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Halo 4: through the eyes of a jumpy sceptic

Friday, 2 November 2012 09:20 GMT By Dave Cook

Halo 4 reviews began this week, sparking praise for 343′s shooter. It’s the darkest, most personal chapter in the series to date, but will sceptics be converted? Find out below.

So what’s all this Halo stuff about? It’s some lad in a green space suit bouncing around on moon boots, shooting pink lasers at the piss heads from the Mos Eisley Cantina isn’t it? Do Lucas and Disney know about this?

What, you never see the guy’s face and he doesn’t talk much? What a load of stale toss, at least Captain Price has a moustache that can kill a man at twelve paces. Who’s that blue woman? What’s her role in this interstellar pantomime?

She’s an AI? So she’s a piece of military hardware, a tool to be used as part of the job? Why is she blue? Is it because she’s based on Microfail Windoes and keeps blue screening? Hah. Microsoft.

WHY DOES GREEN MAN JUMP SO HIGH?

Well why is the green man in love with the blue woman then? Shouldn’t he just be doing his job and not getting attached his equipment? Why doesn’t he just marry his gun instead, or interlock into a violent ‘nade-orgy with his plasma grenades? It’s the future, people will understand.

Who are the Covanant? They’re the bad aliens, yeah? Fuck me it is the future after all, where minds are open and equal-opportunity laws make anyone fit for service, even those Grunt things that take two shots from my super-soaker to kill. Poor bugger’s head just came clean off.

WHY CAN’T I STOP JUMPING?

The UNSC ships all have stupid names. Forward Unto Dawn, Pillar of Autumn, Death Star of Chinese New Year on a Leap Year. Quad or tri-barrel names are dumb, just like the game’s aiming. No iron sights? GTFO!

Halo made no sense, Halo 2 made no sense, Halo 3 made no sense, Halo: ODST made no sense and Halo: Reach made no sense. Why do these jokers keep on making money? Are you people so stupid you can’t see what a bad game this is? Vote with your wallet man.

Oh god Ha-LOL 4 just got announced at E3…meh. Nice milking Microfail. All you care about is money and not new ideas don’t you, well you know what you bunch of corporate highwaymen, you’re not getting a penny of my money. Not a penny.

BET THE GREEN MAN JUMPS HIGH IN THIS ONE TO!

More Failo 4 trailers. Seems legit. It’s not as green or as pink as before, but I bet it still has those puppet aliens and the blue woman. Hmm, the green man talks more, so does the woman. There’s less Covanants in this one too.

This could be alright. What, wait? You mad bro? What did I just say? Maybe some rounds on Battlefield 3 will snap me out of it. Fuck Halo, and fuck Call of Duty. Fuck the industry that only wants my money.

The game’s out next week. All my friends are saying it’s the game that will make them fall in love with the green man for the first time. But I can’t cheat on DICE. How can I do that? It’d like being caught with my pants around my ankles with the green man’s knob in my gob round Peter Moore’s house. It can’t happen. No way.

Halo 4 reviews have come out. Alright, it’s not looking so bad. They say it’s the game that will convert sceptics and takes big steps to bring newcomers. They say there are less pink lasers, new enemies, new weapons and a darker world.

The plot makes sense too, and the green man – sorry Master Chief – and Cortana’s struggle makes you want to care for once. The multiplayer is the best yet? Umm…shit. They say that it may not be a massive leap forward but it sets up the series for the next generation?

That can’t be true. I need to read more reviews, whoever wrote those articles has clearly been paid by Microfail to say that the game is good. No..no it’s actually all over the internet. Am I the one who’s been wrong all these years? Have I actually been the problem all this time? Well…maybe.

I’m playing Halo 4 now and yeah it’s good, it’s not revolutionary, but it’s really good fun and I’m not actually hating it. Perhaps instead of slamming something I haven’t understood all this time I should have kept an open mind and reserved judgement until actually getting a chance to play the damn thing?

Perhaps anyone can swallow their pride and admit they like something, even if social circles and fan boys tell me I shouldn’t? Halo 4 isn’t Battlefield or Call of Duty, but it’s a unique design. It’s a ‘Halo’ game, and that brings with it a whole new experience.

If I could have just put down my petty hatred of Microsoft and console exclusives for a second I might have seen how fun the franchise actually was. I’ve really missed out, but as they say better late than never eh?

