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.

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6 Comments on Critics Apparently Love Halo 4

Kevin

On November 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm

The Escapist tends to be a strict grader. Getting an 80 from them, while not fantastic, is nothing to sneeze at.

Marjames

On November 4, 2012 at 2:56 am

The critics also loved Mass Effect 3′s ending, so I’ll take what they say with a massive pinch of salt.

That said, I have no doubt that Halo 4 will be a really good game, despite never having invested in the franchise myself.

Tigz

On November 4, 2012 at 3:21 am

How dare you call yourself a critic if you give out 100/100 for something that is obviously not perfect, even if it’s good. Repeatedly. Metacritic critics are highly unreliable. User opinions will show us the truth.

Ebalosus

On November 4, 2012 at 4:24 am

@Marjames

Damn straight. If there is one good thing to come out of the ending debackle, it’s that we’re now more aware of reviewer bullsh*ttery when it comes to something controversial.

@Tigz

That’s one thing that really pisses me off about any review that uses a grade that contradicts what was said in the review. Like you said: “How dare you call yourself a critic if you give out 100/100 for something that is obviously not perfect, even if it’s good”; thing like this call into question either the skill of the reviewer, or their objectivety

Axetwin

On November 5, 2012 at 4:32 am

A site that is not officially recognized by Metacritic but is still technically a gaming website nonetheless.
http://www.blisteredthumbs.net/2012/11/halo-4-review/

This review paints a very VERY different picture of Halo 4. I have no opinion on whether or not its accurate as I havent played the game yet.

Ed

On November 5, 2012 at 5:04 am

That blisteredthumbs review reads like the reviewer isn’t particularly keen on Halo games in general. But some of those criticisms are interesting because they’re not present in any of the other reviews I’ve read. I still can’t wait to play it tomorrow even if I do suspect it will be flawed. Also, the music seems to really have split opinion because the majority of reviews single it out for praise despite it having to follow O’Donnell’s masterpiece, but then you have the escapist and a couple of others saying it’s flat.