As usual, of course, the fate of the universe rests on Master Chief’s long-dormant shoulders – the green-armored super-soldier has been on ice aboard the Forward Unto Dawn since Halo 3 faded to black five years ago – but this time our hero bears an even greater burden. Saving humanity is the easy part. In Halo 4, his more difficult task is rescuing Cortana from herself. She is slipping into rampancy – a condition that plagues all UNSC AI constructs after they’ve been in service more than seven years. As their knowledge base expands, they eventually, as Cortana explains, think themselves to death. And that’s the unexpected heart of Halo 4’s greatness. The plot delves deeper into John’s humanity than ever before, but Halo 4 is more about Cortana and the fight for her own – ironically enough – humanity. Amazingly, Halo 4 is not only a success, but a bar-raising triumph for the entire first-person shooter genre. And just how new developer 343 Industries has done it will surprise, Halo 4
NOVEMBER 6, 2012
Master Chief returns in Halo 4, part of a new trilogy in the colossal Halo universe. → MUCH MORE
RYAN MCCAFFREY SAYS
delight, and excite you.
It starts with a mesmerizing CG cutscene that flat-out knocks you on your ass. The lighting is flawless, subtle movements and animations abound, and it even goes so far that Commander Lasky (yes, the same Lasky we see as a teenager in the Forward Unto Dawn webseries) has crooked teeth – not the usual polygon-perfect Chiclet choppers that every other animated video game human has. It strikes a fine balance between old-school fan service and establishing context for new players, and it quickly segues into gameplay, where Halo 4’s greatest strength becomes immediately apparent: its gunplay. Halo’s weapons continue their trend of working in complementary harmony, where each gun has a purpose, and every situation a fitting firing solution. The inaccurate Promethean Suppressor and...