It’s time for part ten, the one with the spaceships, the Covenant, and the return of everyone’s second favorite super-soldier. Part ten, Halo 4!
Release date: November 6
Platform(s): Xbox 360
THE GOOD STUFF
It’s only the return of the most lucrative franchise in the history of the Xbox 360, and one of the most popular characters in video Since the first Halo trilogy climaxed with Halo 3 back in 2007, there’s been three Halo games – Halo Wars, Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, but none have featured ultra-popular Halo main protagonist Master Chief, who returns in Halo 4 after a five-year absence from consoles (well, just one console, really). Halo 4‘s pretty much guaranteed success on a massive scale already – and it’s been voted the most anticipated game of the year, against fellow juggernauts Assassin’s Creed 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which is saying something. That something being that people are as interested in Master Chief’s adventures as they were five years ago.
It’s a rather different game to the original trilogy and its following spin-offs, with a darker tone (it’ll get darker still in Halo 5) darker colour palette, and less focus on the traditional gunfights, focusing more on suspense, discovery and mystery – it’s almost like a survival horror, we’re told. A chunk of the game’s spent in a jungle, with Master Chief fighting the new enemies under the thick canopy that blocks out the sun. Cortana, Master Chief’s AI companion, will be spiraling down insanity due to her having outlived her natural life-span – it all feels like it’s going to be a fair bit bleaker than the original trilogy. Perhaps not bleaker than Reach, though, since that saw characters being fleshed out and being made likable, before they were picked off in a succession that inevitably ended in the player’s death, which you get to play. Now, that’s bleak.
Well, it pretty much secures the future of Halo for at least another four years or so (it’s most likely that because Halo 4, Halo 5 and Halo 6 are all part of a three-game story arc from the outset this time, games will be made a bit quicker than the three-year gaps in between the games in the original trilogy). Well before Halo 4 is released, Halo 5 and Halo 6 have already been confirmed, guaranteeing at least three more Halo games (knowing Microsoft, there’ll most likely be more than three) to be released over the next half-decade. It’s almost certain that Halo 5 will release on the Xbox 720 (or Xbox 8, or Xbox 3, or Xbox Infinity, or… you get the picture), so the franchise will have a future on the next generation, too.
If you’re a fan of Halo: Combat Evolved, then you’ll be pleased to know that Halo 4 is said to have a very similar style and sanbox to the first Halo game that released way back in 2001, than any of the later installments. If you’re not a fan of Halo: Combat Evolved, than Halo 4 might not be the best Halo game for you. There’s always Black Ops 2!
THE BAD STUFF
It’s 343 Industries’ first ever Halo game (discounting last year’s remake Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary), and obviously, with exiting developers (who made every Halo game up to and including Halo: Reach) Bungie giving way to 343. Combat Evolved Anniversary was well received by critics, but 343 haven’t proved that they can make a great original Halo game yet. Sure, it’s pretty likely that they’ll nail it, but there’s a very possible chance of 343 screwing it up and damaging the Halo franchise just after it’s returned. No pressure, 343…
It has the benefit of a huge wave of hype leading up to it, but Halo 4 is sandwiched (gun sandwiched, more like) in between two certain mega-hits: Assassin’s Creed 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, and that’s obviously going to create a bit of a problem with sales. The first three Halo games never really had any major opposition releasing alongside them, but this year, it’s releasing right in between what will inevitably be games that’ll be in the top five best-selling games of 2012. I’m not quite sure if that’ll have a major effect on Halo 4‘s sales, but it’ll certainly hinder them a little. And Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty are both established franchises that release games yearly – as opposed to Halo 4, which is the return of a franchise that hasn’t released a main entry in the franchise for five years…
Will it be good?
I have complete faith that 343 will deliver the best Halo game we’ve ever seen, by far. Well, not complete faith, exactly…
Will it succeed?
A recent survey confirmed it as the most anticipated game of the year, beating Black Ops 2 and Assassin’s Creed III, but Halo 4‘s in the unfortunate position of being sandwiched in between both of the aforementioned games. It should sell pretty well, though.
In the penultimate part of Twelve for 2012: Video Games, I go Black and forth in time with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.