Ok, so I may or may not have just placed a pre-order for Halo 4 on ShopTo.net. With 343 taking the helm, there’s a lot to be apprehensive about when it comes to this new ‘Reclaimer’ trilogy which Microsoft are pushing, and whilst I believe that they’ll probably be good games, whether they strike a chord with gamers like myself who remember the Bungie games fondly is another matter entirely.
I wasn’t going to pre-order initially, but looking at what’s in the special edition there’s actually quite a lot of good stuff there, you should check it out. ShopTo is my current go-to place for games at the moment. They were pretty good at getting me a Mass Effect 3 copy to me on launch after GAME couldn’t honour my pre-order, and they got Darksiders to me pretty sharpish as well.
Thinking about it, and especially after having a chat with another writer for a project of his a couple of weeks ago, I reminded myself of the impact that this franchise- and especially Combat Evolved – has had in terms of my personal history as a gamer. It’s the game that really switched me on in terms of the Xbox, it’s the game that really got me into First-Person Shooters, and in terms of memories and moments, it’s the game that I’ve have the most fondest memories of. That’s not to say of the massive impact I personally believe the franchise has had on gaming – Halo 2 and Xbox Live in my mind completely revolutionised the industry’s attitude towards online gaming and multiplayer, and Combat Evolved help put the first Xbox on the map, despite not initially being considered as a poster child for the console (there’s a great four part series of articles done by Patrick Garret over on VG247 that you definitely need to read).
Anyway – long story short – Halo 4 gets the benefit of the doubt for the moment. From recent experiences, I can’t help but feel that in situations like these it’s dangerous to put your trust and faith into something without having really seen anything beforehand. There’s a lot riding on Halo 4 being good, not only because Microsoft wants to keep their golden boy making money, but 343 themselves have to prove that they can do it without Bungie. It’s almost like the Treyarch/Infinity Ward divide, and I hope 343 don’t change too much for the sake of making the franchise their own.
Couple of things that have me concerned though at the moment:
* The new ‘Spartan IV’s’ – how they are going to fit in lore-wise it going to be something I’m going to pay attention to, since to be honest Halo: Reach and the official acknowledgement of the Spartan III’s, was handled rather cack-handedly I feel in terms of the official timeline (I’m a bit of a lore buff, what can I say) – it was like Star Wars all over again. I don’t see how the universe allows for the existence of a fourth generation of Spartan soldiers, but there you go. Mind you, from what’s available so far, the Spartan IV thing seems only to exist to allow for a plausible plot reason for multiplayer to exist. Unnecessary I feel but fair enough.
* Halo 4 is apparently relying a lot more on trans-media to help promote and tell its story, in a way. The Forerunner Trilogy of novels is supposed to have considerable relevance to Halo 4’s story, and Karen Travis’ Glasslands’ novel is as well. I have mixed feelings about this as I rather resented Mass Effect 3 for bringing in someone from the novels to be part of the story of the game, although in principle it’s not so bad I guess. Problem is, I’m rather disappointed by Travis as an author, not only because when I met her in person she seemed rather soulless for someone dealing with IP-fiction, but also reading reviews of Glasslands’ it doesn’t sound like I’ll like what she’s done with the story post-Ghost of Onyx. Plus I wasn’t that impressed with her work on Gears of War 3 either, but that’s different.
I don’t want to sound too negative before I’ve even seen the game though. Even though I care about lore and story and continuity more than I probably should, it didn’t completely stop me from enjoying Reach, and it won’t stop me enjoying Halo 4 either. If this doesn’t work out though, then that’ll probably be it in terms of investing in aHalogame beforehand.
What was that? Diablo III? I have no idea what you’re talking about:
It’s well good by the way Sian.