I know what you’re going to say. “It wasn’t. It just sucked.” But listen to me.
We’ve seen this type of thing going on before. Spec Ops: The Line is an example of a really good one, but it was on modern military-style games. Halo, however, is not a modern military shooter.
Halo 4’s story had a huge emphasis on making John-117 his own character. Most FPS’ don’t do this: your character isn’t there because they’re there. They’re there so you-the player- can blow stuff up. It showed us the plot and said, “Look, here’s what’s wrong with shooters”. The campaign consisted of going from USB port to USB port, which may have been what 343i was going for. Most single-player campaigns consist of “Go from point A to point B, blow some stuff up”, and Halo 4 was no different. Unlike most modern shooters, the protagonist doesn’t save the day, get the girl, and all the evil is gone from the world. Chief loses the battle, loses Cortana, and that’s all for nothing! the Didact isn’t dead, just momentarily halted, and he’s gaining speed. Whereas most games ended it with a Quicktime event where you stopped the villain in one single, dramatic moment, Halo 4 gave you no idea if you planted the grenade in the Didact’s armor or not. There was an abundance of QT events in the campaign for no real reason, which reminds me of CoD. As a matter of fact, the similarities to CoD 4- the first Modern Warfare, the one who started this trend- is now glaringly obvious. And the message is quite clear- every game wants to be like CoD, and if it does try, it’s not going to be as great as it would be if it tried to be its own thing. Sure, it’ll get perfect scores by critics, but what do scores mean? Nothing.
So, I’ll let you think about it. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be a commentary on the state of shooters, but that makes it even more epic of a commentary, because it shows us that, unconsciously, we all want to be the big dog. But if it is, 343i, I applaud you.
That’s my rant. Make of it what you will.