Critics Apparently Love Halo 4
Sometimes it really pays to do something, and do it right the first time. Just ask a certain publisher we won’t name whose business model seems increasingly based around rushing games out half finished, then acting shocked that no one buys them. Just a note, unnamed publisher: Killing a popular franchise because it fails to deliver after you don’t allow your developers to actually develop and thus they release a terrible game isn’t a good strategy.
But luckily, we’re not here to talk about that problem. Instead, I want to talk about Microsoft, who have handed control of their flagship Halo franchise over to relative newbies 343 Industries. After Halo creators Bungie delivered one of the best-received series of the current generation – albeit with a few hiccups, like the infamously terrible ending of Halo 2 – gamers and critics were understandably skeptical that a new studio could pick up where they left off and do so competently. Even so, 343 trudged ahead with Halo 4, which despite misgivings has been one of 2012′s most hotly anticipated games.
The question is, will they actually churn out a game worth playing? Or will they, or more importantly parent company Microsoft, simply approach the series as a reliable cash cow and force them to pump the thing out regardless of quality? You’ll have to wait for Game front’s review to learn how we feel (That’s coming shortly), but the reviews from around the gaming Internet are already slipping out, and so far it looks like 343 Industries is due for a triumphal parade.
Reviews, quite frankly, are absolutely glowing. The current Metacritic average is 90, from 51 critics. People, we mean to say, love this game, with several big outlets bestowing perfect scores to the newest Master chief adventure.
Joystiq’s effusive 100 review begins “You don’t often see a monolithic franchise putting up a fight for fans, but the departure of Bungie has awakened doubt – enough to incur a fierce response from Halo’s new custodians at 343 Industries. And so the developer launches the best kind of protest, which is to wave an impressive, throbbing shooter in your face. Trust me, you want this.”
Destructoid’s perfect score review calls it “A strong start to the Reclaimer Trilogy”, saying that “not only has 343 far surpassed any expectations of what a Halo title should be, they’ve also gone and created a Halo game that is miles above any that’s come before it.” Damn.
IGN’s only slightly less positive 98/100 review says it’s a “bar raising success,” and a “masterstroke… everyone can and should celebrate, and its two guaranteed sequels instantly make the next-generation Xbox a must-own system.”
Polygon gives it 95/100 and says it’s a very successful return to the series’ roots “where the novelty and wonder of exploring something really alien and different is a key factor.”
On the low end of things, it really isn’t very low. Of the sites Metacritic tracks, the lowest rating is 80. Even the haters really seem to like it.
The Escapist’s 80/100 review is one of the more stringent, but their criticism seems largely centered around just not being that impressed generally (which isn’t to imply this opinion is illegitimate). The most telling critique might be about the game’s music, which Escapist says “there’s something to be said about not repeating what’s been done, but the music in Halo 4 is often just subtle ambiance, if it’s even there at all.” Fair enough.
Joining the Escapist at the bottom is Giant Bomb, whose 80/100 review seems low enough to allow for severe criticism, but ultimately concludes that “the developers have executed quite well, developing a Halo game that gets that Halo feel down nicely while also playing around with the periphery of the experience in an attempt to modernize things a bit.” Their only serious complaint is that the story seemed far too short. That was, they say, a big disappointment; otherwise, Halo 4 is a promising start.
Game Front’s own review is forthcoming; our review copy was late. But we’ll be working through the weekend to get it up prior to release. We’ll also be dropping the usual achievements, strategy, and cheat guides, along with our great video content. Stay tuned.
Crush the campaign and save the universe with Game Front’s Halo 4 walkthrough, showing you how to complete each of the singleplayer missions. For achievement guides, cheats, and secrets check out our Halo 4 cheats.