I /really/ don't like the Halo 4 campaign...

#1 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5904 posts) -

I've played Halo pretty much since the beginning: I was introduced in it's early days by an elementary school friend that I played the campaign in coop with a heck of a lot. I loved that game then, and loved it even more when I played it again on my shitty HP computer, and my old school white Mac Book. I played Halo 2 with friends on a pretty regular basis in the later years of my elementary education, and that continued up until the release of Halo 3 in my 7th year of school. I got it with a friend at midnight, and we beat it on Legendary together that night. I picked up my own copy, a legendary edition, the next day, and played the hell out of the multiplayer for that game. I loved the franchise. I loved the space Marine (who ironically is actually a Sailor) with a twist idea, I found the covenant to be a joy to blast through, and loved the run and gun nature of the combat. It always felt dynamic and exciting and bombastic, with way too many things to keep track of going on at once, but in a way that felt like you were hanging on by the seat of your pants, not overwhelmed by busy bullshit. And when you were overwhelmed or surprised by something, it was the kind of thing you and your buddies would talk about for the next three weeks, bragging about some awesome thing that happened to all of your other schoolyard peers.

I even enjoyed the fiction and story, which, despite it's allusions to religious texts, I found pretty grounded in reality. Humanity was fighting against fanatics that believed in what they were doing, and the downfall of that fanatical society was pretty interesting. And the UNSC side of the fiction was pretty cool too, especially once you dug into the extended universe. Books like The Flood and The Fall of Reach were awesome, and gave a really cool chunk of what were, for me, the best parts of the Halo fiction.

And then you have Reach, and ODST. Both excellent games as well. Halo 3: ODST was (obviously, I should hope) in the same vein as Halo 3, and in a lot of ways felt very familiar. But it also managed to get that extended fiction cool factor from showing things outside of the Chief's perspective. On top of that, the atmosphere that was created by that game's hub and it's characters was pretty fantastic. The art and music was so incredibly excellent in that game, which came as a no surprise for fans of the franchise. Reach was also able to capture another part of the Halo universe, and one that at least in the literature, I found to be one of the most interesting periods of time in the Halo franchise: the glassing of Reach. It's an emotionally charged thing, the destruction of an entire planet, and not going with Chief's story on Reach but instead with this new cast of characters was a pretty cool move on Bungie's part. It also gave a chance to play with a new mood and feel. It was still familiar, but it also had a freshness to it. It also had an excellent multiplayer component.

And then Halo 4 comes along... And I have to say, the first level or two of that game was damned impressive. The combat was pretty sparse, and it was a lot of set-up and a bit of exploration following that as you crash land on this alien planet. It felt new, and it was gorgeous, and I found it to be a pretty strong start to the game. At that point I was pretty excited to play the game through, and super excited for the story to unfold. But as the combat started to ramp up, I started to notice that it didn't really feel like Halo. At least, not like Halo as created by Bungie. It felt like Halo created by... MLG... The weapons lacked power if you weren't pumping rounds into them, super-combining then, or headshotting them. Even grunts can take a beating on normal (I started on Heroic, as I usually do, but recently bumped down to normal to see if I could get more of that run and gun feel back. I did not) if you don't shoot them in the face. And hey, I love shooting grunts in the face. Between Halo 3, ODST's Firefight, and Reach, I had gotten pretty good at shooting grunts in the head and seeing the pink mist (of confetti). But in Halo 4, any miss felt incredibly frustrating. It felt like a waste of ammo, and that in a game with such a dismal supply of ammo beyond the boring, and in my opinion, inferior Forerunner weapons, was really obnoxious. Grenades were a particularly tragic loss, as they had been so goddamn fun to use in Reach. They felt potent, but not over-powered (unless you played the BETA early on! :3). They actually killed enemies. Now, they just kinda fizzle out, after a 20 second fuze. The new grenade is especially useless, as it seems to be a black hole kinda thing, that doesn't actually work as a black hole, so it's just a spot that the AI knows to avoid.

