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Old 11-07-2012, 03:43 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Si Alpha View Post
This is my biggest problem with an otherwise outstanding game. They have all these grand concepts and ideas, and all they do with them is force them down your throat and expect you to swallow them. The first half of the game was spot on, it built up perfectly and the Didact's awakening was nothing short of breathtaking. But then in the second half of the game, so many different things are thrown at the player, and so little of it is properly explained or explored in the depth necessary to make it truly compelling as a narrative. Nothing had the gravity that it deserved. Nor did it have the right kind of mystery.

Whether it was intentional or not, 343 have done nothing to capture the essence of what made the original Halo trilogy so engaging from a story point of view. Instead of presenting these ideas as being truly mysterious and having real weight with the characters, they simply happen, nobody seems to notice and the plot moves on to the next big thing. In the original Halo trilogy, the rings were treated with such delicacy that they became enigmatic, they carried weight with everyone involved. They were almost characters in themselves. Before their true purpose was discovered, there was a real sense of awe and intrigue, which later transformed into genuine fear. They weren't simply another plot device, they were designed and treated in a manner which would evoke a myriad of emotions within the player over the course of the trilogy.

Compare this to the Composer. And while you're at it, compare it to the Crucible from Mass Effect 3. Here we have this all powerful, ancient piece of technology which appears in the story almost out of nowhere. We are told that it is important in some fate-of-the-world related way. Doesn't it look shiny? Also, it begins with C. Any questions? No? Onto the next level then. How can we possibly be expected to care about these things, how can they emotionally resonate with us at all if they are so carelessly, clumsily and downright lazily slotted into the storyline like a new enemy type? And this is just one example out of many.

The Prometheans. So many mindblowing possibilities with their background and their role in the events of the game, but no sooner do they crop up than you're forced to shoot first and keep your questions to yourself. Yes, we've all seen them in the trailers pre-release, but that is no excuse to bundle them in as little more than eye candy and an enhancement to the Halo bad guy roster. And the whole ancient human thing is starting to become an annoying trend, not just in video games but in sci-fi stories from all kinds of media. Am I the only one who wants something a little more mystical and imaginative?

The Librarian. Perhaps the most intriguing part of the campaign. A lot of things are hinted at, but nothing is explicitly explained, which is a good way to start. But instead of clarity, we get the bad guy. Well, his voice. It's as if he realised that the plot was gaining some traction and credibility and stepped in to put a swift end to things. The crafty git. And so we gain the power of immunity to decomposition. Whoo! Except we don't know that. Why bother telling us? I mean the Chief clearly understood everything she was saying and he's meant to be the grounded, relatable central figure in all this so maybe we just missed a memo? Nevermind, I'm sure we'll see her again. Maybe then we'll seem more surprised and won't talk to her like she's any other meaningless character in this heinously underwritten plot.

A few other major gripes: the Didact's "death". First of all, it was crap, we all know that. He's a bit of a laughing stock to be fair. All he seems capable of doing with that big grisly jaw of his and that awesome but unimaginative armour is making Chief float. Woooow. It's even more impressive the second time around. Then Cortana's army of twins spawn for no apparent reason out of the middle of the light bridge and use... blueness to constrict him. Chief (now this is kinda petty...) uses a grenade which previously didn't stick to a damn thing and sticks it on the Didact's chest. It doesn't behave the way it normally does and simply detonates (weakly) sending Didact over the edge and into the pool of decomposition. So he's dead. But wait! Shock! No he isn't! And we find this out, not by the cliche hand-out-of-lava and nor by the return as a disfigured and battle-ready boss, but by a voiceover during the post-credits scene, where he actually gives us more relevant information than any other character has throughout the entirety of the game. It's all wrong, and it's all done at the wrong time. The final showdown with an antagonist should make his announcement seem like a distant memory. It shouldn't fall flat on its face and mimic the events of the announcement to a much lesser, less emotional degree.

This whole ending leaves us with even more problems. I'll start with the one I care about the least. During the last portion of the game, the Didact begins to utilise the Composer on some unknown part of Earth. No drama is made about it, no consequences are shown (not until the post-credits scene, which is far too late), we just have to assume that bad things are happening at the end of that beam of light. And it's another detail which 343 gloss over, because rapidly progressing the story seems far more important than stopping for a quick breather and giving the player a chance to give a damn about the events unfolding around them.

