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21 year-old male from Amory, MS
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Belated Review of Halo: 4"I'm aware that it's been a month, but I've been very busy."
The term renaissance means “rebirth”, and is usually a word reserved for museums and classrooms, but on November sixth, a rebirth of a beloved franchise emerged from the ashes of stagnation with the work of 343 Industries, who just a year ago, promised that their new Halo game would blend time honored methods with their own spin on innovation to ensure that Microsoft’s cash cow would not end up relegated to the depths of obscurity, and on that fateful day of tearing apart that pesky shrink-wrap, 343 Industries delivered on the hype they created, and managed to stamp out many lingering controversies over the passing of the torch. With their Halo comes a story that doesn’t withhold details to be discovered in novels or rummaging about in wikipedia, and seamless gameplay that brilliantly blends old and new concepts for an intensely fast paced and exciting game with incredible variety, topped off with an incredible visual overhaul with a sound design to mach.
Halo: 4 takes place four years after the events of Halo: 3 with the main protagonist, the Master Chief, shaken awake in the aft section of a broken warship by his long time A.I. friend, Cortana, fast approaching unknown territory. From here the pace picks up familiarly enough as players don the olive green armor once more, and face off against a decade old foe, the Covenant. In these first encounters with the Covenant, the player may take notice of the fact that these aliens are outfitted in a more drab armor, and every species from the lowly Grunt to the venerable Elite seems fiercer, more rugged than in previous titles, for reasons yet to be explained. Of course, familiar faces in recycled armor can only keep the eye for so long, and that’s the moment that 343 feeds the Master Chief into the white blue maw of a silvery metal planet, alive with never before seen Forerunner technology that is in no way good for the player’s life expectancy.
Other than the inexplicable return of the Covenant, the story of Halo: 4 is the deepest, most concise in the history of the series with a compelling new story arc surrounding the ongoing tale of Master Chief and Cortana as the two once more save the world with Cortana emerging as an even stronger character following in the Master Chief’s risk it all to win it all policy, but as a much more human figure- one that finds herself questioning the nature of her existence and the nature of the Chief’s existence all while she fruitlessly battles her rampancy, a condition where A.I.’s like herself think themselves to death. From here the story continues to expand, answering lingering questions about the Forerunners and their long-running relationship with humanity, and while the player shouldn’t expect novel like depth in the campaign, the story is still a riveting step in the right direction that seeks to fill as many gaps as possible. Usually at the end of a campaign such as this, players are forced to “hug it out” with multiplayer and repeated revisits to the campaign for the next three years, but bundled with the main campaign is a new story driven replacement for the beloved “Firefight called “Spartan Ops”. These episodic missions take place six months after the end of the main campaign, and feature new episodes, and five missions each week, exploring yet more new territory within the story, and enlightening the player as to why what’s left of the covenant lingers on. This dynamic new model could pave the way for a new type of campaign expansion that doesn’t involve costly Downloads, or a flashy advertisement campaign.
Of course, what is a well-organized story without the bacon wrapping that is gameplay? That being said, with 343 Industry’s freedom to flex its creative muscles, they’ve added a plethora of new features surrounding Bungie’s tried and true Golden Triangle” of shooting, melee, and grenade throwing by first gathering weapons from all corners of the Halo universe, and housing them in fully customizable load outs available to all game types. Along with better prior outfitting, the Spartans’ municipal military lends a hand by raining down the player’s choice of one of three random ordinance drops as an occasional reward for the points that each player puts toward their respective teams. Other than collecting and rebalancing older weapons to fit into Halo: 4, 343 brings about its own creations to the table such as the precise Light rifle and the flesh melting incineration cannon along with humanity’s new chicken-legged tank, the Mantis. However, if the sheer amount of weaponry and ease of access to particularly lethal ones raise eyebrows and reservations, players will be relieved to experience the terrific balance of the game where no matter who has the advantage, the speed and intensity of gameplay never slows enough for stagnation, but won’t climb to stupid fast and infuriating speeds. Matchmaking, unlike in previous titles, is open now, allowing empty slots to be refilled by incoming players in the middle of the game. However this system sometimes causes problems with initial matchmaking, sometimes starting with odd numbers of players rather than waiting until the lobby is slotted out for even teams. Of course, improvements to gameplay don’t stop at just core gameplay, and this handy work makes itself apparent in the once more reinvented “Forge Mode”, Halo’s signature map editor. This time around, the player can lock objects in place, connect them magnetically like Bucky Balls, and even copy and paste forge objects at coordinates corresponding to the original piece, shrinking the learning curve of forge exponentially.
Now, the Master Chief may have been left to stew in the subpar visuals of two-thousand and seven, as with everything else in this game, the visuals received an extreme overhaul with crisp details, and fluid animation throughout. Facial rendering also takes a leap forward, with very detailed facial ex
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Name Trenton
Birthday July 23rd, 1993
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