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#1 Edited by big_jon (5660 posts) -

I have finally reached level 130, this is the highest rank possible in Halo 4, and I though I would do something special for it.

One thing I always hate about reviews is that they don't take into account the lasting appeal of something, over time our opinions can change, our thoughts can solidify, and we can work out in our mind what we truly liked about something, and what we did not like about it especially in a muliplayer game, where exploits come into play, and play styles emerge that often can't be predicted. That being said, I have now played a fair bit of Halo 4, I have thought a lot about what worked, and what didn't for me.

I this will essentially be my review of the game for lack of a better term, keep in mind I am aware that I am not the greatest writer, but I will do my best to articulate my feelings about this game, I will be breaking it up into sections to help organize my thoughts about it.

I initially upon the announcement of Halo 4 felt some what betrayed. I thought that the continuation of the franchise was forced, was the beginning of the end for Halo, and that its future would be annualized whoring of a once great, lovingly crafted franchise. I was so convinced of this that when I even expressed this to both 343 and Bungie employees when I went to PAX in 2011 , and Halofest. I talked to one man especially about this, his name was Jay Wienland, he was the sound lead on all the Bungie made Halo games, he told me that he was looking forward to the future and could not wait to sit down and play 343's envisioning of Halo 4, he was genuinely optimistic. After that I though maybe I should start being more cautiously optimistic, if Bungie employees were trusting of 343 with their baby, then maybe I should give them a chance too. As Halo 4's launch came closer I became more and more convinced that my initial reaction was not in fact the case, clearly the people there cared about what they were making, and its future. Some things worried me, but I could not deny, the more they showed of the game the less worried I became.

  • The Campaign

A lot can be said about the Halo universe and its games but one thing is for sure, love it, or hate it, Halo's story has always been a large part of a lot of people's love for the Halo franchise. Halo 4 told a story that took a different approach to a lot of things than Bungie's game's. for the first time it really seemed that the Books were now being acknowledged as a huge part of the back bone of Halo's canon, and it shows. Halo 4 tells a story that is basically about the Chief and Cortana. 4 years after Halo 3 something that us Halo junkies all knew was that eventually Cortana would reach her 7 year lifespan, something touched on in the books but never really mentioned in the games. I loved this aspect of the story, the human aspects of John being explored are something that I have always wanted, Cortana is the way to unearth those. The Spartan program was brutal and what a lot of people may not know is the Master Chief is the way he is because of a very gruelling past. Cortana is all that he has left of that past, and for as stoic as he is in the games I have always felt remorse for him as a character because he is so strong, and because he was forced to be.

He's more than just a pretty face

That being said I think that Halo 4's story also had some major issues. First off why was the feeling of being alone in a strange world abandoned so quickly? For as much effort as was made in Halo 4 to feel like you are alone in a strange world again, halo 4 was much too fast to drop you back into the UNSC mix of things. I also really felt that a lot of the moments that should have had large impact in the story did not. Lasky and the Spartan IV's meeting chief, there was almost no reaction. Onto the Didact, why was his arrival no big deal!? This is the last living Forerunner, the first ever seen, and he also happens to be their warlord! Why is this not made out to be a bigger deal than it is? Why do Chief and Cortana know who he is? Why do the except his arrival as no big deal? Why is he portrayed as an evil Disney villain, and why does his depth have no shadow lifted on it? I mean for those who don't know, the Didact fought Humanity before the Forerunner/Flood war. He has his reasons for hating us, and he was not always a cantankerous asshole. He lost all his sons to Humans, he lost his entire species to the Flood, something that he believes we brought to his front lines Some of this is touched on in the terminals but my point is that his character was much more than what was shown, he has motivations, and he is a pretty big deal.

The other thing about the current state of Halo's universe that bothers me is the portrayal of the UNSC. We are now on the offence, the Covenant has all but crumbled, and those of them that are still opposed to humanity are simply gorilla fighters, this combined with the UNSC Infinity makes it feel like the stakes are now gone. Another thing I am not sure about is the Spartan IV's. In the past Spartan were something special and rare, they were different than regular humans, and seeing them in Halo: Reach, and in Forward Unto Dawn was somewhat awe inspiring. Halo 4's new breed of Spartans are not only numerous, they are wise cracking, and some what... Normal. The idea of four Spartans taking on Hundreds of Covenant in a last stand was something I always dreamed of seeing. But if we have hundreds of them, there is no real threat, and they're just regular Marines/ODST's with fancy armour, genetically upgraded bodies, and better training. I feel that Spartan are no longer a thing of legend, they are now just there.

The facial animation in Halo 4 is amazing.