My biggest issue, however, is Cortana's death. Without quotations. Perhaps my reason for despising this part of the story so much is that I felt robbed more than anything. After everything that happened up to that point, the severe lack of care or clarity in every major event, the brief introductions and the glossed over details, the crap demise of Didact... her death just felt like another step on the constantly-moving journey to the credits. I felt robbed of the emotional resonance which I damn well should have felt knowing that my favourite character in the series had just bitten the artificial bullet. The whole affair was mute. If anything, it seemed avoidable. Chief certainly believed so. Maybe you'll read the next sentence and scream "rampancy!", but there just wasn't any build-up to this. One minute we're offing the bad guy, the next minute Cortana has to stay and die. Wait, what? I'm still reeling from this Gears 2 style failure of a final boss, and now you think my mind is in the right place to be told straight up that Cortana is done for? WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

You can agree or disagree (more than likely) with anything or everything that I've said (hell I don't even know if this can all fit on one post...), we're all entitled to our own opinions. And who knows, maybe I'm missing several crucial plot points. But it doesn't change the fact that this is a poorly handled story whose reach far exceeds its grasp, which, despite starting brightly, quickly devolves into a disorganised mess of unexplored ideas as it races to its endgame, taking a potentially astounding emotional payoff and transforming it into a careless nudge in the ribs. Don't get me wrong - I love Halo. All things Halo. I love Halo 4 in almost every single aspect and I think 343 have done an insanely good job of taking one of the most iconic and respected franchises in gaming and not totally screwing it up the way I suspect many thought they would. But if Halo has ever been about anything, its been about the story. And this just isn't good enough.

A lot of what you are complaining about was covered in my post above...
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:55 AM   #32
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A lot of what you are complaining about was covered in my post above...
Actually it wasn't. I'm not complaining about the complete storyline itself, I understand the ins and outs of it (although a few bits make absolutely no sense). I'm complaining about the way it was handled and presented and ultimately neglected. There is an enormous difference. Just because you understand a storyline doesn't mean it's well crafted.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:12 AM   #33
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Actually it wasn't. I'm not complaining about the complete storyline itself, I understand the ins and outs of it (although a few bits make absolutely no sense). I'm complaining about the way it was handled and presented and ultimately neglected. There is an enormous difference. Just because you understand a storyline doesn't mean it's well crafted.
I will agree that there isn't much information during the story but there is enough to piece it together. All of the Halo games have been like this. The majority of the explanation is in the cutscenes. Even more in the terminals.

What parts made no sense to you?
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:42 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by IXISHADOW View Post
I will agree that there isn't much information during the story but there is enough to piece it together. All of the Halo games have been like this. The majority of the explanation is in the cutscenes. Even more in the terminals.

What parts made no sense to you?
I agree, the other Halo games have always been deliberately vague, but the other Halo games did it in such a way that allowed the story to progress at a rate which felt natural and comfortable, it allowed the player time to breath and take in the things that were happening around them, without sacrificing gameplay. It was a brilliant balance.

343 just haven't hit that balance. Halo 4 is vague, but I don't think its deliberate, not for the most part. Things just seem to happen at random, and when they do they don't have the emotional impact that they should. Then as soon as they come up, you're off to the next big thing. Halo 4 bounces between big ideas far too quickly and haphazardly for players to fully appreciate them. Nothing is given time. The cutscenes have their moments, but for the most part they simply exist to propel the story onward, rather than shed any light on the things that players really want a reason to care about.

You're right, the game does provide you with the bare minimum to put the pieces together, I just don't think the pieces are presented properly. Coherence and engaging plot take a backseat to action and this feeling of constantly pushing forward, no matter what you might miss. The actual story, while generic at times, makes for quite interesting speculation and debate. I won't deny that. But its delivery is well off the mark, and nowhere near the standard of Bungie's Halo games. In Halo 1-3, you were always looking forward to the next revelation, the next big event, the next thing that would tie some of the tale together. In Halo 4, you bounce between these things having had barely any time to think through what you've just seen or heard. You're not given the chance or the reason to appreciate the deep narrative which 343 have attached to this title because they just don't let you, which is a shame because you can see they've put a lot of thought and affection into it once you fully comprehend the entire plot.

On a side note, the terminals are awesome, but the best bits of the story should really come during the actual story, not in the form of a collectible.

