Playing Halo 4 for the first time; 7 years later

CollinMcCaf

Member
Up until two days a go, I had never played a 343 game.

Two days ago I picked up Halo 4 (360 version) from my local GameStop for a whopping $3.99 usd. Playing through the campaign for the first time, knowing full well what I was getting myself into, I progressed through the game analyzing rather than critiquing. As a 3d modeler and classic Halo fan, I wanted to know what it was that 343 did so 'differently' than Bungie. What I found was an interesting combination of reused ideas, arcade style gameplay, and interesting (for lack of a better word) dialogue.

A bit of background; I've been pulling apart the Bungie games for some time now, remodeled most of the H3 helmets and don't even want to know how many multiplayer matches I've been a part of. My childhood was H2 and H3, emphasis on the latter. Imagine my surprise then, to find the title screen reminiscent of that in H3. Going forward the first of my discoveries (art changes aside) was how much the game looked like Reach, the elites tuck and weave just as they did in the previous title, and the majority of the props look as though they were either unused or reused reach assets.

In my mind, 'Requiem' (the second mission, after you crash) should have been the first playable mission the game instead opening with the original cut scene used:


Followed by what happens immediately after the teaser trailer:


(falling through orbit surrounded by debris) transitioning the two with one, dramatic song, so that Dr. Halsey comes across more menacingly (foreshadowing her shenanigans in spartan ops), while providing better context as to when these two events are happening relevant to each other. The missions, for one reason or another, felt remarkably similar to Halo CE and Halo 2, the gondola ride being a near direct rip from H2.

More interestingly, and less obvious, the thing I found most annoying in the game was the energy shield. Soaking up what seemed be endless rounds once depleted, meanwhile, being depleted nearly instantaneously. Compared to previous titles, it would appear 343 wanted the players to be more cautious than necessary, perhaps as a way to retain new members of the franchise. In any case, the only other gripe to be had regarding combat is that of weapon choice. With the exception of a few UNSC weapons scattered about, the choice of weapons upon initial play through would appear to be, Stormrifle, Plasma Pistol, Carbine, Boltshot, Lightrifle, and Suppressor. Anything other than that, and I at least, was out of luck. (there were maybe two Beamrifles, three Binary Rifles, and a couple rocket type) To sum things up, I found the variety of weaponry to be disappointing.

Believe it or not, I found the Knights to be nothing more than nuisance. On normal difficulty at least, a single plasma grenade or a punch to the back was typically enough to dispel them. More often than not, it was either a Watcher, Crawler, or falling off a ledge that killed me. I've yet to figure out how the forerunner grenades are suppose to work, I've never been killed by one but the Didact didn't seem to like his too much. Plasma grenades ended up being the only ones useful for my play through.

Last but not least; what did I find (aside from the art style) that makes Halo 4 feel 'not like Halo'.

Firstly, the score:
Throughout the entire game, the one song(s) that stood out to me is the Infinity's theme, and the variations of it.

Good song, poorly used.

Let me explain, the previous games were absolutely superb in regards to sound design. The scores don't drown out the game, things have varying levels of volume but can all be heard, and its obvious when something is playing inside your helmet versus across the room. Several times I couldn't hear what the characters were saying due to the music, first with Cortana, next with the Didact, then Lasky, then Cortana a few more times. Two of the times (that I counted) being in cut-scenes. It took an embarrassingly long amount of time to realize that the audio logs don't play in your helmet like in ODST, their volume carries an unexceptionally long distance before suddenly disappearing.

Second, the screenwriting:
In the previous games, Spartans were praised, feared, and none more than The Chief. H4 doesn't convey this. Civilians and personnel with exception to those you see briefly on the Infinity, treat the Chief like any other. Someone in charge, but some regular person never the less. A specific line of dialogue stuck out to me while on Ivanoff Station, Dr. Tillson says, "unless you're a lot stronger than you look". Previous titles would likely have said the line in such a way as to convey the rumor behind Master Chief something like, "unless you're even stronger than they say you are". Adding to this, no one at the station seems the slightest bit surprised that the Chief is not only there to save them, but is alive in the first place. While there is a line of dialogue to the effect of, 'how'd the unsc get here so fast' its not a directed to the Chief specifically, its a broad statement. Previous games likely would have said, 'they sent us the Chief?!'

What 343 absolutely got right however was Cortana's rampancy. Other than the scene with Captain Rio regarding the leaving of planets, and crashing of the covenant vessel, I felt the portrayal was very done, albeit short lived. Outbursts, I feel should have been kept for a future title however, this of course would require Cortana having not been "killed off" at the end. The main thing I found poorly executed was how she "split off rampant personalities" along with the final scene with her personalities restraining the Didact; both feeling kinda cheesy for a game with an otherwise serious tone.

Coming away from Halo 4, incorporating my thorough knowledge of Halo 2 and 3, I would say that Cortana as far back as H3 is infected with the logic plague, the Didact appears to refer to this towards the end of H4. The players are meant to believe that when the Didact says, "Is this the secret you've kept from me? This... devolved ancilla?", "I sense your malfunctioning companion, Human. And yet, she eludes me." he is merely referring to her rampancy.

He could instead be referring to the logic plague as it would be unlikely for him to know of the 7 year rule. More likely, the driving force behind this comment would be from his experiences with the flood and forerunner AI.
 
