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Halo 4, 10 years later, remains a delightful mess

Halo 4, 10 years later, remains a delightful mess
Written by boustamohamed31

Halo 4 cover by 343 Industries.

Image: 343 Industries/Microsoft

It’s a law of nature that eventually any long-running game franchise will have a particular entry that stands for straying too far of what made it so fun in the first place. Yours super mario sunshine, Yours Dragon Age IIAssassin’s Creed III, and so on. Whether or not that opinion changes more favorably over time, the initial specter of negativity will forever hover over him. of Microsoft Hello is no exception, except that the negative specter has not loomed over one particular game, but over an entire studio.

Halo 4 released for the Xbox 360 on November 6, 2012, and was the first full-length entry from developer 343 Industries. The studio became the official stewards of the franchise after Bungie backed out Halo Reach in 2010 and before Halo 4, made Reached map packs and flagship development of the 2011 remake Halo: Combat Evolved. For what was the beginning of what would become known as the “Reclaimer Saga,” 343 wanted to put more focus on the narrative than on Bungie’s games, which they accomplished by bringing to the fore the deeper knowledge of the Forerunner series that were present in the earlier games, but not the big focal point.

For a franchise whose earlier entries could best be summed up as “guy in a helmet kills aliens,” and as the gaming industry began to put more focus on characters in its single-player offerings, you can tell why would 343 follow suit. That being said, it makes sense why Halo 4 chooses to join Master Chief and Cortana’s efforts to return to Earth amid the latter’s deteriorating mental state and subsequent death with the arrival of the Forerunner Didact, who wants to turn humans into robotic Promethean warriors under his command to conquer the galaxy. If there is anything that Hello might be appropriate, it would be a deeper exploration of character and whether one chooses to look Chief and Cortana’s dynamic as platonic or romantic, there is something it makes their adventures worth following over the years. But while the campaign does its best, the end result ends up being something of a mess.

Image for article titled Halo's identity problem started out as a delightful mess

Image: 343 Industries/Microsoft

There are some highlights, no doubt: the opening sequence where The Boss and Cortana try to escape the ship they’ve spent years in cryosleep on while being attacked by the Covenant is chaotic and dizzying, and the moment the pair crash into the world of Requiem and Chief look up at the hanging skyscrapers, which carries a similar sense of grandeur and awe as when they stepped on the Halo ring in the original game. Likewise, the penultimate mission, which is essentially a rendition of the Death Star, can’t help but feel great thanks in large part to the co-composer’s strong musical backing Kazuma Jinuchi.

But the biggest problem of Halo 4 campaign, and the Reclaimer Saga as a whole, is that it too easily overplays the already established mythology of the series, or simply piles on new lore without doing a decent enough job of establishing why it’s different from what came before. With the Chief-Cortana storyline featuring some of the best character writing in the series, the Forerunner of it all starts to feel like it’s bogged down in too much jargon to be accessible to anyone who hasn’t already sunk to cross in extended media. And it’s a shame to say that because Halo 4 contains one of the most interesting additions in the series that define the future games of 343 and even Hello television series.

Halo 4 features standard co-op similar to its predecessors, while also introducing a new mode called Spartan Ops. Set after the events of the game’s campaign, up to four players with their own customizable Spartans will take part in missions with their own narrative and weekly release schedule. This mode did not last beyond the first season, and narrative events previously intended for future seasons were turned into monthly comics that served to connect the campaigns of Halo 4 and Halo 5. But his spirit lives on in the sequels of 343: Halo 5 co-op puts players in the shoes of three Spartans on the respective teams of Master Chief and Jameson Locke. Halo Infinite, although it follows in the footsteps of other live service games by incorporating narrative events into its seasonal model, it couldn’t have gotten this far without Spartan Ops setting the stage for the franchise to explode.

Image for article titled Halo's identity problem started out as a delightful mess

Image: 343 Industries/Microsoft

Among the pantheon of Hello developers, 343’s tenure was not without problems and controversies, both general and record-specific. As stated in the jump, this is the bane of any long-running franchise: the idea of ​​what it’s becoming is held so tightly by fans that anything that deviates from it is seen as a gross betrayal. In this case, the peak of the franchise will be Halo 3, a juggernaut that was so big it brought in players who never even looked at the series back then. At best, anything else that comes after that can only hope to reach second place or perhaps to be considered a close enough draw, depending on the rating of a given game.

For 343, that is Hello the games look so close to perfection. Halo 4, 5, and Endless have their strengths and weaknesses, and each feels like they’re getting a piece of what makes the franchise so beloved and why it deserves to stick around. But every time the developers try to fix what didn’t work in a previous entry, the cracks in the franchise’s identity start to show and it gets to the point where they either have to get a whole new armor or move on to a new journey .


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