Revisiting Halo 4: It’s a Good Game, I Swear

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Thomas Richards
| February 23, 2024
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I’ve had an itch to revisit a Halo game from my childhood. I don’t know if it’s me wanting a hit of nostalgia or if the new season of the Halo TV show has put the series at the forefront of my mind, but I want to play one of these games. But which Halo game did I decide to revisit? You probably already know (because I put it in the title), but yes, I went back to Halo 4, one of the more controversial entries. It was the first game developed by 343 Industries and released in 2012 for the Xbox 360 and later on the Xbox One via The Master Chief Collection. This game holds a special place in my heart. I remember getting this game for my birthday and spending days playing through the campaign and Spartan Ops (I was never any good at the multiplayer). But was the game as fun as I remembered? Or were people right in saying that this was a sub-par entry in the franchise? Let’s find out.

This will mostly focus on the campaign of Halo 4 and not the multiplayer (cause I suck at it). 

The Start of a New Story

Time to go to war. (343 Industries)

With the end of Halo 3 and the departure of Bungie from Microsoft, the Halo story was left in a weird place. The Master Chief and Cortana were left floating in space, the Covenant had essentially disbanded, and the immediate threat of the Flood seemed to have passed. Taking the current state of the Halo universe and having a new studio take the reigns led to an interesting new story, and I rather enjoyed it. Taking place several years after the end of Halo 3, Chief and Cortana are still adrift In half of the ship, Forward Unto Dawn. After an unknown energy scan passes over the ship, Cortana decides to wake the Chief up from cryo-sleep so they can figure out what is going on. What follows is a story that explores parts of the Halo universe that hadn’t been explored in the previous games.

Halo 4 focuses on the forerunners and their history with humanity (probs why this was the start of the Reclaimer Saga). Halo 4 also explores what happened to the Covenant after the loss of the Hierarchs, which is mostly a bunch of smaller factions, with some being dicks and others being chill. The game also focuses heavily on the relationship between Chief and Cortana, which is arguably the most important aspect of this story.

I really enjoyed this next step in the Halo story. The exploration of the forerunners and their history was different and still has me interested over a decade later. Seeing glimpses of the fallout of the Human-Covenant war was also interesting and was something expanded upon in Halo 5. But without a doubt, my favourite part of this story was the relationship between Chief and Cortana. The question of which one of them is the machine as both come to terms with their humanity and Chief’s desperate attempts to keep Cortana safe works well for me. The only thing I didn’t care for was the lack of a climatic final fight with the main villain, The Diadact. He just has a little slip off a bridge, and that’s it (unless you read the books).

Classic Halo With Some Changes

What a nice desert. (343 Industries)

The Halo franchise is renowned for its addictive gameplay; it put the series on the map. It’s no different in Halo 4, with the game playing just as amazingly as the rest of the series. The satisfying gunplay, enjoyable vehicles, and customisable difficulty combine to make Halo 4 an adrenaline thrill ride from start to finish. I’ll never get tired of fighting through waves of enemies, jumping into a vehicle, and repeating the cycle for hours on end. My favourite mission of the game, Reclaimer, incorporates all of the game’s systems into one satisfying experience.

But Halo 4 doesn’t just give us more Halo goodness; they’ve also added some new stuff. For starters, they’ve added the ability to sprint whenever you want. This was initially an armour ability in Halo: Reach, and I’m so bloody happy that it’s always on now (it makes moving through the levels so much easier). Speaking of armour abilities, there are some new fun ones, such as the hard light shield, active camo, and even a sentry robot to help you in battle. These new abilities come in real handy when dealing with not only the Covenant but also the new Promethean enemies. These glowing robots add a new dynamic to the game, even if there are only three types. But regardless, they look cool, and their weapons are useful on legendary difficulty (especially the light rifle).

New Look, Same Chief

KILL THE ROBOT! (343 Industries)

Most sequels usually look better than their predecessors, and Halo 4 is no exception. For a game that came out at the tail end of the 360 generation, it looks damn good. Everything from the stunning environments to Chief’s updated armour all looks gorgeous. I got literal chills when I saw the first forerunner structure in the game. Cortana also gets an updated look, and despite some choices, she also looks great. Overall, this game looks like it could’ve been a launch title for the Xbox One, with only a few updates needed. Which makes the Xbox One port in The Master Chief Collection look right at home.

Just like the visuals, the soundtrack has also received an impressive update. The standout to me was the gun sounds, which sounded beefier than ever. I can’t get enough of every chunky noise from the UNSC weapons to the laser beam sounds of the new Promethean weapons. That’s not even mentioning the ambient sounds, the sound the armour makes as he moves around, and even the talking between the enemy units. It all comes together to enhance the experience and get your heart pumping. Then there’s the iconic Halo soundtrack, which is as amazing as ever.

Damn, is someone cutting onions. (343 Industries)

After revisiting Halo 4, I can confidently say it’s one of my favourite Halo games alongside Halo: Reach. The new direction the story and characters take, the satisfying gameplay, and the impeccable soundtrack were all a blast. Granted, I probably like the game as much as I do because of nostalgia, but aren’t all our opinions based on that sweet feeling? Regardless, if you’ve avoided Halo 4 for whatever reason or bounced off it when it first came out, I implore you to give it another chance. It’s actually a good game, I swear.

Check out the Watching Now Podcast as we break down each episode of Halo Season 2 right here on Couch Soup.

Have you played Halo 4? What did you think? What’s your favourite Halo game? Let us know in the comments below where we can talk all things Halo.

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