Each game review is intended to answer the question:

“Is this game safe for my child to play?”

We want these to be a guide for parent-player conversations about games and allow for educated gaming decisions based on Christ-centered principals.

If you want more info on how we go about grading games, you can check out our Game Review Scoring Guide.

 

Halo 4 – Overall Grade: 2.3 (concerning)

Grade Summary: This game is built around violence. The only way to fix problems in the game is to blow things up, kill and destroy. There is some “save the world” mentality to this, but just enough to get you to being to feel ok with the sheer amount of carnage.  You have an attractive and mostly naked assistant who helps you through the game. Her scanty attire fits no overall purpose to her function in the game.

The overall game theme is destroy them so they don’t destroy you/the entire world as you know it. It is not appropriate for all ages of players and serious conversation should be had about the problem-solving Master Chief (the protagonist) uses and what God says about how we are to treat His Creation and other created in His image.

This game scores well in the play-time category because of a frequent save structure and minimal in-game purchases.

*Note: It’s convenient that you basically kill aliens. Maybe have a discussion on why aliens and zombies make us feel less bad for killing them.

SCORE BREAKDOWN

  • Violence & Gore: 1 (high)
  • Sexuality: 2 (concerning)
  • Profanity: 3 (fairly safe)
  • Spirituality: 3 (fairly safe)
  • Length of Play: 3 (fairly practical)
  • Theme: 2 (concerning)

Game Summary: In Halo 4 you play as the Spartan super soldier protagonist known as Master Chief. The game takes place in the year 2557 and your job is to basically stop two different types of aliens from destroying humanity. You do this mainly by shooting (and punching, and blowing up) a lot of things. While violent this game does not overly glorify the death sequences. You can’t dismember or mutilate dead. The action is the focus, not the killing itself.

Parent Conversation

With this amount of violence comes a responsibility for the gamer and the parent to be thoughtful about what the game is asking you to do. While there may be a time to kill and a time to let live, it is important to set into perspective the actions of the character in the game and the fact that there are those in the world who are put in situations roughly similar to this (fight to save themselves, those around them, their way of life, etc). This game

 

Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One

SCORES

Violence & Gore: 1

  • You kill a lot of things in Halo, there’s no way around it. There isn’t much blood, but the sheer amount of death earns this one a 1.

    photo courtesy of www.giantbomb.com.
    photo courtesy of www.giantbomb.com.

Sexuality: 2

  • This is tricky because there is really only one female worth mentioning in the game. Cortana is a holographic assistant who interacts with your player. Halo 4 made the relationship between you and her more personal, and made her quite a bit more physically mature. The sexualizing of Cortana has not gone unnoticed. She’s been ranked as one of the hottest women in video games by gamers and spawned lots of comment chains that are both unhelpful and inappropriate. There is no way to play the game without seeing her and her updated…aspects. 
parent_game_review_Halo4_cortana
Cortana as she changes physically through Halo 4. Photo courtesy of dorkly.com

Profanity: 3/1

  • The storyline includes minimal swearing from side characters throughout the game. It is there, though.
  • The score goes to a 1 when looking at online multiplayer: Profanity, racial slurs and lewd comments are frequent in online battles.

Spirituality:  3

  • The Prometheus are a group worshipped as gods by the Covenant who are an alien race in the game.
  • Prometheus is a reference to the Greek Myth about the creation of man.
  • The Covenant often do “religious” rituals throughout the series, including attempting to activate the Halo, which would result in the extermination of all life.
  • These religions are present but not particularly in-depth beyond understanding the motivations of the antagonists and moving the plot forward. You do not participate in the religious rites.

Length of Play: 3

  • You can save and quit anytime during game play, and resume right where you left off. This takes the stress out of having to reach the next save point. The storyline game takes between 8 and 15 hours to beat.
  • The storyline is very catchy, so players want to keep playing to learn what happens. It isn’t an easy one to just play for 15 minutes, but it is possible.

Themes: 2

  • The game contains heavy topics like the possible destruction of humanity, difficult moral decisions and survival themes that could be inappropriate for young gamers. The game also includes the extermination of enemies on a large scale by your character.

DLC (Downloadable Content)

  • Players can download additional maps and mods that are optional. These cost real money and can be purchased directly from the gaming system. There is no need to go to the story.

 

This review is based off of player feedback, in-person interviews and online research that includes Plugged-In, Trusted Reviews, Wikipedia, Guide2Games, and Common Sense Media.