Halo 4's Campaign and why it wasn't Halo.

OK, if you’re here to say adapt, it’s 343i’s first game, or anything of the like, please leave. This isn’t for you. This is for people who want to play something other than the norm. This is for people who want Halo to play like Halo. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started.

Halo 4’s campaign. What a mess. Corridor after corridor only to press a button. What happened to the grandeur of campaign for Halo? Halo to many campaign players meant having options. No, not what weapon you have to kill enemies x, y, and z, real options. Like where you go and what you want to see on the journey. Halo 4 didn’t have that. We had tiny areas that gave a bit of freedom, and the rest was all corridors leading to buttons. That’s a generic shooter’s formula for an intro to multiplayer, not Halo.

343i, if you want Halo 5 and 6 to succeed in the campaign, not just story wise (Still, a fail which I’ll touch on later), you have to make large areas that give the player a sense of awe and freedom. Something to sink your teeth into. Not just small areas clustered with enemies to get past. No, an area with battles far and wide. Think back to Halo CE. Those are the areas we need. Large, open canyons, islands, we need freedom to move.

Enemies were also a flop. I don’t know if it was because of the space issue that I touched on above or the colors of the area. Halo 4 started off pretty colorful, then we turned to brown, grey, and that lovely shade of orange real quick. Boring. Halo has color to it, save for Reach, but that was also a flop, so don’t draw your Halo inspiration from that anymore. Halo needs some greenery, some beauty, large beauty, not a dense forest where you can barely breath. Looking at you mission 4. No, we need space and color. We also need enemies with some life to them. There were what, three types of Promethean enemies? Well no wonder the campaign was a bore. No variety. It was the same corridor to button run throughout when those guys were around.

Story. It has to have answers in the campaign. The missions were lengthy, sure, but they had no tug to them. They were long to be long. No flesh to them. Sure, playing through some areas could have used some length, but more often than not, I was left wondering when the damn mission would end so I can move on and get some story pumping.

Also, mission endings and openings. Please, please have cutscenes for these that have a good transition between missions, and change the color in between. The only way I knew I was moving to a new mission was by the little numbers on the bottom right. That’s not too great of a way to know I get to press different buttons. I’m half tempted to start calling Halo 4, Button Press 4. Change it up for Halo 5 and 6.

Starting to feel lengthy now so I’ll end it here. There’s more to say, sure, but I’m feeling tired.

In short - Halo 4’s campaign was a poor showing of 343i’s work and for Halo to be born again, Halo 5 and 6 will have to go back to having enemy variety, large areas, and something other than buttons to press. Please and thank you, I’d like the campaign for Halo to feel more like Halo and less than Button Press 4.

I agree. I’m only doing a mission a week - partly for the challenge XP, partly because I hate the Promethean enemies. They’re just so… bleh.

Thank God they created The Storm, because the Covenant are a hundred times the enemy the Prometheans are at the moment. Hopefully they add more variation to them, make them less frustrating and more challenging, and throw in some colour.

Excellent post, I agree with what was said.

I want to add one thing: That last QTE boss fight was absolutely atrocious. What a cheesy and lazy way to end the campaign.

> I agree. I’m only doing a mission a week - partly for the challenge XP, partly because I hate the Promethean enemies. They’re just so… bleh.
>
> Thank God they created The Storm, because the Covenant are a hundred times the enemy the Prometheans are at the moment. Hopefully they add more variation to them, make them less frustrating and more challenging, and throw in some colour.

Yes, that’s what I was thinking, especially after evaluating why Episode 3 or Spartan Ops was so much better than the past two. This is because we don’t fight the Prometheans. We’re fighting real enemies with some flesh to them. They feel fun to fight and they aren’t a boring shade of grey and orange.

Definitely hoping that Halo 5 focuses more on this faction of covenant and way less of the Prometheans, if any at all.

> Excellent post, I agree with what was said.
>
> I want to add one thing: That last QTE boss fight was absolutely atrocious. What a cheesy and lazy way to end the campaign.

