Halo 4 Infinity Review

Patch Notes

Review

Five years. Five long years. That’s how long we’ve been waiting for the inevitable. That inevitable is Halo 4.

Since 2007, we were teased with its existence. It was never a question of “if”, but of “when”. But that “when” is now, and after years of waiting, Halo 4 has finally landed. I can tell you, its definitely been worth it. Halo 4 is massive, and that’s an understatement. Its so big, I can’t even begin to describe how amazingly ambitious and huge it really is. So much so, that in a weird way, it feels like the first time in a long time that an FPS game has shipped as a completed and polished package that delivers on every level. It’s one of the few games to attain such a level of hype, and ambition, and one of the few to actually deliver on all fronts. It’s also a contender, if not winner of Game/Shooter of the Year. Trust me it’s that good.

So where to begin? How about where it counts, and with what matters most; the gameplay! So, in a nutshell, the gameplay remains largely the same as the past Halo’s – Armor Abilities, weapon pickups – the whole nine yards. What’s different, you might ask? Everything. For one, the AA (Armor Abilities) are well balanced. Nothing is overpowered like the Armor Lock from Halo: Reach. In fact, all of the AAs are well balanced against other players and the actual gunplay. The Hardlight Shield, for example, replaces Armor Lock and favors mobility while in cover, instead of stationary invincibility, allowing players to move while holding a shield in front of them, though they are slowed down and cannot fire weapons. Other additions, such as my personal favorite, like the Thruster Pack, allows players to go in any direction they please for only a few feet. Most players seem to disregard this ability as useless and would rather use the Autosentry (a floating stationary  turret that is extremely efficient at suppressing enemy players), but I find that the Thruster Pack is much more useful and has saved my life on multiple occasions. Its’s a great way to get out of sticky situations with your shields down. Now, I will say that the Regeneration Field is a bit of a let down, as it only pushes opponents back and does a poor job of protecting it’s users. But, then again, this was the same way in Halo 3, albeit without the pushback. Overall, the AA’s do a great job of switching up the gameplay and making each encounter different and challenging.

A few of Halo 4′s weapons and armor variations

Obviously, the gunplay is one of, if not the most important aspect of the game. And do the guns deliver! Returning weapons like the DMR, Battle Rifle, Covenant Carbine, Assault Rifle or the new additions like the Light Rifle make each and every player feel like a true blue Spartan as you murder your friends with such visceral ease and accuracy. New weapons like the Covenant Storm Rifle are lackluster and useless as for some reason, the Covenant like carrying non rechargeable weapons on the battlefield. Power weapons like the Sticky Detonator are wickedly cool as you can purposely miss a shot and still blow your friend up six ways to Sunday, add to that the new UNSC SAW LMG, which eviscerates multiple opponents in mere seconds and the fear inducing Forerunner Binary Rifle. I can safely say this beast puts the fear of God in me (trust me, when you see that orange light, you better do two things: 1. Make sure that’s your buddies, or 2. get behind something fast, because the end result derezzes you into digitized bits). The new Forerunner weapons are excellent and satisfying, as when you earn a kill with one, your opponent turns into digitized bits, which in my opinion is the new “you just got owned” moment to experience. If Reach had the super cool assassinations (which also return), then Halo 4 has players being utterly vaporized into nothingness. Back all this up with the outstanding vehicles, new and old like the fan favorite Warthog, and the new lumbering mech called the Mantis that absolutely devastates infantry and vehicles alike, and you’ve got yourself one solid game gameplay experience.

If you haven’t noticed by now, Halo 4 is gorgeous. It looks so good in fact, I daresay it rivals Battlefield 3 and is probably one of the best looking titles on the Xbox 360 to date. How 343 squeezed this beautiful thing out is beyond me, but the fact that I can play it with a smooth frame rate (some drops during really intense moments) at a surprisingly 30 frames per second is astonishing. While I can clearly see the difference between the Frostbite 2′s engine at 30 fps and 60 fps, Halo 4 manages to look solid through and through and always looks its very best. From an artistic view, the game introduces new elements into the mythology of the Forerunners, along with new architecture and backgrounds that are stunning. This not only makes this the most beautiful Halo game yet, or the most artisticly creative one, but also one of the best looking games this year.

