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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 2304 reviews|
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598 of 730 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.
22 of 29 found the following review helpful:
The Most Balanced, Well Crafted Halo Game YetNov 19, 2012
First off, my favorite game of this series was "Halo 3" before this game and I find this game to surpass it in many ways.
Balanced Game Play: 343 has introduced "loadouts" similar to COD's "Class" system. This caters to a variety of different types of gamers and their style of play. You are able to choose your Primary Weapons, Secondary Weapons, Grenades of preference, Armor Ability, Tactical Package and Support Upgrades which separate you from anyone else on the battlefield. So if you are good at driving vehicles you may want the ability to avoid stun by plasma pistol charged shots and have your vehicle heal outside of battle. Such an ability exists for your style of game play. However, you may need to work a bit to get it, none the less you will reap the rewards of your hard work in the end. Others players like myself enjoy sniping, so I chose mobility (which grants me the ability to sprint non-stop) in order to get out of sticky situation + Camouflage (which works well and hides me in plain sight.)
The weapons are balanced as an Assault Rifle will now easily beat a DMR or BR from close range and a majority of the weapons have been crafted to counter each other equally within their respected range of accuracy. So when I hear people say they die a lot in this game, I feel it is not because the game is broken but rather that the players haven't taken advantage of all the weapon/abilities in this game to find what suits their needs. Also, it's still a competitive game so you still have to develop the proper skills to be a strong competitor.
Vehicles are also much more balanced. We witnessed how flimsy they were in Reach and how difficult they were to deal with in Halo 3. This game offers somewhat of a balanced solution as some vehicles (Such as the Banshee) still get destroyed a bit too easy, the counter is that plasma grenades are much harder to use in this game than in previous halo games. They also have much less of an exploding radius (I much rather use Frags in this game than Plasma Grenades.) Being someone who likes to snipe in Halo 4, I can honestly say that the sniper is still able to take out the Warthog and Banshee pretty easily (About a clip and a half, maybe 2 clips.) However, I can see people complaining about those vehicles being overpowered if this wasn't the case, as a good Gauss-hog/Warthog team or Banshee can bee very lethal and difficult to deal with without proper ordinance weapons.
Ordinance Weapons are the best solution to balancing out maps. It used to be a fight from the start to get the sniper, rockets, etc. This caused internal conflict (Two people on the same team going for the same weapon.) It also gave the sense that a map was not fair if you spawned on the side that didn't grant you easy access to these powerful weapons. Although in some game types you still see weapons exist on the map (Big Team) you can depend on your skill (assists,kills and other medals for points) to grant you an ordinance weapon. The downside is ordinance drops aren't always appealing. I tend to always get these 3 options (Needler, grenades and speed boost) which aren't my favorite. However, after playing this game for a while you are able to inherit Requisition, the "TRACKER" specialist ability which eventually grants you the right to pick a different ordinance every time you have an ordinance available. So if you aren't into the options given to you on your initial ordinance earned, you can spin your ordinance for a different set of options. This can be done once each time you earn an ordinance, balancing it out with the other armor abilities in the game.
Campaign- The campaign is one of the best in the series, rich with an immersive story line, beautiful scenery/cut scenes/visual effects and great music (both in the title screen, intermission between multiplayer games and in the campaign.) Many questions where answered in this game story wise and 343 has found a way to make this series even more interesting than before. I won't post any spoilers here, but I will say that this game has carved a new path and it isn't dull or generic. It really enhances the Halo universe as we know it.
To give you a sense of how much 343 has tried catering to every type of player and their specific style of play, here is a list of the specialist armor abilities and what they offer to players. Players who purchased the regular edition of Halo 4 will only be able to use "Operator" and "Wetwork". But eventually, all of these abilities will be available to everyone.
Spartan optimization for stealth operations which focus on the elimination of an enemy target with the goal of leaving no tactical footprint behind.
The Stealth armor mod allows users to move quickly and silently in combat, executing enemy assassinations with lightning fast dexterity.
Spartan optimization for deployment into uncharted, hostile territory, such as uncolonized worlds or Forerunner constructs like Requiem, for the purpose of gathering and relaying information.
The Fast Track armor mod allows Spartans to gain more experiential data from each encounter, effectively ranking up quicker during the process.
