|Precision >||No||You will need precision to play|
|One-Handed >||No||Avoid this game|
|Deaf Gamers >||Yes||You should have no issues with this game|
|Subtitles >||Yes||Character text is present but not ambiant|
|Colorblind >||Yes||Colorblind gamers should be okay|
In 2001, Microsoft and Bungie studios released Halo:Combat Evolved and changed the way gamers viewed first person shooters forever. Through the next 10 years, the Halo franchise grew in size and popularity, Critics raved about each title as they continued to smash sales, and take award shows by storm. In 2007, Halo 3, the first Halo title on the Xbox 360, is estimated to have sold 2.2-2.5 million copies in 24 hours. Then Master Chief, the hero of the Halo games, suddenly disappeared. Halo 3 ended on a cliffhanger, and while two more new Halo titles would come out (each doing extremely well), gamers always wondered what happened to their Hero? Where was the Master Chief?
Halo 4 released on November 6th, 2012 to the delight of fans all over the world. The Return of the Master Chief marks a new chapter in the saga's life, as well as giving a new developer its chance at the reigns. 343 Industries took the helm on this particular installment, the beginning of a brand new trilogy. The story continues where Halo 3 left off. Marooned on a ship careening in space, the Master Chief is awoken by Cortana, his A.I. Companion. She has been trying to find a way back to earth for the last four years. Eight years has past since she was put into commission but there is a problem. A.I.'s can only survive 7 years. Chief and Cortana must explore this peculiar place they just arrived in, while attempting to make it home. A new threat has also awoken, along with a rogue force of Covenant aliens moving in to reclaim the home of their Gods, it will not be easy.
Also available in this installment is the return of the massively popular multiplayer. Old standbys like “Slayer” and “Capture the Flag” return, with a few new additions. Multiplayer is relatively unchanged in the ways the gametypes are played, but new gameplay mechanics such as loadouts and perks will undoubtedly change the way the multiplayer feels in a refreshing way. Forge mode will return, in which players can try their hand at building levels for multiplayer and then publish them online for others to download and play. We also see the arrival of an all new gameplay mode called “Spartan Ops” which takes place alongside the campaign and can be played solo or cooperatively online or locally.
If you have played any Halo game in the past, you will have a basic understanding of what is available in terms of control. Standard fare FPS control schemes will greet you and will give you many preset configurations to choose from. That being said, you cannot manually remap the button layouts. You can adjust the camera/look sensitivities to your liking as well as turning on or off targeting assistance. There are no real button mashing quick time events, though there are some scripted sequences in which you are given ample time to react. I tried them several times allowing as much time to pass before failing as I could and I was still able to complete them with ease. As with all other Halo games, the four difficulty levels, Easy, Normal, Heroic and Legendary are back and they are attuned to making the experience fun no matter what difficulty you choose.
Visually, the game is presented in high contrast. All Covenant enemies look the same as they did in previous Halo games and will stand out well against the new environments present in the campaign. The new enemies have a wonderfully contrasting design of sleek metallic shapes and dazzling glow effects, so they too, will stand out well. Unfortunately there are no colorblind options, but the color schemes in Halo games have always been generally colorblind-friendly so there should not be too many issues. There are no red/green indicators, with all health and ammo counters being shown with blue for full ammo and health, to flashing orange and red for low ammo and low health. Ammo is also presented as a number in case the colors end up causing an issue. Radar is a huge factor in succeeding in Halo, and is presented as red and yellow dots on a blue field. This allows you to discern enemies from allies very easily. The dots change shape according to if they are a player or vehicle, as well as presenting small arrows to indicate if the blips on your radar are above or below you. The in-game HUD will also give you visual messages at the top of your screen such as “You are holding the oddball” or “The enemy has stolen your flag”. The only game type in multiplayer that may see some issues is the new game type “Flood”. It is essentially the fan favorite “Zombies” from Halo 3 and Halo Reach. When playing as the infected Spartans/zombies, your HUD has a yellow filter applied to it. This could cause some issues for colorblind players so give it a shot and see if it works for you.
Halo 4 is subtitled in all cutscenes and in-game dialogue. Everything from character banter to the hidden audio logs are subtitled and the speaker is labeled. While not letter-boxed, the subtitles are presented in yellow text and will stand out very well. I left subtitles on the entire time I played, and never had a problem reading them clearly. While subtitles are present for all cutscenes and in-game dialogue, there are no subtitles for ambient sounds. Thankfully, there are strong visual cues to accompany all sounds that would be important to hear for completion of the campaign or competitive multiplayer such as health depleting and recharging. The campaign can be successfully completed without audio present.
What I played:
Completed the campaign on Legendary difficulty, 15 hours of competitive multiplayer and finished the first “Spartan Ops” mission.
At a Glance:
No button mashing
No Remappable keys, but multiple presets available
Simple quick-time events
Can change joystick sensitivity
Can change difficulty levels
Can toggle on/off game assists
Presented in high contrast
No colorblind options present
Subtitles are easy to read
Menus easy to read
No red/green indicators
Subtitles for all cutscenes and in-game dialogue present, while identifying the speaker
All audio cues are accompanied by visual cues
Game can be successfully completed and hearing presents no disadvantage