Halo 4 Makes a Fan out of a Naysayer

E3 2012: Kevin examines how the Halo 4 stage demo convinced him that the Chief's next adventure might win him over.

'

I adored Halo: Combat Evolved. Subsequent Halo games, less so. It's not that I ever questioned the quality of the Halo series; it was more that I felt less and less surprised with each iteration. Of course, this is the natural progression of sequels: familiarity breeds contempt, as they say. But I longed for something new--something that felt like Halo, but had the scrappiness of the original game. I wanted that elation you feel when discovering something unexpected.

I want a lot, as you can tell. It happens when you drown in sequels, prequels, and same-quels.

Why, then, am I so excited about Halo 4? Firstly, it's the atmosphere. In Microsoft's press conference, you see Master Chief make his way through an ominous, overcast jungle more evocative of Metroid Prime than previous Halo games. (Expect lots of high-contrast deep greens and vivid oranges.) Your first encounter is with a few grunts, and an Elite comes rushing at you--but upon defeat, your familiar foe dissipates into ribbons. Is he actual flesh, this Elite, or created from cloth and light alone? Or is he even there at all, a hologram with the sense to carry a very real weapon? [Editor's Note: Actually, it's a real Elite, disintegrated by the new enemies' weaponry. Look closely, and you can see the laser fire coming from the right of the screen. Sorry for the error. - KV]

My excitement is over new enemies, too. The local fauna attacks, the vaguely Flood-ish creatures lobbing yellow globs at you before you meet their bossman, a freaky, snarling, teleporting insectoid that spawns an attack drone from its innards, and aims at you with Forerunner tech. Even better: that attack drone can grab a thrown grenade with its dangle-tentacle and whip it back at you. Not to mention new (presumably) Forerunner weapons that assemble themselves in your very hand--weapons like the scattershot, a shotgun-like firearm that blasts exoskeletal creeps into golden dust, and the lightrifle, which, well, is a rifle that shoots light.

I haven't been following Halo 4 all that closely, so we may know more about this story and these enemies than I interpreted from the stage demo. In any case, I appreciated what Halo 3: ODST did, but it never captured me. Halo: Reach is well regarded, and in theory, it has all the on- and offline gameplay you should need in a sci-fi shooter. Yet it felt by-the-numbers and left me ultimately, well, not cold, but lukewarm. Now, I'm excited. What danger might come from that massive orb that scans the landscape and then speeds toward the horizon? What has caused Cortana to enter the extreme rage we see near the end of the demo--her advancing age, or something even more insidious?

In any case, I had shivers watching the demo, and that's rare for me: I have seen it all, and even this particular demo was hardly bursting with innovative ideas. What's exciting is seeing a new developer take a chance. Of course, chances don't guarantee success, and Halo stalwarts might be more cautious. Me? This is the first time since the announcement of Halo 2 that I was thrilled about the prospect of a new Halo.

At the very least, Halo 4 is a reminder that a bit of creative energy can freshen up the familiar. I can't wait to see what's next.

'

Written By

GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play Rock Band because he always gets stuck pla

Want the latest news about Halo 4?

Halo 4

Halo 4

Follow

Discussion

145 comments
DCUltrapro
DCUltrapro

sorry that should have said I LIKE multiplayer online

DCUltrapro
DCUltrapro

nice piece, I whole heartedly agree with Kevin here, I loved Halo 1, I loved the campaigns of 2, 3 and ODST although they weren't as good as the original and Reach just left me feeling indifferent, I guess its because, more and more they are pandering to the multiplayer rather than single player. I will ALWAYS and forever be a single player/co-op campaign player. I look multiplayer online but it shouldn't distract away from the campaign for me ala: Cod ad infinitum, Mass Effect 3 and Transformers WFC are great examples of a complimentary but not overbearing multiplayer component. anyway yay for Halo 4 I think its going to be INSANE

XxHYDROZILLAxX
XxHYDROZILLAxX

I cant lie the atmosphere alone in this game has me interested. It looks great even though my interest in Halo has waned over the years. I like the Halo universe and the lore but the mechanics are becoming copy pastad. Having said that I believe a Halo game with an open world metroid formula would work very well given the outstanding sci-fi.

SuperB56
SuperB56

Halo Combat Evolved- Great

Halo 2- Great

Halo 3- Good

Halo ODST- ok

Halo Reach-ok

Halo 4-I'm hoping it's great.

Kaltuu
Kaltuu

This article's title is so misleading... it should read... "Once a Halo fan always a Halo fan"

Kiigora_LoP
Kiigora_LoP

At Captain Berserk: While the gameplay is good, I'm mostly playing for story development.