There are quite a few things which didn't make much sense but I think in most cases you just have to let fantasy overtake reality. One giant fail is when Chief sets off the bomb though. If he's gonna activate a bomb thats sitting literally right next to him, he needs to die. How on Earth he went from setting off a nuclear payload to being encased in some kind of nuclear-bomb-resistant forcefield with Cortana is just beyond me. Her timing and accuracy would have had to have been unrealistically perfect, but to be honest I lost all track of what the hell she was doing after her console was decomposed.
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:17 AM   #35
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halo 3 had a better story, the last half of 4's story was pure garbage. Why did lasky say i went to corbulo military academy when chief was the one who saved him there. And also why did lasky act like he barely knew chief thus contradicting forward unto down. And scan halseys brain and boom, another cortana.
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:36 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Si Alpha View Post
This is my biggest problem with an otherwise outstanding game. They have all these grand concepts and ideas, and all they do with them is force them down your throat and expect you to swallow them. The first half of the game was spot on, it built up perfectly and the Didact's awakening was nothing short of breathtaking. But then in the second half of the game, so many different things are thrown at the player, and so little of it is properly explained or explored in the depth necessary to make it truly compelling as a narrative. Nothing had the gravity that it deserved. Nor did it have the right kind of mystery.

Whether it was intentional or not, 343 have done nothing to capture the essence of what made the original Halo trilogy so engaging from a story point of view. Instead of presenting these ideas as being truly mysterious and having real weight with the characters, they simply happen, nobody seems to notice and the plot moves on to the next big thing. In the original Halo trilogy, the rings were treated with such delicacy that they became enigmatic, they carried weight with everyone involved. They were almost characters in themselves. Before their true purpose was discovered, there was a real sense of awe and intrigue, which later transformed into genuine fear. They weren't simply another plot device, they were designed and treated in a manner which would evoke a myriad of emotions within the player over the course of the trilogy.

Compare this to the Composer. And while you're at it, compare it to the Crucible from Mass Effect 3. Here we have this all powerful, ancient piece of technology which appears in the story almost out of nowhere. We are told that it is important in some fate-of-the-world related way. Doesn't it look shiny? Also, it begins with C. Any questions? No? Onto the next level then. How can we possibly be expected to care about these things, how can they emotionally resonate with us at all if they are so carelessly, clumsily and downright lazily slotted into the storyline like a new enemy type? And this is just one example out of many.

The Prometheans. So many mindblowing possibilities with their background and their role in the events of the game, but no sooner do they crop up than you're forced to shoot first and keep your questions to yourself. Yes, we've all seen them in the trailers pre-release, but that is no excuse to bundle them in as little more than eye candy and an enhancement to the Halo bad guy roster. And the whole ancient human thing is starting to become an annoying trend, not just in video games but in sci-fi stories from all kinds of media. Am I the only one who wants something a little more mystical and imaginative?

The Librarian. Perhaps the most intriguing part of the campaign. A lot of things are hinted at, but nothing is explicitly explained, which is a good way to start. But instead of clarity, we get the bad guy. Well, his voice. It's as if he realised that the plot was gaining some traction and credibility and stepped in to put a swift end to things. The crafty git. And so we gain the power of immunity to decomposition. Whoo! Except we don't know that. Why bother telling us? I mean the Chief clearly understood everything she was saying and he's meant to be the grounded, relatable central figure in all this so maybe we just missed a memo? Nevermind, I'm sure we'll see her again. Maybe then we'll seem more surprised and won't talk to her like she's any other meaningless character in this heinously underwritten plot.

A few other major gripes: the Didact's "death". First of all, it was crap, we all know that. He's a bit of a laughing stock to be fair. All he seems capable of doing with that big grisly jaw of his and that awesome but unimaginative armour is making Chief float. Woooow. It's even more impressive the second time around. Then Cortana's army of twins spawn for no apparent reason out of the middle of the light bridge and use... blueness to constrict him. Chief (now this is kinda petty...) uses a grenade which previously didn't stick to a damn thing and sticks it on the Didact's chest. It doesn't behave the way it normally does and simply detonates (weakly) sending Didact over the edge and into the pool of decomposition. So he's dead. But wait! Shock! No he isn't! And we find this out, not by the cliche hand-out-of-lava and nor by the return as a disfigured and battle-ready boss, but by a voiceover during the post-credits scene, where he actually gives us more relevant information than any other character has throughout the entirety of the game. It's all wrong, and it's all done at the wrong time. The final showdown with an antagonist should make his announcement seem like a distant memory. It shouldn't fall flat on its face and mimic the events of the announcement to a much lesser, less emotional degree.

