Was Halo 4 worth the wait?

Cover art for Halo 4 by 343 Industries

By Alok Ganguly
Staff Writer

On November 6, 2012, the same day as the election, Halo 4 was released. Halo 4 was a game developed by 343 industries, which is an Xbox 360 exclusive. Its predecessors had made a great name in the world of gaming, and Halo 4 is the next game in the series. The question is, does it live up to the other games in the series?

Halo 4 has many different ways to play. There is a campaign, or story mode, a cooperative multiplayer called Spartan Ops, and a competitive multiplayer mode with four different branches.

The main campaign or story marks the first part of a new trilogy of Halo games known as the Reclaimer Trilogy. The main characters of the previous games, Master Chief and Cortana, his Artificial Intelligence (AI), awake four years after the events of Halo 3 in orbit around a strange planet. This planet is later known as Requiem, and was built by an extinct alien race known as the Forerunners. Master Chief and Cortana want to get off of the planet, and get back to Earth. Unfortunately, Cortana informs the Chief that her lifetime as an AI is coming to a close, and she continually has emotional breakdowns and is unable to control herself.

This emotional level adds a great aspect to the story, and the story is entertaining for both newcomers and returning fans to the series. This complicated story may be difficult to understand for some people however, and without the story, the game’s campaign is pointless. I give it a 9/10.

Spartan Ops is a cooperative multiplayer game mode which has its own story. This story takes place six months after the events of the Halo 4 campaign, and it is a great way to take down aliens with your friends. Each chapter of Spartan Ops has five episodes. 343 has said that every week, a new episode is going to be released for download on Xbox Live for free. This way of releasing downloadable content is very ambitious, but works well, as the missions are entertaining, and since they have their own characters, this provides an entertaining story that also hooks gamers. The only downside to this is that in order to add in this gamemode, 343 took out a previous mode, Firefight, where the player would try and survive endless waves of oncoming enemies. I rate this 8/10.

The competitive multiplayer has four sections. The normal multiplayer, online with gamers from around the world, is as fluid as always. There are several additions to the multiplayer, including a default sprinting ability, custom loadouts, armor skins, new game modes, new weapons, and all new maps.

Another aspect of multiplayer, unique to the Halo series, is the Forge mode. In Forge, players can load up their favorite maps, and customize them by adding new structures, and can add new sections all together. This is a great way for gamers to show creativity in their community by creating new maps and game types for their friends and others to play on. Forging has been smoothened, with magnets being added, making it easier for structures to fit perfectly together.

A third part of multiplayer is theatre mode, where players can review their own gameplay to find good streaks of playing, or even make movies using the game. Theatre has been cleaned up, and the recording of clips is a much smoother process than is previous Halo games.

The multiplayer is very flushed out, and several new things have been added. Some multiplayer game types which have been removed will be missed, such as Invasion, in which one team has to advance to captures the other’s territory. However, the new filler is a great replacement. I also rate the multiplayer 9/10.

Now onto the technical aspects of Halo 4. Each and every sound, from the noises of the aliens to the sound of weapon fire, has been completely redone and is absolutely amazing. Even simple sounds, like the grunting of the player as they are running, and the clang of the armor against the ground is done very well, and adds an atmosphere to the game, immersing the player in the experience. Even in space or zero gravity environments, the sound is muffled to add the illusion of being in space. The sounds for the guns are spectacular, and each one sounds different from the rest, making everything unique. The technical components of the game garner a 10/10 rating.

The graphics in Halo 4 are amazing as well, as expected. The lighting especially is beautiful, and dynamic shadows are applied everywhere, from player-forged maps in bright areas to the dark scenes of the campaign. During cinematic cutscenes, it was very difficult to tell whether the humans depicted were real live actors or Computer Generated Images (CGI). Each of the new aliens and new particle affects when killing specific creatures are all redone, and each alien looks scarily realistic. The specs are 10/10.

So now we come back to the eternal question: Is Halo 4 worth buying? Does it live up to it’s predecessors? The answer is yes on both counts. Halo 4 is an amazing game. It may even be the best Halo yet, and possibly the Game of the Year for 2012. Halo 4 is being given an A+ by me, and I would recommend that any gamer who is into science fiction or great, flush multiplayer to buy the game as soon as possible, and maybe even get one for a friend to play with them.