2012-11-07

Halo 4 – First Impression: This Game Looks GOOD

by Yo Snyder

Production values have always been high in the Halo series, but after spending a couple hours with Halo 4
in the campaign mode, I think it’s safe to say it’s set a new high mark
for the series. This game looks good; seriously good. Remember when Halo was the game you’d pop-in to show off how awesome the Xbox looked? Well, Halo 4 is that kind of game for the Xbox 360.

And
it’s not just the general graphics that make it look awesome, it’s the
art design, it’s the lighting, it’s the colors and it’s the character
models in the cut-scenes that really set it apart.  First, the
cut-scenes look amazing. I still think Medal of Honor Warfighter has set the standard for almost Avatar-like quality for cut-scene character models in a shooter, but those characters lacked something vital; life. Halo 4
isn’t quite that good, but everything in the way the characters move,
their facial expressions and the excellent voice work make these
characters believable and give Halo 4 that “interactive,
blockbuster, sci-fi movie” feel. Just a couple hours in, and I’m already
caught up in the personal challenges facing Cortana and Master Chief. I
care about these characters and their plight; and judging from the
direction this story is going in, especially for Cortana, that’s pretty
key to making this story work. 

Then there’s those awe-inspiring
moments. The first time you come across some huge, floating Forerunner
tech hanging in the sky, it’ll take your breath away. In fact, there
were several moments, again just in the first couple hours, that made me
want to stop and gawk if not for the fact my life was on the line due
to all the Covenant and Promethean forces trying to cut me down. The
variety for the levels has also already been pretty astounding. From
familiar Halo corridors to a spectacular debris field to the Forerunner
location to an amazing area of stone and light to the interior of a vast
chamber inside a planet, there are some amazing sights to see; and
again, I’m only a couple hours in.

And this game doesn’t just look
good, it sounds great too. I already mentioned the excellent voice
acting, but the soundtrack is quite beautiful and haunting as well. It
has some Halo distinctiveness, but also sounds richer. The weapons have
been given some added oomph as well, which I always enjoy in any
shooter. I like my guns to sound powerful and lethal, and they do here.
The Warthog also sounds great in this game; like some sort of beefy
hot-rod. Sweet. And there are little things like the noises Master
Chief’s armor makes when he moves, they weird sounds of the Promethean
enemies make that sound so alien, and much more.

Halo has always been an entertainment juggernaut, and the production values on display in Halo 4
demonstrate why. It sounds and looks as good as anything out there, and
the compelling characters brought to life by fantastic animation and
excellent voice work makes this game as intriguing as any big-time
Hollywood production. There’s a reason there’s been a blurring of the
lines between the gaming world and Hollywood, and from what I’ve seen
thus far, Halo 4 is a great example of why that’s happening.