The end result of Halo 4's story was that is was a little too safe in a lot of ways, but dispute leaving you in a largely familiar place, maybe a little too familiar, it still had redeeming factors. Watching Cortana go insane had impact to me, it was a similar feeling of watching a grandparent lose themselves to Alzheimer's. Cortana and Chief are interesting characters in that Cortana is Chiefs humanity, while being a machine, and Chief though he is human, behaves more like a robot than well, a robot. These two are also interesting because they were both built for the same purpose, war, and by the same person. They don't get to do what they want to do, the are treated like pieces of equipment, for their entire lives. In the end Halo 4 had Cortana deteriorating to the point that she was unable to tell you what to do, she was afraid, facing her own mortality, one of her primary roles throughout the last 10 years was telling you what to do, making this change somewhat felt. 343 actually had some balls in the end, because by the end of Halo 4 Cortana, Chiefs last friend in the world (or so he thinks) dies, this was an impactful moment, the ironic thing about it for me is that in Chief and Cortana's last moments together the thing that hit me home hardest was seeing Chief emote, "Cortana, please." That ending in itself left me feeling something that few games have ever really done, it made me genuinely upset. 10 years I have known that character and they killed her, sad stuff duder. Dispute that lack of explanation for how the ending worked, and despite the quicktime event required to defeat the Didact, that scene will be something I remember.

On the gameplay and presentation side Halo 4 got things right and wrong in many ways, the presentation is amazing, especially in early parts of the game. This is the best Halo's gunplay and movement have ever been, and visually Halo 4 is absolutely incredible, especially on 7 year old hardware as good as Reach looked, Halo 4 stepped it up again. This game plays beautifully Almost Every weapon serves a purpose, since Halo CE this has not been the case. Weapons are fun to use, you feel like a bad ass just running, the visuals are fantastic, and the sound is amazing. The assault rifle, BR, DMR, Shotgun, Plasma Pistol, and so on, these weapons are fun, and effective.

This may be the first level, but this is one of the most memorable encounters in the game.

The first third of the game really shines, from the opening on a derelict ship floating into a giant Dyson sphere, all while huge Covenant ships loom around, like a school of sharks waiting to pick a dead whale apart, to driving through an awe inspiring alien world, with the new and improved Warthog. Where it falls apart though is later on. halo is a sandbox game, if you build in interesting place, populate it with the right AI's and weapons/vehicles the player can do what they want to do, and this is where Halo thrives. Unfortunately Halo 4 forgets that all to often, from fighting Prometheans in dull grey corridors too often, Promethans are cool, but knights are often too big of bullet sponges, I like Challenging enemies, but they should not just have unlimited health and one hit kills to do so, and often in these encounters 343 is giving you only three weapons to chose from one which is almost useless. Also to having crap poor allied AI, that makes the large set piece scenes feel empty because you are the only one doing anything. Even enemy AI is not so great at times too, Elites stand still too often they are still one of the primary bad guys after all, they should be cunning, that is what makes them fun to fight. these are some of the places Halo 4 falls short.

Over all I would give Halo 4's Campaign experience a 4 out of 5. It falls short in a few ways, but its highs are still high enough to make it a very good game.

  • The multiplayer
Halo 4's combat is amazingly well polished, from the movement, to the shooting.

Halo 4's multiplayer is a huge part of the game, some would argue that it is the most important aspect of Halo, and the reason that these games have such a long lasting appeal Since the adoption of Call of Duty as the standard multiplayer shooter formula, it is no surprise that Halo 4 has taken some of those conventions and added them to its unique brand of muliplayer madness.

One of the thing a lot of Halo "fans" were crying before Halo 4's release was that it would play like Call of Duty, that is of course not the case, but how does it play? Well, I am here to tell you that the combat, gunplay, and core of Halo 4's multiplayer is butter smooth. The Battle rifle is back and arguably one of the most satisfying weapons in a shooter to date, the feeling of finishing a kill with it is fantastic, and one that I find myself increasingly addicted to the more I play. That's not to say that it is the only weapon in the arsenal there are a host of weapons to choose from, and for the first time in Halo multiplayer you can actually choose to spawn with them. This is a HUGE change to Halo's design one that I think works well. Previously is Halo there were always weapons that were ignored on the map, in Halo 4 almost every weapon serves a distinct purpose. The assault rifle has kick, the Beam rifle sounds amazingly lethal the Needler is now a power weapon, and there is now more variate in the weapon use over all then ever before. That is an amazing thing.

There are some inherent issues with weapon balance though. As of right now the DMR is too dominant at all ranges, and the Boltshot has become the go to side arm because of its stopping power. it promotes a lot of camping, and can create some pretty frustrating situations.