One of Halo 4′s bigger, vehicle-based maps, Ragnarok

Going hand in hand with the graphics is the excellent sound design. Again, I can’t express how good this game sounds both in its score and its explosions! When you rev up the Railgun and fire it at your friend, you feel it blasting from your hands just as much as your opponent feels it slamming into him. The guns, mortar cannons, vehicle ignitions – everything sounds absolutely incredible, even more so when you can hear the music which, to some people’s dismay, was done by Neil Davidge and not Marty O’ Donnel. But believe when I say, just like Halo 4 itself, the score is a natural evolution for the franchise, and Davidge nails it.

There are 13 maps that come packaged in the game (10 multiplayer, and three forge) and unlike Reach, which used the exact areas from the campaign, Halo 4′s maps are brand new arenas and are just as crazy as ever. With large vehicle excursions on maps such as Longbow and Exile, to smaller arena maps like Adrift and Haven, each map is varied and unique, having multiple pathways and shortuts that can cater to anyone’s play style. I will say the maps are much more vehicle based this time around, and I actually enjoy that, as Reach was really lacking in that department. Also, new game modes like the insanely fast-paced but incredibly addictive Regicide makes its debut, along with the new Flood mode, allowing players to become the Flood and attack survivors! Add in Dominion, a territories-like game that gives players access to bases with turrets and vehicles when they capture bases, along with the old favorites like Slayer and CTF, and you’ve got a deal! Now, some additions such as automatic flag/ball pickup, along with a throwable ball make their debut and, surprisingly, make the game even more fun than usual and help end the game in a plethora of yelling and screaming,  just like the good old days. Couple that with the depth of customization like weapon skins, armor, unlockable emblems (which I may never understand as to why I have to unlock something like an emblem for use), and tactical and support upgrades (use Dertexity. Believe me. It’s a life saver) and you have one of the most balanced games in the Halo series, if not the entire year. The specializations that become available after reaching rank SR-50 will certainly keep you give you something to look forward to and provide a whole new palette of abilities to experiment with.

Halo 4′s brand new Flood mode, the spiritual successor to Infection

Most people know that the Halo community is one of the most vocal communities out there, but also one of the most creative and interactive. As with a new Halo title, you can expect a plethora of new maps, films, screenshots, and gametypes to come from them for months to come, but with that, 343 tried something different: a wildly crazy idea that at this rate, if it works, then I no doubt expect to see it implemented in other games to some degree as well.

That idea is Spartan Ops. As with each numbered entry in the franchise, the developers once again attempt to change the way we play games (Halo: CE was the entirety of the FPS genre, Halo 2 was multiplayer and Halo 3 was social innerworkings of the community with Forge and Theater). Five new episodes each week detailing six months after the events in the campaign following the UNSC Infinity. While the extent of the plot is yet to be known, the little I played was fast and fun, getting better the higher in difficulty you go up. Coordinating with your friends on taking out a Promethean Battlewagon has never been so fun. The only problem I could have is how the experience could be kept fresh, but I know better, as 343 doesn’t need to prove themselves, they already have. If kept up, this could potentially lead us to Halo 5, which judging by the events in the campaign, I can’t wait to see where Chief’s next adventure awaits.

Good old Red vs Blue, but in a whole new battle

I, like many Halo fans, was initially scared and cautious of Halo 4 when it was unofficially announced at the end of Halo 3. We wondered what would happen next. When it was officially announced and news trickled out regarding the game, many became concerned that it would become too much like the competitor; Call of Duty. I mean, why would a beloved franchise like Halo copy off the game that copied off of it. Well, I’m here to tell you Call of Duty it is not. Halo it is. And if anyone needs to be doing the copying, its Call of Duty. Trust me when I say Halo is back, and its the best thing not since three, but since Halo: CE. It’s that good. So lets give it up for 343 Industries as they’ve done the impossible: They made a better Halo game than Bungie. Well done 343. Well done. And as for Halo 5? Lets not wait another five years, because this wait was damn near unbearable. Welcome home Halo.

5 / 5

Do you harbour the same thoughts? Is Halo 4 the true reclaimer in this generation of first-person shooters? Share your comments below!

Up and coming gaming professional. I enjoy all things gaming, along with movies, and comics. Willing to talk and communicate on the deep politics of the industry and what makes a good game good. See you all on the far side. End of Line
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002367454310 Jonathan Stoffregen

    wow HALO sure has come a long way since 2001 not the way i wanted it to go but still to each its own.

  • Jason

    I was skeptical about this game, after Reach, I lost faith in Halo. I played the game at a friends house the other night on campaign and… lets just say, after the cut-scene was over, i still thought it was a cut-scene lol. The game feels soooo solid and beautiful, it really made me change my mind quick! I have only played a few matches of Multiplayer and i can tell you It was very fun and exciting and I was back in the “Halo” mood very quickly! I know I haven’t played much of this game but after a short while with it, i can say…. HALO is back in a goooood way! Very impressed with 343 studios!

