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Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
In Halo 4, the Master Chief returns to battle new enemies, deadly technology and an ancient evil bent on vengeance and annihilation. You can enlist aboard the UNSC infinity to join the Spartan-IV program and experience revolutionary Halo Infinity Multiplayer modes in this award-winning game for Xbox 360. The universe will never be the same again.
||November 06, 2012|
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 1916 reviews|
Average Customer Review:
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524 of 626 found the following review helpful:
343i DeliversNov 11, 2012
By Tango Charlie
I gave up writing Amazon reviews years ago, as most product reviews are neither helpful nor critical, and seem to be written by those without even a 7th grader's grasp on basic English grammar. For Halo 4, however, I am making an exception.
I wasn't originally excited when Microsoft and 343 Industries announced Halo 4. A fan of Bungie since Marathon (that's pre-Halo, for those that don't know, and by several years), I wasn't too keen on Microsoft pulling an Activision and allowing somebody else to mercilessly butcher Bungie's pride and joy for some easy sales. Fortunately, 343 Industries really do understand what makes Halo unique, and deliver it in spades while simultaneously reinvigorating the franchise that had started to stagnate towards the end under Bungie.
The first thing that truly hits you are the visuals. Bungie makes great games, but the truth of the matter is that Halo 2 was probably the last time a Halo game was the best-looking title on Xbox. The work done with the Halo 4 engine is astonishing, and those claiming Halo: Reach had superior visuals are in need of an optometrist. The models, textures, lighting, and design are all top tier this time around, easily among the best seen on the Xbox 360. More importantly, the performance is as near as I can tell flawless. Not once during the campaign did I notice any screen tearing, drop in frame rate, sluggish controls, or issue of any kind with the engine. In multiplayer, the map Exile brought some slight stuttering, but it was gone so quickly and consistently that I suspect it was more network latency than a rendering issue. I once remarked that I thought Bungie and MS should have licensed DICE's Frostbite engine for the next Halo game (I was very impressed with Battlefield: Bad Company 2's environments and destruction), but I proudly eat my words. Halo 4 looks fantastic from top to bottom.
The second thing thing you notice is the sound. The assault rifle delivers furious, mechanical, bass-filled kick through your speakers or headset, while the sound of incoming ordnance hitting the deck generally gives you goosebumps. Every weapon system and sound has been gutted and rebuilt from scratch. While some fare better than others (the AR sounds exquisite, while the Battle Rifle doesn't quite hit the same stride), the overall package is fresh and a kick in the pants. The music too is different, marked by the departure of Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori, who remained with Bungie when they split from Microsoft. Neal Davidge and Kazuma Jinnouchi step in to fill their shoes, with Davidge (of the sensational duo Massive Attack) providing a much darker and more electronic ambiance than previously seen in the series. Jinnouchi composed the gorgeous new character theme for the Master Chief, appropriately titled "117." Together, they only briefly pay homage to the well-known Gregorian chant that has identified the series since 2001 (it DOES come back, but very subtly and as more of a leitmotif than a full-fledged theme). While it's sad to lose such an iconic piece of music, it's also necessary to allow Davidge and Jinnouchi to establish their own stamp on the series, and the music in Halo 4 is beautiful and fitting to the story.
What of the story? The best in the series, bar none. 343i's writers understand that a seven-foot stoic cyborg isn't always an interesting character, even if he's a total badass. As a result, they use the AI Cortana as the story's focus, and it works. Cortana's fear, uncertainty, and eventual heroism really do make the story, and by the end, even bring humanity out of John-117's iron clad shell. There are some issues that seem to be just passed over, and little things in the plot aren't fully explained always. My understanding is the supporting media (novels, webisodes) fill in the gaps, but I dislike this style of cross-media storytelling. Each medium, be it a novel, a game, or a mini-series, should be connected and reference the greater universe but must be able to stand alone as a singular story. Halo 4 suffers in that regard, but it's not enough to ruin the final product, which is a terrific campaign story filled with emotion and love.
On Heroic difficulty and played solo, the campaign took me approximately 7.5 hours, which is about par for a Halo game and the industry. The campaign itself is tried-and-true Halo, with a mix of tight corridor shootouts and larger, more open arenas that reward the more tactical player. Either way, one cannot simply charge straight through guns blazing on Heroic or Legendary, though I did notice more range in the enemy AI than I would have liked given the Halo series pedigree. Some opponents, like the Promethean Knights, are vicious and brutal, making every battle a life or death challenge. Other opponents seemed to occasionally run out in the open, only to turn around and face the wrong direction. These instances were few and far between, but noticeable. Other than a handful of quick-time events (QTEs), I was exceptionally pleased with the whole campaign experience. Some of the levels where you are required to enable/disable multiple switches can be a grind at the higher difficulties, but only due to the exceptionally challenging enemy combatants.
