I thought I’d mix things up a bit with today’s post, since up until now, all my posts have been focused on the multiplayer aspect of Halo 4. Today, I thought I’d share my opinions on Halo 4’s campaign, aka, the return of the Master Chief.
WARNING: This post will contain major spoilers, so if you haven’t completed Halo 4’s campaign yet, do not continue reading if you do not want anything to be spoiled. But in all seriousness, if you haven’t completed the campaign yet, you should probably get on that. Like right now.
I was pretty excited to play the campaign and see the Master Chief again, since his last appearance was in 2007, unless you count that Easter Egg in Reach and Combat Evolved Anniversary, which I don’t. The Easter Egg was more of a cameo, and CE Anniversary was a remake of CE, so it wasn’t a new experience, but I digress. I was really looking forward to how 343 could continue this story and keep it fresh and entertaining.
For the most part, I thought 343 did an outstanding job with the campaign. The story was truly engaging, especially between Chief and Cortana, since her rampancy was affecting both of them. I honestly feel like I learned more about them in Halo 4 than I did in the previous games combined. 343 did a great job in exploring their personalities and feelings for one another. Chief’s one true friend was dying, and it was evident that he would do anything, and I mean anything, to save her.
I also liked the new enemies, the Prometheans, aka, the Forerunner army. They prove to be a new threat to the Chief, and they also require new strategies and tactics to take down. For example, the Watchers will throw up a shield for the Knights if you start attacking a Knight, so taking the Watchers out first is of vital importance. Also, Knights prove to be a real challenge to take down. The Plasma Pistol is truly your best friend, since without it, the Knights are very tough to kill. I found Crawlers to be similar to Grunts, in that they pose little threat alone, but in a group, they can be deadly, since they will swarm you even if you are behind cover.
Halo 4 also saw the introduction of a new enemy, the Didact, the leader of the Forerunners and the Promethean army. This is the first time that the Master Chief has had a true adversary in the series, since in previous games, he simply fought against the Covenant, who had multiple leaders, and the Flood (while the Gravemind was the “leader” of the Flood, the Chief never truly fought the Gravemind face to face, he simply aimed to destroy the Flood). The Didact’s goal is to destroy humanity, since he does not believe that humanity is ready to achieve The Mantle, which is the philosophy of the Forerunners. As a result, he proclaims that the Forerunners have returned, and will reassume their role as holders of The Mantle.
I thought the ending was really moving. Cortana’s death not only affected Chief, but I also felt affected by her death. She was one of the most important and recognizable characters in the series, and seeing her fade away was difficult to watch. I won’t lie, I teared up a bit when Chief was begging Cortana to not go, and when she simply replied, “Welcome home, John.” The cutscene afterwards was also quite powerful, as Chief’s conversation with Lasky really made Chief think about himself. Chief saying that Spartans must protect humanity whatever the cost and Lasky replying that Spartans aren’t machines, but people too, was a moment that will stick with me for a long time. Chief tried to be strong and appear that Cortana’s death was negated by him saving humanity, but Lasky reminded Chief that he is a human at heart, so it is okay to have feelings, and it is okay to mourn the death of not only his companion, but his best friend.
So, while I really enjoyed the campaign for its storytelling and exploration of Chief’s and Cortana’s personalities, I did have a few issues with the campaign. First of all, I thought that the final encounter with the Didact was anticlimactic. I was hoping for something like a boss battle against the Didact, instead of a simple quick time event where I just had to press X to plant a grenade on the Didact’s chest and watch as it exploded and cause him to fall off the hardlight bridge.
In addition, the campaign included a lot of button pressing, as in, you have to walk down a hallway and press a button that activates something, or go through a large room and press a button that deactivates something. While I don’t have an issue with having to press buttons, there were a few too many buttons that Chief had to press in Halo 4.
Also, the actual story may be confusing to some people who aren’t as familiar to the Halo Universe. I have seen this issue raised quite a few times, and the general response was something along the lines of, “read the books” or “just go look online”. I don’t think that players should have to go online or read the books just to understand what is going on in the game. I myself did not get confused with the story, nor did I have to go online to fully understand it, but I know that there are people out there who did, and I think that this should not happen.
Now, to close things, here is the TL;DR version. Hurray for laziness!
-Master Chief is back! Yay!
-Great story and character exploration, namely, Chief and Cortana
-Interesting new enemies to fight
-Chief has a true adversary now
-Dat ending, dem feels
-Final fight with Didact could have been better
-Too much button pressing
-Story may be confusing for those unfamiliar with Halo Universe
That’s all for now. Okay, bye.