While Master Chief hopes to Finish the Fight, 343 Industries (and as an extension, Microsoft) has different plans…
Taking over the franchise after Bungie Studios opted to create other video games, 343 Industries presents its first (of three) games in Halo 4.
From the very beginning, this one feels different from all the rest, exploring the intricate relationship between the Spartan super soldier, Master Chief, and his artificial intelligence, Cortana. And for the very first time, ever, the Master Chief talks much more than three words of dialog at a time (as he did in the previous entries). Even though this is the fourth game he’s been featured in, he truly feels like an all-new character. I almost don’t recognize his voice.
In my interview with the voice of Master Chief, Steve Downes discusses changing production studios with Halo 4 and how this entry is different from all the rest.
The storyline is a tad confusing (or is it meaningless?). All you need to know is this: In the 26th century, Master Chief has been awakened from cryosleep four years after the final moments of Halo 3. There’s a new menace and he may be the only person to save the world (and human race) again. Along the way, Cortana has outlived her shelf life, having turned rampant. Will she do more harm than help for Master Chief?
I really enjoyed Cortana’s craziness, but I feel like 343 missed a great storytelling opportunity. She could have done some real damage and potentially threatened Master Chief’s life, by sending him directly into battlezones or on wild goose chases with faulty information. Instead, she merely sounds frustrated with herself. Also, Cortana’s rampancy was based on Creative Developer Josh Holmes’ mother and her battle with dementia. That’s some inspiring true-life scripting.
Outside of the campaign, Firefight was removed for Spartan Ops, which feels like a stand-alone story available for up to four players to play cooperatively. I really enjoyed playing the different Spartan Ops missions multiple times (I was never interested in replaying the laggy Firefight).
Dealing with The Challenger achievement is really hit or miss. It’s an incredibly glitchy achievement that depends on when you originally started the game. Playing the Spartan Ops game mode before Season Two was released will give you some problems to complete the game. If you’re unlucky, like me, you have to play more games than listed on the achievement. Luckily, I only had to gain three extra challenges (I’ve seen some people have to get many more). Also, make sure to complete all your games (Spartan Ops, multiplayer and campaign) while completing challenges. Otherwise, you’ll just have to play extra games and hope to get it completed sooner, rather than later.
Halo 4 has plenty of DLC options for multiplayer games, including the Crimson, Majestic, Castle and Bullseye map packs. Other media includes Forward Unto Dawn, a promotional movie, which is accompanied with the Halo 4 Limited Edition and actually has great production value (and storytelling).
Having already completed the Campaign, I still don’t understand who the Prometheans are or what their purpose is, other than being cannon fodder for Master Chief. While I did enjoy the game, it did not feel epic at all. Overall, the campaign was pretty easy and quick to complete — which isn’t a bad thing. Playing Spartan Ops with a co-op partner is fun; the multiplayer is not.
At the conclusion of the game, I have no idea the status of Cortana, so I am hooked for the next game. Bring it on, 343 Industries. Let’s finish the fight together!
Strength: More Master Chief, please.
Weakness: Different parts feel forced, out of place, not quite Halo enough.
WTF Moment: Who, exactly, is the Composer and why is he the antagonist, again?
– “Plug me in.”
– “Start us up.”
– “Pull me and let’s go.”
– “You don’t talk much, do ya?”
– “You mean the planet’s hollow?”
– “Even in death, her meddling continues.”
– “Come on, Chief. Take a girl for a ride.”
– “I’ve got to do something you’re not going to like.”
– “I don’t know about you, but I like a little more intel, with my intel.”