What are you on about?

Sorry about that. That ‘guy’ above isn’t me, but good lord I’ve seen many people online scarily close to that caricature. The kind of folk who – just because Halo is an Xbox exclusive – just refuse to believe that it could ever be any good.

Or, say, someone is a long-time Call of Duty, Counter-Strike or Battlefield fan and they enter into that weird mindset where flirting with a rival franchise is akin to cheating on their husband or wife.

It’s OK to enjoy a broad spectrum of games, and to be brutally honest here, some of the reactions on forums and comment threads on Halo 4 reviews – which only started publishing yesterday I might add – have been appalling.

Actual angry, bitter, sour, knee-jerk, thoughtless, irrational, commentary that demonises people for enjoying the Halo franchise. It baffles me. People who do this are essentially curbing their gaming palette, and missing out on fun experiences.

I have never been a real fan of the franchise, but not for a lack of trying. I’ve played every game in the series and I’ve really tried to integrate myself into the Halo fold, but for some reason it never stuck, but at least I can admit they’re good games.

I’m also desperately shit at Halo multiplayer and that puts me off a little as – because of this demands of this job – I don’t have time to invest in getting good at it. I’m a Call of Duty boy at heart, but I love all shooters. So I stuck with that as I can only devote my time to getting good at one of them.

But Halo 4, truth be told, really struck a chord with me. It’s not perfect, certainly not a 10/10 – for the record, I hate scored reviews – because 10 to me implies something that innovates and advances a genre or the medium as a whole. Halo 4 is not an advancement of anything.

It’s a solid, highly polished and thoroughly enjoyable shooter that kickstarts an intriguing plot and lays the frame for what should be a stellar trilogy. When Halo 5 hits Xbox 720 – and if I were a betting man, I’d bet my meagre savings that it will – then you’ll start to see proper innovation.

But for now, just chill out, let people like what they like and let’s just have some fun blowing up aliens, yeah?

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29 Comments

  1. naffgeek

    I really enjoyed this article, the feedback forums on most sites I visit these days seem to mainly be filled with the usual my game/console/pc is better than yours or some variation on this theme.

    I understand the mindset of people who want to justify their choices by having everyone do/play/read/support the same things as them but in the end it really makes no difference.

    I really don’t like Resident Evil 6 but accept the fact that a lot of people really love the new direction it has taken and I have to face the fact that at 41 maybe my tastes are not the demographic that drives the most sales.

    So I look elsewhere and there is plenty to find as I think we are entering a new age of exciting gaming with digital delivery allowing developers to self publish.

    So I play what I like but don’t hate what I don’t.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @1 very well said, people could stand to take a leaf out of your book :)

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Hirmetrium

    Dave, give me a shout on my Gamertag (same as my account name) and we’ll play some games when its released. We’ll make you not “shit” at multiplayer ;) It doesn’t take much, just gotta understand some of the shield mechanics. A lot of it is about positioning, holding a good place in the map, and power weapons (which obviously have changed a lot this game).

    Others are welcome to add me too.

    Considering this is the only console game I’ll buy this year, I’m pretty psyched.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. tgchan

    amazing article! made me laugh for the 1st half so hard >:D

    #4 2 years ago
  5. locus2k1

    +1 this article

    Looking forward to playing Halo 4 next week and to see first hand how 343i have done with the licence.

    Too many games this time of year as usual: Halo, CoD, Wii U, Forza, NFS MW, AC3 to name a few; it’s great that there are varied types of games coming to all consoles but just not enough time and money when you enjoy said variety of games.

    Dammit, I still haven’t finished Dark Souls once yet lol

    #5 2 years ago
  6. viralshag

    So VG has finally hired Erth to write an article? Or at least half? ;)

    That was great. The first guy is what puts me off gaming.

    @3, You’re getting an add… Is there clans in the MP? Will there be a VG group if there is?

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Dave Cook

    @6 The first guy was me, but not me – if you get my drift :P

    #7 2 years ago
  8. The_Red

    “Well why is the green man in love with the blue woman then? Shouldn’t he just be doing his job and not getting attached his equipment? Why doesn’t he just marry his gun instead, or interlock into a violent ‘nade-orgy with his plasma grenades? It’s the future, people will understand.”

