In its first ever introduction in a Halo game Spartan Ops offered episodic cooperative gameplay which advanced the story of Halo 4 long after the campaign credits ended, but would Firefight have been a better alternative or is Spartan Ops here to stay?
7.5 / 10
Weekly cinematic episodes and the Red vs. Blue Easter eggs.
Very repetitive gameplay elements and recycled/overused maps.
Although there were some short-fallings Spartan Ops has the potential to become an incredible game mode.
343 Industries have illustrated their capability to delve into Halo’s lore with Spartan Ops Season 1 and although the overall package is a great way to continue the story, the mode is not without is flaws.
Spartan Ops gameplay often suffers due to its late introduction into Halo 4. The first 5 episodes in particular are excruciatingly repetitive and the limited variety of maps both new and recycled from the Halo 4 campaign were so dull and monotonous that each weeks gameplay episodes were tedious to complete. I also felt that the five separate missions also broke up the gameplay too much. Instead of one cohesive mission that flowed from one location to another. The five separate missions felt disjointed and one pointless objective seem to divert you at the end of a mission to a new area or keep you remaining on the same map to slug it out with incoming waves of enemies.
Other repetitive aspects of the gameplay consisted of, find the missing marines/science team; clear an area; or search for a high priority Elite. These objectives felt distant from the weekly cinematics which launched every week
even if occasionally the adventures of Crimson squad did intertwine with the main story. The second half of season 1 was an improvement with large new playspaces which revealed new areas periodically over the final five weeks. and the last mission of Spartan Ops certainly drew me in with the urgency and the important link with the overall story of season 1.
Despite the repetitive short-fallings of season 1 the weekly cinematics which launched at the start of each episode were nothing short of amazing. The motion capture and the different interactions between characters which we didn’t get a totally huge look at in the Halo 4 campaign like Palmer and Captain Lasky finally get some serious screen time. Along with some of the notable names from Halo 4’s campaign we are also introduced to the charismatic Majestic Squad with a particular interest on the character Gabriel Thorne who’s connection with the massacre at New Phoenix plays a crucial role in the story.
The cinematics didn’t hold back when it came to story, each week’s episode gradually revealed more of Covenant leader Jul’ Mdama’s master plan and the introduction of Dr. Halsey finally illustrated how deceptive and dangerous she is. It also address the moral ambiguity of the original Spartan program something that has gone ignored in all previous Halo games. Halsey’s influence on the story is paramount with her best interests in the research and study of Forerunner artifacts to advance human society at whatever means necessary.
The CGI rendered cutscenes and even the weekly Red vs. Blue easter eggs in Spartan Ops were certainly the highlights and although the gameplay may have been repetitive with more time spent on map layouts, gameplay objectives and interesting set pieces Spartan Ops has the potential to become an incredible means to advance the Halo 4 storyline. Let’s hope for a bigger and better Season 2.