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Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*
Posted By: ArithmomaniacDate: 11/25/12 12:09 a.m.

First off, thanks to RC Master for the review format.

Unlike him, though, I'm playing without Internet access (that's boarding for you), so I can't comment on the multiplayer. On the other hand, I've also spent most of the last decade without an XBox, so I think my perspective is at least a bit outsidery. Hopefully, that will justify your time (if not, scroll to the bottom.)


GAMEPLAY (on Normal)

Gotta hand it to 343i: this feels like Halo.

Something about the game made the Golden Triangle more attractive than in the past (is melee packing a higher punch than it used to?) The geometry felt right to me, too. I know some people think AOtCR is the best Halo level ever, but I'm into more compact spaces where I can't get lost and am shooting something within every "thirty seconds of fun". This game hit my sweet spot pretty well (though it could have used a couple more vehicular carnage zones.)

The new enemies get a B in my book. The Watchers fit the niche that's gone without the flood - the "Aaah I'm out of ammo to shoot the popcorn" category. Knowing that I have to enter a fight by picking off the Watchers is also fun. But I just didn't feel like the Knights had any combat character. They reminded me of Halo 2 Brutes - stupid bullet sponges - but with poorly-utilized teleportation.

The new guns were similar - some good ones, but others just lacking a place. The returning weapons all felt right to me (and sounded awesome). Despite being derivative (I started calling them by their human equivalents in my head), most of the Forerunner weapons had good niches: The Suppressor was my favorite weapon in its class for its steadiness and rapid fire rate, the Incinerator Cannon was a great long-range infantry tool, and the Pulse Detonator was great against crowds of Prometheans. But I didn't bother with the Binary Rifle, didn't really get the secondary mode of the Scattershot, and found the Boltshot to be worthless (what's with the unsteadiness and the FOV-blocking flaps on charging?) On the organic side, I liked the Storm Rifle, Railgun, and Sticky Detonator, but didn't grok the Saw.

I ended up using the Auto-Sentry a lot - it's almost like playing co-op. I also liked charging close to enemies with the Hardlight Shield so I could pick them off easier (or, of course, using it while running for cover.) Thrusters seemed useless, and the Jetback seemed too short.

Oh, and one too many push-button levels. I chalk that down to plot failure (see below.)



I don't really have an opinion on Covie retcons. I think the Prometheans are uninspired, but that doesn't bother me much. I do like the new UNSC industrial design, though - it has just a touch of the futurism Halo has lacked to date, but rarely too much of it.

Environments were either stunningly beautiful, or gray/orange. I'm not inherently opposed to Forerunner orange - it still felt Forerunner, and was a great contrast to that brief section of Librarian blue. But there was a bit too much of it. One of the things that drew me to Halo was the color, and when it wasn't there blowing my mind (as in Requiem), it felt a bit lacking. The welcome addition of dynamism to the Forerunner architecture didn't quite make up for it.



As I blankly watched the Epilogue and Post-credits, I realized two things went very wrong. Together, they could be summarized as "there's may be a great plot here somewhere, but you're not showing it to me". As the lore is probably my favorite part of Halo (and as I think 343's been doing a good job on this score in general), this was a bummer.

The first one has been touched by a lot of people here. What the heck is bothering the Didact? I watched the terminals, and still didn't feel like I was getting the whole story. Why are the Covenant there? (No, I'm not going to read TTW.) What really drives Tillson and Del Rio?

I find the second problem more fundamental, though. When the game ends, the Composer is destroyed, the Didact is dead, and we can go back to dealing with the Covenant nuisance, right? No? Then at least give me a hint that something broader is going on here! I don't see a "threat to the universe" that could set up a trilogy - just a major threat neatly tucked away, a la Halo Wars. In another thread, people are batting around ideas for Halo 5. But in truth, no one has the faintest idea.

This vagueness crept into a couple of other places, too. It took me about two minutes to figure out how I released the Didact. The Librarian's exposition was gorgeous, but phrased vaguely. And what was the Didact waiting for in Shutdown?

On the plus side, the Cortana/Chief dynamic was well done. I'll miss her.


STRAY THOUGHTS ON CERTAIN LEVELS (just some brief thoughts)

Dawn: Too much QTE, and spaces were a bit tight. Atmosphere was great, though. As was the zero g. But why where the shields down AGAIN?
Forerunner: Should have been shorter and folded into the previous level. Wish you could have actually lost the Ghost run by going too slowly.
Infinity: The Mantis plays like Halo, but the leg mechanics just don't LOOK like Halo. Still bugs me.
Shutdown: Game would have been better-balanced without this mostly pointless level.
Composer: So a Broadsword can't travel through Slipspace, but a SPARTAN with his knife in a ship can? That's just wrong.
Midnight: Run and chuck the nuke, dangit! Don't just stroll there! The last part was QTE done right - you doing something pivotal, but would have had to be left for a cutscene. Like the missing "Press B to fire Halo" in Halo 3.


ALL IN ALL: 4/5. Thanks, 343i. Needed more polish and originality, but I appreciate that you're still learning.



Because Wu asked for it.

Message Index


Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*Arithmomaniac 11/25/12 12:09 a.m.
     Re: Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*Lurono 11/25/12 2:31 a.m.
           Re: Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*uberfoop 11/25/12 3:25 a.m.
                 Re: Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*Arithmomaniac 11/25/12 2:37 p.m.
                       Re: Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*uberfoop 11/25/12 6:15 p.m.
                 Re: Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*Lurono 11/25/12 4:22 p.m.
           Re: Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*Urban Reflex 11/25/12 3:45 a.m.
           Re: Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*Leisandir 11/25/12 8:43 a.m.
                 Re: Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*Sl'askia 11/25/12 12:26 p.m.
                 Re: Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*Lurono 11/25/12 4:38 p.m.
           Re: Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*Arithmomaniac 11/25/12 2:34 p.m.
                 Re: Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*Lurono 11/25/12 4:48 p.m.
     Re: Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*Ragashingo 11/25/12 9:18 a.m.
           Re: Yet more Halo 4 thoughts *SP* *long* *IMG*DHalo 11/25/12 10:12 a.m.

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