With Bungie not developing Halo games anymore, I was curious as to what direction the series was going to go. Newcomer 343 Industries has done a pretty good job with its first attempt. The problem is that it's not quite polished enough.
First let's talk about the positives. The campaign is actually quite good. It's not much of a chore anymore to kill tougher enemies, which is great because I found myself getting increasingly frustrated with the previous games because it took so much gunfire to kill the Elites. Multiplayer is also loads of fun, it's been given a new makeover with custom loadouts, letting you choose what kind of primary and secondary weapon you want, armor ability, tactical packages, etc. It's also much more satisfying to get kills in Multiplayer now because it doesn't take an entire clip of ammo to kill somebody. I love the ordinance packages, because it gives the points system meaning now. Also, the special weapons scattered across the map make a return, but with a new twist. After players get them from their default starting location, other special weapons transport to random places on the map to make getting them much more challenging, which is awesome. You also don't need an armor ability to sprint, thank goodness. Finally, they've introduced killcams to show how you got killed by an opponent. All FPS games need killcams.
Now to the various things that need some improvement. First and for most, the servers. They are nowhere near as good as Bungie's. You will be experiencing way more lag than you are used to in the Multiplayer. Second, the radar. They've made it extremely translucent for some reason. This means that you can partially see through it. The red blips are tough to see when the radar is in bright areas. This can sometimes get frustrating. Second, the various ordinance power ups: the speed boost, damage boost, and overshield. All of these power ups are a great addition to the game. There's just one problem. When you get these power ups, the screen filter changes color coinciding with which power up you get. It engulfs you in an aura of light, which sometimes makes you an easier target for opponents to spot. Why not have a small meter appear or a time limit as to how long the ability will last instead of the screen turning a different color? That would make more sense. Also, it is very easy to steal kills from others. That can get a little annoying.
Finally, the various changes made; the custom layouts, joining matches in progress, and the killcams. To some people, it makes it look like 343 Industries is trying to deliberately copy the Call of Duty franchise. Is it a Call of Duty clone? No. It's still Halo, by all means. But these obvious similarities can't be ignored.
Overall, it's a great game. The problem with it is in the presentation and originality department. Hopefully 343 Industries will take the feedback from fans with a grain of salt, and fix what is wrong for the next game of the series.
Sound Direction: 9.0