This whole ending leaves us with even more problems. I'll start with the one I care about the least. During the last portion of the game, the Didact begins to utilise the Composer on some unknown part of Earth. No drama is made about it, no consequences are shown (not until the post-credits scene, which is far too late), we just have to assume that bad things are happening at the end of that beam of light. And it's another detail which 343 gloss over, because rapidly progressing the story seems far more important than stopping for a quick breather and giving the player a chance to give a damn about the events unfolding around them.

My biggest issue, however, is Cortana's death. Without quotations. Perhaps my reason for despising this part of the story so much is that I felt robbed more than anything. After everything that happened up to that point, the severe lack of care or clarity in every major event, the brief introductions and the glossed over details, the crap demise of Didact... her death just felt like another step on the constantly-moving journey to the credits. I felt robbed of the emotional resonance which I damn well should have felt knowing that my favourite character in the series had just bitten the artificial bullet. The whole affair was mute. If anything, it seemed avoidable. Chief certainly believed so. Maybe you'll read the next sentence and scream "rampancy!", but there just wasn't any build-up to this. One minute we're offing the bad guy, the next minute Cortana has to stay and die. Wait, what? I'm still reeling from this Gears 2 style failure of a final boss, and now you think my mind is in the right place to be told straight up that Cortana is done for? WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

You can agree or disagree (more than likely) with anything or everything that I've said (hell I don't even know if this can all fit on one post...), we're all entitled to our own opinions. And who knows, maybe I'm missing several crucial plot points. But it doesn't change the fact that this is a poorly handled story whose reach far exceeds its grasp, which, despite starting brightly, quickly devolves into a disorganised mess of unexplored ideas as it races to its endgame, taking a potentially astounding emotional payoff and transforming it into a careless nudge in the ribs. Don't get me wrong - I love Halo. All things Halo. I love Halo 4 in almost every single aspect and I think 343 have done an insanely good job of taking one of the most iconic and respected franchises in gaming and not totally screwing it up the way I suspect many thought they would. But if Halo has ever been about anything, its been about the story. And this just isn't good enough.
I was gonna say the storyline and ending are shit but the above is a better, more respectfully polite way of saying that.

8 missions I knew that was too short when I read the achievements. Loved all the graphics and scenery but I honestly do not care for this game or this other life form I still don't know exactly if its a forerunner and old human being a conveneant leader da fuq I know but there just lacks so much explanation. 343 can't be arsed to care about explaining what they're showing us I can't be arsed care about their next releases. Should've stuck with Halo Wars.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:49 PM   #37
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Reminded me of the Star Trek movie remake crossed with TRON a lot of the time. I liked it though.
This is exactly what I felt while playing. But it's not a bad thing. The TRON feel is just inherently cool. Besides the colour scheme used throughout, the Forerunner weapon reload animations were very similar in concept to the gravity/floating parts from the Tron 2.0 Killer App original xbox game, which was fucking awesome for that old clunker console. Loved that game and it was a real treat to see how 343 did their thing with it here.

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A few other major gripes: the Didact's "death".
*SNIP*
But if Halo has ever been about anything, its been about the story. And this just isn't good enough.
First off, the game was fun as fuck to play, loved it. But but but.....

The writing was very ham-fisted and melodramatic. Cortana's descent into madness was truly the only engaging dialogue in the whole game.

I have a beef with the ending "fight" itself too among other things and agree with Si Alpha on much of his observations.

Boss fights can be archaic, or absolutely awesome and epic. This was sadly neither. It was something worse. It was absent, not engaging and anticlimactic.

I must admit, getting control of MC as you're dangling by a hand off that bridge took me by surprise and was pretty awesome.

But a crawling, quicktime event and a grenade plant? Seriously?!?! That was simply not a fun way to end the game. That it came after that crazy jet flight to deliver the bomb was incredibly anticlimactic.

During this whole scene and how it played out, I kept seeing MW2's ending in my mind. Supplant the map and character skins, and make the grenade a knife. Voila.

