Sunday, January 6, 2013

Halo 4: A Non Shooter Fan's Initial Impressions

As any of my readers would know, I am no longer much of a shooter fan. Gone are the days and nights soaked in blood and filled with the acrid smoke of grenades gone boom. Most of my video game playtime consists of me playing XBLA games and RPG's (right now I am playing Code of Princess on the 3DS). When I do play shooters, they are almost always 3rd person rather than first, and also not shooters in the sense of the word I use (think Gears of War or Vanquish). The ones I play are more in the vein of Dead Space and Resident Evil. Action horror games, basically. Those and OLD SCHOOL shooters aka shmups like Geometry Wars and Score Rush.

However, there are those times (usually herbally ameliorated) that I find myself playing a shooter. Usually one of the COD games with friends. Or, in the case of the last few days, some Halo 4 co-op campaign. These sessions are usually fairly fun but inevitably result in a rapid onset of absolute boredom.

Not last night.

My brother and I rocked some co-op campaign and I found myself absolutely LOVING it, the way that I used to. And while I cannot say for certain, I don't think the herb was solely responsible for this. 343 has done a remarkable job taking over a franchise as storied as Halo. Not only did they maintain the Halo experience, they actually enhanced it. Significantly. It pops off the screen in a lush display of high fidelity visual artistry. It's GORGEOUS. Not mindblowing technically, but artistically and in its scope it just may be unmatched in the current crop of its peers. The sound is terrific, the controls are as tight as ever and the physics really convey the incredible combination of gargantuan weight and oddly nimble agility that one would presume the Master Chief to have. It's really, really awesome.

I can't say that the game will hold my interest beyond beating the campaign (or even for that long) but even if I do end up sick of it quickly, that will be a result of my disinclination to play shooters (especially FPS games) rather than any indication of the game's quality. 343 did a wonderful job and they should be proud of themselves. The game exudes TLC and you can tell it was made by Halo fans.

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