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07/05/2013 20:55:25 •••

I was prepared to hate this.

Note: This review will focus solely on the story.

Everything about this game pre-release rubbed me the wrong way. Chief's ugly new armor. The lumpy redesigns of everything. The blatant ignoring of the canon. The awful book leading up to it. And the reveal that the Didact would be the villain, and not as a Well Intentioned Extremist or Anti Villain, but rather an Obviously Evil Darth Vader Clone with no subtlety to him. Imagine making Gandalf into a Sauron clone. That's how much of a character betrayal this seemed.

So why did I soften my view of it? Because 343 nailed the relationship between Chief and Cortana, and to a degree better than any other Halo before it. It was a brilliant decision to have them chat during the gameplay, and they managed to invoke the screen distortions of the Cortana Moments without impeding the gameplay like them. Cortana grows as a person as she faces her impending death and her limits as an AI. Master Chief too grows beyond the stoic avatar that he's always been, as the writing explores his unhumaness as a supersoldier, his glimmers of emotion that confuse him if he notices them, and him facing that his assurances that everything will turn out alright may not always be so wise.

This plot can be separated pretty well from the main plot about fighting the DINO (Didact In Name Only), which I'm glad of because he's just as generically evil as I expected, and commits many errors worthy of Bond villains. Captain Del Rio is just as badly written. 343 tried too hard to make us hate him, to the point that it breaks my suspension of disbelief that someone this incompetent could have gotten command of the most advanced UNSC starship ever. Once he finishes making dumb decisions so the plot can continue, the story quickly writes him out as quickly as he appeared.

So my faith is sure that 343 Industries writers can write well and develop the preexisting characters better than I expected. Whether they chose to make the plot itself as mature, or write better original characters, is another question. Hopefully they'll do so for Halo 5.

07/05/2013 00:00:00

Um, you do know that there are TWO Didacts, right? The one you read about in the terminals of Halo 3 activated the Halo Array and departed from the galaxy with the surviving Forerunners. The one in Halo 4 got put away for being (duh) Obviously Evil before the Array was fired.

I fail to see what's wrong with the Chief's armor. Hell, it allows the Chief to convey a certain physicality that was lacking in previous titles, you know, when he looked like a plastic action figure.

Maybe the fact that you were 'prepared' to hate Halo 4 has skewered your views.

07/05/2013 00:00:00

The two Didacts answer wasn't established until after Halo 4, in Halo: Silentium. The Ur-Didact, who becomes this DINO, is declared to be dead at the end of Halo: Cryptum. The terminals in Halo 4 also make no mention of the second Didact.

As for the armor, it looks really lumpy compared to the sleek Mark VI from Halo 2 and 3. The Mark VI actually looked advanced, like the result of many refinements in armor. This one looks like it was put together with a hammer, and has lots of odd and unsafe protusions that look like they could risk a twisted ankle, or a grapple point in melee combat. It doesn't look at all advanced or practical.

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