In past Halo games, the weapons littering the battlefield were numerous, varied, and candy-like in nature. I always felt like I wanted to pick up that weapon when I swapped out whatever I was using. I rarely felt I was just doing what I needed to do. In Halo 4, the weapon variety is incredibly poor in the campaign, because you only see about 4 weapons in any real consistent manner. You'll see an AR and either a DMR or BR at the start of a level for a short while, and then you'll just use a light rifle and whatever other new weapon you prefer as a secondary. Maybe you'll pick up a needler. Rarely did I see enemies dropping plasma pistols, and gone were the plasma rifles of old, replaced by reskinned ARs instead. No more human weapons really, you pretty much just had whatever was issued to you. I still haven't seen a human shotgun, my favorite weapon in the franchise. It's been all SAW and DMR and AR for me, and then the light rifle on the Forerunner side of things, and whatever other weapon I can scrounge up. It doesn't feel fun, it doesn't feel like ammo management, it just feels like a lack of variety. Especially with grenades feeling so useless, and armor abilities being a little less interesting than they have in the past, and in my opinion much less interesting than Halo 3's equipment.

And then the new enemy types came in. And I wasn't having fun fighting them at all. The crawlers felt really hard to headshot, and that led to me feeling like I was just throwing ammo away once again. They felt like the flying bug things would sometimes feel in Halo 2. The Knights feel a lot like brutes in Halo 2: bullet sponges and nothing more. The little repair drones weren't really that interesting beyond turning side ways when they got shot, which just made them take that much longer to take out so you could actually focus on the real encounter. And I don't know that there are any other types? I dunno, maybe I forgot one. Again, a real lack of variety. It's just boring.

I'm curious how other's feel about the campaign. Specifically, does it really feel true to Halo, or does it feel like an imitation? Do you like the new changes?

#2 Posted by xMEGADETHxSLY (484 posts) -

It's alright

#3 Posted by JasonR86 (10007 posts) -

I'm sorry you didn't like it. I really liked the gameplay. It felt more fast paced and varied then the other Halo campaigns I played (Halo 1, 3, ODST, and Reach). It had more energy to it then the last few campaigns but especially Reach. The story wasn't great and what they did to Cortana wasn't great either. But I appreciated John a lot more in this game then the other games. The fact that I now call him John and not Master Chief is something I think. He's not just a blank slate to me anymore. I'm a little worried about the overall story going down a Mass Effect route as well. But I can say that with Halo 4 I had a lot of fun playing through the game.

#4 Posted by DystopiaX (5381 posts) -

I didn't like it for different reasons, just various aspects of the combat (fighting knights, the fact that there was a Banshee section where I didn't use a banshee because eveytime it would get shot down by ghosts and plasma pistol overloads etc.). Plus a lot of ammo is really scarce, to the point where I Would have to scavange for weapons that didn't suck ass and ammo even for weapons like the carbine was hard as shit to find in some places.

#5 Posted by Vinny_Says (5911 posts) -

It felt not like a Halo created by Bungie....that's what you literally just /wrote/.

I don't even know what to tell you.

#6 Posted by Vonocourt (2176 posts) -

I just realized I only used a human shotgun like once in that game. Huh.

But I didn't really have a problem with the focus on semi-auto rifles since that's what I usually used post-CE. Crawlers were really easy to headshot too, but occasionally the fights with the Knights could drag off a bit too much. Reach had the same problem on higher difficulties with the Elites. Agree completely with the Prothean grenade though, awful.

#7 Posted by DystopiaX (5381 posts) -

@Vonocourt said:

I just realized I only used a human shotgun like once in that game. Huh.

But I didn't really have a problem with the focus on semi-auto rifles since that's what I usually used post-CE. Crawlers were really easy to headshot too, but occasionally the fights with the Knights could drag off a bit too much. Reach had the same problem on higher difficulties with the Elites. Agree completely with the Prothean grenade though, awful.

I don't see the prblem with crawlers really, just shoot at the glowy bit. I figured out that killing Knights was easy by using the Scattershot/Shotty/Needler/snipers/rockets, they die easily that way. Just don't expect to kill them with your main/rifle weapons, they don't die that way. Even elites are less tanky than them.