E-i-N-e
E-i-N-e

I love Halo, it's been very good to me over the countless hundred of hours I have played it. However, the Multiplayer was at it's pinnacle during Halo 2 despite all it's hacks and terrible servers, Halo 3 had a pretty good Multiplayer community as well with fixes on the hacks and the internet connections (you could play the game with less lag most of the time), and it also rapped up the series quite well. ODST wasn't that great, it had a cool storyline but it wasn't really needed and Halo: Reach though it had an okay storyline, the only thing Multiplayer offered was good servers and internet connection which I commend it on. However, they made the game to noob friendly, they took away the levels and the skill required to play the game on a competitive level. In my opinion, they should have stopped Halo at Halo 3, it's better to walk off the stage at your choosing rather than to be forced off the stage. Halo 4 doesn't feel anything like the original Halo series. You're fighting Forerunners which was never mentioned in the past games but only mentioned in the books (Remember, most Halo fans will have only played the games and not read the books), it seems weird that you're fighting the Covenant, especially Elites seeing how they formed peace at the end of Halo 3. I know a lot of people will say "Oh but there will be pockets of Covenant that are still loyal to the Prophets and don't like the Arbiter" or that they haven't heard of the peace between Humanity and the Elites, but this seems like a louse excuse to have them in the game as enemies. 

 

343 Industries seem to have combated this problem by including the Forerunners Technological systems that turn into bugs/transformer robots as enemies, but again that doesn't feel like Halo. From what I have read, they're trying to bring back the Multiplayer to Halo 2 as it was their best Multiplayer standard but it seems weird that they're making the Battle Rifle a mid-ranged weapon and the DMR a long ranged weapon, which brings me to the point of the guns. All the new guns while a nice addition, once again take away the feel from the original Halo's, even the weapons like the Assault Rifle and the Battle Rifle sound different and weird. I could be wrong in all of these thoughts mind you as this is just the initial stuff they have shown so far, they could make improvements on it and it could turn out to be the best Halo ever made in the series and I hope they can do that, it'll make me happy to return to the Halo series, but from what I can see now it doesn't seem like it will head down that direction. Once again, I hope I am sincerely wrong. 

RAD_TRBO
RAD_TRBO

I have been a halo fan since release of CE and many of my fine gaming memories spawn from halo. As much excitement i have for this game, i also have alil bit of hesitance toward the fact that these new enemies look alil bogus they look like the enemies in Metroid Prime? Not saying anthing toward gameplay cause it looked pretty solid and everything else seemed toward the halo style im glad they are adding new stuff but im alil "IFFY?" i guess i will just have to wait and see?

CaptainBerserk
CaptainBerserk

i'm a Metroid fan but i never been interested in the Halo series for some reason, i hear people talking how great this series is but i really don't see what is so special about it,am i missing something?

BryanParksSuper
BryanParksSuper

Microsoft is so scared to create new IP's they have keep pumping out the same Exclusives like Halo,Forza,Gears. That's why Sony always is on top all the time and can't be beaten.

MVan86
MVan86

While I already planned to get Halo 4 I was blown away by the demo. As ever the graphics were beautiful and immersive, and the jungle actually felt very similar to some of the corridor/cave labyrinths from earlier games in the series. I'd also like to know what the deal was with the Elite... given the whole Elite purge that happened in Halo 2. Still the new enemies look truly awesome and powerful, since they easily depleted Chief's shield. The new weapons look awesome and I can't wait to try them. And it'll be fascinating to see how Cortana develops in this series.

 

Signs are promising.

pieterdevliet
pieterdevliet

i heard masterchief finally becomes super sayan and gets capable of saving the entire universe by throwing a spirit bomb filled with life force collected from the entire universe, throwing it at that evil globe thing from the demo, if its even actually evil. then he misses oooh cliffhanger  and bamm u get halo 5 in halo 5 masterchief sucked all the energy out of the universe but like always he floats of somewhere in space and discovers oooh what a surprise a mechanical Halo that generates life u get to discover its secrets and walk around with a shotgun while shooting of strange life force that explode in ur face but wont kill you! You intend to blow the thing up because you think its cool, but then u get distracted by cortana who is taking a bath in her hologram bathroom and oooh another cliffhanger BAM halo 6 comes along!  in halo 6 you wake up from a dream, u dreamt of cortana taking a bath or something, u take ur scoped pistol from underneath ur pillow and shoot the rooster outside ur window! skip breakfast cuzz masterchief never eats cuzz he is a boss! mount ur scorpion tank in ur garage and drive of to work where sergeant johnson eagerly waits to tell you about his rough weekend and how pleases the ladies. (the man is such a playa)  then cortana reminds you that the universe has been out of balance since you used up all the life force. soo u take a long run and leap of into space finding urself floating around and then all of a sudden u find an HALO that looks similar to the halo device from part one. cortana comes up with the briliant idea of using it to restore the life force to the universe!  Bam epic ending to yet another Halo trilogy and an epic ending to start a new series of!

