I have to say after playing this game for a week now I am actually quite disappointed by it.....shock horror as I am a Halo man through and through.
I found the campaign to be very dull indeed, the human characters Lasky and Del Rio to be very unlikeable (obviously in Del Rio's case) and 2D. The action itself in the campaign was (on heroic setting) hit and miss - highlights being the 1st level and assisting the Infinity get off the planet. Low points were the generic, seen it all before, Forerunner sections - or example the gondola section in the towers....seen it all before in Halo 2, ad nauseum.
The ending was an anti-climax, ok it may be leading onto something else, but it was still a "oh was that it?" moment
Spartan Ops is something that is enjoyable for about half an hour at a time, with the majority of the missions requiring you to "activate" something or kill endless waves of perhaps the dullest collection of enemies seen in an FPS - Prometheans ( will get onto them in a moment) the CGI intro's are nice enough - but the Spartans featured in the cut scense are so horribly cliched it actually made me cringe when I was playing through with a mate....awful characters and some very hammy acting - think big strong black dude, a ladies man, generic strong woman type and a whole host of other "characters"
Ok, we get a free season of it - but it really needs to up its game. Am on Season 2 and founf myseld almost bored to tears going through Ep2 Chapter 2 - Before I load up a mission I know it will be a case of going to point A, find out what happened to science team, get ambushed, fight off enemies and then get into a pelican - that makes up about 60% of Spartan Ops.
It definitely needs to get more involved with the characters - of which you feel you have little bond with, even less than with Noble Team in Halo Reach.
Prometheans - honestly, they are awful. The Knights/Battlewagons/Commanders are at times very hard to tell apart and you have to sometimes wait to be fired upon to realise which type is attacking you (noti deal when they have an Incinerator) the design of them is also really poor, didn't like their art style at all.
The four legged dog things are just irritating and remind me of the "buggers" from Halo 2 and 3, not much fun back then and not fun now, with the Watchers being the ultimate annoyance. I understand Watchers are a support role, but only once in a blue moon do i see them catch a grenade, heal a bad guy or provide a shield - more often that not they hang directly above your head and wait to be killed.
Really poor design in my opinion.
Regarding the covenant - can't help but feel they were shoe horned into this game. There is actually almost no need for them to appear. Combined with the confusing friendly / non friendly escapades of the Elites in Halo 3, it does make you feel like they shouldn't really have been included. The art work as well for the Covie's reminds me of GoW, the Elites look like grubs ! all brown, mottled and lurched over, looking nothing like how we have been accustomed too.
The AI in the game ranges from ok to awful. I have sat in a warthog, about 20 metres from an enemy and my AI gunner doesn't open fire, even when he is operating a gauss cannon. He will stand there, staring into space, only opening fire until I get within breathing distance - of which is not useful as my Hog has been stuck by dozens of grenades in the meantime. I have also seen Covies (in the mission with the mammoth) trying to run up a hill side ramp, miss and then continually run into the cliff face.....will get a clip of that uploaded. The AI also makes the mighty Knights seem very stupid indeed.
You can sit back, use the light rifle, binary rifle and just plug away at them, all the while they move two spaces left, then two spaces right, then explode in a shower of electric confetti - as I can imagine Graham Norton doing when he has been head-shotted.
The new UNSC vehicle - Mantis, feels out of place and shouldn't really have been included. It just doesn't fit in to the UNSC "feel" and looks a bit daft, plus you would think for something so vulnerable would have a bit more of a punch??? Considering 343 have a wealth of vehicles available to it in the Halo universe, which have still to make an FPS debut, you would think they would of opted to include a few of these - Cobra, Grizzly, Sparrowhawk etc instead ?
After a week of playing MP it almost feels like a chore jumping back in matchmaking, sorry I meant War Games and levelling up my Spartan AGAIN (doesnt get dull after the 4th time) all the while wincing at the truly awful sound of the guns and grenades. Surely, after all this time we could perhaps carry our stats over from one game to another - am hoping 343 make a point of that - as I don't want to be levelling up another Spartan when Halo 5 is released (think Shep character carry over in ME)
The music in the game is really unispired and feels like it was made after the in game content was decided, instead of Marty O Donnell's hands on approach of writing the score as the game progressed. 343 - it would be worth hiring Mr O'Donnel to do Halo 5's score, as this is perhaps the first Halo soundtrack I wouldn't bother purchasing. Gone are the lashings of rich monk inspired tracks with an air of mystery - now you have, well I don't know, none of the music is in my head after a week of playing - compare that to picking up Halo CE, 2 or 3 - I was going to work humming some of the tracks....with Halo 4 I don't actually remember any of the music...very disappointing.
If I was to rate the game, it would be a 6.5 It is solid, it is enjoyable in places, but the "been there before" factor and the gripes about Spartan Ops, levelling up another Spartan, music with no impact, guns that sound poor, dodgy AI, bizarre inclusion of the Covies, awful Promethean desgin and a really lacklustre campaign bring it down.
Sad times, first Halo game I can remember where I am not fussed about picking it up again