Thank you. I completely forgot. Quick Time Events have no place in… Anything. They distract from the gameplay and kill the flow of cutscenes completely. It’s less of what’s going on in the scene and more of what button to press next, funny that. It’s all about which button to press next isn’t it?

> > Excellent post, I agree with what was said.
> >
> > I want to add one thing: That last QTE boss fight was absolutely atrocious. What a cheesy and lazy way to end the campaign.
>
> It’s less of what’s going on in the scene and more of what button to press next, funny that. It’s all about which button to press next isn’t it?

Ohoho, that was pretty good. Well played, sir.

> > > Excellent post, I agree with what was said.
> > >
> > > I want to add one thing: That last QTE boss fight was absolutely atrocious. What a cheesy and lazy way to end the campaign.
> >
> > It’s less of what’s going on in the scene and more of what button to press next, funny that. It’s all about which button to press next isn’t it?
>
> Ohoho, that was pretty good. Well played, sir.

Thank you, I do try.

Great post

Hate to throw gas on the fire, but I have to disagree on the button pressing point. Every other Halo game had the same thing. Go here, press button. Press a button to release Captain Keyes. Press button to start the lift on the Super Mac guns. Press button to rescue Cortana. There was also the “Destroy the Object” mission, which all the Halo games have had.

You’re definitely right about the enemies. The Covenant was a much bigger threat, if not more varied. I hope there will be more happening in the next installments, but I doubt there will be more Covenant. We’ve moved on to the Prometheans. Let’s hope they get a little creative.

QTE: Eh, I could take them or leave them. They don’t bother me, but I don’t think they add anything really.

As for the “feel” of Halo. There was still the same greenery when it was appropriate. I think the issue here is that where they took the story, they could only have environments that were fairly austere in design. Not so much jungle, even though there was lots of that in the first half of the game, and more techno vistas. Mission 4 however was all about the openness. Riding around on the mammoth and hopping off for some action.

Did anyone else hate the fact that they didn’t show us the nuke at the end blowing -Yoink- up? Remember in CE when we got to watch the Halo ring be destroyed? Well, I would have also liked to see the Didact’s ship get blown to bits as well, 343i. The Michael Bay in all of us like explosions, something you need to work on because even the explosions you did show us were weak. The covie ship in the first mission? It basically fell apart after being hit by a rocket. What is that? It got shot by a rocket! BOOM! That mafucker should have blown sky high, know’m sayin? But did it? Not really, just seperated and blew up weakly, like some plasma grenades accidentally went off on different parts of the ship. The view was pretty cool though.

It was a very good campaign by normal standards but Halo isn’t normal. I agree the missions were long to be long. I think they stayed true to Halo’s idea of making you the Chief. At first it was exciting to be back in the action, then scary because of the new enemies, it became more dark and ominous as we moved toward the end, with fights becoming longer and more dragged out,with only having three promethean enemies there was a slight bit of grind but I believe it and it the combiniation of the prometheans having a pretty good chance to kill you (You were annoying Promethean snipers but I got you) gave me the feeling of just wanting it to end, just as I expect MC would have been feeling right then. When I realized I didn’t have to do some giant fight I was a bit perplexed but happy or perhaps a better word is relieved. I was done, I did it, now I could just sit back and relax. Also I don’t think some shoot here, then here, wash, rinse, repeat boss battle would have helped at all in fact I think it would have been worse. While the excessive use a of Corridors at some part did hinder the campaign it was one of the most immersive experiences ever. So I have to thank 343i for this campaign because it felt like it was real and not like I was just staring at a screen clicking buttons.

I liked the campaign, though I do think that it could have been a little more open.

If we fought the Didact, it would ruin it. He’s supposed to be too powerful for us to fight (so we literally can’t have a boss fight; look at how he threw the Chief around like a ragdoll), so a QTE where you plant a grenade in his chest as a sort of cheap shot was perfect.