Another change to the multiplayer is the ability to call in ordinance. This is a change that has met a lot of scepticism my thoughts on it are that it works, it's a nice change, and that it mixes up the combat in some interesting ways. Now there is still an inherent flaw to this system, say I am on a killing spree, suddenly my ordinance is up, well, turns out on Valhalla I can use Speed boost, call in grenades, or call in a Shot gun... Now next game am am in the same position, but this time I have gotten over 20 kills in a row, now I am randomly awarded a Binary rifle (the most powerful weapon in the game), while the best player on the other team is stuck with a Gravity hammer. You see my point here?

Another issue is that on the stock maps weapons spawn randomly, this is sometimes a pain as you can often be winning a game, then boom, the losing team happens to have a rocket launcher spawn in their face. It does not promote map control, or competitive, balanced game play.

The armour abilities and other secondary perks all work fairly well, there are a lot of fun classes that you can build to suit your play, and aside from the jetpack I would say that they all work fairly well, and are well balanced.

Halo 4 launched with 8 playable maps out of the box, slightly lower than the past games, but the good news is that there are some real gems in thier. haven is a great competetive semi symmetrical map that promotes a lot of team work and calling out to get the one up on your enemies. Adrift, though a terrible Slayer map is a very solid CTF map. Exile is a great map for vehicular mayhem (Halo 4's vehicle combat is the best yet!), and Abandon is great for hard core competitive player, promoting getting multiple sightliness on the other team well controlling vital power points around the map.

The last point to make about the multiplayer is unfortunately the net code. I am disappointed in Halo 4's hit detection and the level of lag in a lot of the matches that I play. I think it is actually a downgrade from Halo: Reach's average game quality. This may only effect some player, or I may just notice it more because I am a bit competitive than some others but this is my single largest issue with halo 4's online, Spartan Ops suffers from the same issue.

Over all I will say that Halo 4 plays great, it is the most fun that Halo's combat has ever been, it is butter smooth, and well polished. Movement, vehicles, and just shooting dudes is fun, however there are some things that just can't be ignored. lack of a fileshare browser, no tittle update three months after launch, and seemingly poor netcode are fairly major issues in my book. Halo 4 is a 4 out of 5 in terms of the multiplayer experience for me.

  • Spartan Ops

Spartan Ops is something with immense potential, however Halo 4's attempt at potentially creating a revolutionary new story driven game mode fell short for the first 5 episodes. The CG cutscenes are cool, but the missions linked with them felt boring, tacked on, and rather than well designed felt like dull shooting galleries filled with as man dudes to shoot as possible. Spartan Ops is not finished, so what I will say is that I won't be finishing this part of the "review" until it is, but Episodes 6 and 7 have set my hopes high as they blow the first few Spartan Ops missions out of the water. The plot is also heating up as Jul 'Mdama gets closer to his ultimate goal, and DR. Halsey learns that John 117 is still alive.

Spartan Ops started weak, but it is getting much better.

In closing I will say that Halo is a great passion of mine, its future is important to me, and I hope for the best, I like Halo 4 a lot. despite the fact that I am let down by a fair few of the decisions in this game I am hopeful that 343 will learn from their mistakes, and next time around we we have an even better experience than this time.

I will be uploading a video of my last match to reach SR130 sometime tomorrow, it will show the unlocks and such that you get when you get there.

I also want to thank @demonknightinuyasha for hooking me up with a ridiculous about of double EXP codes in Halo 4, out of the goodness of his heart. ;)

I God, I forgot to mention the soundtrack... I will have to add that tomorrow.

EDIT: This is my second attempt at a review, please, let me know what you think guys, about the review, and the game!

EDIT 2: Well I decided that the 10 minutes of 1080p footage I took of my last game to reach SR130 was just too long to upload, so here are to sweet shorter clips instead!

#2 Posted by buft (3298 posts) -

wheres the number? I cant read all of this, just kidding. I played through the campaign coop and had a blast, my son liked it too but ive ran out of patience for multiplayer shooters a while ago and tend to not play them as much

#3 Posted by Village_Guy (2410 posts) -

Congratulations on reaching 130!

I mostly agree with your post, though I never really got into the multiplayer (but I rarely do that for any game).

#4 Posted by HistoryInRust (6222 posts) -

@big_jon: So . . . what happens when you hit SR 130? Is there any incentive to keep playing?

#5 Edited by xMEGADETHxSLY (455 posts) -

Cool, I played so much Reach multiplayer (700hrs???) that i probably wont reach Halo 4 max rank but im at LV 76 so i've also played a ton of this. Overall i like the multiplayer but the campaign was Ehhhhh i though it was going to be the best Halo game but it turns out spartan Ops has a better way of giving my a Halogasm

#6 Posted by big_jon (5660 posts) -

@HistoryInRust said:

@big_jon: So . . . what happens when you hit SR 130? Is there any incentive to keep playing?

The fun of the game, this won't stop me from continuing to play, that's for sure.

#7 Posted by JerichoBlyth (1044 posts) -

A unbias, positive review from 'Halofanforlife1'!