The story built up some serious steam in the first half, but later levels the glossing over caused that foundation to falter. It was kinda sad actually.
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:45 PM   #38
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I'm glad I'm not the only one. Thank you guys for putting into words, what the majority of my thoughts were. Things just seemed too random and too fast moving. "Forced down our throats" is the perfect analogy.

ALSO, YES! Cortana. How could I miss that little detail. Before I get started on that... I LOVE Halo more than any other franchise out there. On the other hand, I appreciate other games of similar genres. In example, Gears of War 3: I'm not starting a "who's story is better" thing, but let me tell you. [SPOILER ALERT] When Dominic dies, I freaking cared! I was hurt a little, and Marcus' reaction AMPLIFIED that. It was a really sad moment. [/SPOILERS] Now, how could I not feel the same for Cortana? She's been attached to our beloved character for years. Maybe it was the story telling, or rather, maybe it was the confusion. IF she is dead, for some reason I think NOT (money), I really don't think she is which is why that experience was so lack-luster. It should of been a real tear jerker. OK, Chief has issues as explained in the beginning that Spartans struggle with normal human emotion, fine. But this is a STORY, and the readers (or players) should feel something. On a side note, maybe this has something to do with being at the very end of a story. I have no Phd in proper story telling, but I know what I like.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:36 PM   #39
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I'm glad I'm not the only one. Thank you guys for putting into words, what the majority of my thoughts were. Things just seemed too random and too fast moving. "Forced down our throats" is the perfect analogy.

ALSO, YES! Cortana. How could I miss that little detail. Before I get started on that... I LOVE Halo more than any other franchise out there. On the other hand, I appreciate other games of similar genres. In example, Gears of War 3: I'm not starting a "who's story is better" thing, but let me tell you. [SPOILER ALERT] When Dominic dies, I freaking cared! I was hurt a little, and Marcus' reaction AMPLIFIED that. It was a really sad moment. [/SPOILERS] Now, how could I not feel the same for Cortana? She's been attached to our beloved character for years. Maybe it was the story telling, or rather, maybe it was the confusion. IF she is dead, for some reason I think NOT (money), I really don't think she is which is why that experience was so lack-luster. It should of been a real tear jerker. OK, Chief has issues as explained in the beginning that Spartans struggle with normal human emotion, fine. But this is a STORY, and the readers (or players) should feel something. On a side note, maybe this has something to do with being at the very end of a story. I have no Phd in proper story telling, but I know what I like.
Good points there, but I'd have to personally disagree with you on Dom's death. Gears was never really a series you could get emotionally invested in, and Dom's death felt like an inevitability rather than a shocking twist. And in complete contrast to Halo 4, it felt like the developer was really doing too much, almost trying to bribe emotion out of the players. The music, the dialogue, the hour or so of slow motion explosions... to me it seemed like a Michael Bay way of killing off a major character. In comparison, I'd say (SPOILER ALERT) Tali's suicide in Mass Effect 3 (/SPOILERS) is one of the most unexpected, heart-wrenching and well conceived character deaths I've ever seen.

As for Cortana, I'm wondering if anybody here actually knows what the hell happened to her? It all gets a bit convoluted with her towards the end, as if 343 decided from the outset that she had to die and couldn't come up with a logical way of doing it, hence the vagueness. This lack of clarity makes it harder to determine what her future is in the series, if any. If she really is dead, I'm guessing she'll be a major topic in Halo 5 and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if 5 culminates in Chief finding a way to bring her back. That could be a truly standout moment in the franchise if done properly, if 343 handle it with more care and give it more time to build up than they did with her death in 4.

