Silver dogs and pew pew weapons
The war against the Covenants, Brutes and The Flood is over, but because Halo is a cash cow, you can always come up with something new that Master Chief will fight against. When he crash-lands (as always…) on the ancient Forerunner planet Requiem, the new enemy type Prometheans appears. In terms of design, they stink of “sad sci-fi” with their bland silver bodies, and it does not get more fun when the firefights against them go on for far too long.
Exterminating enemy wave after enemy wave quickly becomes monotonous when I fight against dog-like Crawlers who swarm over from all directions. In addition, I have to deal with tenacious Promethean Knights, who are more resilient than the Covenant elites and can be revived if I fail to shoot their flying revive sandwich pears. Not fun, just over!
Their weapons are not something to hang on to either Halo-granen. First of all, I have to complain about the sound: the Promethean buffers sound Pew Pew instead of the glorious PANG BOOM! which the UNSC counterparts are proud of. I say equivalents, because most of the new silver weapons mostly feel like skins on the powder kegs that already exist in Halo-universumet. Scattershot is the same as a regular UNSC shotgun, Bolt Shot is reminiscent of the iconic Magnum pistol and Z-130 Suppressor is pure frame Assault rifle. Skins, as I said. With damper sound effects.
Cortana to the rescue
As if it were not enough that the new Prometheans and their arsenal of weapons are boring, so the Requiem itself is a pretty flat place. Literally. Dark caves are mixed with silvery (what else?) Corridor paths that, despite shining light sources – think dental lamp – lack any form of personal luster. Never hire a Forerunner to design your home!
I do not understand why 343 Industries chooses to put so much focus on sterile indoor courts, when it is the magnificent outdoor environments that have always been the most memorable in Halogames. There are certainly some great vehicle sequences and corridor – free maps in there as well Halo 4, but they are crazy for uninspired compared to Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 3. In addition, the motion blur effects are extremely exaggerated both when running Ghost and firing armor shots from Scorpion, another modern feature that no one asked for.
Something that has received an unexpected boost, however, is the emotional punch that the story delivers. Master Chief is of course as stiff as usual (he is half machine, dusty!) But on the other hand we finally get to see a more human side of AI partner Cortana. She has started to crash and during the course of the game she gets more and more outbursts, as her best before date has expired and her annihilation is approaching. Cortana’s decay and her philosophical reflections actually make the story gripping in a way that Halo never been before.
But she is also the only glimmer of light in this CODifierade Halo. New environments, new enemies, new weapons and new game mechanics I usually appreciate, but in Halo 4 all these innovations just feel wrong. this is not Halo longer, but in my eyes the soul of the game series disappeared in the same crank as the original studio left the ship.
After two mediocre attempts with Halo 4 and Halo 5 Guardians, I hope for a return to the original Halothe feeling when Halo Infinite well released next year. Third time valid for 343 Industries? I really hope so.