If you can physically defeat an enemy in vanilla gameplay (ex: not introducing some special superweapon), that enemy is weaker than you. I believe the Didact was meant to be stronger than you.

Thuogh I liked the campaign, it isn’t perfect. The story itself was pretty good, but the presentation of it was… bleh. 8 missions is NOT enough time to tell a Halo-level story. And despite the supposed mystery they wanted to put around it, they gave away WAY too much beforehand.

The characters, besides Chief and Cortana, were flat. Palmer is useless and stuck-up. If she was more of an on-the-field kind of soldier (I could write whole essays on how she’s actually a really bad leader), and had a more “military” style to her personality, she could have been our Sergeant Johnson for these next 3 games (not saying anyone could truly replace Johnson, though). Lasky, if you’ve seen Forward Unto Dawn, you get him. Otherwise, his whole relationship with the Chief is basically “Never thought I’d see you again.” Seriously? The man who inspired you to stick with military service, and thats all you have to say to him? They could have done him as the succesor to Miranda Keyes. but instead, they made him boring. Hell, at least Palmer has some involvement in Spartan Ops. Overall, really, the UNSC was useless. You fight alongside allies in 1 1/2 missions (really only half of Infinity, first half of the forest you don’t have them, second half you do, first half of retaking the Infinity, second half you don’t)

The button pressing really isn’t as bad as you’re making it out to be- its bad, yes, but most of the missions I remember from past Halos had just as flat objectives, (Get to Point B, and kill a bunch of enemies) But I can think of quite a few exceptions. Scarab fights in Halo 3 and 2 (the Lich fight was better, IMO, but it was only on one level. We may get some more in Spartan Ops), AA Takedowns in 3 and Reach, Tartarus in Halo 2, Sabre in Reach (the Broadsword sequence didn’t feel the same), and some others. There should have been more “grand” objectives. The environments in Halo 4, though, sucked for the most part. Too much CQC, not enough open, long-ranged, vehicle-heavy battles. Assault on the Control Room is my favorite mission of all tie in the Halo series. Mission 5 (Reclaimer) is my favorite, though, for being the best of the exact past 2 reasons (objectives and environments). Had the straightforward Mammoth sequence with plenty of toys to choose from, and you can bail at any time to fight it out on foot, taking down teh Lich, a sniper alley sequence, generator disabling, some CQC in the later half, then back to large vehicle combat. There should have been more missions like that.

Now for the Prometheans. -Yoink- them, they were a gigantic failure (and this is the first thing I consider such). Crawlers are way too easy, especially with a Battle Rifle/Light Rifle. One shot to their giant ugly head on any difficulty. Their swarm tactic is annoying, and the only time they’re a challenge (Read: EXTREMELY -Yoink!-ing annoying) is when they have a Binary Rifle and one-shot you from a mile away while you’re in mid-air. Watchers are too mobile to have the health level they have. You have to put 6 shots through a flying, rapidly moving, distant target with a DMR to kill it, and theres always tons of them. Don’t even THINK about taking on the bigger threats, because they’ll resurrect it, Hardlight Shield it, and chuck grenades back towards you from it. Knights are damage sponges and spawn Watchers. The only one with real varety is the Watcher (the most the Knight can do is teleport A) Towards you or B) Away from you, and Crawlers can only appear in mass quantities). There needs to be at least 2 more types of Prometheans, then take Watchers abilities down a notch, make Crawlers less frequent, and lower the damage on the Knight. Find a way for said 2 new Prometheans to interact with the current 3 in a way that isn’t overpowered and annoying, and you may have a decent enemy faction thats fun to play against. Covenant were great, seemed more like Halo CE now that we’re back to Elites, Grunts, Jackals, and Hunters, but the Jackal Marksmen, jetpack Grunts, Elite officers, etc. still offer enoigh variety. And since they’re supposed to be the minor antagonists compared to Prometheans, its fine that they’d have less species than them. At least the Covenant have more soldier types.

