The clamor for Halo 4, prior to release, was remarkable. Rabid fans smote each other in the groin to gain access to the internet’s nourishing info-teats (scant as supplies of such were at times). Indeed, the media furor was so insatiable that some of these rabid fans actually contracted rabies; dashing to game emporiums with their mouths afoam to make the purchase. Presumably betwixt bouts of furniture-biting and/or menacing guys hiding in cars in a puddle of their own terror-piss, a la Cujo.
This much-vaunted release, nonetheless, has proven distinctly controversial. The production values are certainly astronomical, 343i’s first franchise foray is a visual tour de force (on an incontinent, senile pensioner of a console, we’ll concede. The Xbox 360 is a saggy tits drooping on the floor like a Neanderthal’s knuckles octogenarian in video game years, lest we forget). Have the integral mechanics of the series been subject to a similar spangly overhaul? This query is a bone, nay, a veritable entire skeleton with massive boney bollocks, of contention.
Ardent aficionados of Halo would point to such additions as the loadout scheme, armor abilities and so forth, and they would mock. They would raise a divisive middle finger and perform a wonderfully-choreographed this is shit dance routine to match. Infinite sprint for all and the excision of map-foraging for weaponry renders this a less ‘Halo’ Halo, the naysayers lament. One guy took a dump in a Fed Ex package and mailed it to the developers (this may well have happened, we should try to cut back on drinking while watching the news); all kinds of dastardly and bastard-ly shenanigans ensued.
It’s the wont of fanatics of any series, though, to resist the imposition of such changes. Before the bevy of internet nerdsassins encroach on the homes of the offending developers and shit on their doorsteps, a little objectivity should be employed. While Halo 4 has imbibed some of the elements of genre behemoth Call of Duty -currently striding through woodland areas and gleefully stamping on the groins of chipmunks in its humongous war-mech of gaming dominance- the resultant hybrid is as relentlessly entertaining as any entry of Microsoft’s stalwart series, if you remove the constrictive length of steel rod from your rectum and allow it to be.
As an inaugural effort at such a prestigious franchise, 343i have succeeded with aplomb here. We’d venture that there’s a more contemporary feel at the nucleus of Halo 4, rather akin to the augmentations to the Resident Evil franchise. It was taken to excess, we’ll concede (to wit: (Look at my massive new Hollywood cojones! Look! At them! I’m hung like Kong Kong!”), but the archaic stunted aiming and camera angles of Capcom’s capers are an ill fit in today’s gaming landscape.
343i, then, strove to ensure that their first Halo is their own game, unhampered by the incessant parallels with Bungie’s own efforts. Enjoy the new campaign enemies, and the novel multiplayer weaponry they herald. Most pertinently, though, do so while not heeding the ad nauseum where is the spirit of Halo cacophony on them thar interwebs.
And maybe with your pants off, but that’s strictly optional.