#8 Posted by Village_Guy (2774 posts) -

I really enjoyed it, and I was never bored with it, maybe it was because they mixed it up plenty and the enemies always offered a good challenge on Heroic. I feel like I did just as much running and gunning in Halo 4 as the previous games (more than Halo 1 at least) and I liked how you often had to scavenge for weapons on the battlefield, it fits well with the situation Master Chief and Cortana is in, and it made it that much sweeter when you got some real power weapons.

I agree that the new grenade is useless though, and maybe that the Knights are a bit too tanky, though they needed something to differentiate them more from Elites than just the appearance and a teleport ability, so I think that was fine too. Plasma Pistol still rules even against Knights, take down the shields and then unload with any other weapon and they go down fairly quickly.

#9 Edited by handlas (2913 posts) -

I've only beaten Halo 2 because I just never liked Halo games. I'm close to beating this one and loving it (Legendary on first playthrough which was probably a mistake). I love fighting the Prometheans. I haaaate fighting the Covenant.... every time I go into a section where I'm fighting a bunch of the Elites or the flying vehicles I wish the Prometheans were the only enemies. I also find myself mainly using the Promethean weapons unless I can't find any. Maybe this is a Halo game for people like me? Someone that had a passing interest in Halo because of everyone's love for it but could never really get into it. And it doesn't hurt that it is probably one of the prettiest games I've played. I'm amazed by the facial animations every time I see them; they look almost as good as LA Noire imo.

I've only really disliked one section of the game and that was when you were riding on top of the big tank vehicle and kept having to get off to clear the way for it. I'm not sure if my game was bugged or if that section was just really shitty because it felt like there was infinity respawning tanks at one point. I'd kill a tank and 2 small vehicles and then more would get dropped off. I think I killed at least 10 tanks and then finally a waypoint popped up after I died... wouldn't appear before that. It felt excessive and I had to really cheese that part of the game to get past it.

#10 Posted by SniperXan (233 posts) -


#11 Posted by tread311 (374 posts) -

The only problem I had with the game was that all you ever set out to do is push buttons or stick Cortana into things. Felt like a lot of padding.

#12 Posted by csl316 (10903 posts) -

I enjoyed it and I love the series. I have two complaints: somehow I sucked with the grenades in this one, and the Prometheans aren't all that game changing.

But it's fun and tactical in the classic Halo way. I think they captured the feel despite a few oddities here and there. Though I don't get why people are flipping out about it. It's always been this good.

#13 Posted by Veektarius (5355 posts) -

I agree that the promethean weapons detracted from the gameplay experience but otherwise did not think the number of bullets required for things had changed all that much. Knights just have a shitload of health. Also the banshee sucked, they should have only nerfed it for multiplayer. But I rate the campaign more on the story and momentum than mechanics, and I think it was a step up for that, especially in the latter respect.

#14 Posted by mrfluke (5664 posts) -

i think a lot of it is due to 343 running their damm mouth and overselling the hell out of the game.

frank o connor is a huge culprit of this

"the new enemies significantly change the halo sandbox"

"requiem is in a different state at the end of this game"

"the covenant will only be in the first level, and then we change it up for the player"

#15 Posted by RE_Player1 (7945 posts) -

@mrfluke said:

i think a lot of it is due to 343 running their damm mouth and overselling the hell out of the game.

frank o connor is a huge culprit of this

"the new enemies significantly change the halo sandbox"

"requiem is in a different state at the end of this game"

"the covenant will only be in the first level, and then we change it up for the player"

I agree but that kind of hype building is what moves units. With the budget they had it's pretty disappointing that it could be summed up with the same old Halo with a new coat of paint. A couple of neat improvements but also baffling decisions, the whole story and the way it's laid out still boggles my mind. I have zero faith in 343 after this game.

#16 Posted by HistoryInRust (6604 posts) -

I wasn't in love with it, but it had some bright spots. The Covenant felt really well balanced this time around (I felt like Elites in Reach were nightmarishly difficult). The game is mostly gorgeous. And some of the set pieces (specifically that Death Star nod at the end) were neat.