Whatever happens, we haven't seen the last of Cortana. She was too important to the franchise and too crucial to the core gameplay and narrative to just be dropped like an acceptable loss.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:43 PM   #40
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:46 AM   #41
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Yeah I just wanted to shoot the Didact a little, maybe have a battle where Cortana blocks his force choke for a bit and you rail him with all the ammo you have- then cut to the grenade in the chest part. Also an escape would have been cool, can't remember if Chief's space craft got destroyed when he infiltrated in the last level, but some sort of space escape while the ship explodes would have been cool.
Also did anyone else want the Didact to look like handsome squidward/prometheus engineer?
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:29 AM   #42
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i'd still like to know why the elites ar enow back with the covenant, and they are evil again...what happened to the Arbiter, why the hell did they just join with Didact in a second flat, why the hell did we all know his name was Didact before he ever mentioned it, why was Chief not the least bit curious as to why there are hundreds of new Spartans, why the hell did he at no point say "what the hell is a mantis" before he just instantly new how to operate it...so many whys
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:56 AM   #43
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i'd still like to know why the elites ar enow back with the covenant, and they are evil again...what happened to the Arbiter, why the hell did they just join with Didact in a second flat, why the hell did we all know his name was Didact before he ever mentioned it, why was Chief not the least bit curious as to why there are hundreds of new Spartans, why the hell did he at no point say "what the hell is a mantis" before he just instantly new how to operate it...so many whys
As you may know the Covenant are religious and they worship the Forerunners. Master Chief and the whole of mankind is the biggest threat against the Forerunners so the Covenant are defending their beliefs and helping them survive by breaking the truce with the humans.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:58 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by IXISHADOW View Post
As you may know the Covenant are religious and they worship the Forerunners. Master Chief and the whole of mankind is the biggest threat against the Forerunners so the Covenant are defending their beliefs and helping them survive by breaking the truce with the humans.
but the elites realised that the prophets were liars and now for no reason explained to us are back to being mindless religious zealots.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:52 AM   #45
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but the elites realised that the prophets were liars and now for no reason explained to us are back to being mindless religious zealots.
You are correct there but remember that the current Arbiter Thel 'Vadam wanted a truce between the Covenant and the humans. A lot of Sanghellis did not like this and rebelled.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:15 PM   #46
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I'd say (SPOILER ALERT) Tali's suicide in Mass Effect 3 (/SPOILERS) is one of the most unexpected, heart-wrenching and well conceived character deaths I've ever seen.
Great job putting a spoiler alert two words away from the spoiler itself.

No really. Fantastic job spoiling that for me on a Halo 4 board.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:36 PM   #47
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Great job putting a spoiler alert two words away from the spoiler itself.

No really. Fantastic job spoiling that for me on a Halo 4 board.
What do you want, a second post? If you really cared about it that much, you'd have known it by now. You clearly have nothing to contribute anyway so why are you even here?
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:56 PM   #48
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The dreadful wait that is going to be the release of Halo 5 on the Nextbox... I need to stay alive long enough to find out what happened to Cortana.
This can't be the end of her. So sad. What a sad and powerful ending. After that last cinematic, I didn't ever care about the plot holes or (apparent) inconsistencies. It all happened so fast. No closure or anything, only a sense of loss. So sad, indeed.

I instantly thought of this song : "Twin Atlantic - Wonder Sleeps Here"



"Can we go home tonight ? I'll take you there.."


Erhm. Well, that was emotional. /sigh
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:01 PM   #49
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Anyone else expect Andross to pop up on the comm chat during the flying section in chapter 8?
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:23 PM   #50
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Great job putting a spoiler alert two words away from the spoiler itself.

No really. Fantastic job spoiling that for me on a Halo 4 board.
Don't worry, it all depends on your choices throughout the series. My Tali is alive and well, and doin the doin it with Garrus, at least until I beat the game again.

One of the few points in the game where your choices/actions/inactions actually matter. Too bad none of it makes a difference to the ending.

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i'd still like to know why the elites ar enow back with the covenant, and they are evil again...what happened to the Arbiter, why the hell did they just join with Didact in a second flat, why the hell did we all know his name was Didact before he ever mentioned it, why was Chief not the least bit curious as to why there are hundreds of new Spartans, why the hell did he at no point say "what the hell is a mantis" before he just instantly new how to operate it...so many whys
Here are few answers:

For the Elites/Covenant: Non All of the Sangheili are evil bad guys. Jul Mdama is in command of this particular Faction - The Storm - faction of fanatical "Covenant". I put Covenant in quotes because its not really the Covenant anymore. Jul inparticular has a humongous hatred towards humanity, and has persuaded an Isolated Sangheili/Covenant Colony to join forces with him(Mostly because the leaders of this Isolated colony believe him to be some sort of Messiah.) They all joined with the Didact because they think He's a god. And the Didact is taking advantage of them because of this.

The Arbiter: Last we heard of the Arbiter was four years before Halo 4 takes place. The Arbiter had just one a minor victory over the Sangheili Rebels trying to overthrow him. This Sangheili civil war is a result of the Arbiters Alliance with Humanity.

