Well, I can’t claim to be a big enough fan in the franchise to answer these questions, so I sat down with someone who was. Stephen Panagiotis, an avid collector of Halo paraphernalia, reader of Halo books, and player of the Halo games was kind enough to answer some questions about the latest game.
Jonathan: What about Halo 4’s new Multiplayer?
Stephen: I feel like there’s no map balance anymore. Everything works through drop packages instead of controlling gun spawn locations. It’s just ‘spawn and go’ which reinforces the stereotype that Halo is just run and gun with little to no strategy. Sound effects on certain things make them annoying to use like the Warthog sounds like a Prius trying to run on diesel gasoline.
Jonathan: Ok, so we’re not such a fan of the Multiplayer. How about the Campaign?
Stephen: I got really excited at the start of the game when I saw the cinematic and all the hard work they put into it. Right in the beginning they introduced a sort of interactive climbing bit that wasn’t shooter based and I got intrigued, but they used it…maybe twice, during the entire game. I didn’t even have enough time to form an opinion on it, much less like it or dislike it. It was random gameplay at its peak. That excitement held on for a while, but as I went through the campaign I really lost the story and just felt like I was jumping from killing room to killing room. I picked it back up for a little bit when I first ran into the Didact, but pretty much immediately lost it again. The second and last time you even meet the Didact you “fight” him, and by fight I really mean have a slightly interactive cutscene, which was very disappointing.
Jonathan: Which Halo games did you like best?
Stephen: Halo: Reach was Bungie’s Last hoorah. Its multiplayer was fun and engaging, which caused me to play it for way longer than Halo 3. I also loved the campaign. Even though I knew what would happen on Halo: Reach, it was fun to watch what was happening and trying to change it that made it fun.
343 Studios could have, given the same resources, made a fantastic unique first person shooter all their own, and, frankly, I feel like they were constrained by making a Halo game instead of something else. Halo, being subjected to 343 Studios’ experimentation, suffered. Granted, making a Halo game ensures an already existent fan base, but a series such as Halo, there are a lot of expectations to meet and 343 seems to have shot a tad short according to some fans.