Ok now for thoughts.
1. For those who read Halo: Cryptum and the sequel Halo: Primordium you will not be disappointed.
2. The new weapons and HUD system are great improvements.
3. Storyline is incredible. I can easily see how this could be the start of a new trilogy despite the fact that it is also sort of a standalone story.
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The appearance of The Didact and then later his wife The Librarian was great for me, I was afraid they'd opt out of that and go with some sort of proxy. Nope. Instead they went right for it and I was very impressed. Cortana's rampancy could have been too much, but it wound up being a Master Chief story about Cortana rather than just another military game. Unlike Halo 3 it handled it very well.
A note on the game functions...
1. The multiplayer is still very good, but its basically CoD now. I knew this would happen, but I always hoped it wouldn't.
2. The menu layout is ok. I get it, they wanted to go for a futuristic computer style instead of the portraiture and listing that the last game (Halo: Reach) employed, but now that I've used both I think Reach wins. Its more efficient and more user-friendly, the new one is frustrating and pointlessly convoluted. The ranking system is back to the numbers,which I don't mind but the actual military ranking worked better for me. You'll get used to it all, but the old system made way more sense.
Overall a great game though. I loved it and I'm working back through it on Legendary right now. Its hard as hell. I'm thoroughly enjoying it and I've only had it a week, but I think this will be enough to satisfy me till either Halo 5 or another spinoff. Halo Reach will go down as my favorite thus far, but this is a close second.
Perfection is a lifelong pursuit requiring sacrifice. The only way to get it quicker is to sacrifice the most.