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November 21, 2012

KVR Archive: Halo 4 Single-Player/Co-op Areas of Concern


Halo 4 is the fifth instalment in the wildly popular Halo franchise. This game was released on November 6th for the Xbox 360.


NOTE: This is the review for Single-Player. Multiplayer is hard to review if you haven't played the game, as there is a ton of content and you might not get everything.

HOWEVER, I will say that if the content in the campaign listed below is okay for you, then the Multiplayer should be too. Check the General Violence. In my experience, most, if not all Multiplayer games, only contain what is listed under General Violence, so you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect if you read that. 

Intro:


You are Master Chief, a genetically altered supersoldier who has to wake up from stasis in order to fight against an alien race threatening to destroy Earth.

The Halo series is very popular, and as such I will spare no expense telling you about the content of this game, whether it's yay or nay.

Thanks for dropping by, and I hope you enjoy the read! ---Kyle van Rensburg, with H@wkE ZEc#@ri@#, of course.

Bite-Sized Review:

Moderate Sci-Fi Violence:

Really, just a lot of sci-fi esque violence; shootings, some stabbings, explosions, vehicles running over creatures, and vehicles getting blown up.

Some blood sprays during combat, staining the environment. You mostly only see aliens, so normal red blood isn't seen that much, but it still is part of the gameplay.

Some acts of violence in the storyline are a woman screaming as her skin, muscles and skeleton dissolves into ash, a lot of space stations and towers being blown up with explosions and wreckage, and some other occurences of violence. (Read the Areas of Concern below.)   

Mild Suggestive Themes:

A brief innuendo, and a feminine AI looks like a woman with a very skin-tight suit. You may easily mistake her for being naked at first. 

Mild Language:

Very rare uses of mild to moderate profanities.

Mild Spiritual Content:

A few aliens bow down to a leader, a few symbols are shown, and some references to evolution.

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking:

Nothing at all. 

Morality:

Not really applicable here. Very disconnected from reality. But your character does show heroism and commitment to his goal, so that counts for something.

Overall: Infrequently Graphic
  

REVIEWING STYLE:

--Green is for mild content.

--Blue is for moderate or very brief intense content, provided that it isn't too graphic.

--Orange is for intense content.

--Red is for very graphic or prolonged intense content.
 
Areas of Concern:

General Violence: 

--During the course of the game, you shoot many enemies; blood sprays, staining the environment, and the enemy cringes and yells in pain. When they are killed, they fall over.

--You can melee enemies with your rifle; blood spurts out, and the enemy cringes. Enemies can also melee you back, and a few of the big enemies send your character flying backwards when they smack you.

A few of the aliens attack you and your allies with a sword, blood spraying out. You can also take the sword after killing them, giving the enemy a taste of their own medicine.

You can also kill enemies with a "gravity" hammer, sending them flying. A few of the enemies explode when you hit them.

--You can also grab them, hit them with your fists, breaking their necks, or stab them with a knife in the head. This happens quickly. 

--You can kill enemies using grenades, which can stick to them; blood sprays and stains the environment, and the enemy is sent flying. A few enemies charge at you holding primed grenades, sort of like a suicide bombing. They are sent flying when they explode.

You can also shoot them with grenade launchers, and rockets; they are sent flying as the grenade/rocket explodes.

Certain grenade types suck enemies in, sort of like a black hole, and then explode.

You can also shoot explosive barrels, blowing them up and sending enemies flying. 

You can use a heavy laser beam to shoot enemies; vehicles are blown up very quickly with this weapon.

People can get shot with a certain type of rocket, making them dissolve into ashes.

--You can shoot at enemies with lasers. 


--You fight a few big alien enemies, which have a lot of armour on them. When fought, the armour comes off, and when they are killed, they slump over.

--People can get killed by being hit by any type of object, or by falling from a height. They are sent flying or slump over. 

