I would like to preface this review by saying that I have grown up playing Halo, and because of that there might be a little inherent bias.
First off I would like to say That before I even purchased the game I felt like this game was going to be like Halo 2, in the sense that it was going to advance the story.
That being said I did have a few issues with the Campaign. First off the 3, lets call them “walk around” missions when you are play as Agent Locke seem to be VERY out of place in a Halo game. The information that you gained from these “walk around” missions could have easily been given to you through ether radio chatter or inter-squad banter during firefight missions that should have be in place of these “walk around” missions. I understand these missions being in a R.P.G. or even open world game, But (in my opinion) I don’t think these missions have a place in any Halo game.
Another issue that I have is that (to me) it did not seem like Locke needed a lot of convincing to join the Master Chief’s side. After all of the ads and media that
Locke and Master Chief were supposed “rivals”. Speaking of Locke and the Chief, I did like the cut-scene fight between Chief and Locke, but it seemed a bit slow to me. Knowing all the enhancements that the Spartan II’s and Spartan IV’s got I feel like their moves should have moved quicker.
I cannot complain about the A.I. when you are playing solo campaign, even when you ask for a revive and they don’t/can’t get to you because you are in a spot that is way to dangerous.
I have also seen a lot of other people and reviewers mention the lack of forge and the lack of local split-screen co-op. On the lack of forge, before the game was even released 343 mentioned that forge would not be released day1, and would be patched in shortly after. A lot of reviewers (this includes Angry Joe) have seemed to have missed this information, or have not done the adequate job looking for this information, and went on to assume that it is not coming out at all. On the lack of local split-screen, personally yeah, I do not like the decision to take that out of the game. This was one of the features that made the original games so awesome, but after seeing the technical reasons for why it was done, (to keep the frame rate at 60 F.P.S.) also how the frame rate is tied to the actions and physics. I understand, at least from a technical stand point, and why it can’t be patched in. I may not like it , but I understand. 343 does slightly make up for this issue with the online, drop in drop out 4 player campaign missions. Which to be honest I have not a change to play yet because i am going for the solo legendary achievement. I was pleasantly surprised that not even a month after the initial release 343 is already rolling out mew content in the multiplayer.
Graphically the game is very beautiful and rich, the levels are designed quite well, with many paths (some you need to discover yourself) and avenues to out flank and out maneuver your enemies. The sense of scale also comes across very well, especially when facing a new Covenant weapon not seen before in any of the previous games.
Multiplayer= The whole REQ pack micro-transactions don’t bother me too much only because 343 was smart in that REQ packs are mostly cosmetic and the packs themselves don’t give you any advantage over other players. Also you can grind for the packs for free, which make it feel like more of a reward, as opposed to paying for it. A lot of people seem to miss the fact that you DO NOT have to pay for anything (currently) in game using actual money. Also the fact that there will be free D.L.C. is an added perk.
Slayer, Free For All, Break-Out, (1 Death gametype) swat, and team arena play a lot like the Halo 2 multiplayer. I also like the fact that all weapons spawn on the map except for the A.R. and pistol, which you spawn with, (except for in swat) which may be an issue for newer players, and may get some getting used to, but for veterans it will feel very familiar. The added abilities of the thruster back and the ground pound are welcomed additions and add another level of maneuvering and tactics.
Campaign is a little bit of a let down, storywise and the lack of local split screen does not help it, but it is still solid for a “middle” game
Multiplayer, REQ packs give you a reason to keep playing. The arena playlists solidify themselves in what was done right the the previous Halo games and warzone adds a new demention to playing online and the upcoming D.L.C. being free is a nice touch as well.
Final Score: 7/10 A solid game with small innovations and a decent amount of replayability, but the lack of split-screen and a “So-So” campaign (storywise) holds the game back from its full potential.