from books that are writen with very little regard for the fans and them comparing halo to other games constantly. I have friends who constantly talk trash about every other game as soon as you criticise anything to do with Halo. I like halo the GAME but the other stuff becomes more and more contrived as time goes on. The comments on that egm article are pathetic and cowardly. If people continue to flame honest reviewers the only ones left will be a small group of well paid yes men telling you every thing is the best thing since sliced bread.

    Considering how much Halo has taken from COD and its hold on the community you think a person that far up Activisions ass would be happy with all the changes implemented, but no still cries that there is no ADS.

    Halo has always been an overrated piece of trash. Bar the first game, the series is as generic and shallow as any other FPS. The lore is awful. Just a useless and shallow attempt at making a dried out franchise seem like it has any sort of depth. The gameplay is stale right down to the core, why people keep coming back to this hurr durr colourful alien shooter, is beyond me.

      Fuck off you cod drone.

      Yet Halo set the path for games like CoD and Battlefield..

    He didn't mention cod .... Exactly what I was talking about...

    The only major issues I have always had with Halo is that the human tech was stupidly low end for a game set in the 26th century.

    Really? The UNSC soldiers are STILL USING PUMP ACTION SHOTGUNS?? Assault rifles are as accurate as tommy guns?

    For the average grunt, no personal shields, no active camo.

    We've colonised the stars via slipspace technology but we still drive around in 4wd cars and scooters?

    C'mon! We've got directed energy weapons NOW. Working variants of active camo NOW. High powered and highly accurate small arms NOW.

    A bit of foresight into the the tech of the future would have made continuing the fight, much better...


    LOL. Such a typical Halo fan - never able to accept an alternative opinion. Why? Because you're more than likely yet another loud mouth 14 year old brat.

    FYI, I hate CoD just as much. I'm busy playing big boy games like Dark Souls and it's DLC or Dishonored. Not your precious little super soldier and aliens game that plays like it was specifically designed for children under the age of 16.

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