Game Review: Halo 4

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Genre

FPS (First Person Shooter)

Platform

Xbox 360

Story

Spartan John-117, known to most as “Master Chief” is a “Spartan-II” soldier, enhanced with chemicals and mechanical upgrades, and a suit of armor that costs as much as a star destroyer, has been through some hard times. After the last war with an alien race called The Covenant (think alien Taliban), Master Chief was adrift in space, with only his AI companion Cortana for company as he slipped into a cryogenic tube.

However, Master Chief is in for a rude awakening. His ship has been sucked in by an artificial alien planet, the local defenses are all hostile, and worst of all, he may have just woken something up. With Cortana malfunctioning and nearing the end of her lifespan, and a new breed of alien threat coming to kill him and everyone he ever cared for, he’s in worse trouble than usual.

Gameplay/Mechanics

It’s a standard first person shooter. It’s Halo, practically the first-person shooter. There are three types of grenades that can be thrown, different upgrades to Master Chief’s armor that can be installed (from camouflage to enhanced shields) to different sorts of guns. Along the way, Master Chief goes though dog fighting combat in the air, to fighters in space, including one segment that looks a lot like attacking the death star.

Music/Graphics

The graphics and attention to detail is stunning. It is a beautiful, beautiful game. The music isn’t quite as epic as the original, but it carries the game along nicely. The soundtrack might still be something I might want to buy. The music is lively, both in the setting for the game, and in the soundtrack itself.

Morals/Appropriateness

All Halo games boil down to being war games. Though this is the most bloodless war you will ever see. Any human forces that are killed have red blotches on or near their person. Most of the alien forces don’t even have blood they are digital creatures (long story), and what aliens do have blood, the blood literally bright blue, it looks less like blood and more like something radioactive.

There is no foul language, no sex, the blood is minimal, and the violence isn’t very violent. I have no idea why ESRB gave this a Mature rating.

Community/Multiplayer

There is multiplayer with this game that actually expands the story. I was surprised. It works.

Problems/Ending Comments

I can’t say that I have played and enjoyed all the Halo games — Reach and ODST were both too short for me, and Halo 2 had some issues at times (like missing an ending) — but this one was a good, strong resurrection for the series. And I hope to see more of it.

My biggest problem with the game, however, is with part of the story. The game’s first cutscene begins with the creator of the Spartan-II program being interrogated by a sinister, shadowy person off camera, and we don’t really know why. The military in the game have changed a little too much from those int he previous ones, and we see the return of Covenant forces, even though they were at peace with the universe when we last saw them in Halo 3. There is an implication that these Covenant are the extremists, both in dialogue and in their in-game tactics of using suicide bombers. There are plot holes here and there like that, but overall, the voice acting is strong, the plot holds together, and the characters have, well, character. It’s not sequel bait, but if I get these things explained in the sequel (instead of having to buy some media tie-in novel) I’ll be happy.

ESRB Rating: M for Mature, for violence and blood

My Rating: 9/10 — fun, solid game.

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Copyright 2014 John Konecsni

One Comment
  1. LarryD
    March 1, 2014 | Reply

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