#8 Posted by big_jon (5660 posts) -

@JerichoBlyth said:

A unbias, positive review from 'Halofanforlife1'!

I can't tell if you're serious or not...

#9 Posted by laserbolts (5309 posts) -

Good review was a pleasure to read. How many hours did it take to get max rank? I know it would be taking another page from cods book but what if you could choose which power weapons were in your ordinance? Say you need 5 for a needles and 10 for a sniper rifle. Do you think this would be a good change and maybe fix the problem with ordinance? I hope they fix the lag.

#10 Posted by big_jon (5660 posts) -

@laserbolts said:

Good review was a pleasure to read. How many hours did it take to get max rank? I know it would be taking another page from cods book but what if you could choose which power weapons were in your ordinance? Say you need 5 for a needles and 10 for a sniper rifle. Do you think this would be a good change and maybe fix the problem with ordinance? I hope they fix the lag.

I think that is an interesting idea for sure, the only thing I had really considered is that if one team gets something like a Sniper rifle as an ordinance drop, the other teams chances of getting an equally powerful weapon should increase.

It looks like about 5 and a half days, so I guess that's 135 hours about, nothing that big as I played a lot more Reach, And Halo 3 in the end, and still had a lot to go, reaching max rank in those games took a lot of time..

#11 Posted by Demoskinos (13909 posts) -

I logged on to play Grifball for a bit with a buddy and the online scene in Halo 4 is just getting depressing. Only 200 people in some of the playlists now.

Online
#12 Posted by big_jon (5660 posts) -

@Demoskinos: I see your point, but I try not to get hung up on the numbers, Griffball has like 15,000 players in it right now though.

I am a bit baffled that people are moving on from such a fun game so fast.

#13 Posted by HistoryInRust (6222 posts) -

@Demoskinos said:

I logged on to play Grifball for a bit with a buddy and the online scene in Halo 4 is just getting depressing. Only 200 people in some of the playlists now.

Yeah. It was pretty laughable last night, the time it took just to get into a match.

#14 Posted by Demoskinos (13909 posts) -

@big_jon: Oh I'm with you there duder. Its my favorite of the series so far I've put a ton of time into the game and every single bit of it being in the multiplayer. I'm rank 83 right now and loving it. Although in recent weeks I've been distracted by the new shiny allure of new releases such as DmC and Ni No Kuni but Halo 4 has been a game since November that has been rotation for play ever since. Its just alarming to see the player count dwindle so much. Granted, 20-30k people playing is still "a lot" in the scheme of things but when you factor in the numbers that Halo games usually do that is when it really gets concerning. I'll be interested to see what exactly they are planning to do about DLC. I've got this fancy season pass and waiting on more maps if they get to putting them out.

Online
#15 Posted by mrfluke (4855 posts) -

@big_jon: we've done discussed this game to all hell a while back :P,

but nice review though, definitely would score 4 stars myself if i written a review. definitely still a high quality game even though i was very disappointed in the campaign. although with what you write about with the master chief that resonates with you, im totally with you on that, as its the real high point of the whole campaign imo, but the fact that everything else around that campaign was in my opinion lacking ( no missions that really stuck with me, you came up with better missions than what the damm game shipped with! :P) , has me extremely curious to see where they go with it for halo 5.

anyone thats real big into the halo lore knows that this dude is likely going to be one of the big bads for the rest of the trilogy.

also highly predict that the didact is going to have a character arc similar to darth vader from the original star wars trilogy.

also as a huge halo fan it is really just depressing that halos numbers dropped sooo dramatically, according to the rough estimate sales numbers that vgchartz.com gives out this game sold over 7 million copies, it is tragic that the numbers for the multiplayer are less than 100,000, people can say its cause of the longer console cycle, but that ratio of people who bought the game and play online should still be higher regardless though.

but apparently talking with some friends that played halo like it was a religion, this one is just not sticking with people, the changes/additions in the multiplayer dont sit well some folks at all

at least everything im seeing of the back half of spartan ops seems awesome, ill wait till its fully done to play it, but im going to wager its gonna be better than the campaign. im also expecting those multiplayer numbers to drop a bit more once spartan ops finishes

#16 Posted by YOU_DIED (696 posts) -

Good review, I too prefer reading reviews written by people who put more time into a particular game than journalists do.

@big_jon said:

for the first time it really seemed that the Books were now being acknowledged as a huge part of the back bone of Halo's cannon.

I think you mean canon. Here's a cannon:

#17 Posted by beeftothetaco (418 posts) -

@big_jon said:

Now there is still an inherent flaw to this system, say I am on a killing spree, suddenly my ordinance is up, well, turns out on Valhalla I can use Speed boost, call in grenades, or call in a Shot gun... Now next game am am in the same position, but this time I have gotten over 20 kills in a row, now I am randomly awarded a Binary rifle (the most powerful weapon in the game), while the best player on the other team is stuck with a Gravity hammer. You see my point here?