As to why the Chief didn't ask any questions about the Mantis, or Spartan IV's - There were more pressing matters than sitting around asking about these things. He didn't have time, there will be time for questions later. And he knew how to instantly operate the Mantis because He's the Master Chief. He can do anything, as cliche as that is.

BUT, I also don't know how Cortana instantly knew he was the "that Didact".

"That Didact" Cortana says. Did I miss the part where the Didact introduced himself as the Didact? Or did she discern that from the Forerunner writing/symbols?

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Whatever happens, we haven't seen the last of Cortana. She was too important to the franchise and too crucial to the core gameplay and narrative to just be dropped like an acceptable loss.
This I agree with. The Didact called her an "Evolved Ancilla"(An Ancilla is basically an AI to Forerunners), so even though she was in the Didacts ship when It was destroyed there is no way she is actually dead.

Also, I was a little bit confused as to how she Saved the Chief at the end. Was it is some sort of Hardlight Nuke-proof Bubble? Did she teleport him out of the ship with the 'transit' system? If she did either one of these things for the Chief, then she also could have done them for herself.

However, Even if she Didn't physically save herself Cortana was in the Didact's ship, and the Didacts ship almost certainly had access to the Domain. The Domain is a huge Forerunner Database not unlike our current interwebs, therefore any information stored in the Domain cannot be physically destroyed, unless the Forerunners had some equivalent to servers(which I highly doubt), and they wouldn't have been housed on the Didacts ship anyway. I'll bet anyone anything that Cortana is in the Domain, or whatever is left of the Domain after 100,000 years.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:58 PM   #51
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Anyone else expect Andross to pop up on the comm chat during the flying section in chapter 8?
Lol right? A Dead Space level to a Star Fox sequence. Both amazing however.

Im actually kinda a little dissappointed with the story, it moved like the final part of a trilogy would, not the opening. The Didact was powerfull sure, but wasnt ever really a confrontational threat. Look how easily he got beat (Even though some sacrifice was required). What will Halo's 5 and 6 even be on?

I was guessing this first one was the start of Cortana's rampancy, and the Didact's revival with some Jul' Mdama splashed in there. Halo 5 was to be escalation on Cortana's condiditon, the Didact's master plan revealed, and maybe the conclusion to the Jul conflict. And Halo 6 was to be the final battle between Humanity and the didact while also resolving Cortana's condition. Jul didnt make a single appearence outsdie the first terminal however so Im lost as to what the reamining trilogy will cover.
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:09 PM   #52
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All i will say is this is a trilogy..... There is more to come! But the build up for the story was epic and its turned out pretty weird nothing explained and i kill the uber badman with a grenade.. ok
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:51 PM   #53
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Cortana will be back. I can't see her not being back. Who does Chief talk to if she isn't?

Now, whether it will be the Cortana that was left behind, who knows.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:37 PM   #54
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Great job putting a spoiler alert two words away from the spoiler itself.

No really. Fantastic job spoiling that for me on a Halo 4 board.
Dude, relax. Mass Effect 3 isn't a linear game. That's only one possible outcome for her. She didn't commit suicide in my playthrough. The Quarian piece and her ended very differently.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:39 PM   #55
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To those wondering about the backstory, a lot of this was set up in the terminals in Halo 3, and more importantly, the "Forerunner Trilogy" of books by Greg Bear (two of which are released, the third in January 2013). They give backstory on the Didact, the Forerunners prior war with the humans (which also gives OUR backstory) and frankly the story of the entire galaxy 150,000 years ago. They are a bit rough at points, but still worth reading for some interesting insights. They certainly help with some of the key plot points in Halo 4.

I realize that many will complain that a video game should be able to tells its own story without relying on extra contact, and I think Halo 4 still did that, but I do think the books help inform the story. That being said, the next two games may paint a more complete picture. This was just "Part I" of the new trilogy of Halo games.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:28 AM   #56
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A lot of this stuff is also covered in the Waypoint videos you get through Terminals, which kinda sucks. I think they should've gone for something just a bit smaller in terms of scale to make it a bit clearer. But I agree on the Mystery part of things, as most of the 'ooh, what's that mean?' stuff here is either answered or just dropped before you can soak it in.

I'm not saying it's a bad story, but the way it's told is a bit forced. How long is the opening cutscene in this game? While it was firing up, I wanted it to end just so I could start playing already. The ending was good though, but I'm still wondering what that ending meant, if anything at all. Does the Master Chief never take his armor off or something? Did he get Space Depression? Did he quit? I feel if I beat it on Legendary I'd probably guess that one of his eyes is a different color to signify his 'evolution beginning.'

