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Halo 4 - Campaign and Multiplayer Hands On

It's been over four, almost five years since Halo three came out, ending a trilogy many expected to be the end of Master Chief's story. Now, after a pretty big break from the main series and a switch in developer, we have finally had a chance to play a decent amount of 343 Industries new title, the first in the new Halo trilogy. At Yesterday's event in London began with a talk by Franchise Development Director Frank O'Connor in which we were informed that the game is now complete from a development standpoint and ready to be certified. All that it left for 343 to complete is some of the matchmaking systems need finishing. Then came the big moment as we were first sat down in front of Halo 4's single player campaign. Single Player Some of the plot details are under a heavy lockdown but I'll let know know as much as I can. The games first mission, titled €œDawn€, is set between four and five years after the events of Halo 3, around the same amount of time we've been waiting for the game. You start off in the UNSC €œForward Unto Dawn, being awoken from Cryo suspension by Cortana, who informs you that the ship is beginning to collapse around you. You have a couple of minutes to explore the ship, looking at a data log of events from the first three Halo games if you need a refresher, before you start being given Covenant enemies to fend off. You'll spend most of this firt level fighting against covenant enemies you're used to with weapons from the first games that you have had time to learn to use correctly, which makes the first level feel like a great way to get eased back into the series. The enemies and weapons all react the way you expect, but the low availability of ammunition in the campaign was an issue. During a particularly hectic firefight outside in a low gravity section I found myself dying multiple times as the little ammo availble would often float off into space where I couldn't use it to reload. By this point in the first level one of the most striking things about the game is the complete visual overhaul 343 has given the game. This isn't just updated textures, this is an engine that looks leaps and bounds ahead of Halo 3. The lighting effects were superb, Master Chief's armour has never looked this detailed, and the environments have never been so breathtaking. The games difficulty has definitely stepped up too. Taking the advice of Frank from our briefing I started playing the single player on Normal rather than Legendary. While the lack of ammunition caused a couple of deaths while I adjusted to Halo 4's more calculated play style, the difficulty of Normal definitely cause me more of a threat than it has in previous games. As the Dawn mission progresses we learn that we have accidentally drifted into the middle of a Coventant fleet who have decided to board the ship and launch an assault. The mission ends with you being sucked into a giant metal planet, along with the remaining Covenant forces, unable to escape it's gravity field. We were also able to play through a later mission titled Forerunner, which is the third mission in the game. While I can't get into too many specifics on this mission, it involves you inside the giant metal planet, trying to get a warning to UNSC forces so they don't approach the Forerunner planet in search of you. Once you reach the Forerunner mission you start to get a feel for the direction the rest of the game is going, and how 343 is trying to distance itself from the first three Halo games in terms of its campaign. You get introduced to the new enemy race, the Prometheans, and a whole host of new weapons. http://youtu.be/JYTxQf9DN_0 Firstly lets tackle the new enemy types. You have the Crawler, which fills the same €œweak enemy to blast through€ status as Grunts have previously filled. Where they differ is that they are much faster, more agile, and can stick to walls. They also displayed far more strategy on the battlefield by performing effective pincer manoeuvres and flanking when I wasn't careful. Next up are the Watcher, which you will quickly grow to despise. It's similar to a two rotor gyrocoptor which flies around creating imposible to penetrate sheild for other enemies, bringing downed enemies back to life, flying around at such speed that it's incredibly hard to hit and generally making your life much more difficult. I found that unless I took them out first fights were near impossible. Thirdly we got to fight against Knights, which take the place of Elites. The difference with knights is not only do they have the watchers protecting them, but they are also much larger and take much more firepower to take down. They throw a large amount of area of effect grenades which also seemed to be the most effective way to take them down if you got a hold of them. The weapons dropped by these enemies included a new bolt gun and shotgun which when picked up would disassemble themselves, arrange around your arm via some sort of gravity effect, then rebuild themselves for you to use. The visual was interesting to watch and gave a sense that these were something you had never encountered before. The biggest thing to me playing through the single player campaign was that, while it definitely still felt a like a Halo game, it has taken on board lots of other inspirations that are visible early in the game. Most notably I got a sensation similar to playing both the Metroid Prime trilogy and Dead Space 2. From the first missions action based scene climbing an elevator shaft or the moment a creature jumps out at you at the most perfectly chosen moment the game has increased not only the feeling of fear and cinematography, but also isolation. During the Forerunner mission we learn that Cortana is suffering increasingly from Rampancy, which is best equated to Dementia in humans. With Cortana become less stable and you making active attempts to keep UNSC forces away from your location, the sense that you truly are alone in this fight was very reminiscent of the feeling of dropping down to a planet alone as Samus Aran.
Contributor
Contributor

Long time JRPG and Nintendo SuperFan, Laura is a passionate gamer who comes to WhatCulture to share her nerdy ramblings with the world.