  • pharmassist

    great review. very detailed. thanks!

  • Jon

    I feel that there’s a limit in style of maps, in Halo 4 you don’t see any maps like the Pit. Also, a big issue is that lack of custom game options. Flood is literally the only infection gametype you can play. Regicide is at it’s core broken, but you can simply avoid playing it. The good news is that these can all be remedied with map packs and updates (which hopefully they will do). Besides that, the campaign is incredible, and overall it’s pretty polished. I hope Halo 4 can be brought to it’s full potential, but honestly I just want to play some custom games infection right now.

    • http://twitter.com/Clay_the_Human Geekasaurus Wrex

      Well it’s going to be a good while before we see anymore Halo so I’m positive that 343i will get a few fan requests in.

  • Longtime reader

    Good review. Typo in the gameplay section at the end, (fulfilling). Also I don’t think you finished your thought when talking about balance. I’ve been on the fence about picking this up. Pending the Black Ops 2 reviews, I may roll with this or that. I know they are two different games, but as a BF3 fan looking forward to Aftemath, I only have time for one additional shooter this fall. Thanks again for the write up.

    • http://www.facebook.com/alex.plascencia.03 Alex Plascencia

      Halo 4 is worth it man

    • http://twitter.com/Clay_the_Human Geekasaurus Wrex

      I feel your sentiment. I picked up Halo 4 in the end because I feel I would enjoy it more(and I do) than Black Ops II which is already having balancing issues according to MP1st and other gaming sites. I had MoH Warfighter and was trying to like it but simply couldn’t in the end. So for me it’s Halo 4 and Battlefield 3 until next year’s FPS probably being Crysis 3.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alex.plascencia.03 Alex Plascencia

    Halo 4 is so big it is “Ginormagantuean.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/alex.plascencia.03 Alex Plascencia

    That moment when you’re about to teabag the guy you just killed with your Promethean weapon when the body just disappears into “digitized bits”…

    • Michael Kelley

      That moment when the killcam is skippable and renders teafaggotry moot

      • http://twitter.com/Clay_the_Human Geekasaurus Wrex

        Won’t be moot when he watches that replay lol… If he watches it

  • PuddingAuxRais1ns

    Wheres FFA? :(

    • Santiago Garza

      Regicide is FFA. :)

  • halo 4 meh

    Ok so a halo fan writes a review. It was detailed yes but come on of course its gonna get 5 stars. Five years waiting? No duh this guy was anxious for it.

    • Maxwell Deering

      I understand that because I’m a Halo fan, may constitute me giving it a high score but it dosen’t. Most Halo games are deserving of their ranking good or bad, but 95% of the time, the game turns out good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Rodger/754630340 Dave Rodger

    can’t get enough of this gameplay and damn that railgun is satisfying

  • http://www.facebook.com/ThaFallen5oulja Alex Melendez

    My GOD, im about to BURST, i need this game o.o !!! Come on, just 1 week and 3 days left D:

  • Munk

    I’m glad Halo is getting such a high review! Its one of the few games I feel like I get my money back for! Bungie really tried listening to the community. Adding Forge and all that good stuff! I hope 343i can do the same.

  • ron

    I’m sorry, but this is the single worst review I have ever seen on this site. Coming from a hardcore Halo fan, it’s not that you gave it a positive review, it’s that you gave it a perfect review and called it “the most balanced Halo game to date.” That is an absolutely absurd statement.

    Given MP1st’s audience, I am surprised it would run a piece utterly and totally devoid of any meaningful criticism or scrutiny when swarms of knowledgeable players within the Halo community have quite the collective list of things that are either flat out broken or that they flat out hate in the game.

    • mechblade

      Fact this, Halo: CE make entirety of the FPS genre popular. And without Halo maybe not be a xbox 360, COD, Borderland, or other FPS games. also MoH and Battlefield 1942 may fail without Halo.