So basically, for Halo 5, 1) More campaign missions. Flesh out your characters and concepts more. 2) Environments and objectives. Give us variety and fun objectives. Take on huge enemies and vehicles, destroy more power cores and defense lines, defend more fleets of ships amidst a huge space battle, don’t just press buttons and 3) Make new enemies less repetitive, predictable, and annoying.

Now for some minor details: WHERES CAMPAIGN SCORING? WHAT ABOUT SKULLS? You literally just copied the exact list form Reach. All those cool ones added in CEA disappeared. Then you made them available from the start. Just like new skulls in CEA, you took this out too. Hunting for them is the most fun thing ever. And whats the point of them if you don’t even get your scoring? I understand challenges and added hardcore-ness, but otherwise theres no reason. Also removal of real Commendations. now its just “Finish solo legendary.” Thats it? No weapon or enemy kill commendations, you just put them all in Spartan Ops? I’m sad.

And one last thing that I just find disappointing, but not worth getting worked up over, is the way the Covenant are portrayed. I miss being taunted by Elites, and listening to Grunts be hilarious and panicking as I slaughter them.Now they’re just “wahkijawa schwereml shwue.” having a silent enemy makes them seem more distant, not foreign and threatening when we already know their base personalities. This was introduced in Reach, and I can understand that as the UNSC didn’t have the translation software they did that let us hear them in 2 and 3. But we still have that- why is it taken out? I hope the Covenant are given real dialogue again, especially now that in Spartan Ops we’re starting to see the Covenant’s perspective. No point in making them seem alien when we’re understanding their motives.

So thats all I have. I don’t consider it a huge failure as a whole, but it could have been better.

Huh I was constantly reminded of ce/2 the entire game. Maybe a little 3

Halo had parts that pretty much… “Pawnch da Doah chaff” ce

All the halo games had stuff like that. These are essentially interactive cinematics. The hog/ghost rubs are essentially just that. Boss fights? The only reason halo 2/3 had them was because we had the correct disposable bosses. Didact was not killed we just set him back. We can’t kill him as we are. I mean it took all we had and then some and even then he still gave us a backhand from 10 feet away.

Running down areas with freedom, and then corridors for buttons? Sounds exactly like Halo to me.

Remove the “Return to the Battlefield!” bullsh*t. Remove it completely, make it like Halo CE and Halo 2, where it was basically if you could get there, you could go there. Why the hell would you limit our exploration needlessly?! Also open it up, stand out levels like The Ark/Covenant, Outskirts, AotCR, etc. are really lacking.

Another thing I miss and want back is skulls. I don’t want them given to me when I put in the disc, let me explore and find them.

I still enjoyed the campaign, it could just be SO much better.

I have to disagree. This felt like the first Halo game in ages that recaptured what I loved about CE’s campaign, to me.

The first level was a great homage to the start of CE. As soon as I touched down on Requiem, I was confronted with an open battlefield and a warthog. I could take on the sniper embankments in any order I chose, I could get up on the rocks and snipe, or I could just charge into the fray.

It was interspersed with corridors in Forerunner facilities full of enemies (like CE, lest we forget,) yes, but it would always return to these larger areas. Lots of oblique cover usage, sniping from behind cover, retreating to recharge, grenade tossing, etc.

The vehicle levels were every bit as open and intense as as they were in CE. More so, technically, though we have to consider the increased standards since then, so to me they were roughly commensurate.

Since Halo 2 - which was the most disappointing of the core Halo games for me - the games have never felt as open or tactically versatile as Halo CE did. Who can forget Silent Cartographer and the different ways to engage the enemies there were at our disposal? But finally, Halo 4 gave me that feeling back again, after Halo 3 came close to doing so.

To me this game epitomized Halo and almost everything I loved about it. The only thing missing was “wort wort wort,” “WAAAAaaaah,” and the funny Grunt quips. They sound like they’re speaking some derivation of Japanese to me. Oh, and some sort of giant enemy like a Scarab would have been nice, but I understand that they pushed the aging 360 to its limits to make this game the graphical spectacle that I felt it was.

