Xbox 360 Review: Halo 4

Halo, is it me you’re looking for?

It’s been several years since Master Chief and Cortana became stranded at the end of Halo 3, I had hoped that we would see them rescued in a later game and after the great ODST and Reach, it’s time that Master Chief took center stage in a new saga that is going to span another trilogy. Now, I can’t go into specifics regarding the plot but suffice to say that Spartan-117 is back in action and is better than ever!

This is 343 Industries first real stab at a new Halo title, the first being a remake of the original Halo: Combat Evolved last year. I have to say, I was impressed that they managed to make the game feel very familiar to Halo veterans, while mixing things up a bit for newcomers. Halo 4 is a bit of old and a bit of new, but I can say hand on heart that it has the best campaign of the franchise so far. There are so many memorable moments, great new weapons and abilities to use against your foes and an epic story that sets up the Forerunner saga perfectly.

The campaign is comprised of 8 missions, so it shouldn’t take you too long to do unless you are planning on going through it on Legendary solo or trying to hunt down the hidden Terminals. Besides the campaign is Spartan Ops, which is almost a secondary campaign where you and friends can tackle objectives like taking out Covenant/Promethean targets and heading for the evac point, these can be very rewarding and also hold story elements that will be fleshed out even greater by the power of DLC over the coming months.

Multiplayer returns with your typical multiplayer modes and it’s still an absolute blast to play, the new maps are well designed and addictive, it feels more fluid and it still comes with the XP and Perks system from Reach, which is very welcome. You’ll still have plenty of challenges to complete to earn even more XP and unlock achievements along the way; I can’t remember having this much fun playing Halo multiplayer in years. You can also design custom modes and maps, as well as customise your Spartan with armour you unlock when levelling up. It’s not exactly new, but it’s still very welcome.

I have to say that Halo 4 is without a doubt, the best looking game on the Xbox 360. That’s not a statement I make lightly, I had no idea that the 360 still had that sort of horsepower left in it, the game looks simply incredible with detailed environments, great animations, superb character models and a solid framerate. It almost looks next-gen, you might not believe me but you will once you pop that disc in. The voice-acting is brilliant as always with great performances from Master Chief, Cortana and the many other characters you’ll meet along the way. The music is also truly epic as you would expect, while the sound effects are classic Halo.

The Verdict

Halo 4 might not change the series too much, but it does improve upon everything greatly and it’s easily the best looking game of this generation. Master Chief’s hiatus has been long, but now Spartan-117 is back with his best outing yet.