Thursday, 12 September 2013

Halo 4

I like art.

I also like oxygen and the smell of my own farts.

Halo 4 at times feels like walking through an art gallery – albeit one full of hideous alien creatures firing plasma rifles at you.  Games like this can sometimes become a sensory overload of stunning visuals and fast paced gameplay thrown at you too quickly for either to be fully enjoyable.  Take note Assassin’s Creed 3; expecting me to read instructions at the same time as fighting ten enemies in your beautifully rendered environments to a time limit just makes my head hurt.  Thankfully Halo 4 paces itself to give you time to enjoy the spectacle.

Halo 4 is perhaps not as good as previous Halo games, with the exception of Halo ODST which I disliked for reasons I don’t actually remember but possibly because its title sounds like a newly discovered sexually transmitted disease.  A large part of the reason Halo 4 perhaps compares unfavourably to its predecessors is because the new enemy, the Prometheans (yesfuckingreally), just aren’t as much fun to slaughter as the Covenant.  It doesn’t help that they’re all robots that don’t say anything.  I know that listening to those little Covenant twats squealing “Enemy!” was kind of annoying but you know what, at least it gave them character.  Remember how shityourpants scary an SS guard booming at you in Wolfenstein 3D was?  Or the roar of those pink centaur ‘Baron’ fuckers in Doom?

The key success of the Halo series has been founded on slick, fast paced action.  It nails the shooting genre better than anything since the original Doom games and doesn’t try to be anything more.  Halo 4 is comfortable in its own skin while other games have tried to be clever and ape Deus Ex when they have neither the writing talent nor the gameplay mechanics to support such ambition.  For another example of this idea read something I’ve written and then read Milan Kundera.

Halo 4 also has something Doom didn’t have, namely a story, although to someone like me who reads books at about the same speed as it takes a well established television corporation to out known paedophiles, it is fairly baffling.

As far as I could make out the sexy lady Sat Nav in your head is suffering from some sort of AI deterioration called “rampancy” – a fact that she seemed at pains to remind me every 10 minutes.

And in this respect I’ve got to applaud Halo 4 because as far as sexual fantasies go having a symbiotic relationship with an AI who sounds like she could overpower and rape my brain at any second is one that I have neither contemplated nor indulged in.   Yet after the fortieth time of hearing the words “Chief you need to hurry, my rampancy is increasing” I found myself sporting the same type of lustful smirk usually only seen by the most unfortunate girls in my local area.

This Halo round there’s a villain, though you only see him twice before he dies in a horrific quick time event.  SPOILER ALERT!  Oh damn, sorry.  Just as well that telling you the fate of the bad guy at the end of Halo 4 is a bit like telling you what happens to Spot at the end of Spot The Dog i.e.:


The only thing I do remember about the final cut-scene of this game was that it was self-congratulatory, smug and made me feel uncomfortably like I had just walked in on my best friends shagging and made eye contact with them seconds after they’d came.

Oh and we also find out that the character you’ve been playing all this time is called John. 

John Spartan. 

As in the guy out of Demolition Man.

It is most definitely not to the credit of today’s video game writers that I was left pondering if this was a deliberate random name-check apropos of nothing or a genuine case of nobody on the development team having ever watched Demolition Man before.

And I’ve got no problem with the name John being used for mere mortals but why not call this superhero kickass guy something a little more exciting?  Kimbo* for example.

Anyway Halo 4 is pretty good and the bit where you get to hop off and on of an enormous moving Landrover base was so exciting I kept on forgetting to go to the toilet.

Lucky I like the smell of my own farts really.  

*  this is almost certainly what I am calling my son/daughter when I adopt/steal a child as a single parent in the future.  Just a heads up Mum.  Kimbo Cook.  Write it in your diary so you don’t pull a face in 20 years time. 

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