A short but intense Campaign is complimented with series best Multi Player.
This game is like reviewing two as with all Halo games because the Campaign experience is a very different one to that of the multi player. So lets start with the Campaign.
The story kicks off 4 years after the events of Halo 3 with Master Chief in stasis waiting to be picked up by the UNSC. He is awoken from his slumber by Cortana who informs Chief that they are under attack. What originally looks like a resurgent Covenant attack turns out to be linked to the mysterious planet Requiem and an ancient Forerunner that vows to destroy humanity.
The real gravitas of the story though lies with the relationship between Cortana and MC as Cortana starts to experience problems and informs chief that she has been in service for 8 years and AIs begin to break down after 7. Chief vows to get her back to Earth and get help for her.
The game's story is the first time that the series (in terms of the games anyway) has really gone into great philosophical analysis about MCs place in humanity and considers whether the product of indoctrination is truly human at all.
With new enemies in the Prometheans comes new weapons to take for a spin. In truth they are a lot like their Covenant and Human counterparts with only minor changes. But if I am honest they were just different enough to be exciting to use. The Light Rifle was a personal favourite of mine as nothing was cooler than head shotting exploding Prometheans with it. As with all Halo games the action is intense and you always feels like you are moving towards something bigger and better every time.
Okay now time for the less good stuff. The music, I'm not saying it is bad but there are some staples of the previous (numbered) Halo games and that was the now iconic music that plays in the menu screen. Not hearing it was a major buzz kill for me that was waved away after I started playing but now I get that down feeling everytime I turn the game on. The key in taking over a franchise is putting your own stamp on it but also knowing when to keep what works and the music was a major "must keep" for me.
The Campaign is also way too short. I clocked my first play through at under six hours. I am now starting my second run through on Legendary and I am getting through it on almost the same time frame as the first play through. The story is solid but I just feel that it lacks something, tacking on another couple of missions really would not have hurt.
My major story gripe is the character that is the Captain of the UNSC Infinity. For an experienced soldier he is a complete idiot. Not persuing the villain, not believing Master Chief about the Librarian, it just seemed like he was cut out of a cliched One-Man-Army movie from the 80's. I would think that they could have a created a more layered character than this one dimensional naysayer. But I could say this about pretty much any character in this game other than the two leads in Cortana and MC.
Now onto the Multiplayer. In all fairness I have yet to get my hands on Spartan Ops. But in the War Games mode this is Halo's best multi player yet. I was worried that things like the point system and weapon load outs would overload and damage what made the Halo MP so good over the years but it has made it really good.
The point system only factors in kills to decide the games but each player gets points for assists as well as how you kill your opponents. A standard body kill will take 10 points but a head shot is 15 as is a melee kill. I found that I was racking up the points in the losing team all day but it made me feel better so all good.
Weapon loadouts are diverse but at the same time don't make anyone else stronger than you. It's more about getting weapons that are better suited to the way you play. When 343 used those buzz words to describe the load outs I thought they were just quelling fears but I gotta admit they have done a very good job. I have tried 4 of the maps and all of them cater to players in different ways.
Look long story short. If you like Halo then get this game. There is nothing here to put you off. While if you have never liked the Halo Universe, give this a miss. While 343 has improved what is there they have employed " If it ain't, broke don't fix it." approach so as such they haven't revolutionised the series here.