    That part should be printed in gold. Thanks for the solid and awesome read. Still, really wish they had done more with the Halo formula.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Dave Cook

    @8 :)

    #9 2 years ago
  10. viralshag

    @Dave, So what you’re saying is deep down you’re a big old Microsoft troll? :P

    #10 2 years ago
  11. OrbitMonkey

    So very tempted… Course it would mean getting a 360… Still, very tempted…

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Dave Cook

    @10 god no. I love all my consoles equally, they give me much joy :)

    #12 2 years ago
  13. viralshag

    @11, Do it… me and a few work colleagues just peer pressured someone else into getting a 360! I’m happy to do it again. :D

    @12, Lies! :P

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Deacon

    If someone wants to sell me one of the newer Xbox’s (a quiet one) for like £50, that would be great.

    I want to play this. I love me a good story!

    #14 2 years ago
  15. ManuOtaku

    Nice read and really fun to see the two sides of the coin in one article, pretty fun and a nice read like i said, also i like to add hats the beauty of owning all the consoles, is that you can play all the great exclusives for all of them, and halo being the best on microsoft consoles is not the exception to this rule, this what an avid gamer will do, play the most out of it without any preconceptions, we love good games, good games should be played by us regardless of manufacturer, glad to see this on a hybrid ( review-opinion) piece, kudos Dave.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Timurse

    @14 Here you go
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_nkw=xbox+360+250gb+console&_sacat=0&_odkw=xbox+360+250gb&_osacat=0&_from=R40

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Dave Cook

    @15 thanks man :) I just think to deny people their opinion – their gaming taste – based on a sense of loyalty to a brand or particular format is insane. There’s a big, rich world of games out there old and new, and it really does pay to sample as much of it as you can.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. vormison

    Great article. You point out one of the most aggravating and immature of gamers and it’s frustrating. People who lash out against people who play Halo are no different than what the majority of people seem to be like, though. I’ve even seen it from writers and moderators on this very site.

    PS3 vs. Xbox, Mac vs. PC, Android vs. WP7 vs. iOS, etc. etc. It goes on and on.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Dave Cook

    @18 thank you, glad you liked it :) I just want us to all get along heh.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Paranormal Pett

    Haven’t laughed like that in a while. Really cheered up my Friday afternoon, cheers Mr Cook = D

    Just have to add, we all know why people act the way they do. They feel the need to validate their own choice of console (including pc) as not everyone can afford each one. So something they can’t play or afford, they knock and justify that it can’t be that good and that ‘my’ choice of shooter 500 on console PWSX69 is way better, when in fact it’s just as good / worse / or same as another one.

    It’d be nice if people could just respect others opinion of games….well apart from anyone who likes CoD, they have no opinion ; D

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Dave Cook

    @20 nice to know if brightened up your day :) thanks for reading.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. karma

    I think some peoples concerns are valid. I know mine are. There are great reviews popping up everywhere but there was one comment in CvG’s review that really put me off..

    Quote: “Halo is at its best when it’s epic; by comparison, Halo 4 is narrow and constrained” -CvG

    http://www.computerandvideogames.com/374442/reviews/halo-4-review-a-visually-stunning-reprise-of-classic-halo-moments-review/

    Apparently just like Halo 2 which I loathed and hated for years until I finally fell out of love with the entire franchise. Though Halo: Reach was an agreeable return to form.

    But that one comment totally put the caution brakes back on for me because I really do hate Halo 2 so fucking much. What a complete bag o shite it was. The fucking Arbiter, perfect english talking elites, fucking linear narrow corridors, pussy ass peashooter weapons. Gawd I really hated that game so much! It was nothing like that original gameplay trailer level they put out and then ended up dropping from the game and starting from scratch. Sure it looked prettier than the original but imo it played like crud. But anyway, back to H4, I’d like to believe this is a great reboot for this franchise, but I honestly will be waiting to sample the games campaign before I throw down any money for it. Especially because as a silver member I dont give a rats ass about the online MP component.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Dave Cook

    @22 that review is correct, Halo 4 is more constrained, but that’s the only comparison to Halo 2 I found. It shits on Halo 2.

    Also, while the locales are constrained, it feels like 343 has used that space better. It feels more dense, so don’t expect massive ground wars like in Halo 3, but a more intense in your face series of gunfights.