Now to multiplayer, source of much controversy. 343i has made some serious changes to the design. First, customizable loadouts are in, meaning you can choose between the classic AR, the much-loved BR, and the excellent DMR as your starting weapons (among many others). Power weapons (shotgun, sniper rifle, energy sword, rocket and grenade launchers) are still found out on the map. More interestingly, however, is that weapon spawns are seemingly random or at least rotational, so the rocket launcher doesn't always pop up in the same spot during longer games. Finally, as you fight and score kills, assists, or save your buddies, you earn points that fill your ordnance meter. Once filled, you can call in resupply that drops down in a miniature ODST pod with a satisfying THUNK. These are NOT kill streaks like Call of Duty, as no Pelicans fly in to air strike your opponents for cheap and easy kills. Rather, they are usually power ups such as over shield or power weapons like the new SAW machine gun or shotgun. Additionally, every Spartan now has the ability to sprint for a short period of time. All of the game modes minus Firefight are back (I assume Bungie reserves the rights to Firefight and it will appear in their next title).
Does it all work? Here is where it gets sticky, and simply a matter of opinion. Some more critical reviews have expressed dismay at the increased movement speeds, as if moving like a tortoise was somehow essential to Halo. It does increase the overall pace of the game, yes, as you spend less time looking for opponents and more time fighting them, but the truth is sprint is most effective when used as a means of retreat from a unfavorable situation. And THAT is true Halo. The ability to tactically retreat, to ambush your opponent around the corner when he chases with a grenade, or to escape completely is what makes Halo unique, especially today in the wealth of one-hit kill military shooters. And none of that has changed in Halo 4.
As for the loadouts, it resolves my biggest pet peeve of previous Halo games: I didn't want to play "Shotty Snipers" yet everyone else did, so I am stuck using weapons or playing a mode I dislike. The whole "Bungie knows best" model of previous game types and weapon choices infuriated me, and the ability to choose and stand my own ground as I wish is a welcome addition (especially since the AR is no longer completely useless). Furthermore, battles in Halo 4 are much more fluid, with combat migrating all over the maps as opposed to previous games, where combat with predominantly occur around choke points or power weapon spawn points. The fact that power weapons can now be called down anywhere is an incredible balance equalizer, meaning games are never a race to see which team can grab the shotgun on Countdown or the rockets on Ivory Tower as they often used to be. Some older players might argue that learning where the power weapons were and knowing the maps was part of the "skill" of Halo, but that's such a superficial and basic skill. A superior player should win based on their ability to fight anywhere, to turn the tables in their favor in their favor by skill, not because they knew where the shotgun was and got there first.
Halo 4 isn't perfect: Spartan Ops is rather mediocre in its current state, the Promethean weapons look cool but fill very standard weapon class criteria without much creativity, and I was disappointed to spend so much time fighting still fighting the Covenant. Regardless, the fact is it is true to everything that is essential to Halo while contemporary to the industry today. This is Halo 2012, not 2001, but it's still Halo through and through. Halo 3's multiplayer was near perfect (for its time), but the campaign was a disappointing slog that failed to move the story forward or create any kind of emotional impact. Reach returned some glory to Halo's campaign mode, but its multiplayer felt half-baked compared to its predecessor and never achieved the same level of saturation. Halo 4, though imperfect, looks back to Halo 3's multiplayer standard while simultaneously surpassing Reach's campaign (if just barely). It's nothing new. It doesn't revolutionize the first person shooter. It's just tried-and-true mechanics flawlessly presented in a supremely polished engine.
The Chief is back.
73 of 103 found the following review helpful:
Great Game!Nov 13, 2012
By Mandeep S. Bajwa
A lot of people seem to want to compare this game with halo games of the past, but with every iteration of a game whether it be COD, Battlefield, Fifa, Halo etc. I only want something that is fun. And this game is definitely fun. I'm not going into detail because of the plethora of reviews on the internet but if you enjoy having a good time with some friends around an xbox or just have an hour to waste, Halo 4 is a great way to go.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
In-depth review (no spoilers)Mar 31, 2013
Of all the Halo games Halo 4 has got to be my least favorite, here's a list.
- Graphics were amazing
- Character development was good
- Some of the new weapons were really cool
- You felt more like you were a thousand pound Spartan not a lightweight ninja
- Repetitive gameplay
- Incredibly boring storyline compared to past Halo games
- Mysterious forerunner atmosphere was lost
- The redesigns of the every Covy alien was appalling.
- The game didn't gain anything from having the Covies in it
- They somehow made grunts MORE annoying, and in a bad way.
- The new antagonists were obnoxious, incredibly boring to fight, and were an annoyance more than anything.
- Some of the new audio was really weak sounding or down right obnoxious
- Don't play through to the Legendary ending.
- The soundtrack. It was awful, nothing about it was memorable, and it didn't feel even remotely like Halo. There were only a few songs that I didn't mind. Marty O'Donnell was sorely missed, the original atmosphere of Halo was stripped away due to the lack of his amazing music. Niel Davidge is not a bad producer or composer, he was just working outside his normal style of music.
- Griffball and Infection have their own online playlists
- Oddball has been improved
- Armor abilities. If used properly they add to a game, if abused: invisible camping snipers
- Promethean vision is too over powered in my opinion for multiplayer.