This Specialization will be available at launch.
Spartan optimization for the subversion, repair, and or reconstitution of a wide range of technology, including Covenant and Forerunner complex networks.
The Drop Recon armor mod allows users to predict the location and time of an ordnance drop through an external suborbital monitoring system.
Spartan optimization for long-range target tracking (trans-continent and off-world), particularly in scenarios where conventional tracking has failed or such a substantial time has passed that the trail has gone cold. The Requisition armor mod allows users the ability to recall their own ordnance requests in order to acquire more helpful weapons in the field.
Spartan optimization for single-operative missions which require a lone Spartan to be deployed on their own for incredibly long durations of time, even years if required. The Stability armor mod allows users to increase their aiming stability when being fired upon.
Spartan optimization for target shadowing missions which require tactical invisibility despite operating at an extremely close range to the target itself.
The Nemesis armor mod allows users to target and track down previous attacking enemies, highlighting them on the armor's passive sensors.
Spartan optimization for deep, unconventional deployment within unknown enemy territory and with little to no assistance from command.
The Gunner armor mod decreases the time of weapon overheat when occupying a vehicle weapon position and increases Spartan speed while carrying a detached turret.
Spartan optimization for the operation and control of a wide range of vehicles: space, air, ground, and sea.
The Wheelman armor mod gives Spartans the ability to coax every bit of stamina and durability out of vehicles they are piloting. "
70 of 99 found the following review helpful:
Best Halo yet!Nov 08, 2012
Six months ago I was convinced that NOBODY could possibly take the incredible work of Bungie and maintain their level of quality and refinement. I had no intention of buying Halo 4. But over the past couple of months 343 would keep putting out videos that kept me intrigued. I decided to give in to the hype and I am absolutely blown away by what I am seeing on my 60" screen...
* The game feels like Halo, but it also feels new - not sure if that is helpful, but they managed to keep the core while pushing the story and gameplay forward
* The graphics are superb, but the sound is absolutely the best of any game I have every played. The gun sounds "punch" your speakers pretty hard and all the affects really grab your attention
* A lot of diversity and progression has been added to the multiplayer aspect of the game. I am less of a "run and gun" type player so I appreciate some of the game modes where the goal is to capture buildings (Dominion) or control space (King of the Hill). It adds a layer of strategy that allows us mediocre gamers to play a key role
* Spartan Ops is fun! With three other friends you can play these "bite-sized" missions and continue the story beyond the campaign. I believe we will continue to get new missions every week so my friends and I have new content to play together every weekend!
* In the campaign, I kept running out of ammo and was forced to switch weapons constantly. Sometimes trying new weapons was a lot of fun, but other times it was a drag using the plasma gun over and over and over...
* In mutliplayer when I watch my Death Cam to see how I was killed, it seems like they dont always hit me and I still died. Its like there is some sort of an accuracy issue with the game. Either the Death Cam is wrong, or I am getting killed by bullets that are not hitting me. Either way it needs to be fixed
Overall, I am still surprised that anyone can take a big franchise like Halo over and somehow manage to not only keep the "magic" but actually make it feel like the next step. I have no regrets buying Halo 4!
78 of 114 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.
1 of 1 found the following review helpful:
Now that was goodDec 28, 2013
By R. Jensen
The Halo franchise returns and delivers a pretty sucessful comeback after Halo 3, which was a mixed bag for me. This game felt a lot like the first Halo in that I felt like I was the chief and saw/felt what he did. Also the weapons in this game felt like they provided a lot of punch and that I could rely on almost any of them to get through any enemy force. Other improvements were Human vehicles felt more useful again, transitions between vehicles and on foot were better and the storyline was a lot more interesting, and for the first time I felt sorry for characters.
One surprising fact was that, while weapons felt like they had improved, enemy resistence appeared to have improved also. Meaning, enemies were felt smarter whilst attacking me but not in the challenging way Halo 3 was, here it was fun to go against them. Another surprise was all the variations of combat we experienced on feet or in the air (this game had great airel combat situations).
Now no game is perfect as their are a couple things I didn't like. Melee still didn't feel useful, as weapons appeared to take a long time to butt and then go back to shooting. Also I was bummed that not much explination went into the story between this and 3, but that's what the EU is for.
Still great game and a worthy comeback for the series.
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