But yeah. The story is nonsense and the Prometheans are bulletsponges. Grenades are useless. And I kind of don't know where this story goes from here. It felt like the beginning and the end of something.

#17 Posted by SASnake (412 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos: The thing about weapons, you are comparing a story from games where humans are large in their numbers, mainly on human controlled areas, where human weapons will be plentiful, with Halo 4..where its Master Chief and one ship on an alien planet, filled with aliens, with alien weaponry..I think some real thought must go into your mind before you say such things.

#18 Posted by NekuCTR (1710 posts) -

I really liked the scarcity of ammo, and the direction of the story (minus over dramatic Cortana). Weapon variety was tragic, as I too was left waiting for my god damned human shotgun, but overall this is my favorite Halo by far. Also, fact that people can even talk about strategies for fighting the new enemies makes them infinitely better than the flood.

#19 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5904 posts) -

@SASnake said:

@MordeaniisChaos: The thing about weapons, you are comparing a story from games where humans are large in their numbers, mainly on human controlled areas, where human weapons will be plentiful, with Halo 4..where its Master Chief and one ship on an alien planet, filled with aliens, with alien weaponry..I think some real thought must go into your mind before you say such things.

I wouldn't mind using nothing but Promethean weapons... if they were any fun, different, or more numerous. When I played Halo 3, I was constantly swapping a weapon out for another, just to get something new, and often because the encounters felt so varied that there was always a use for pretty much any weapon that wasn't the sentinel beam. AND EVEN THAT HAD ITS MOMENTS! Here, I feel like there are about two Promethean encounters, and a little more variety to the covies but still you're just at about the same range in about the same open-ish but small environment taking guys out from a distance. And the enemies are huge bullet sponges if you aren't carrying a sniper rifle (which doesn't seem to get one hit headshot kills in campaign?)

I also said that I liked the entire spectrum the sandbox offered, especially in Halo 3. You had a few brute weapons, most of which were awesome (grenades included) you had the covenant stuff, which had a lot of variety and none of which was particularly useless or something I didn't want to play with (plasma rifle was great for dual wielding with a spiker or something to help eat away at shields faster so your spikers could bite into flesh that much faster, stuff like that), and you had a pretty big set of human weapons, from the BR to the AR to the Pistol (which felt awesome) to SMGs and shotguns and the rocket launcher, sniper rifle, spartan laser. And then there was all of the equipment stuff, with power drainers (that would EMP vehicles as well) the bubble shield, which could really change up the last moments of an encounter with a bad ass brute, the grav lift, the flare, and more. It all felt like there was always something else you could pick up and use and greatly change your method of play. In Halo 4, you have pipoint weapons, an underwhelming shotgun, and a really close range SMG. So you're either at a distance popping heads (or not being terribly effective) or you're up close just holding the trigger down.

@Veektarius: The ratio of rounds to the head to rounds to the body that it took to kill especially smaller enemies (somewhat less for stuff like elites) were definitely higher. Prometheans were just bullet sponges, except the crawlers who you could headshot, but the combination of auto-aim draggin my reticle to center mass and them constantly being on walls made things a bit tricky for me (I also haven't played a console shooter... or game really... in forever).

I'm not saying "they should have had nothing but human weapons" I'm saying "the weapons that they always had around were fucking boring and not the ones I would normally swap to in a Halo game."

@Village_Guy: Honestly, I find that hard to believe that you didn't run and gun more in Halo CE unless maybe you played nothing but Legendary. Because in Halo 4, if I run around, even if I'm doing a decent job of mopping guys up, I get killed so fast by the thirty grunts with needlers (which seems to be the only weapon the bastards use until they get fuel rod cannons, and at tat point they always travel in pairs that time their shots to make one a lot harder to avoid than the other, balh blah blah) or would happen upon an enemy just waiting with a charged pistol that just immediately used it on me, dropping my shields and effectively killing me. And I didn't even find the game that hard, because it just mean staying back behind cover, taking time for headshots, not moving out of cover unless i needed a weapon, etc. In the first Halo game, even on Heroic and to some extent legendary, I was always moving, always in the thick of the encounters. Halo 2 and 3 were very much the same. Reach maybe a bit less, but I also felt Reach was pretty brutal on legendary just in terms of the damage tables.