    Hard to explain without you actually playing it to be honest :)

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Ristas

    @karma

    I played through the game and i can honestly say that i completley disagree with what you read in CvG. Halo 4 is the perfect example of what “epic” really means. It’s what epic used to mean, before it was used to describe everything that’s kinda cool.

    In Halo 2, everything was a fucking corridor. Even when you were outside, you felt like you were running around in a small building. I hated that. And in every single Halo Game, the parts that played inside of a building were by far the worst.

    Those parts are non-existent in Halo 4. There are a few scenes where you are inside, but these buildings are so ridiculously huge that they still feel like Outdoor-Levels. And when you actually are outside…oh my. I don’t wanna spoil anything, but the battlefields in every Level are huge and give you tons of opportunities to play them the way you like.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. polygem

    beautiful article! really enjoyed reading it. halo is for sure one of my fave videogame franchises….maybe even my absolute fave one. in my book it deserves all the praise. bungie established something truly outstanding with halo. for it´s story but especially for it´s gameplay design. it really is close to perfection for the genre imho. i for one love games in general. i prefer some and critcize others. i don´t care about platforms. seriously not. i am more often pro nintendo and sometimes pro microsoft this gen, but that´s mainly because i really do feel like that. these days if you say you like halo more than uncharted it automatically makes you an xbot….it´s really really weird…

    @OrbitMonkey: yes! come on man, DO IT! i know you had one once, i have your unanswered friendsrequest running for ages. get a freaking old 20gb (with hdmi) or something, but do it. i really think halo 4 alone will be worth it…

    #25 2 years ago
  26. John117

    The only bad thing about reading this is that I get even more excited for this game but the damn release constraints me… I wanna play the campaign for myself and find out if it deserves the praise and critic. I guess what annoys me the most are people who actually have an opinion of the game (good/bad) as if they have actually played the game… Take IGN’s review for example, the lovers say it’s the perfect review while the haters call them Xbox fans and think the game is overhyped… How can they know?!!! I know the game has been leaked already and this is the internet but cmon…

    In Norway the game has gotten 7/10, 9/10 and 4/6 from the sites I’ve checked and some commenters praise them for being honest about a game they are sure dont deserve the good international scores and others say the game is biased on personal opinion instead of subjectiv view. Gamereactor.no didnt like that MC talked more for example, while the 4/6 grade was explained by the lack of innovation… Maybe it is, personally I will find out 3 more days…

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Dave Cook

    @26 that’s one of the saddest things I read about on a daily basis – that people think they know what a game is all about without actually having played it. People can have opinions however, and first impressions are very important of course. I don’t think many people could honestly deny that, but to totally write something off at the outset is foolish – hell, it could be your new favourite game and you just don’t know it.

    You’re absolutely right I think, and in this day and age there are so many demos out there now on digital stores that there’s no excuse to at least try a game you’re unsure about – for free I might add – to see if you’re right in your presumptions. I love gaming so much that I’m willing to give anything the benefit of the doubt as I want a rich gaming experience. I want to try everything – impossible of course – but at least the means are there for me to try.

    I just feel its all too easy for gamers to be sceptical, and that’s a little sad to see. The new DmC is the worst example, people hating on a bloody brilliant game just because of what the lead character looks like. It’s their loss.

    But again, awesome comment and thanks for reading :)

    #27 2 years ago
  28. bitsnark

    @27

    I cannot agree more Dave.

    I recently got a chance to go hands-on with the game and I wrote up my very favourable impressions of it (its the best form the series has been on with the possible exception of DMC3), and yet predictably, the same old know-it-all’s come out, who haven’t actually played the game and decried my preview as corrupt bullshit.

    Oh the hair! Oh the 30FPS! Oh its Ninja Theory! Oh he looks an emo!

    Look, if you haven’t played a game and you want to speculate – that’s fine.

    If however you haven’t played a game and you and try and discredit someone’s actual experience of that game with ignorant, insecure vitriol; your opinion carries roughly the same weight as a pube and as such, you should be stuffed into a shit-filled metal box and fired into the sun.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. polygem

    i love DmC too. the franchise is known for having a good amount of extremeley moronic übernerd fans though….unfortunateley.
    i havent played the new game yet but everything i have seen so far looks great. cannot wait for the demo.

    #29 2 years ago

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