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Halo 4 has been out for almost two weeks by now, and hopefully you have already played the campaign and are now waging war in multiplayer. The game came out to a ton of praise, but how does the game actually hold up to the previous games in the series? Check out my comparisons below and share your thoughts in both the polls and the comments!
Set over four years after the events of Halo 3, Halo 4 definitely feels like its own narrative experience, distinct from the other games in the franchise. At the same time, Master Chief's and Cortana's relationship is heavily informed by the events preceding this entry in the franchise. That said, taken apart, we still find a thorougly enjoyable story, albeit not necessarily the best in the series.
Halo 2 is often lauded as the best narrative experience in the Halo series. The Covenant prophets were incredibly compelling and had quite a bit to say about real world politics in a heated time period as well. The Heretic was also a genuine surprise and added a lot to the story of Halo 2.
What had a better story?
343i created an excellent campaign experience in Halo 4, partially by using features established earlier in the series and partially by creating material all their own. Active abilities make a return from Halo: Reach, but now without the health system inherited from Halo Combat Evolved. New weapons and enemies also liven things up.
Halo 3 is one of my personal favorites in the series. It introduced new features like the Bubble Shield, the Automated Turret, and the Portable Gravity Lift, among others - all of which fundamentally change how players interact with the world. Halo 3 established a lot of firsts and will, at least for me, always be remembered for its stellar gameplay.
What has better overall gameplay?
A new planet, with its own environments and inhabitants, is ripe with opportunity. We have seen Forerunner architecture in the Halo series before as well, but we have never been so immersed in the Forerunner habitat so thoroughly. 343i certainly took some liberties mixing up the traditional landscape, but is it enough?
I'm putting Halo 3: ODST on here partially because it holds a special place in my heart. It might not have the most artfully crafted environments in any Halo game, but it does offer a unique almost open-world experience that still stands out in the series. It also created a sense of abandonment and isolation like no other game in the franchise.
What has better level design?
Perhaps Halo 4 has most changed the multiplayer experience more than other other game in the series. Heavily inspired by the norm set by Call of Duty, players earn points during multiplayer matches and level up persistent character, unlocking customization options as they play. The game also features all sorts of game modes for those looking to tweak their multiplayer matches.
Halo: Reach received a great deal of praise for its multiplayer design. In fact, much of Halo 4 is directly inspired by the changes implemented in Halo 4. Perhaps most notably, the active abilities drastically changed the series from a "strictly-shooting" affair to one that allows player choices that alter the battlefield experience.
What has better multiplayer?
But now, the ultimate question. Halo has consistently offered some of the best gaming experiences around and has been willing to take a relatively large amount of risks, despite its firm canon. What all is said and done, how does Halo 4fitintotherest of the series?