Overall, not a bad Campaign. The ending fell flat for me. I thought it started off great, but then it just sorta devolved into Halo 1 but with a more annoying enemy than the flood if you ask me. They're tougher and have about the same numbers. I'd probably say 3 > ODST > 1 > 4 > 2 > Reach, for me. 2 didn't have an ending, and the writing in Reach was so cliched it hurt. There was some cliched/stereotypical stuff here as well, but it wasn't as overwrought as Reach was.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:02 AM   #57
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A lot of this stuff is also covered in the Waypoint videos you get through Terminals, which kinda sucks. I think they should've gone for something just a bit smaller in terms of scale to make it a bit clearer. But I agree on the Mystery part of things, as most of the 'ooh, what's that mean?' stuff here is either answered or just dropped before you can soak it in.

I'm not saying it's a bad story, but the way it's told is a bit forced. How long is the opening cutscene in this game? While it was firing up, I wanted it to end just so I could start playing already. The ending was good though, but I'm still wondering what that ending meant, if anything at all. Does the Master Chief never take his armor off or something? Did he get Space Depression? Did he quit? I feel if I beat it on Legendary I'd probably guess that one of his eyes is a different color to signify his 'evolution beginning.'

Overall, not a bad Campaign. The ending fell flat for me. I thought it started off great, but then it just sorta devolved into Halo 1 but with a more annoying enemy than the flood if you ask me. They're tougher and have about the same numbers. I'd probably say 3 > ODST > 1 > 4 > 2 > Reach, for me. 2 didn't have an ending, and the writing in Reach was so cliched it hurt. There was some cliched/stereotypical stuff here as well, but it wasn't as overwrought as Reach was.
Cortana told him to live and be a human, so him taking his armor off is him shedding the past.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:23 PM   #58
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The death of Cortana has really pissed me off. but i still think she is alive. perhaps didact recovered her remains and used forerunner tech to bring her back, then hold her hostage for the chief to come back for her lol. i just hope she comes back.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:55 PM   #59
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Like other people have mentioned, the game's plot moved way too fast. It was fine until you meet the Didact, then everything just went as fast as possible. Not once did I ever feel a sense of urgency from any of the situations. I also like how nobody gave a shit that there was a living Prothean, oops sorry I mean Forerunner. When Master Chief was talking to the doctor on the station and said "He wants it back" she just looks dumbfounded. I expected her to say "Back? Is that a Forerunner ship?" or something. Not "But it's MAH ARTIFACT!!!"

It seems like they just wanted to rush it. To hurry up and kill Cortana so they could work on the other two games.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:39 PM   #60
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Did you skip all of the cutscenes or just ignore all of them...

The Prometheans are Forerunners who have gone under mutation and basically turned into AI Warriors. . . . The Prometheans as earlier stated are humans who were combined with AI.
Did You skip all the cutscenes or just ignore them? Prometheans are Ancient Humans who were Composed into Artificial intelligence(s) by the Composer. Then through the Composer were created into the Prometheans we now know because the Composers Recreation Process never worked correctly.

The composer was originally intended to Store all life in the machine, and then return it to physical form once the Flood was gone. The returning to physical form part never worked correctly, so the Didact Used this to his personal gain by creating army - The Prometheans - from composed ancient Humans.
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. . .John would need an immunity to the composer to defeat Didact. The Librarian then planted genes inside John to do this but they had to be unlocked. She then had to accelerate Johns evolutionary journey to do this.
Correct. However, Johns Immunity to the Composer wasn't the result of the Llibrarian snapping her fingers. Johns Immunity was the result of, like you said, 1,000 lifetimes of planning.

Also, something to take note of from the Librarians "Accelerated Evolution". . . Pay attention to the ending cinematic. Notice how John is 2 or 3 feet taller than Palmer? When they Palmer and John first met she said "I thought you'd be taller".
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The UNSC were on Installation 3 because there was a research program based there which orbited the ring.. They found a relic which turned out to be the composer which was held at the facility you go to in the game.
The UNSC was present at Installation 03 because that was the Infinity's Specific Mission in Recent months before Halo 4. Finding the Remaining Halo Rings and Decommissioning them so they can't be used to destroy all life in the Galaxy.
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