Last edited:

xXDashIVXx

Sr Member
Up until two days a go, I had never played a 343 game.

Two days ago I picked up Halo 4 (360 version) from my local GameStop for a whopping $3.99 usd. Playing through the campaign for the first time, knowing full well what I was getting myself into, I progressed through the game analyzing rather than critiquing. As a 3d modeler and classic Halo fan, I wanted to know what it was that 343 did so 'differently' than Bungie. What I found was an interesting combination of reused ideas, arcade style gameplay, and interesting (for lack of a better word) dialogue.

A bit of background; I've been pulling apart the Bungie games for some time now, remodeled most of the H3 helmets and don't even want to know how many multiplayer matches I've been a part of. My childhood was H2 and H3, emphasis on the latter. Imagine my surprise then, to find the title screen reminiscent of that in H3. Going forward the first of my discoveries (art changes aside) was how much the game looked like Reach, the elites tuck and weave just as they did in the previous title, and the majority of the props look as though they were either unused or reused reach assets.

In my mind, 'Requiem' (the second mission, after you crash) should have been the first playable mission the game instead opening with the original cut scene used:


Followed by what happens immediately after the teaser trailer:


(falling through orbit surrounded by debris) transitioning the two with one, dramatic song, so that Dr. Halsey comes across more menacingly (foreshadowing her shenanigans in spartan ops), while providing better context as to when these two events are happening relevant to each other. The missions, for one reason or another, felt remarkably similar to Halo CE and Halo 2, the gondola ride being a near direct rip from H2.

More interestingly, and less obvious, the thing I found most annoying in the game was the energy shield. Soaking up what seemed be endless rounds once depleted, meanwhile, being depleted nearly instantaneously. Compared to previous titles, it would appear 343 wanted the players to be more cautious than necessary, perhaps as a way to retain new members of the franchise. In any case, the only other gripe to be had regarding combat is that of weapon choice. With the exception of a few UNSC weapons scattered about, the choice of weapons upon initial play through would appear to be, Stormrifle, Plasma Pistol, Carbine, Boltshot, Lightrifle, and Suppressor. Anything other than that, and I at least, was out of luck. (there were maybe two Beamrifles, three Binary Rifles, and a couple rocket type) To sum things up, I found the variety of weaponry to be disappointing.

Believe it or not, I found the Knights to be nothing more than nuisance. On normal difficulty at least, a single plasma grenade or a punch to the back was typically enough to dispel them. More often than not, it was either a Watcher, Crawler, or falling off a ledge that killed me. I've yet to figure out how the forerunner grenades are suppose to work, I've never been killed by one but the Didact didn't seem to like his too much. Plasma grenades ended up being the only ones useful for my play through.

Last but not least; what did I find (aside from the art style) that makes Halo 4 feel 'not like Halo'.

Firstly, the score:
Throughout the entire game, the one song(s) that stood out to me is the Infinity's theme, and the variations of it.

Good song, poorly used.

Let me explain, the previous games were absolutely superb in regards to sound design. The scores don't drown out the game, things have varying levels of volume but can all be heard, and its obvious when something is playing inside your helmet versus across the room. Several times I couldn't hear what the characters were saying due to the music, first with Cortana, next with the Didact, then Lasky, then Cortana a few more times. Two of the times (that I counted) being in cut-scenes. It took an embarrassingly long amount of time to realize that the audio logs don't play in your helmet like in ODST, their volume carries an unexceptionally long distance before suddenly disappearing.

Second, the screenwriting:
In the previous games, Spartans were praised, feared, and none more than The Chief. H4 doesn't convey this. Civilians and personnel with exception to those you see briefly on the Infinity, treat the Chief like any other. Someone in charge, but some regular person never the less. A specific line of dialogue stuck out to me while on Ivanoff Station, Dr. Tillson says, "unless you're a lot stronger than you look". Previous titles would likely have said the line in such a way as to convey the rumor behind Master Chief something like, "unless you're even stronger than they say you are". Adding to this, no one at the station seems the slightest bit surprised that the Chief is not only there to save them, but is alive in the first place. While there is a line of dialogue to the effect of, 'how'd the unsc get here so fast' its not a directed to the Chief specifically, its a broad statement. Previous games likely would have said, 'they sent us the Chief?!'

What 343 absolutely got right however was Cortana's rampancy. Other than the scene with Captain Rio regarding the leaving of planets, and crashing of the covenant vessel, I felt the portrayal was very done, albeit short lived. Outbursts, I feel should have been kept for a future title however, this of course would require Cortana having not been "killed off" at the end. The main thing I found poorly executed was how she "split off rampant personalities" along with the final scene with her personalities restraining the Didact; both feeling kinda cheesy for a game with an otherwise serious tone.

Coming away from Halo 4, incorporating my thorough knowledge of Halo 2 and 3, I would say that Cortana as far back as H3 is infected with the logic plague, the Didact appears to refer to this towards the end of H4. The players are meant to believe that when the Didact says, "Is this the secret you've kept from me? This... devolved ancilla?", "I sense your malfunctioning companion, Human. And yet, she eludes me." he is merely referring to her rampancy.

He could instead be referring to the logic plague as it would be unlikely for him to know of the 7 year rule. More likely, the driving force behind this comment would be from his experiences with the flood and forerunner AI.
Haha, now to get you to look at the wonderfull armors and attachments of halo 5!
 
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