--Many of the aliens have different colours of blood, like blue and purple. Humans have red blood. This is seen when the races are injured.

--In some of the places you go to, blood stains the environments, and a few dead bodies are seen, sometimes with blood on them.

--You can drive vehicles, like tanks and buggies. You can run over enemies with them, with blood spurting out and the enemy crying out in pain. You can also shoot them using the machine gun or laser mounted on the vehicle. 

--At certain points, there are turrets that shoot charged laser beams at your character, followed by recharging intervals.

--When you are injured, the screen flashes red. When you are killed, your character simply cringes and falls over.

--You drive around in tanks, both alien and human. They fire heavy rounds at enemies, which explode and pieces of the vehicles fall off. When destroyed, an explosion occurs, and tank is set on fire.

You can also shoot infantry with the tank; an explosion occurs, and the enemy slumps over or is sent flying.

--When vehicles are damaged, and smokes starts coming out. With tanks, pieces fall off, and when any vehicle is destroyed, they explode with wreckage flying and the people inside are also sent flying. 

--You can also hijack vehicles/aircraft, kicking or throwing the driver out of the vehicle in the process.

--You can fly around in aircraft, which you can use to to collide into people with. You can also shoot them with lasers/bullets/rockets. When the aircraft sustains damage, smoke starts coming out. When it is blown up, the people inside are sent flying out.

Some of the big alien aircraft can be blown up, with lots of wreckage and explosions being seen.

All the previous acts of violence can be inflicted upon you and your ally too.

--You can shoot stationary turrets, which explode after taking enough damage.

Storyline Violence:

--A few people are seen running as spaceships shoot rockets at them, which blow up and send people flying. A man is stabbed through the back by an alien using a sword.  

--A few alien and "human" soldiers fire at each other. A few of the soldiers are seen getting shot, and they slump over.

--A soldier and a big alien fight; the big alien has a big hammer which he tries to crush the soldier with, but he misses and it hits the ground instead. The soldier jumps and kicks the alien in the face.

--In an area without gravity, you are sucked against a wall, and a few boxes hit you. You grab onto a ladder, and climb up. A few pieces of wreckage fall down at you, and you narrowly dodge it. This happens a few times.

--An Elite, an alien warrior, grabs you, and you have to fend him off. You dodge his sword, and punch him in the face a few times, and knock him down into a pit. He is heard yelling as he falls.

--A spaceship crashes through a glass window, causing the inside of the place to depressurize.

--A ship is blown up with a rocket; it falls apart into several pieces with many explosions being seen.

--A big orb is seen, and it sucks several space ships, objects, parts of a space station, and debris into it. 

--The inside of the space station is shown, and several pieces of it fall down around your character, with sparks flying and explosions going off everywhere, killing a few nearby aliens and injuring your character if he gets close to it. The floors collapse too, taking aliens with it.

--You open a door inside the space station, and it nearly sucks you out as you grip another door. You see pipes and pieces of the station getting sucked out into space. You fall out into space, and hit a few objects, and see a spaceship separate and explode. Finally, after bumping into a few more objects, a piece of wreckage hits you, knocking you out.

The piece of wreckage then crashes onto a planet, and your character is seen lying on the ground, unconscious.

--An injured alien is seen crawling around, and he dies briefly afterwards. 

--A spaceship shoots at you with it's lasers. 

--A few small hovercraft help you by shooting enemies with their lasers.

--You fight a race of robotic aliens, which explode when killed. 

--A big orb sends out a shockwave, knocking a few enemies over. 

--An alien grabs a man using it's mind and holds him in the air in front of it. The man struggles around a bit. The alien then throws the man into a wall, he bounces off it, and hits the floor. The man then stands up and runs as an explosion goes off.

--A shockwave goes off, and a few ships crash into cliffs, with explosions. 

--You have to escape from a planet as it is falling apart, with lots of rubble falling, mountains and cliffs sliding with the ground cracking, rock pillars thrusting up through the ground, a few spaceships are seen crashing, a lot of aliens are seen running, and a lot of explosions occur. 