      • http://twitter.com/Clay_the_Human Geekasaurus Wrex

        Assuming the FPS genre was never popular before Halo or would be without it. But you do have a point and I agree. Both Halo and it’s PC “forerunner” Marathon, both innovated the first person shooter genre on consoles an PC respectively. Marathon(also developed by Bungie) was rare in that. It mahad an intricate and engaging story that was essential to game play. A lot of shooters then focused more on being more action oriented and simple experiences sacrificing narrative. It was also one of, if not the very first PC game to utilize the mouse for shooting and free look(aim) and Bungie took that, and made Halo, a game that made it possible to fully use both stick in the same manner as a mouse, making gamepads far more accurate than they were previously. And this was a MAJOR advancement in the first person genre! Remember a lot of games before Halo had auto aim(not aim assist but an aimbot to target to compensate the then extreme lack of precision aim in console shooters.) and used the left stick to do everything. So yes its safe TO say the FPS genre on consoles especially is be a useful of Halo. Someone else may have figured the right stick thing out eventually but the thing is, they didn’t. Halo is to the first person genre what Resident Evil 4 is to the third person genre.

    • Garrett2U

      Halo 4 is a different game than Reach. Reach is a different game than Halo 3. Halo 3 was a different game than Halo 2. Halo 2 was a different game than Halo CE.
      Many Halo fans have different expectations of what they think Halo is, so obviously not everyone will be pleased.

      It certainly is balanced. There are some issues, but none game breaking.

    • Maxwell Deering

      When I say its the most balanced Halo game to date, I mean, in that in my playthrough I experienced no problems. Its truly no different from past Halo with the only difference in being players can start out with Primary weapons, and can tweak their armor to their play style, but other than that its still fairly balanced. Sure every game has their bugs, but Halo 4 had none that I’ve encountered recently. By far its still pretty balanced, and evened out, especially by today’s standards.

  • JS

    And surprisingly no

    I lol’d.

  • mechblade

    Other great review. I was skeptical about this game, after playing Reach and i almost not buy this game and in fact i almost buy back ops 2 with my clan. i got Mark VI armor and it is not easy to unlock it. Only thing i hate about this in game is a flood mode.

  • http://twitter.com/TechS3ek Aria

    “looks like a next-gen game, rather than current” wow, exaggeration !!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002367454310 Jonathan Stoffregen

      yeah they piled a tons of bloom on but the base textures are low res

      • http://www.facebook.com/ThaFallen5oulja Alex Melendez

        kinda like black ops o.O did the developers of both games bearly found out about bloom or what?

        • http://twitter.com/Clay_the_Human Geekasaurus Wrex

          There doesn’t seem to be a lot of bloom to me.. Definitely less than Reach

    • Maxwell Deering

      I don’t think so. This game is far from an exaggeration, in its details, and honestly, how they pulled off a game that looks this good is very surprising.

  • Michael Kelley

    Took me a while to get back into the feel of how Halo plays, but it makes for a damn good time playing solo and is especially fun when you have a full (and competent) party

  • sgt_mofo

    Noticeable improvements over previous entries:

    - A lot less light bloom
    - A lot less softness to hide aliased edges…
    - …because this time around the models have a nice dose of AA applied (show it if you got it!)
    - No sub 30FPS like H3 or Reach (still has framerate drops when things get hectic, but generally it runs buttery smooth). If you don’t believe me, try playing the Pit on H3 with 4 or more people, and then pop into H4.
    - Hit boxes seem to be a lot bigger, especially pertaining to headshots and the DMR/BR.

    I’ve had a lot of fun with it thus far, and honestly, I think 343i has not only just tweaked a lot of things *cough*CoD*cough*, but improved them as well. 5 stars doesn’t necessarily mean perfect as it pertains to balance or bugs, but rather advances the genre. Looking at it in that light in conjunction with Spartan Ops, and I say Halo 4 is deserving of the ranking.

  • AAAAA

    Ohh man, if only if it was for the PS3 as well

  • roland0811

    The co-op is great and the campaign is good. I found the mulitplayer pretty lacking, though. No Big Team Battle, super small maps and the lack of vehicles took it down several notches for me.
    I’ll stick with co-op until the multiplayer gets as good as Halo 3′s.

  • http://twitter.com/ShomaFlame05 Nikki Blow

    This article is sorta lengthy, hopped around for certain parts I was interested in reading from the reviewers. For this game, some of the weapons may be a little off their game. Some weapons like the covenant storm rifle are probably meant for certain players, it may be a skill thing. But as for any game like this, it’s whatever the player feels most comfortable with. I do like their variety and expansion on certain elements on the game, as you pointed out.
    As for any game, we all pay attention to the quality of the graphics, and this game does not disappoint. It also has stunning sound quality as you’ve pointed out.
    Great review! Seems as though you’ve got your money’s worth.

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