mikeinsc's Halo 4 (Xbox 360) review

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Well, It's More Halo

The review sounds dismissive and, I suppose, in fairness, the game might warrant some of it. 343 had a chance to make this game something different and unique but, instead, opted to go for a drop-dead gorgeous game of Halo. It's a solid formula, but hoping for something different is not a crime.

You are Master Chief and Cortana pulls you out of stasis to deal with --- what, the Covenant? AGAIN? I thought we pretty well closed the book on them in Halo 3. The visuals do need to be mentioned as it is amazing what the 360 could be massaged into pulling off here. The game is stunning. One of the more beautiful games this generation. Humans look so good that the uncanny valley is only a moderate concern.

Anyway, you fight off a Covenant attack on your ship before crash landing on the Prothean world --- which ALSO looks amazing. And the enemy AI is solid. F.E.A.R levels of AI. They will flank you relentlessly. The Prothean watchers become a massively obnoxious part of the battles as they will cause more headaches than most enemies in the game. The combat is fun enough to make you ignore the sense that you, sort of, have done all of this stuff before. The set pieces are inspired and the battles are insanely hectic, but deja vu is as constant a companion as is Cortana. 343 is clearly trying to stay on the good side of Halo fans, so they don't seem anxious to really improve or change a lot. The weapons feel the same and the new weaponry, by and large, is just sort of there. The classics are awesome as always (Needler fan here and the gun is appreciably better and more powerful here). The concluding battle with the

Halo 4 is provided a lot of extra material. Spartan Ops is a fun, somewhat bite-sized morsel of gameplay with lots of replay value that also happens to be totally free of charge. The MP is the usual affair, where if you're unwilling to spend numerous hours to get any good at it, you are unlikely to have fun playing random games.

This review sounds negative, but I did like the game. I liked it a lot. I just wanted more than they delivered and I'm not convinced that anybody is going to be ready to alter the Halo franchise in any meaningful way. And the series NEEDS revamping. The pace feels the same. The visuals, while improved, look similar as well. The AI is worlds better, but the game seems like it is stuck in neutral. Even Call of Duty has a little more advancement in core game design, and that game is friggin' annual.

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