I have to say my initial play of the game really blew me away. I was a little scared that rebooting the series and fighting a whole new war would ruin the mythic of Master Chief, I was pretty wrong. I am impressed with the overall feel and quality of the game, the Assault Rifle feels so much better and sounds better, all the weapons do. The weapon choice in the game is different they chose to add more, while taking away others. The return of covenant is no surprise and the forerunner guardians are interesting and at times overwhelming.
I have yet to complete campaign or the side chapters on Infinity but I have to say the one thing I do not like about the game is the watchers. These flying beings remind me of the buggers from previous Halos and serve as more of an annoyance than anything especially if several are grouped together. I figured that they would not be used on their own. The other thing is the lack of free range in the game, although previously like ODST, maybe not Reach they have been linear, 4 also feels vary linear, it's hard to venture or do much and it's kind of hard to enjoy the game. I really haven't seen to much of the beautiful worlds that previous Halos had shown.
I applaud 343 for the creation of the new enemies, and of course venturing into a new realm of Halo. I have to say that they did work very hard in honoring Bungie's previous Halos by not completely venturing away from the story, but adding to it while following it. I have to say I am glad to be behind the HUD of Master Chief again and I hope if they decide to do anything different with the series like Bungie did with ODST and Reach that they do something like this because it will be worth it again, we've all waited for this and I have to say it's great to be back.
NOTE CAMPAIGN REVIEW ONLY
I Have been an avid follower and player of the halo franchise since the original release of Halo Combat Evolved. Halo 4 is a great game, but could have easily been better. Graphics were are excellent but i found it difficult to decipher Elite covenant or whatever the new enemy is called from a standard infantry covenant. and no i am not playing on an old tv (42 inch 1080p). I also expected more warthog use, and for that matter just a better experience overall when using vehicles. I also dont like how little ammo you get with UNSC guns. it seems as though you are always using alien weapons which are powerful, but i prefer using the UNSC weapons.
To sum it up Halo 4 is a throwback to halo 2 and 3. i enjoyed playing the campaign, (played 2 games online and went right back to CODBOII), just doesnt have that "IT" factor for me anymore, worth the rent, (play it on heroic or if you dare legendary) and if you loved halo 2 and 3 online than this will be very familiar with better weapons.
Game Mechanics: 10
With Bungie leaving Halo development, 343 had the job of not destroying the epic franchise that is Halo. They didn't, and they created an almost perfect all-around FPS. The co-op campaign is one of the best around, spartan ops is a decent short story co-op distraction, and the online play is fast paced and as fun as ever.
The campaign focuses on Master Chief and Cortanas story together, and to not create a spoiler, I'll just say that it's amazing. Introducing a new species creates a blank slate to go off, and it also gives Master Chief a ton of new enemies to dispose of and new weapons to master. The graphics are the best I've seen on a console to date, and Halo 4 boasts some truly unreal music & sound. Each gun sounds powerful and unique.
Spartan Ops is my only complaint to Halo 4. Halo Reach was simply epic, and I'm sad to say that 343 nixed the Firefight altogether. No more waves of enemies, instead you have a Spec Ops type mode where you play short stories solo or co-op. They are linear and always end up with you killing x amount of guys, so these will get stale for me really quick. Once the first 5 episodes are done, I don't see myself replaying these.
Online multiplayer is where it's at though. 343 created a more fast paced sharp experience. Everyone has sprint, not just as an ability, so that changes things right there. There are a ton of new perks, powerups, in-game weapon drops, and a new arsenal of weapons to use. Both enemy and Spartan weapons can be used. And if you score a few kills, you can deploy weapon/powerup drops to help with killing the other team. Big team battles are awesome, and the tighter maps are just a ton of fun.
All in all, Halo 4 does not dissapoint in any area except the other co-op modes. But with the best Halo campaign to date and another amazing online experience, you don't need any co-op modes to compliment the already super deep gaming experience. A must buy.