But I understand people’s criticisms, too, even if I don’t share them.

I agree, OP. You have articulated my thoughts.

Halo 4 campaign:
-Linear
-Dull colours
-Formulaic structure (e.g that mission where the lift stops twice. You must get out and kill all the Covenant, press a button, kill all Prometheans and then return to the lift to repeat it again)
-Extremely limited Promethean enemies with irritating movement patterns
-Terrible new weapons
-Lots and lots of button pressing
-Lots and lots of putting Cortana into machines

Worst Halo campaign yet!

EDIT: Just want to add, on mission 2, when you emerge from the caves and see the massive Forerunner structures for the first time…that was simply amazing. Dat moment… After seeing that for the first time, I was expecting the best Halo campaign yet with the grandest scale. I was so so so wrong. It’s all corridors. Even the mammoth mission gives the illusion of freedom but really you’re moving at a snail’s pace along a set path with a few areas you need to clear enemies from (in order to reach some detonaters/buttons)

I couldn’t disagree more, I loved the campaign of Halo 4 precisely because it was built up of sandbox experiences and wasn’t an on rails experience, it felt more like the original Halo than any other Halo game to date. As a comparison Reach tried too hard to make its campaign feel like a modern shooter such as battlefield or call of duty, with generic, cookie-cutter missions. The story was a big issue for me though, but the improvements to Chief and Cortana balanced it out overall.

Halo 2… Now THAT was a campaign.

Halo 4’s campaign was pretty lackluster in my opinion. I feel like there was so much potential being wasted. I’ve only played through it twice, once on normal on the release day, and a couple days later on legendary. Besides that, I haven’t gone back once.

Reach’s campaign was honestly one of my favorites.(Mostly because my barbie dress up spartan was the main character)

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Chief, but I think it should’ve just ended at 3, leaving us to wonder.

With that said, I will definitely conclude Halo 4 to be one of the worst Halo campaigns. But hey, even though it’s the worst it was still pretty damn good.

> Thuogh I liked the campaign, it isn’t perfect. The story itself was pretty good, but the presentation of it was… bleh. 8 missions is NOT enough time to tell a Halo-level story. And despite the supposed mystery they wanted to put around it, they gave away WAY too much beforehand.
>
> The characters, besides Chief and Cortana, were flat. Palmer is useless and stuck-up. If she was more of an on-the-field kind of soldier (I could write whole essays on how she’s actually a really bad leader), and had a more “military” style to her personality, she could have been our Sergeant Johnson for these next 3 games (not saying anyone could truly replace Johnson, though). Lasky, if you’ve seen Forward Unto Dawn, you get him. Otherwise, his whole relationship with the Chief is basically “Never thought I’d see you again.” Seriously? The man who inspired you to stick with military service, and thats all you have to say to him? They could have done him as the succesor to Miranda Keyes. but instead, they made him boring. Hell, at least Palmer has some involvement in Spartan Ops.
>
>
> So basically, for Halo 5, 1) More campaign missions. Flesh out your characters and concepts more. 2) Environments and objectives. Give us variety and fun objectives. Take on huge enemies and vehicles, destroy more power cores and defense lines, defend more fleets of ships amidst a huge space battle, don’t just press buttons and 3) Make new enemies less repetitive, predictable, and annoying.

Thank you. I didn’t go as in depth with the characters as I could have, but you’re completely right.

343i pushing outside sources of information is quite annoying. There was zero information in game as to why we were fighting covenant, nothing to back up why Lasky was so much kinder than anyone else on board the Infinity, and just a nit pick, how in the world was Cortana able to identify the Didact by that title? Nothing up to that point was accessible to Cortana or Chief to inform them that Mr. Forerunner was the Didact.

More emphasis on the story in the game and give reasoning for things within cut scenes.