Halo 4 takes place 4 years after Halo 3. Master Chief has been in state of stasis and is reawakened by Cortana when his vessel is bombarded. Uh oh, looks like the Covenant is at it again, but with the alliance of the Didact: a forerunner. He’s seeking the power of his brethren in order to destroy the human race. While interesting, the plot is hard to follow because they integrate a lot of points from the expanded novel universe. Without this knowledge, the story is like an M&M shell without the chocolate inside.
But what matters most about Halo is the gameplay, which remains mostly unchanged. Master Chief can now equip mods to his armor like the Spartans in Halo Reach like a jet pack or a cloaking shield. The weapons remain the same, offering a plethora of human and convent weapons along with some new weapons from the Didact’s golems. Nothing groundbreaking, but it’s solid. The multiplayer mixes everything from the past games with a more traditional Call of Duty style, offering weapons and upgrades via leveling up. It feels more robust than past games. Plus, if you like, there are CO-OP missions called Spartan Ops. If you want a game with a great campaign and multiplayer options than Halo 4 will keep your XBOX 360 busy for months.
When I first booted up Halo 4 I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Is this really the XBOX 360? The graphics are amazing, pushing the very limit of the machine. The design feels like a heavy mix of Metroid Prime and Tron. The music is top notch again and the voices, well, they do their job. As I said the story is a little lost up its own ass, but it’s got a good vibe. And in terms of performance, I had little trouble except for a few checkpoint and visual glitches far and few between.
The new team behind Halo 4, 343 Industries, had a big void to fill. They didn’t create the most original incarnation of the next Halo trilogy, but it was still great. It just didn’t take any risks. But with excellent controls, stunning visuals, and a robust multiplayer there’s not much to fault here. Hands down this is the best XBOX 360 exclusive this year.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on December 6, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.