Review: Halo 4

One of the largest, most successful franchises on Xbox is back. Halo 4 is created this time by 343 Industries, these guys have picked up where Bungie left off...

Halo 4

One of the largest, most successful franchises on Xbox is back. Halo 4 is created this time by 343 Industries, these guys have picked up where Bungie left off and delivered more of what we love. Halo super fans will already own this game and were likely lined up for the midnight launch to claim their collectors edition.

Just like Forza franchise we covered last month, this is likely to be the last title of the franchise on this hardware. The standard 2-3 development time for a title means the next Halo title will likely start out being developed on test hardware for the next console, then refined as specs are firmed up. For now, enjoy Halo 4.

Graphics

Massive props to 343 Industries for extracting even better visuals out of seriously aging hardware. Often during gameplay I stopped what I was doing just to look around at the stunning environment detail and lighting effects, just stunning.

Clearly the graphics assets were massive, forcing the game to span across two DVD’s once again begging the question of how far away are we from pure digital distribution, or are we destined for a Blu-ray discs in the future.

Halo 4

Gameplay

The motor mechanics of gameplay in Halo 4 is incredibly familiar for anyone who has played a recent version. There’s nothing innovative here, just more of the same. Anyone in control of a brand this successful inevitably has to do the dance between the new and keeping the die hard fans happy.

Halo 4 definitely feels like we’ve been here before. Sure there’s a different story line and new multiplayer modes, but ultimately if you never played this game, don’t loose sleep at night. Don’t get me wrong if you have never played Halo, this is definitely the best version yet, but at this point there’s almost no one on the planet who owns an Xbox who’s never played it.

Multiplayer matchmaking still fails at adequately arranging players of similar skill levels, but no game gets this right. Ultimately it’s a symptom of a number ranking system that does reflect how good a player is. Skill is not accurately mapped to the time spent in the game or event the number of kills you’ve acquired. What is never taken into account is a gamer’s overall gamerscore, this could assist in pre-ranking before any multiplayer combat takes place.

The broken matchmaking system doesn’t work for either party. Noobs are frustrated by being picked off before they work out where the sticky grenade button is, which masters of Master Chief will be annoyed at the lack of a challenge as the easily pick off headshots to boost their rank.

Halo 4

Price & Availability

Halo 4 went on sale online and at retail stores on November 6th. Halo 4 costs A$68 so if you paid more than that, you overpaid. Check out the prices for Halo 4 on Lasoo.

Overall

Great job 343 Industries in delivering your first A-list title, you did a great job. The game has plenty of new weapons, stunning environments, great sound and a thawed out Master chief and some Cortana hulk-level rage sessions. I put down the controller wishing I had more, a feeling like this was developed by someone new, someone willing to take the franchise in a new direction.

Halo 4 is impressive on many levels, but lacks innovation.

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