Synopsis: Bungie may not be back, but 343 takes over and returns us to the world of grunts, brutes, Cortana, and of course, the Master Chief. While following on from the events of Halo 3, this game does also do a lot more to investigate Master Chief’s origins. At the same time, a new threat to humanity is revealed, the Prometheans, ultimately leading to the discovery of our new big bad, the Didact.
There is something about the HALO universe that just keeps me coming back for more. I played the original game 10 years ago on the original X-Box, and have returned to it for almost every subsequent entry (excluding HALO Wars, not being big fan of multi-player only games). Nothing much changes between titles as far as gameplay or strategy is concerned, it is true, yet said gameplay remains entertaining and challenging. What really keeps me coming back though is the introduction of new , interesting villains, and a storyline that continues to enthrall me.
Based on these two elements, HALO 4 is a worthy successor to its forbears. Early on, we are re-introduced to Dr. Halsey, a move that rightfully bring the events of prequel HALO: Reach more firmly into the cannon. We then get the Master Chief waking from his extended sleep, Cortana guiding him once again. However, Cortana has been active for too long, and begins “ramping”. This bring an emotional element to the story. Any regular HALO player should be very fond of Cortana at this stage, and like me will feel compelled to save her. This gives the player a more vested interest in successful completion of each mission.
It was an interesting choice to reveal some of Master Chief’s history, including his name. It is a dangerous move, as with these facts obscured, it is possible for the player to write themselves into the story of Master Chief. Up until I have been Master Chief, not this John character. This did not disturb me while playing though. I guess I am so comfortable now in becoming someone else in a gaming universe, that the Master Chief with his own back story does not really play a dominant factor in my enjoyment of the game at all. Indeed, I can see how it opens more possible story angles for the character for us all to enjoy in future instalments.
I myself bought the Limited Edition version of the game, with special packaging, Spartan armor Blueprints, extra details on the Infinity, and other documents that further expand upon the events in the game. There is also a number of downloadable content codes, including a Cryotube for your avatar, which is pretty cool. Admittedly there is probably not a lot here for the casual gamer, but for HALO fans, it is a little box of goodies.
My only disappointment is that the game was over too soon, but then again, I have not played on Legendary yet. I guess I can also bite the bullet and give some online gaming a go too so I can live in this world a little longer!!
5 stars out of 5