nparks
nparks

While I agree with the overall conclusion on this piece, I have to disagree with so many of the details.  Previous Halo games didn't have atmosphere or lush environments?  Sure they did. Metroid doesn't have a monopoly on atmosphere.  The elite was vaporized by one of the new forerunner AI enemies.  It wasn't that subtle.  The prospect of new enemies is exciting.  The prospect of an involving, character driven narrative involving Cortana possibly going rampant is exciting.  This game has the potential to be as good as, not Halo: CE, but Halo 2 which was actually a much better game in terms of variety, storytelling, and atmosphere (at least in the single player campaign).  The ending was a bit of a let down because they didn't finish it, and then Halo 3 largely squandered the storytelling potential that Halo 2 had set up, but that was the point of decline:  from Halo 2 to 3, not from Halo 1 to 2.

LoserMike
LoserMike

This looks halo meets metroid prime. Did 343i hire a bunch of guys from Retro Studios?

okami5436
okami5436

I just hope that if there's a final boss battle, that it's not a stupid floating robot orb, and that it'll be a giant light-buggy thingy or whatever the new creatures are.

shadow-crow
shadow-crow

I'm an odd specimen, I had demoed 2 never ever played combat evolved until I picked up a used copy of odst because I kind of like the reach beta and enjoyed the rare times I played halo 3,  so the only halo games i have ever OWNED are odst and reach, so I feel like I'm at a really awkward place because what halo 2 was to you guys halo reach IS to me, I usually get thumbed down disliked hateful replies for admitting it but I keep admitting it because I'm too honest, so I'm burnt out on halo NOW, and fans who have been fans longer than me seem to love this, all I see a different colored elite a shotgun and a sniper, nothing new... nothing to change the mechanics or to push the game play in a new direction, the ammo might be different but so far, just a reskinning of 3, sorry I'm probably going to get a lot of hate for this but honesty is it's own reward.

Derpalon
Derpalon

In terms of story direction I was intrigued by the new Halo stage demo, but I'm still quite a bit less impressed by the actual gameplay itself, which basically boiled down to same old Halo point and shoot gameplay with some reskinned weapons and enemies. I really hope that 343 has some more ambitious plans than that, because man this series has really grown stale. I loved the first game, was fairly well-entertained with the second, and then bored to tears by the time I reached the end of the first level of Reach.

alin8921
alin8921

don't you see ? gamespot is playing with your minds ,the editor knew that everyone Wants Halo Combat Evolved back ,so he's bashing the other titles and hypes this new one saying that he is a fan of Halo CE ...when this new halo looks kiddish imo

salvucci91
salvucci91

It seems that many people on here decided to comment before even finishing the sentence they didn't like. I'm right on board with Kevin; I have yet to be truly giddy over a game since that very first stage demo of Halo 2. But hearing from Frank O'Conner lately has me excited, and Halo 4's E3 stage demo officially has me pumped up about this.

vatorus
vatorus

Spartan_418 is right, Kevin is a moron

vatorus
vatorus

Anyone else not care what Kevin thinks?

FedCom
FedCom

Oddly enough I liked ODST and Reach for trying to get into having plot...something 3 just lacked to me. Simple plot but yeah. I still have to agree with Kevin here. When they announced 4 I wasn't surprised, in fact nothing about the announcement was a surprise at all. On the other hand, this made it look much more interesting.

JFCisYTRTHNU
JFCisYTRTHNU

I never played Halo: Combat Evolved, and Halo 2 but I would agree they probably were great... but I did play Halo 3 and it was great... ODST is where I felt it started to go down hill... I currently play Reach and think it's sh**.... Campaign is terrific but multiplayer got destroyed it's like Bungie just threw it together for cheap, got there money and bailed... November 6th that changes what I've seen from 343 Industries Halo 4 just blows my mind It's gonna BE AWESOME!!!

Deadly_Nemesis
Deadly_Nemesis

 @chilly-chill

Me either it always struck me as just your run of the mill first person shooter. then I finally played it. and I was right but I still liked it was fun, and I liked the aliens and environments and most of all the color pallet. what can I say I'm a sucker for vibrant colors.

