Well, 2012 is almost behind us, and it’s been another brilliant year for gamers… not quite as good as 2011 in our opinion, but a good year it was. Now comes the part where we pick the best games of the year, and you, the readers, get pissed off and tell us how ____ing stupid we are. Instead of calling us pole smokers, please feel free to add to the discussion and tell us what you think were the best of 2012. Thank’s for another great year to all our readers.
In Halo 4, 5, and Infinite, Master Chief became a more nuanced, human character.
In spite of the Halo series’ struggles, 343 deserves praise for adding nuance and characterisation to the ever-beating heart of Halo - The Master Chief. Playing through Infinite, it's abundantly clear that the events of the current and previous trilogies have irrevocably changed the iconic hero. He’s no longer the ‘blank slate’ that was previously presented by Bungie. He’s a fatigued, damaged and fallible protagonist, and one who is meandering through currents of grief, while reveling in his newfound agency. Giving the Chief a compelling and meaningful voice was no small feat, and 343 should be proud of that victory.
It’s a law of nature that eventually, every long-running game franchise will have a particular entry that gets dinged for straying too far from what made it so fun in the first place. Your Super Mario Sunshine, your Dragon Age II, Assassin’s Creed III, and so on. Whether or not that opinion changes more favorably over time, the initial specter of negativity will forever hover it. Microsoft’s Halo is no exception, except that negative specter hasn’t hovered over one particular game, but one whole studio.
Halo 4 released 10 years ago today, and its disappointing reception was just an omen of things to come with 343 Industries at the helm.