I really wanted to like Halo 4. I really did. Not just because it was a Christmas present but also because the storyline looked so promising. Sadly, it’s the worst Halo game since Bungie decided not to bother putting an ending on Halo 2.

343 didn’t just drop the ball on this one, they burst it then tried to pretend they never had it. The storyline is, for the most part, average Halo fare. There’s a germ of a nice idea in the forerunners and Cortana’s age-related degeneration but on both counts they fucked it up – Cortana especially (and if you’ve seen her deus ex machina in mission 8, you’ll know what I’m talking about). There’s one cutscene in the middle of the game that is so badly-written I didn’t actually understand what I was being told – I had to check online to find out what I was supposed to have just learned. It really is quite awful.

I joked earlier about the enemies in this but the truth is that when the Covenant aren’t on screen, the Prometheans are simply a Beggar Horde*. You get swamped by one-hit monsters and the game quickly shifts from a decent first-person shooter to an utter chore.

Moreover, the Promethean Knights are just Elites with machine guns and power swords plus the ability to generate a Medic robot that resurrects the dead. Oh, and they can teleport. When two or more of these fuckers are on screen at once you can literally see the fun being sucked out of the game.

The final level of any Halo game is, by tradition, an enormous set piece. I look forward to these levels because they are usually great fun. The final level in Halo 4 is a continuous onslaught of Prometheans. While you’re battling these guys you also have to do the same ridiculous task three times.

By the time you’ve managed to drag yourself to this point, you’ll know 343 likes using “do task X three times” as a mission setup. This abject laziness is one of the primary reasons why there is not a single memorable level in this game.

If you’re into Halo, none of this will stop you buying the game. My advice to you is to wait until it drops in price however, as it’s not worth the full asking price. For everyone else, get Halo: Reach or Halo 3: ODST. They are far superior in every way.

* For those who are unfamiliar with the term “Beggar Horde”, it is an RPG term fromĀ Knights of the Dinner Table and refers to a swarm of low-hit-point monsters that overwhelm a player/player group through sheer numbers rather than skill, tactics or planning.