No?

#18 Edited by big_jon (5660 posts) -

@mrfluke: By the time Spartan Ops finishes it will be time for a TU and the new map pack, I think Halo 4 will be fine.

The multiplayer is really good, from where I am sitting it is Spartan Ops that let down the casuals, not only because the first 5 missions were pretty meh, but the lag in it is almost unbearable.

I truly hope that the nextbox's increased bandwidth capabilities get put to go use next time.

Oh, one more thing, 343 locking out the specializations from people was really stupid, I can almost bet you that made a lot of people stop playing.

Still plenty of people on though, which is good.

Oh, yes the Master builder will likely make an appearance in the future. I am curious to see what happened to the second Didact too. Also, I would love to see the Arbiter make an aperance in Spartan Ops, I think a lot of people would poop their pants if he showed up.

@beeftothetaco said:

@big_jon said:

Now there is still an inherent flaw to this system, say I am on a killing spree, suddenly my ordinance is up, well, turns out on Valhalla I can use Speed boost, call in grenades, or call in a Shot gun... Now next game am am in the same position, but this time I have gotten over 20 kills in a row, now I am randomly awarded a Binary rifle (the most powerful weapon in the game), while the best player on the other team is stuck with a Gravity hammer. You see my point here?

No?

A match is going, the teams are tied 550 to 550, 50 more points to go, the two best players on either team get their ordinance at the same time. Player A on the blue team gets Overshield, grenades, and the Needler. Player B of the red team gets Damage boost, an incineration Cannon (A rocket launcher that one hits anything in the game, including a tank and has three shots), and grenades.

There are tiers of power weapons in Halo 4, the highest class have a 1/10 chance in spawning, but on larger maps I have seen the other team end up with two Sniper rifles, while we are getting Swords, and Needlers.

#19 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4282 posts) -

Good review and you basically hit every nail on the head on how I feel on the campaign. That game has such a great opening and hooking up with the UNSC so soon was pretty weak, I'm mostly bothered about the whole ditching the planet when it could have offered so much. Also I still don't care for fighting more Covenant. I'll give them the pass this time but they can fuck off if I see that happen in 5.

#20 Posted by demonknightinuyasha (451 posts) -

Great write up! Glad the codes went to someone who put them to good use! :)

#21 Posted by Vinny_Says (5632 posts) -

I know you're like the biggest Halo guy on Giantbomb so I really enjoyed reading your review. Honestly the multiplayer was extremely enjoyable and I really have no excuse for not playing it anymore. I had caught the multiplayer bug higly similar to when when MW2 came out in 2009. I was also enjoying the weekly spartan ops episodes but when they stopped for holiday break I kinda lost interest, but that also happened with my weekly viewing of Parks and Rec so it's not just because Halo :)

I'll get back to it for sure, and I'm still waiting to play co-op with my friend (he's in the middle of some stuff though so I'm still waiting). Hopefully when I get back to it the first season of spartan ops will be complete and I can play them all.

I have to agree with your review, after reading the halo wiki, it really seems like the story elements should have been way more impactful. I am still very excited for Halo 5 however.

#22 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4282 posts) -

Also I really wish I had the time that you do to be able to even max out in that game. I feel bad for not playing more multiplayer. I have yet to finish more of Spartan Ops and haven't even touched any of the new maps that I got for free. Oh woe is me.

#23 Posted by big_jon (5660 posts) -

@Vinny_Says: Thank you. :)

@Colourful_Hippie: See, the Covenant are one of my favourite, if not my favourite thing about Halo, so I do see where you are coming from, I still love them. I think it will get way more interesting when the Arbiter and the loyalist Elites start showing up, sort of an odd alliance thing going on.

#24 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4282 posts) -
@big_jon I felt that I came to a conclusion with the Covenant at the end of 3 for obvious reasons. They're not boring to fight, I just want something new.
#25 Edited by mrfluke (4855 posts) -

@big_jon said:

@mrfluke: By the time Spartan Ops finishes it will be time for a TU and the new map pack, I think Halo 4 will be fine.

The multiplayer is really good, from where I am sitting it is Spartan Ops that let down the casuals, not only because the first 5 missions were pretty meh, but the lag in it is almost unbearable.

I truly hope that the nextbox's increased bandwidth capabilities get put to go use next time.

Oh, one more thing, 343 locking out the specializations from people was really stupid, I can almost bet you that made a lot of people stop playing.

Still plenty of people on though, which is good.

