Disclaimer: I play games for story. Even if the controls suck ass, I'll try to play it anyway for the story. Gameplay is a non-issue for me.
EDIT: No, I don't care if you don't want spoilers. I just watched the Legendary ending. They give not even the slightest hope for Cortana's reappearance/survival. Fuck EVERYTHING.
I spent the early part of my afternoon watching a movie, followed by a walkthrough of Halo 4, right up to the point at which the thing they're calling the Didact appears.
That thing is not the Didact. That thing is not even /Forerunner!/ Certainly not in any capacity that Bungie had ever intended. That /thing/ they're calling the Didact does not even remotely fit the description set forth by Greg Bear's novels, even taking into account the heavy physical variation between Forerunner rates. And by the way, the Forerunner saga - Bungie canon, it should be noted - was declared non-canon by 343i at one point, though they retracted this statement later. This was apparently followed by disregarding it anyway, as per this "Didact's" appearance (and apparent personality, which I'll get to later).
I like his armor. It's acceptable. But his actual appearance?
I could live with the Voldemort nose. The additional finger on each hand? No fucks. But Jackal spines on his head, and lip-tusks? No. Just... no.
I expected to be angry if the game turned out the way I thought it would. My expectations had been exceedingly low; it actually would have taken relatively little as far as good things in the game to meet or surpass my expectations. Somehow, though, this travesty managed to completely obliterate my expectations on its southbound trajectory into video game hell.
But this? /This/ is what I had feared, multiplied a hundred-fold. That /thing/ they're calling the Didact spoke of the Librarian as his enemy. His wife, whom he had been trying desperately to save, to reach and bring to safety before he fired the halos, whom he loved above all else and whose goals he shared in the salvation of life in the galaxy. Yes, he fought against the humans before the firing of the halos - /but./ Humans were the Librarian's project - yes, perhaps her pets, but because of that, he tolerated them in a relatively indifferent manner. He did not hate them.
This /alone/ is enough to outline the canon-rape that I had feared. 343i has proven its name thoroughly and completely, and under no circumstances will 343i ever receive any funds from me for a Halo game ever again. What they make is not Halo. This is literally a case of shitty fanfiction that was sufficiently funded to make into a game and nothing can convince me otherwise.
OKAY. Now that most of the rage is out, let me move on to the rest of the shit that bothers me, in no particular order or cohesion.
So I hear that this splinter group of the old Covenant is /actually/ mutated somehow. All right. I guess that makes sense, considering the overall diseased look of the bunch (also the T-rex heads that got tacked on the Jackals)... HOWEVER, that is also what we who like to read and write and have some semblance of discerning tastes refer to as "shitty writing". It comes off as nothing more than an excuse to twist and warp the classic designs. You know what's hilarious though? /It's not that bad./ It might have been forgivable, except for one thing. You all may think it's an insignificant or unimportant thing, but to me, it is /very/ much an issue. As an artist, the aesthetic of anything is very important - and for things like animation, movement is key. The Sangheili had a certain way that they would move. There was a bounce in their step, a rebound of energy, a product of their mass and the structure of their legs. Jackals and Skirmishers were similar, but they were lower to the ground and lighter on their feet, so it was still enough variation to recognize the movement. In Halo 4, they move like humans - and stiff, mechanical humans at that. They don't act right, either. Elites don't run; they are proud and noble warriors that find glory in a warrior's death. They are strong, intelligent and aggressive, which is why they were such formidable enemies in Bungie's Halo. Now they're just cardboard constructs with armor plating and a layer of warts.
Those Forerunner weapons are just pew-pew-pew versions of the regular ones. Hell, most of the weapons just seem to be retextured versions of one another with different effects tacked on. There's no significant variation in weapon strength from human to Covie to Forerunner. In reality, one should only be able to survive more than one shot from the weakest of the Forerunner weapons. Everything else ought to blow right through you. And by the way, if they wanted to have Forerunner tech in their game? They should have been much more sparing with it. Weapons rare but incredibly powerful. Borderline boss fights with the constructs. It /shouldn't/ be a fair fight. The Forerunners' technology is far and away greater than anything we have, and everything the Covenant has - or nearly - is bastardized and crudely copied Forerunner tech. Forerunner weapons should utterly ruin our shit, no exceptions.
Cortana - dear, wonderful, darling Jen Taylor - is the single, shining light in this sticky, slimy, disease-ridden puddle of fanboy vomit. I believe that is all I need to say on that note.
Oh, by the way... Forward Unto Dawn, the live-action mini series thing they posted on YouTube? That was fucking brilliant. I loved it. It was nearly perfect. Also the only thing that 343i has ever done right in my personal opinion.
I just... I can't. I'm can'ting so hard right now.
I couldn't watch any more after the scene with the Didact. I am genuinely sick to my stomach and wavering between blind rage and tears at intervals. Even I, who spent months raging at snippets of information about the things that they were changing, the look of the Covenant, the idiocy of a Forerunner shotgun... Even I didn't believe that it could be this bad. I knew they were bastardizing Bungie canon... But to this extent?
It's all so... wrong. This isn't Halo. It could have been, perhaps... But it's not.
When it was announced, I was so excited. I remember that like it was some sort of dream. My hopes for it have long since been shattered upon the cold and unyielding stone of reality... The fragments retained some semblance of hope that it wouldn't be completely terrible, but even they were ground under the heel of That-Thing-They-Call-The-Didact.
This is profoundly depressing.
That said, if anybody needs an extra pitchfork and/or torch for their game-company-ogre hunt, give me a call.
I am very much in.