*Full Campaign Spoilers* If you haven’t played the campaign, stop reading, go do that, then come back.
This game blew my mind. Seriously. I got it at the midnight launch, burned home and started the campaign on normal. I am a story guy, and for me the game play comes a distant second. I just needed to know. If I had tried to go Legendary off the bat, I would have just gotten impatient and frustrated. So normal it was.
The opening scene was absolutely jaw dropping. While the canon heads will point out various flaws, I’m willing to look past all that stuff for something this epic. Halsey was stellar in this, and I look forward to seeing her more. I felt they captured the regretful arrogance she embodies very nicely. “Do not underestimate him.” That line sent shivers down my spine. I thought to myself, if the game is going to start out like this, the rest of it is going to kick ass!! I was right.
Dawn was a perfect way to start out, mirroring the beginning of CE like it did. There are lots of small things to find and look at, which I thought was a neat addition. Someone called them “Psuedo-Terminals” which I thought was a good description. Speaking of terminals, I scoured this level twice, only to find out that there isn’t one.
I have heard a lot of things good about the campaign, and a lot of bad. One criticism I have heard lots of complaints about the amount of button pushing present in the game. Honestly that never bothered me in the slightest. Most of the reasons for pushing the buttons seem story driven, or at least mission driven, and I never felt like I was doing something for no reason.
There are two things that felt off about the game however. By off I mean the game as a whole was 100%, these were 95%. When John meets the Librarian for the first time, I thought “That is the Librarian? Huh.” Not really how I pictured her. Then she does her space magic on John. That was the only time in the game where I felt awkward, and thought it was to far to the space fantasy side of things. Having had time to get used to the idea however, and having played through the rest of the campaign, I can see that is where we are headed with the franchise, and it fits within 343’s vision. It grew on me.
The second thing is the relative lack of Didactedness. Hyped up as he was, the Didact had very little screen time. It was almost a Lord of the Rings/Sauron thing. A big baddy whom you never really see. Just a floating evil ball. He looked so kick ass, and so much different that what I had thought, only this time the difference was better. So when he hardly got any face time, I was a tiny bit disappointed, until I started finding the terminals. These give us a lot more information on the Didact, while muddying the waters a little concerning the Forerunner saga by Greg Bear. I’m sure all will be straightened out in Silentium. Or not. I guess we’ll see.
The end of this game killed me. Some didn’t like the final Didact confrontation, but I thought it was a lot better than a boss battle. I hate boss battles with a passion. When the game told me to hit button and blow up nuke, my first thought was “They are going to make me kill the Chief. BUT I DON WANNA KILL DA CHIEF!!!!” I pulled the trigger though. I love how you can hear the gut wrench in Steve Down’s voice when Chief detonates the nuke.
Yes, more space magic. But by this point I don’t care. After having watched her disintegrate on the pedestal, I was just happy to have Cortana back. Then she tells John that she isn’t coming back. The voice and Mocap acting in this scene was spectacular. I love how John bargains, and tries to force the situation. This one time he is completely helpless, and there is nothing he can do to change the situation. When the hard light and Cortana fade away, and John is left floating alone in space, I cried like a little girl. “She said that to me once, about being a machine.” That there is my favourite line of the game. It leads in nicely to the final scene of the Chief shedding the machine, at least for a while anyway. I can’t help but wonder if he is still on Infinity? I think it would be great if he made a cameo in Spartan Ops. I’d love to fight alongside an indestructible Chief.
Stay tuned for part two, where I will go over Multiplayer and Spartan Ops…
See you on Infinity,