- You can start out with some over powered weapons
- not a lot of cons, just personal preference on gameplay
- You can add more lights
- Magnets are good if you know how to use them, and can be really helpful if you are fitting the same type of pieces together. They don't work so well when using two completely different pieces, obviously.
- Textures are wonderful
- Filters. Some are great for map atmosphere, some are meant more for Machinima.
- Dynamic lighting. You can now make dark rooms and pieces cast shadows, adding depth to your map.
- TREES. Finally, we have trees.
- There are four forge specific maps, while not as large or malleable as Forge World, they add unique atmospheres to each. Except Forge Island.
- Some of the same pieces from Reach have been reshaped to have pointless features that make an uneven surface. It can be worked around but is annoying.
In conclusion, the game is not bad at all, but it was not good compared to Halo's standards.
Given that this is 343's first game made by a bunch of people who hardly knew each other we should give them a bit of slack. I have high hopes for 343's future gaming endeavors.
9 of 12 found the following review helpful:
A meh story and meh multiplayerFeb 06, 2013
By A. Toro
"what, me worry?"
The only reason to buy this game is to continue the story of Master Chief. Otherwise, 343 studios phoned it in. The graphics are the only upgrade from Halo 3 to 4. I miss Bungie studios. The guns never carry enough ammo. The amount of ammo the old guns could hold has been reduced in an attempt to make the game tougher, it doesn't work. The new weapons are pointless and redundant. The only fun I had playing this was on easy or normal mode, as the Master Chief is a super soldier and only those modes compliment who and what he actually is. Spartan ops is a poor replacement for the infinite Firefight mode which is sadly gone. They just use the same levels over and over and offer a very poor story suitable only for children who won't notice they keep renaming the same level. I love Halo, but this just feels like a poor attempt to continue the saga. And what is the point of introducing a new bad guy if you never get to fight him? Also, the new enemies are extremely bland and lack any sort of personality. Even the old grunts and Elites seem to not care about why they are in the story. The Co-op in this game is very lacking and some stages require the second player to simply watch and die over and over in order to progress. 343 studios needs to stick to making add-on maps, not full games. Let's hope Bungie's next story "Destiny", can fill the void.
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Retrospective Review on the BlockblusterApr 17, 2013
By Kevin Meloche
As an avid fan of the franchise, I had no worries about the quality of Halo 4 upon it's release. The original studio, Bungie, had handed down their baby to 343 Industries and I honestly can say that they did one damn good job.
When you first play this game, you'll notice it is graphically beautiful. Although it is not necessarily a necessity for a good game to have amazing graphics, they definitely did help to the experience.
Right off the bat, you'll also notice how different and yet similar the game feels. The game heavily implements tools placed in a previous Halo installment, Halo Reach, and uses them as new mechanics. The game, itself, still returns to it's roots by feeling like a Halo game but it also creates an entirely new experience as well.
The singleplayer storyline is rather action-packed and a fulfilling experience. The ending (no spoilers) might confuse you a bit but when you think about, it's a science fiction shooter so don't be too surprised. Masterchief is a little more talkative in this game (which is unusual) but it's nothing too jarring. Cortana returns as her lovable self and players really delve into her character and struggles. The difficulties are similar to previous Halo games and each one adheres to each playing style.
As for multiplayer, Halo emphasizes strongly on versus multiplayer as much as it always has. It plays rather well and combat is essentially balanced. Players have been arguing and crying out over the superior power of the DMR (a rifle) but the game is highly based on player preference in play style.
The game modes range all over the place from silly to classical game types on maps that are either came with the disc, DLC, or were made using the forge feature in the game. In the beginning, there were complaints about a lack of diversity in gametypes but 343 Industries is really stepping it up. My only complaint is that I miss an old gametype from Halo: Reach called Invasion. It was Elites (alien race) vs. the Spartans (aka many Chiefs). They also changed the zombies gametype to Flood, which makes sense, but it's a uneasy transition for silly fans like me.
There is also the hallmark to the new Halo installment called Spartan Ops. It's a cooperative online experience that is released episodically focusing on a story surrounding the Chief and what was going on with the other Spartans during his epic journey. Each episode starts with a five minute cutscene and then allows players to play through the five missions in the episode. Some of the missions can feel rather irrelevant but others really push the story forward. It's a great experience and all of it was free right on release day.
Regarding DLC, so far there have only been map packs. They implemented a free DLC map called Forge Island. The name speaks for itself but it's essentially a map made for players to create anything they want on. The other maps have their features and aspects but they are just maps and don't necessarily enhance your gaming experience.
All in all, if you're a fan of first person shooters, science fiction, or the Halo franchise, I highly suggest you pick up this bad boy as it is a good deal of fun. It definitely sets 343 Industries as a driving company for the Halo universe and really instills faith back in to the gamers. Some may disagree but I'll be upfront and say that they did a damn good job. It certainly isn't perfectly but it's definitely worth a look.
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