There’s no way Halo 4 should have been as brilliant as it is. Reopening a series that closed quite nicely, farmed out to a brand new studio for the fifth instalment in seven years. Just goes to show that throwing immense amounts of money at a project and setting technical geniuses on performing miracles with ageing hardware can do big things for what could have ended up being a fairly safe sequel.
I was frankly blown away by how good this game was. Putting aside how ridiculous it looks, it was an outstanding debut for 343 Industries, clearly showing where every penny of those huge production values went. Credit, too, for the story, which I, as a huge fan of the series’ wider fiction – I’ve read ten novels so far – found fascinating. Jen Taylor made it thanks to some touching moments as Cortana, managing to add pathos to a tale about the relationship between a super soldier and a computer. Quite an achievement.
And the multiplayer is arguably the best the series has seen since Halo 2. I just with the BTB players would pick something other than Ragnarok.
Honestly, Halo 5 is probably the number one reason why I’ll be buying the next Xbox. 343 undoubtedly built this engine with the upcoming generation in mind, and if this is a hint at what we have to look forward to, I can’t wait.
You know, after so many years it’s only natural that this generation of hardware has run dry, that it’s impossible for the consoles to impress us any more…
Well, that’s a cut-scene. Obviously prerendered.
Nope. PR bullshot. Show me some real screens.
Okay, so that one’s from Digital Foundry’s tech breakdown. It’s pretty undeniably indicative of how good Halo 4 looks. How 343 Industries has done this, how it got hardware that has seemingly been running on fumes for years now to push out what I don’t think, resolution aside, would look out of place on a decent PC gaming rig, how many virgins had to be bled dry in sacrifice to the gods of gaming, is utterly beyond me.
It doesn’t change my tune about new consoles being desperately needed, but I haven’t been this impressed with a game’s visuals since Uncharted 2. I’m genuinely flummoxed at why even first-party 360 games have so often been allowed to coast visually, content to be adequate rather than spectacular and giving rise to a popular opinion that the PS3 has a noticeable performance advantage. It frankly shows how lackadaisical Microsoft has been in pushing its developers and partners this gen, and I hope that this is the first sign of a rumoured push for more high-quality, exclusive, internally produced content from Redmond in the next generation.
Plus it’s bloody good to play. That always helps.