Mifflinite45
Mifflinite45

I think the main thing you have to understand why Halo is so highly regarded is the inovation it brought to console FPS. Halo CE revolutionized how FPS were played with controlers and helped make online play popular on consoles as well. Halo since then has always been considered a forunner of FPS on consoles.

fanos3600
fanos3600

 @CaptainBerserk ok...there are many reasons someone would like halo...first of all its the gameplay...this is not your typical military shooter and thats what makes the difference if you ask me...and secondly its the lore...beautiful story and a very expansive universe...this is just a summary but i can promise you, if you just give it a shot you will love it..especially if you like good sci fi..

RAD_TRBO
RAD_TRBO

 @BryanParksSuper

 I am alil jealous of some of the titles only coming to PS3? But im a 360 fan through and through.

 

DifferenceEngin
DifferenceEngin

Uhhh, all Sony has is uncharted and resistance. And I'm playing both their sequels right now and they're pretty much the same as their respective originals. Sony is far far from on top and unbeatable...

skizzel
skizzel

 @BryanParksSuper xbox is leading in sales worldwide sooo....

 

god of war, gran turismo, uncharted,little big planet. sony isnt pumping out lots of exclusives. go read a new magic book hahaha

italiano72
italiano72

 @BryanParksSuper huh? I'm not sure what to make of your post.... just Trolling around maybe?  ;) ...Sony has been beating themselves since the late release and high cost of the PS3 due to the Blu-Ray gimmick they wanted to push..... and never really caught up

Purely_Awesome
Purely_Awesome

 @shadow-crow I respect your opinion and thank for not being a jerk but just being completely honest. :) 

SPUDIRL3
SPUDIRL3

 @shadow-crow well for a start Halo 4 has been designed from the ground up and on a new engine. hardly a ''reskinning'' of 3

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

 @alin8921 Actually, the words I wrote are what I think. I didn't create some kind of mind-boggling conspiracy here--I just liked the demo a lot and can't wait to see more. It's not that complicated, really. 

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

 @vatorus I am a moron for mistaking the event? Gosh--that's a terrible thing to say to a human being you don't even know. 

DifferenceEngin
DifferenceEngin

@vatorus Gbullet has an excellent point. Not to mention nobody here cares what you think...

Gbullet
Gbullet

 @vatorus

 If you do not care about what he thinks, why did you come read the article HE wrote in the first place ?

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

 @DifferenceEngin They have a lot more than that. Killzone, Ratchet and Clank, God of War, InFamous, LittleBigPlanet. The 360's exclusive lineup sucks in comparison.

Atheno
Atheno

 @skizzel To be fair, it really isn't leading that much more than PS3. Just by maybe 2 or 3 million units. Check the charts. Not saying one is better than the other because frankly I don't really care, just saying Sony is catching up. And frankly....they are both being kicked around by the Wii still..

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

 @italiano72 Blu-ray isn't a gimmick, it's a feature that a lot of people use. And it allows games to take up more space. Lots of recent 360 games make you switch discs; Blu-ray on PS3 makes it so you don't have to do that.Not defending the obvious Sony fanboy here, but the PS3 basically has caught up to 360. They're neck and neck in terms of worldwide sales.

shadow-crow
shadow-crow

 @SPUDIRL3 THat's a good point, I suppose some things will be different movement enviroment etc but I'll still need a demo, some hands on one on one time with it before that  proves to me enough is not the same!

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

 @DifferenceEngin Never said Xbox Live wasn't superior, I do most of my gaming on 360 anyway, but you can't deny that the PS3 has a ton of good exclusives.

DifferenceEngin
DifferenceEngin

@Spartan_418 Yeah yeah yeah, gears of war, Shadow complex, fable, bla blah blah... I could give a crap about ratchet and planet... Not to mention Xbox live's clear superiority.

TLabrot
TLabrot

 @Atheno 2 or 3 million units is still a decent lead and the Wii is kicking anyone around. You notice how cheap Wii's are now? its because no ones buying them as much as they used to. besides why get a Wii when you can get a kinect or whateve the ps3 has.

italiano72
italiano72

 @Spartan_418 the blu-ray technology in its own merits have a use, but on the PS3 was just a gimmick to help them win the war against Toshiba HD-DVD.

 

Being a full year late to market compared to the xbox and so much more expensive to the point of loosing money for years on hardware as well as software sales and only now, almost at the very end of this generation cycle, finally catching up....just to have more storage space on disk...I'd say even Sony executives one day will admit that it was a big mistake.