--A man jumps off a vehicle just as it slides over a cliff. He lands safely. 

--You enter a bipedal robot with a machine gun and rocket launcher for weapons, and you go on a rampage and kill a lot of enemies. 

--You get on a big tank, and fire at enemies using rocket launchers mounted on the tank. A few of the enemies fire at the tank with lasers, bullets, and rockets. 

--You can target enemies using a laser designator, and a big laser beam shoots and destroys them. You target a few big orbs, and they explode with lots of wreckage flying.

--You shoot a few structures making shields, and they explode with wreckage flying.

--A big alien aircraft flies over the big tank, and shoots it with a laser, disabling a few of the tank's features. 

--Some footage is seen of soldiers firing guns and spaceships firing at each other. A few soldiers are shot and fall over, and a laser is seen going through the shoulder of one guy in slow-motion. A few blood stained dead bodies are seen afterwards. A hologram of a man is briefly seen screaming.

--Some flesh matter is seen melting, and brief footage of a man screaming and jerking his head around in fast motion is seen.

--You launch a missile into a big tower, which blows up with a massive explosion, and the tower crumbles into pieces.

--An AI gets mad and a shockwave goes off, disabling a few pieces of equipment with sparks flying out.

--You take control of an aircraft, and fight against the enemy, firing bullets at them. A few alien aircraft fire back at you with lasers. A big orb fires lasers at you during combat.

--Pieces of a bridge fall off, crumbling apart as it falls into a pit below. 

--A man jumps and slides off a spaceship. He swings his knife out and plunges it into the side of the spaceship to hang on.


--An alien, who looks like he was electrocuted, falls over onto the floor, and smoke flows out of his head. A few more dead aliens are seen lying on the ground.

--A spaceship crashes into a space station, but the scene cuts to black before the collision. Afterwards, the spaceship is seen embedded in the space station, with a lot of flames. The passenger wakes up after the collision, and stands up, relatively unscathed.

--A few soldiers and scientists are gunned down by aliens. 

--You hear rumbling and your screen shakes. It is mentioned that a space ship was shot down. 

--A piece of wreckage hits the space station you are in, breaking the windows and slightly injuring your character. Afterwards, the whole space station shakes, as an alien removes a gigantic tower from the station, with wreckage flying out.

--A shockwave goes off, and a few people dissolve into ashes. A woman's skin is seen burning and becoming charred, then falling off and exposing the muscle, and then the muscle falls off and only her skeleton is seen, which also dissolves into ash. A man is also hit by the shockwave, but he passes out instead of dying. All of this happens quickly.

--You fly through a big space ship, using a much smaller space ship. If you crash, it explodes. A few turrets and enemies fire at you, damaging your space ship and smoke comes out of it. If it's destroyed.....yes, it explodes. You can also fire at the turrets and enemies; the former explodes. You can also shoot orbs, which explode. 

--A few anti-spacecraft bullets explode in the air, inside the big spaceship. You blow up a orbs connected to the spaceship, with big explosions being seen.

--A big spaceship fires a big laser beam at another big spaceship, with a big explosion being seen. It's big.

--A small spaceship flies through a big spaceship, avoiding parts of it's machinery, until ultimately it is squeezed between two walls with an explosion being heard, but not seen.

--An alien shoots a laser beam down into a planet, with a bright spot where the laser impacted the planet.

--A pedestal in front of you is vapourised, knocking your character backwards.

--A man is thrown across the floor by an alien. He tries to retrieve a fallen item, but the alien grabs him using his mind, and holds him in the air. After a while, he grips him tightly, and your character struggles against him. 


--You run up to an alien, jam a bomb in his chest, and then he tries to retaliate by gripping you. The bomb then explodes with a spray of fluids, and he falls into a pit below.

--A man crawls towards a device, falling on his stomach a few times, but he manages to get to it.

