Saturday, January 12, 2013

Halo 4 Completed for the Second Time

I just wrapped up my second playthrough of Halo 4, this time on Heroic.

For the most part, I enjoyed myself.  The story is extremely solid and 343 Industries did a fantastic story telling job.  The traditional first person shooter sequences are also a lot of fun, despite the generic "new" weapons, and I realized you could drop an Elite by charging them with your Assault Rifle firing like crazy, something you haven't been able to do since Halo: Combat Evolved.

The game is absolutely gorgeous for an Xbox 360 title, and I can't stress enough how great it is to be able to Sprint freely and easily while also being able to use an Armour Ability.  These are all great things meshing a nice feeling of nostalgia and advancement for the franchise.

I also went for all the Heroic-based Achievements and got them all except for "Bros to the Close," which requires you to keep six Marines alive throughout a sequence in Chapter 4.  The challenge comes into play where the Marines are plain dumb (the franchise's friendly AI has been in decline for five years) and charge to their death constantly.  With them rushing ahead it's hard to even give them better weapons, as Forerunner firearms does improve their chances.

I got past the penultimate battle with all six Marines surviving and saw it Checkpoint me, so I "Saved and Exited" to long save that point, but it didn't do it; first time in franchise history a Checkpoint didn't properly save for me.  I was pretty furious and was only able to pass the penultimate battle for this Achievement with five Marines surviving on all subsequent attempts.

The fact that a Crawler with a Binary Rifle spawning inside a tree preventing us from killing him but allowing him to snipe us didn't help matters.  Thus, I'll try for this Achievement later on in Co-Op, as I hear it's far easier with a buddy.

Actually, I've found Halo 4 to be the buggiest title in the franchise to date.  Most of the bugs are annoyances and hardly game breaking, but they do get frustrating at times.

Once such example is about a third of the way through Chapter 3.  You're on a Ghost and have to wipe out a bunch of Storm Covenant so you can disable a Forerunner generator.  There's ground troops, enemies in Ghosts, and two Banshee's flying around.  If you're fast you can kill an Elite running for a third Banshee before he can take off preventing another one from getting into the mix.

Halo 4 is the first title in the franchise where I found that enemy controlled vehicles are durable and deal good damage, but once you take control of them they're firing peashooters and made of paper.  This made this battle insanely hard as those enemy Banshees were such a problem to deal with, and even if you use a Banshee of your own you're far outgunned; not to mention that 343 Industries' version of the classic aircraft handles extremely sluggishly.

Around my 15th attempt I found higher up a nice outcropping of rock, so I decided to fly and land there and use my Binary Rifle to start picking off ground troops.  As soon as I exited my Banshee I clipped through the rock floor and fell to my death.  This really frustrated me as I know this would not have occurred in a Bungie Halo title.

The Broadsword sequence at the beginning of Chapter 8 was also horrible, as 343 Industries seemed to take the general Sabre design from Halo: Reach and extend the time you spent in the vehicle (a great idea) but they make you go through a Death Star-like trench run (an okay idea) and toss in a bunch of moving and shifting obstacles that you can too easily crash and die against, kind of like that room Sigourney Weaver's character complained about in Galaxy Quest, that room that made no sense and shouldn't even have been there (thus, this was a horrible idea).  The Broadsword could have been amazing and a highlight of the game, but instead it's a massive letdown an exercise in frustration.

Oh well.  Overall though, the experience was great and I will be trying a solo Legendary run in a few weeks.  Despite it's flaws, Halo 4 is still a solid first title for the new developer.

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