Review: Halo 4 brings character and emotion to Master Chief
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What will give you the most replay value in Halo 4 is, of course, the multiplayer. I've spent the majority of my time Infinity Slayer, which is your typical 4v4 team deathmatch with ordinances. Ordinances are weapons or temporary power-ups that you can earn during the game. When you get an ordinance, you'll use the d-pad to select one of three different items, such as an Overshield, increased damage, a shotgun or a saw rifle. There's still guns like the rocket launcher that are located on the map, so don't worry about that. All of the other matches that you expect are there — like Capture the Flag and King of the Hill. There's a few new additions — like Dominion, Extraction and Regicide — that I can see becoming quite popular.
Getting into a game is pretty simple and fast. You can get thrown into a match already in progress, instead of having to wait to fill a spot from a player that's dropped out. Multiplayer did change a lot in regards to progression and loadouts. Outside of the default loadouts, you now are able to control what your primary weapon, secondary weapon, grenade and armor ability will be with five custom loadout options. As you play, you earn experience and level up. Every time you level, you get one Spartan Point (SP) that you use to unlock weapons, grenades and armor abilities. But first, you need to level up to unlock said weapon or ability for purchase with SP. There's also Tactical Packages and Support Upgrades that you can purchase with your SP. Think of them as Perks from Call of Duty. Tactical Packages give you upgrades like unlimited sprint or the ability to carry tow primary weapons instead of one. Support Upgrades give you upgrades like faster reloading and starting with more ammo from your loadout and ordinances. Between Support Upgrades, Tactical Packages, weapons, and Armor Abilities (including a new auto sentry ability), you can really make some unique loadouts that suit your playstyle.
One big thing gone from Halo 4 is Firefight mode, which was a favorite of mine. In its place is Spartan Ops, which is a decent replacement. Spartan Ops is an episodic story-driven mode that have four players exploring Requiem, the planet where most of Halo 4 takes place. Every week for the next 10 weeks, players will be given a new cinematic that progresses the story after the events of Halo 4, in addition to five new levels that will last about an hour. You can play these levels with one to four players on each difficulty. Overall, there will be 50 initial episodes that you get for free, which is pretty good. You're still fighting waves of enemies, but the difference between Firefight and Spartan Ops is that each mission comes to a close.
Forge is back and better than ever. If you've never dabbled with it before, Forge is a player toolset that you can modify multiplayer maps with. There's three Forge worlds, each with a unique feel and look, where you can place objects, weapons and vehicles, and also alter visibility, physics, damage and player movement. You can upload and share your creations, as well as play your friends' creations. There's just more options and more to do in the mode than ever before, and you can spend hours upon hours just creating. Of course, Theater is back, so you can upload your favorite kills.
There's no doubt about it, Halo 4 does the franchise proud. While there are a few minor grips — like no Firefight and some weak level design — 343 Industries has done a fantastic job of redefining the Halo experience. It's still the great combat of past Halo games with a little tweaking, but now it adds a story that resonates with the player. Master Chief is brought to life and feels like a person more than a super-soldier like never before. And the Cortana and Master Chief storyline is one of the most captivating and heartbreaking stories I've experienced. All of this is packaged in one of the most visually impressive games of this console generation. The care that 343 Industries handled Master Chief with has to be applauded. Halo 4 is a stud of a game and one that this console generation will be remembered for.