Ever since this year’s E3 I’ve been nursing an almost pathological ennui about “Halo 4.” As the rest of the world seems to be getting swept into the excitement of it, I remain distant and detached. Destructoid did this piece that is supposed to make you, like, get excited for this thing, and I poured through every word of it looking for the secret juice that would ignite such a reaction in my heart. Alas, twas not there.
My problem is that all the changes feel incremental and unsatisfying. Forge is getting some nice tweaks and improvements, but most of them feel like things that could have easily been in a DLC package. The Infinity multiplayer suite is a cool way to conceptualize MP, but the more I look at it the more it feels like different wrapping on the same present. And if you’re going to rip off “Call of Duty’s” Spec Ops missions, 343, at least trouble yourself to come up with a name more unique than “Spartan Ops.” It’s like you want me to know you’re not trying. The best thing I can say about “Halo 4″ is that it definitely looks new, and I guess that’s something.
I’m just not sure what “Halo 4″ is. What defines this game? “Halo” of course was the original, “Halo 2″ pioneered Xbox Live, “Halo 3″ introduced the Forge and the Theater and 4-player co-op (among many other things), “ODST” innovated in the story department and introduced Firefight, and “Reach” perfected all that had come before it and introduced Armor Abilities, Invasion, and others. Look at that legacy: each game is a bold new step, an unmistakable gamble of game engineering that simultaneously remains true to the heart of the franchise. Compared to that, what does “Halo 4″ offer? What will this game be known for? Orange, glowy guys I can shoot? Slightly better graphics? Meh.
What frustrates me is how few people seem to be willing to acknowledge the fact that “Halo 4″ is shaping up to be more of the same. It feels like we in the gaming community have lowered our standards, accepted our fate, and stand ready to hand them $60 just for troubling to put Master Chief on the box. I say this isn’t good enough. “Halo” as a franchise earned my love and respect—even when it was imperfect—because it never stopped trying to innovate and expand, and so far what I’m seeing doesn’t fit with that pattern. “Halo 4″ is looking more and more like the first game in the franchise I won’t be buying.
you’ll have to imagine the fire