Imagine longing to play your favorite game. You love it so much that you just thinking about it makes you ecstatic. You play the game in your head, mumble cutscenes while spacing out in class, and review strategies for when you play. You finally get home, fire up the game, and then you notice it. Nothing is as it should be. The game plays differently than you remember, and the game isnt as good as before.
When I played the Halo 4 campaign I had that feeling. Halo 4 has changed drastically from the Halo I grew up with. The campaign is eerily reminiscent of Call of Duty. The first in game breaks in which Master Chief pushes a button seem out of place. In a way its glorifying a lackluster action that can be overlooked. The sole purpose of the first person actions is to make it more cinematic and Call of Duty-like.
The Call of Duty theme comes up time and time again. Halo 4 sports the same interactive gameplay elements that Call of Duty made popular. Remember climbing the glacier in Modern Warfare 2? Youll see those elements here. While its not bad, it just doesnt feel like Halo. I feel like Im playing a Call of Duty spinoff. This feeling is worsened by a change in the Needler inflicts damage. Every time a needle hits you, there is virtually no damage inflicted. The damage is only inflicted after the needles explode. While this seems trivial, it drastically impacts gameplay. I dont always realize when Im getting shot with a Needler and die seemingly randomly.
The story behind Halo 4 would have had me in tears had my roommate not been breaking my immersion every three seconds. I think it might very well be the most emotional game Ive ever played, at least the most emotional Halo game. Cortana has gone rampant, and the interaction between Master Chief and Cortana is incredibly well done. My only gripe is that it was too short. I miss Halo 2s long campaign. I completed Halo 4 in only about six hours. There was so much missed potential between Chief and Cortana due to the campaigns brevity. I would have loved to see their interactions play out for a longer period of time before the credits role.
The story also ties in perfectly to the Forward Unto Dawn short films. The new characters have unique personalities, although Master Chief doesnt have long lasting relationships akin to his relationship with the Arbiter or Johnson. The new faces fade as soon as they come. One of the most interesting characters is a female O.D.S.T. although she only appears in two or three scenes. Shes the perfect candidate for a series long partner. The story however is a solemn tale of the struggles between two close friends, so I can understand why they didnt introduce that many new characters. The narrative focuses beautifully on Cortana and Chief.
While it feels a lot more like Call of Duty than Halo, Halo 4 is still not to be missed for its narrative alone.