--A man smacks a device, and an explosion is heard. The scene fades away immediately afterwards.


--Somebody dies. It is sad.

(It is a really mild death scene, ok? And describing it would mean spoilers.

Sex/Nudity:


--A man is seen dressed only in shorts.

--There is a feminine AI looks like a woman with a very skin tight suit. You can easily mistake her as being naked at first.


--When a big tank rolls into view, an AI says: "Well, somebody's overcompensating for something..." 

Language:
 
Very Rare Uses of D**n, H**l, and B**ch.

Spiritual Content:

--A few aliens bow down before another alien.

--An alien mentions they were looking for transcendence. 

--There are some mentions of evolution, and a bit of panspermia. (The belief that humans were created by aliens. The game is more about humans being modified by aliens.)

--A few aliens are depicted modifying human DNA.

--The skull symbol is seen at times. 

--An alien uses telekinesis against your character at times. As for as I know, this is not a spiritual asset on his part, and more just an advanced ability. 


--The five-point star is seen, as a military symbol.

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking:  

Nothing.

Scary Stuff:

--A "sensor scan" may startle you at times. It looks like a transparent orange wall, and it screeches when it scans through the spaceship you are in.

--A few alien creatures screech and yell, which may be startling. 

Themes:

The game does deal with transhumanism and genetic engineering when it comes to the character of Master Chief.

Thoughts & Impressions:


Story: I'll be honest; the actual story itself, is rather forgettable. What stands out about it, however, is the relationship between Master Chief, and his AI companion, Cortana.

I haven't played any of the previous Halo games, but I could easily connect with both of them. The story is a typical save-the-universe-from-EVVVILLLLLLL, but the sub-plot of their semi-love story is what really matters. 

The game takes you to a lot of interesting environments, and never stays in the same place for too long. This is a very good choice on the part of the developers, as it does get boring to see the same environment over and over for six hours. (Average shooter length these days.)

The atmosphere is also well-crafted, even if I wish there was a bit more depth to it. Maybe if I read the novels and such it will add more depth, but the game should be able to stand on it's own.

The characters are compelling. Some people say that Master Chief's silent nature is a flaw, since he's underdeveloped and doesn't have much depth. Maybe. But I still find it easy to like him with his cool suit and monotone voice.

But if you disagree, that's okay. I can understand why.    

Audiovisual:


Right off the bat, Halo 4 looks amazing. Highly detailed environments, beautiful vistas, and great animations make this a real looker.

Definitely a great showcase for the Xbox 360.

....and with that, fanboy wars. But whatever, moving on: 

The voice actors are excellent. Steve Downes portrays Master Chief and Jen Taylor voice acts for Cortana. Both of them bring the characters to life and should be highly commended for it.

The music in this game, wasn't all that memorable. I know what I just said may be blasphemous as the Halo series is known for having an excellent soundtrack. And by the way, I have listened to some of the tracks of previous games, and they are amazing.

But in this game, not so much. Now, the soundtrack isn't bad, but it's just not memorable.


Halo 4 is a well-made game that will appeal to newcomers if they want this game to be their starting point in the blockbuster franchise. Recommended.

Verdict: 14+

Halo 4 is rated Some Caution for Moderate Sci-Fi Violence and Mild Suggestive Themes



Outro:

So that's it! I hope you liked the review and got some good insights, and that it helped you in your decision to purchase or not purchase this game.

Now it's on to finish COD Blops 2, Borderlands 2, and Resident Evil 6. Wish me luck-I mean, pray for me please? Thank you. :)

Until next time, Kyle out! :P


*Kyle drops microphone and walks away from stage....*

Now it's your turn to pick it up, bros! Uh, tuners! Friends, amigos, acquaintances, take your pick. AS I WAS SAYING, it is time for you to be in the spotlight. Tell me, what do you think of the game, and it's content?

Images courtesy of IGN.(orant)

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