To all the Halo fanboys out there - don't worry, you can
breathe again. Halo 4 is as good as you were hoping
For: Xbox 360
From: 343 Industries, Microsoft Studios
Five stars (out of five)
Halo, the franchise that every game company in the
world would love to have, and that every gamer recognises as
one of the daddies of the gaming world, has had a few rough
patches in recent years and some of the previous games have
not lived up to expectations, but now it's got a new team
behind it, and Master Chief is back.
343 Industries, the people behind the excellent Halo:
Anniversary, have taken over the franchise and have
promised the most epic sci-fi saga we've ever seen.
Halo 4 is the first in what 343 are calling "The
Reclaimer Saga", a series of Halo games featuring
Set five years after Halo 3
, humanity is once more
under threat from bad guys ... yeah, yeah, yeah ... I could go
through all the facts and figures and tell you how the game
engine has been redefined and that it's taken a gazillion hours
of programming by elves in a warehouse on the moon to achieve
but none of that really matters.
What does, is that this doesn't just need to be a great game,
it needs to be a great Halo game.
Halo fans are some of the most loyal in the gaming
world - people are still playing the original Xbox game
online - but they are also some of the most picky. They
complained when Master Chief's helmet didn't look right in
the Anniversary previews, forcing 343 to change it.
For Halo fans it's as much about the universe as it is
about the game.
In the media pack that came with the game were, as usual,
various bits of paper - one, however, was a bit different. It
had a long list of things which I was asked not to mention in
the review; various characters and plot lines that 343
Industries would like players to discover for themselves. The
fact that these are probably all over the internet by now is
not an issue, what's important is that the guys at 343 are
really concerned with the Halo story, not just banging
a few levels together on the back of a rehashed multiplayer
is innovative, it's graphically sublime, it
plays like a dream. And, more importantly, it plays like
. Even forgetting the multiplayer, the campaign mode
is excellent - a great story, great characters - and worth the
money on its own.
Don't get me wrong, the multiplayer is as important, and
Halo 4's is the best I've ever seen (despite the fact
I've spent a week getting my butt kicked by the 343 team).
The options are endless; everything you could ever want in an
online shooter, from a proper online career to designing your
own levels with the help of the forge tools, is right there.
It also features Spartan Ops, which combines single and
multiplayer in a series of weekly "episodes" bringing both an
additional campaign-type experience as well as expanding the
I could go on for ages telling you how good it is, but I
Go buy it and see for yourself.