Oh, yes the Master builder will likely make an appearance in the future. I am curious to see what happened to the second Didact too. Also, I would love to see the Arbiter make an aperance in Spartan Ops, I think a lot of people would poop their pants if he showed up.

ers.

i believe the actual didact (the second one ur talking about, cause i believe people have said this didact in halo 4 is bornsteller) is either dead or floating in space somewhere, so they could bring back the second didact, but mannnn if they decide to do that, they better sell it well in the game, or else its going to come off dumb and people will bitch. bringing back the current didact is fine, as really no one bought that dude died from falling off the bridge

also i dont think i agree with you that spartan ops was the thing that turned down away people, as when the game was new. they ran numbers of hours people played online during the launch week and spartan ops was the thing people spent the least time in http://www.gamezone.com/products/halo-4/news/impressive-halo-4-launch-week-numbers-revealed im going to wager what had a part in the decline is the double xp thing they did, people played the shit out of the game, got a real high level, and then got bored. and then that crimson map pack came out and spiked the player base for a while and then it went back down.

it may sound like im being incredibly negative on the multiplayer, but i do really like the multiplayer as well, im just trying to understand why the player base declined so rapidly, and ultimately its a multiple of factors.

also i think if the precursors are not the ultimate threat for this trilogy, then its definitely going to be the master builder as that dude was a bad guy through and through,, i dont know how in depth they are going to treat the halo 3 terminals as canon but if they do, then that rules out medicant bias as medicant bias was apparently it was the one that was responsible for the terminals in halo 3. (also, master builder, master chief, cant help but laugh a little bit at that :P, i hope they call him by faber when hes introduced, would draw less ire from cynical journalists )

i think that would also be fantastic if arbiter showed up, i may be in the minority in this, but i really liked the covenant parts of the story in halo 2.

#26 Posted by Nilazz (606 posts) -

I can't wait to see what they do with Spartan Ops these last few episodes.

#27 Edited by big_jon (5660 posts) -

@mrfluke: The first Didact, survived, the third books back read thing mentions him as the UrDidact, the Masterbulder left him to die but he did not.

"Too little, too late, the legal rate of Juridicals is only now investigating possible crimes by the Master Builder and others. Evidence-gathering agents known collectively as Catalog have been dispatched to collect testimony from the Librarian and both Didacts: the Ur-Didact, treacherously abandoned in a Flood-infested system, and the Bornstellar Didact, who accompanies the Librarian as she preserves specimens against the dire possibility of Halo"

#28 Posted by mrfluke (4855 posts) -

@big_jon: ah i didnt read the third book, then they better not botch explaining that in the actual game then. as him confronting the master builder is definitely going to be a plot point.

also forget my idea of halo 5 doing flashback forerunner levels through the macguffin that master chief got from the librarian, halo 5 or 6 should have us playing as the Urdidact then, as if hes out somewhere in space, that could do well to add some more variety to locations and possibly enemies, gives them a more blank slate than usual to work with.

#29 Posted by Hashbrowns (646 posts) -

@big_jon: That's probably the best review of Halo 4 I've read, and that's including all professional reviewers I frequent. You went into actual detail, describing gameplay elements and fundamental design issues. All your criticisms are completely fair and, more importantly, well articulated and reasoned.

This might be the first useful review I've read on Giant Bomb, period.

#30 Posted by EpicSteve (6444 posts) -

It kinda bummed me out in the multiplayer how there was only one weapon that mattered.

#31 Posted by big_jon (5660 posts) -

@Hashbrowns: Thanks a lot, that means a lot to me.

@EpicSteve: On maps with lots of long sight lines that is sort of true, but on a fair few of the smaller maps you see good variety.

#32 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

I was hugely disappointed with the campaign, in just about every way in fact. The multiplayer, while fun, wasn't quite enough to get me to actually use my 360, being primarily a PC gamer these days. Lots of fun, but it'd been so long since I'd had to play a shooter at 30fps with a joystick, that I had trouble really getting into it, both because I didn't enjoy the way the game controlled as much as if it were with a mouse and keyboard, and just because I had my ass handed to me constantly. Which sucks, because back in the Reach and especially Halo 3 days, I was pretty good. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the Halo 3 days.

I still think the series was better in the original trilogy, even if the multiplayer is technically probably some of the best the series has ever seen, especially in terms of weapon balance and all that.

But, it's cool to see that you were able to enjoy it so much, and nice to see a truly complete review. If only more journalists were willing to invest in a game and come back to it after that amount of time.

#33 Edited by KaneRobot (1268 posts) -

I'm at 119 so I'm not far off.

The new Spartan Ops really freshened things up. The Griffball playlist is a nice change of pace too.

As far as the campaign, I really don't have much of an actual problem with it, but I do think it could have been done better. I feel like they may have pushed this game out a little too quickly (and consequently may have not thought the story through) because they wanted to hook people in now for a new trilogy before the next consoles came out.