Unless I got the random seed that says "all grunts will be supercombining you in teams and all jackals will be instantly reacting to you with a charged plasma burst and all crawlers will swarm you and focus fire on you" or you're wayyyy better than me at Halo, I find it hard to believe you were running into the thick of things, fighting on the move, etc. Doesn't mean you didn't enjoy the game, but you'll have to excuse me if I find that implausible on anything but easy or maybe normal.

@mrfluke: I wasn't even really sure I was going to play the damn game or buy it as early as I did until pretty close to launch, I didn't pay much attention at all to the hype. I was hopeful, but I wasn't sure they could do what Bungie did for the 6th time.

#20 Posted by ZZoMBiE13 (395 posts) -

I'm a huge Halo fan, but I kinda get what you're saying. Halo 4 is a good game. But when you put HALO on the box, I expect a great game. Curious omissions (no Firefight, Campaign scoring being gone, some MP stuff) are one thing, but the Prometheans are just NO fun to fight. And the fact that they can spawn in anywhere and at any time with their stupid portals makes them more of a chore than a joy.

I still enjoyed Halo 4 and am having a lot of fun in the multiplayer. But Spartan Ops feels like a poor substitute for Firefight and the omission of Campaign scoring leaves it feeling like an incomplete package. Especially if you're internet goes down (as mine is prone to do) because then you lose Spartan Ops and Multiplayer.

I'm still on board for the next couple of games. If nothing else just to find out how the story plays out. A lot of things about H4 are great. The story was interesting and I really liked the more personal character work with Chief and Cortana. Plus the game looked amazing graphically and artistically. But I hope 343 can iron out some of the rough stuff and come back strong by the time Halo 5 is ready to release.

#21 Edited by ultrastarkiller (3 posts) -

It feels like an imitation to me it doesn't feel like Halo at all. I actually started a topic on comic vine about this not many people seem to agree with me. It didn't feel as epic as any Bungie game you know. I just couldn't really get into it.@mordeaniischaos:

#22 Posted by EXTomar (5031 posts) -

The game play is fine but I was more disappointed in the story. Here was a chance to send Master Chief and Cortana off to new locations and investigate the Forerunners. Instead we end up back at Earth where MC is again the only thing standing between the bad guys and Earth. If the stuff that is happening to Cortana is more interesting than "the mission" MC is doing then that should be a big hint on what the problem is.

Oh and a big "screw you" to 343 for the flying sections in Halo 4.

#23 Posted by JCGamer (760 posts) -

I really enjoyed the game. I feel like the campaign was more fun than any Bungie created game. It's is probably because I hated the single player level designs for Halo 1-3. I just felt like I had no idea where I was going and everything looked the same and couldn't tell where I was. Halo 4 I never felt lost. Also-this game had the best integration of the story into the actual game.

#24 Edited by NTM (8378 posts) -

I really liked it; it was superb. I didn't think it was perfect though, and while I thought the voice acting and dialogue was fantastic, the relationship between Chief and Cortana really didn't do much for me, and the story felt like it went in an all new area than the past Halo games, which I didn't care for too much, but didn't outright dislike it. It simultaneously feels the same and very different than the past Halo games, but it was superb all the same.

Gameplay: 9.5

Sound: 10

Graphics: 9.5

Replayability: 9.0

Story/content: 8.5

I'd probably give it a 9.3 to 9.6; either way, it deserves five stars to me. I'm not really sure how I'd rate those, I'm always quite indecisive about it, but they're always close to that rating (about one point off). I do however think the sound for the game: soundtrack; voice work, and sound effects are as good as it gets for games. I also want to mention, the only reason I posted this was because the Volume 2 soundtrack is out now.

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