Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Halo 4 Spartan Ops Episode 6 & 7 review

Reviews will be gameplay based so as to not spoil the story
Spartan Ops was advertised as a campaign continuation. Fight your way through campaign settings, accomplish goals to further humanitys control of Requiem, take on the Covenant still on the planets surface, and remove the Promethean threat once and for all.

While the first half of season 1 (episodes 1-5) delivered these expectations, they did it somewhat lucklusterly. The areas were repetitive, the enemies the same, the difficulty rather boring. There was no real thrill. Watching the episodes was definitely the highlight and it started getting very interesting a few episodes in. Overall it was mainly a fun way to hang with friends for a couple hours. Except for the lag. Oh God the lag! I would say I'd kill for less lag, but I can't get a kill at all with the lag in the first place.

Episode 6 finds us captured by Elites after coming through the portal at the end of episode 5. Freeing ourselves is easy, but behind enemy lines we had to fight our way out, turning the Covenants own weapons on them. Navigating through a variety of new settings, your mission is to escape the clutches of the diabloical Covenant. This isn't all to complicated, but the ease is another matter, as the Covies will call in their new Promethean allies to kick your ass. Eventually you manage to get through and escape using one of the Covenants dropships.

Episode 7 puts us into a more close-to-home setting. Convenant and Prometheans have infiltrated the Infinity, planting explosives and staging massive incursions throughout the ship. You'll travel between the hangers to the engine room, killing everything in sight and diffusing the nukes Elites have set. If you play on Legendary, give up on surviving. The amount of enemies in such a tight space will leave you with no chance to live the whole way through. We did encounter one glitch at the end of mission 5 that left us unable to complete it, but hopefully when we try again it will allow us to push through.

So far in the second half of the season, while the lag hasn't improved (seriously, what is with Halo and their co-op code? The lag has been bad since Halo 2!), the episodes have gotten a lot better. The story line, which at first was really enjoyable, has become the highlight of my weekly Halo experience. Forget multiplayer. Hell, forget even Grifball. Just let me see what happens next! The cinematics are beautifully done and the story is dramatic, action packed, and mysterious all in one sitting. The episodes are about 5 minutes long, and yet they feel like a 30 minute television show.

The gameplay has improved too. The missions (while still kill and push buttons) have been reworked to involve all new settings and a variety of enemies and missions. Covenant enemies hurt far more than they used to, with Jackals utlizing carbines that will rip you apart, to Elites firing fuel rod guns like they were heat seeking missiles. Promethean Knights feel like they've also been given a huge upgrade.




This addition to the Halo series started out slow, but with a couple months of waiting, the changes have paid off immensely. I really did end up eating my words.


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