#34 Posted by Turtlebird95 (2152 posts) -

Great write up! Love this game and as of Tuesday when the file browser went up I've been really enjoying Customs. Be sure to get a friend and play Godzillacide. It is modded, but so fucking cool.

#35 Posted by big_jon (5660 posts) -

Well I decided that the 10 minutes of 1080p footage I took of my last game to reach SR130 was just too long to upload, so here are to sweet shorter clips instead!

#36 Posted by Agent47CSim2 (1085 posts) -

The issue for me about the campaign is that I just find the Extended Universe set up by Glasslands and Thursday War infinitely more interesting and complex than the plot of the game sadly. Also the only explanation I can find as to why Cortana suddenly know's the Didact's name is that an Elite goes "DIDACT" in his reveal cutscene. It's really hard to make out what he's saying though so 343 aren't completely let off in my opinion as that was only after playing it a second time so I knew what was happening but I was just as confused as everyone else on my original playthrough.

As for the multiplayer, Halo 3 will always be the best game to me as I dedicated 3 years of my life to it and is easily the best multiplayer experience I will probably ever have. I really like Halo 4's multilayer but I think the power weapon spawns should be back the way they used to be and maybe balance out the personal ordinance a bit better.

Spartan Op's was a big disappointment in regards to episode 1-2, but the story started to get interesting from 3 onwards and episode 6 and 7 (especially 7) were amazing!

Great review and sorry for not talking when you joined my game the other day. My friends were on and we were waiting for someone else so we could attempt mythic so just wanted to do some Flood (which I still despise lol). Amazing review lol, I always hate when HAlo gets mentioned by the crew as i know none of them aside from Drew really get it :(

#37 Posted by big_jon (5660 posts) -

@Agent47CSim2: Thanks, and yeah, I made a conclusion to stop letting the Bombcasts opinions on Halo bother me any more.

#38 Posted by TheCreamFilling (1221 posts) -

I applaud your dedication. I made it to level 37 before I was completely bored. I'm a huge Halo fan, but just like Call of Duty, I can only play the same game so many times.

#39 Posted by Benny (1938 posts) -

Nice review, I don't know where you stand on the series as a whole but for me '2' is the absolute best multiplayer experience I've had in any game. I don't think I'll ever enjoy multiplayer quite as much as 1 bomb assault on Headlong or Waterworks, or covenant weapons only midship slayer.

I made it to rank 55 I think before getting bored with halo 4 multiplayer and it's mainly because of the lack of game modes and playlists. I'm almost 99% sure there isn't big team battle because of framerate issues on larger maps. I definitely see where they cut corners in the multiplayer and campaign maps and to me it stinks of making the game look as pretty as possible for the E3 demo without considering fully how it could impact the game's performance in the long run. The lack of assault in any form kills me though :|

I cannot believe they haven't gotten the file browser in yet, that's the sort of thing you expect a fix for, say, a week or so after the game's release, wonder what's keeping them?

I also wouldn't hold the whole specialization restrictions thing against 343 as no matter what you've heard, it's a publisher business decision. 343 would want to give you all the maps and specializations and everything else for free forever, but Microsoft will be the ones who decide that stuff not them. It is a business after all.

#40 Posted by GaspoweR (2517 posts) -

@big_jon said:

@Demoskinos: I see your point, but I try not to get hung up on the numbers, Griffball has like 15,000 players in it right now though.

I am a bit baffled that people are moving on from such a fun game so fast.

Well, if Twitch.tv is any indication it's being dominated by (obviously) Call of Duty. Also on another note I'm planning to jump back into some more Halo 4 again. I missed the previous week of Spartan Ops though. -_-

#41 Posted by big_jon (5660 posts) -

@Benny: File browser is in, and there is BTB.

#42 Posted by pweidman (2215 posts) -

Great write up big_jon. Very well done, and it's refreshing and so powerfully informed by your extensive experience playing the game.

My 2 cents: I like Halo 4 but it is still quite a bit less than I expected with their budget and the build up to release. So many oversights, from nonsensical story stuff, awkward canon sharing , the lag and retreaded environs in Spec-ops, no FF, the lack of any updates, to the terrible first set of DLC maps(imo). I play BTB pretty much exclusively and the numbers there have dropped by at least 2/3rds. 343 needs to react to the various problems and the game performance a lot quicker I think.

Anyway, I'm still a huge Halo fan and I look forward to the next game, and hopefully there will be improvements, and hopefully 343 will show their learning curve too. They'll have a hard time matching the web series that preceeded this game though. So awesome.

#43 Posted by EuanDewar (4516 posts) -

@mrfluke: i feel like im pretty up on my Halo fiction but i have no idea who that is

#44 Posted by GaspoweR (2517 posts) -

@big_jon said:

@Hashbrowns: Thanks a lot, that means a lot to me.

