I realize that some players have made up their mind about buying or not buying H5. This post is not aimed at challenging your decision in any way.
But for those who were let down by H4 and/or MCC, and are now on the fence and waiting to purchase after you read some reviews, who will you trust?
It seems unlikely that H5 will be as broken as the MCC at launch. And, if it is, you’ll quickly learn about it. So, in that case, there is no problem in getting information that will help you decide whether to make a purchase.
But for many, the multiplayer (MP) in H4 was unsatisfying and that is a harder problem. Arguably, it takes a significant amount of time to determine if the MP is well-balanced and polished enough to sustain the kind of player base we’ve seen in some previous Halo releases.
Can reviewers reasonably give a verdict on H5 MP given that they will want to release their respective reviews without too much delay? If they cannot, then where can you find this information? As a start, I’ve begun collecting a list of reviewers (I am not claiming any are authoritative) who commented on H4; more specifically, those whose reviews included comments on the MP. I’ve grouped them by negative, mixed, and positive.
As you can see, most reviews were positive. For those who fall into the “H4 MP was meh” category, I would humbly suggest considering their future reviews of H5 with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Please feel free to add to this list. If you think there are forums that are useful or should be avoided, please list them along with a gentle explanation of why. Even better if someone knows of any site that can provide hard numbers (average # games played per player, population count, etc.) that on-the-fence players can view.
Negative reviews of H4:
“This means the multiplayer isn’t just about getting beat by guys who are better than me. Now it means getting beat by guys who are better than me and who have better weapons and abilities unlocked.” which was a warning about unequal starts (my interpretation)
Mixed reviews of H4:
“This is a game that fully understands the fundamentals of a good shooter.”
“For the first time, Halo feels like a follower, rather than a leader.”
Positive reviews of H4:
“ …the competitive multiplayer reasserts itself as one of the most exciting offerings in the genre”
Called it a “bar-raising triumph”
big_jon (on Giant Bomb)
“Halo 4 is a 4 out of 5 in terms of the multiplayer experience for me.”
“Halo is in new hands with 343i, but the studio nailed exactly why the series became a genre-defining franchise”
“With Halo 4, 343 has proven itself not only proficient in building a Halo game, but capable of building a better Halo franchise in a post-Bungie world.”
“So with its strong multiplayer present and correct, Halo 4 remains true to the legacy of the first entry in this in videogame series.”
“Perhaps more worrying were the concerns that Halo 4 might see a move to more linear, Call of Duty-like levels, but in fact these fears are all but unfounded.”