Using the word “hype” to describe “Halo 4” would be an understatement. This is the big one, the REAL big one, and not just for the Chief, but for the fine folks at “343 Studios” who have something to prove. Into the fore-running fray, Halo 4 has arrived.

“Halo 4” is finally here to finish the fight, or at least to pump a few more rounds into it. After an infernal six-year rest, the definitive follow-up to “Halo 3” is finally here. What this means is more Master Chief, more multiplayer madness, and more hype than what “Halo 3” launched with back in September 2007. Although it might seem like a bit much, “Halo 4” does the impossible, and lives up to, if not eclipses the hype. “343” you've earned it.

Unthawing Master Chief, “343 Studios” puts him right back to work. Battling an ancient evil, you will explore the Halo universe like never before. Filled with awe-inspiring levels, the themes visited here are never short of amazing, or even better, fresh. While “Halo 4” is more about the continuing narrative, it’s also the story of “343 Studios”, who took over the work from decade long developers, Bungie. Expectations were understandably high as “343” helms the next evolution of the series. However, the speculation is over, and fans and critics alike have spoken. UNSC, we have a winner.


“Halo 4” takes place five years after the events of “Halo 3”. Labeled the “Reclaimer Trilogy”, clearly Halo has the big picture in mind. Summing up the fiction, “Halo 4” features the Chief, trailing the “Forward Unto Dawn” into the Forerunner planet “Requiem”. Here the Chief has to deal with the god-like Forerunner race, while aiding his A.I. “Cortana” deal with Rampancy, which is basically short for her going bonkers. “Halo 4” showcases that there is life beyond the “Covenant” and more notably, that the strong-and-silent “Master Chief” can have a personality.

Conflict is crucial to a shooter, and “Halo 4” continues to breathe new life into the series by introducing new enemies, vehicles and weapons. Although the new Promethean faction and their weapons look cool, they’re not as fascinating as the Covenant, but they do add a different tactical element to the mix. Of course, Halo is best served up at higher difficulties, unless you're just in it for the story. In general, “Halo 4” is still very much “Combat Evolved”, but it has mastered a few new tricks along the way and it shows.

Level design also needs a nod of success. While the levels are mainly linear, aside from a few side-routes, the atmosphere, scope and pacing are very solid. Vehicles play their roles just as much as each alien race and setting. There is something to be said for finding the perfect balance, and surprisingly Halo still has it after all these years. It might not be as tricky as other modern shooters like “Bioshock”, but it has its own “Quake” driven appeal that makes it easy for everyone to get into.

Beyond a few scattered “Call of Duty-esque” sequences, innovation comes in the form of swappable, single-player armor abilities. These abilities include the familiar jet pack, hologram, and active camouflage. Now “343 studios” have added a few new ones which include; “Promethean Vision” – a type of x-ray vision power, “Thruster Pack” - offers a fast burst of speed, “Regeneration Field” - healing energy, “Hardlight Shield” - an almost useless shield barrier, and the greatest helper, “Auto-sentry” - a small automated turret. Each skill, admiringly some more than others, really help turn the tide in your favor while adding a new tactical element to the fight.


Graphically, “Halo 4” perfectly sums up the cliché line “jaw-dropping gorgeous”. Damn I don't want to say it, but it’s true - “Halo 4” is not only the best looking “Halo” game, it is one of the best looking games we have seen on the Xbox 360 console. This is a major leap from “Halo” games of the past, which basically looked great, but really never took the lead in that department. Well things have changed, and for the first time in a while, you'll likely see “Halo 4” snag a few “Best Graphics” awards in 2013.

The audio follows suit with some superb audio design. The soundtrack fits the game perfectly, and at moments you'll be just as in-tune with the score as the illuminating surroundings. It's not just the soundtrack that makes an impression. The voice talent delivers heartfelt moments, while the weapons and creatures have an authentic thud to their actions. This is one game that deserves a few minutes with headphones on. Thanks, Neil Davidge.


Multiplayer, now called "War Games", is a huge part of Halo, if not as important as the single-player. In “Halo 4” we see a few changes, although for the most part, “Halo 4” is still the kick-ass multiplayer behemoth as before. Alongside the normal arrangement of multiplayer modes, we have the ever so amazing "Forge" level creator, theater and the new “Spartan Ops” mode. Spartan Ops is an interesting story-driven episodic addition. Showcasing another side of the UNSC, you will explore Requiem over continuing months with “free for now” episodes. This includes a look at the events after the main story, which will only drive the anticipation for the next full-out Halo adventure. Sadly this new addition comes with a cost, and that is the removal of the popular “Firefight mode”, which will no doubt have some Halo fans cringing. Firefight will indeed be missed, so hopefully the quality of the Spartan Ops missions will be good enough to make us forget about busting down the waves.

Into the “War Games”, two welcome changes adjust how load-outs are handled, along with a new “Perks” reward system. Load-outs are shared with both War Games and Spartan Ops, allowing the player to customize a list of load-outs that can be quickly activated in battle. Ranking up will need to take place before you are given full control, but once achieved, you'll love having your own tailored set-up ready to rock. This “shared” union also allocates with your “Spartan Rank”, which is a ranking system that offers unlockable rewards such as cosmetic touches and new killing toys and defences.

The modes are mainly kept the same with a few flavors added to old classics. Changes include a more “aware” version of “Capture-the-Flag”, an infinity point-based mode to “Slayer”, and a basketball influenced “Oddball”, which actually makes the skull passable. The new modes include, “Dominion” - battling over base control, “Regicide” - free-for-all point based killing spree with a twist, “Extraction” - capture data points, and “Flood” - an enhanced version of “Infection”. It's all really a bunch of little changes in a big, big, online world. “343” obviously valued tradition, while wanting to have their own stamp, and it all works. Really, as if multiplayer wasn't already super addictive, the new twists just adds to the craving.


Prepare to fall in love all over again, because "343 Studios" has successfully done the impossible by building a better "Halo" game. It's that simple, if you are a fan of "Halo" or shooters in general, don't rebel against the hype, embrace it. "Halo 4" is just that damn good.

  • Achieved the impossible. Made “Halo 4” feel fresh.
  • The best looking Halo game-to-date.
  • Eargasmic soundtrack and audio development. Headphones a must.
  • Single-player armour abilities adds extra depth.
  • Improved multiplayer with some nice little perks.
  • New weapons, vehicles, and enemies. Let me at 'em.
  • Continuous value with the episodic “Spartan Ops” content.
  • Promethean forces don't have as much personality as the Covenant.
  • Beloved "Firefight Mode", we miss you.
Quote: "Prepare to fall in love all over again, because "343 Studios" has successfully done the impossible by building a better "Halo" game."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 11.13.12

Similar Games: Halo:CE Ann (7.8) | Halo: ODST (9.0) | Halo Wars (9.0) | Halo 3 (9.5) | Halo: Reach (9.8) | Halo 2 (10)


Halo 4


343 Studios


US Release
November '12



Players 1-4
Co-op 2-4
Sys. Link 2-16
Online MP 2-16
Dolby 5.1
HD 720-1080p
D/L Content