@EpicSteve: On maps with lots of long sight lines that is sort of true, but on a fair few of the smaller maps you see good variety.

Comparison question Carbine vs DMR

In a long range shoot out does the Covenant Carbine lose to the DMR 7/10 or is it pretty much equal?

#45 Edited by mrfluke (4855 posts) -

@EuanDewar: http://halo.wikia.com/wiki/Master_Builder

no worries if you didnt know who that guy is as hes part of the halo 4 universe. im only just assuming he is the potential big bad considering how he is in the forerunner books .

#46 Posted by mrfluke (4855 posts) -

@Agent47CSim2 said:

The issue for me about the campaign is that I just find the Extended Universe set up by Glasslands and Thursday War infinitely more interesting and complex than the plot of the game sadly. h.

you should also read the forerunner books as the didact has a prominent role in it and they flesh him out to be such an interesting character,

itill make you bummed out on how they use the didact in this game. :/

#47 Edited by big_jon (5660 posts) -

@GaspoweR said:

@big_jon said:

@Hashbrowns: Thanks a lot, that means a lot to me.

@EpicSteve: On maps with lots of long sight lines that is sort of true, but on a fair few of the smaller maps you see good variety.

Comparison question Carbine vs DMR

In a long range shoot out does the Covenant Carbine lose to the DMR 7/10 or is it pretty much equal?

The Carbine is an under powered weapon, though theoretically it has the fastest kill time, coming in at 1.59 seconds vs 1.6 for the BR/DMR, it is not enough to make it stand out, not only does it only have a 1.5x zoom making its role the closest range head shot weapon, it is also with an 18 round clip takes 8 rounds to kill someone, but you are not going to be 8 shotting people with it, this games spotty hit detection combined with the fact that the Carbine is the hardest head shot weapon to use and hit shots with mean that it takes literally more shots than the weapon has in a single clip to get a double kill on the shielded enemies. As of right now the DMR is the best over all weapon because it is good at everything and easier to use than the BR, which it trumps at long range.

In a long range firefight the DMR will beat out the Carbine 9 out of 10 times. The fix IMO? Bring the BR down to a 4 shot kill, bring the Carbine to a 7 shot kill, and leave the DMR as it is. This leaves the DMR as a powerful long ranged weapon with the Light rifle, and makes the Carbine and BR a little more dominant in close to mid range, not enough to make the other weopons useless, but enough to boost these two into a balanced role.

#48 Posted by Carlos1408 (1462 posts) -

Good review dude, I agree with you! I enjoyed Halo 4, and although some of the story fell short I loved that 343 had the balls to do what they did with Cortana. It did break my heart though, these games have been with me since I was a kid.

#49 Edited by Agent47CSim2 (1085 posts) -

@EuanDewar said:

@mrfluke: i feel like im pretty up on my Halo fiction but i have no idea who that is

@mrfluke said:

@Agent47CSim2 said:

The issue for me about the campaign is that I just find the Extended Universe set up by Glasslands and Thursday War infinitely more interesting and complex than the plot of the game sadly. h.

you should also read the forerunner books as the didact has a prominent role in it and they flesh him out to be such an interesting character,

itill make you bummed out on how they use the didact in this game. :/

I do own and have read Cryptum and while I think it's a good book I think it's a bit confusing to read (being from a Forerunner perspective obviously), also i never once got the sense that the Didact was in any way evil or hated humanity in the book :/ . Maybe I missed something, and I definitely need to read it again as It's definitely the kind of book that needs a second reading. Also I've also heard that there are apparently two Didact's? and the one in Cryptum was killed by the Master Builder, which apparently went completely over my head as I had no idea that happened, and the Halo 4 Didact is a different one?

I pride myself on knowing a shit tonne about the Halo lore and the fact I don't know something I should annoys me lol ;)

#50 Posted by Agent47CSim2 (1085 posts) -

@big_jon said:

@Agent47CSim2: Thanks, and yeah, I made a conclusion to stop letting the Bombcasts opinions on Halo bother me any more.

Same, although I do think Halo 4 was tad disappointing, I don't think it deserves the shit they gave it for like 3-4 weeks :(

Also I think the E3 demo version of "Infinity" was waaaaay better than the version in the actual game lol. What I was hoping for in the E3 demo was that when the Elite kicked that Grunt aside at the beginning, was that the two grunts would start arguing with the Elite and eventually a fight would break out. The Jackal would then be like WTF and flee leaving them too it. That way it would evidence the strained nature of the "covenant" and that they are only working together out of nesescity, not that they actually want to work together. Instead it's completely brushed over in the game with very little explanation as to why the covenant exists, and it appears that Glasslands/ Thursday War has already been retconned as the whole point of those books is that there is no covenant anymore :(