Parent reviews for Halo 4

Common Sense says

Master Chief returns in sci-fi battle that's more violent.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 70 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 297 reviews
Parent of an infant, infant, 11, 14, and 16-year-old Written byCMY666 November 11, 2012

Halo 4 is ON for kids 12 and up

This is a spectacular game. I am a mother of a 12 year old, 14 year old, and a 16 year old. They all enjoy this game very much and play it with my husband. Before any of my kids knew about Halo, I was worried about getting it for them because a lot of people had said that it was an "M" game. When I heard my 12 year old was playing it at his friend's house, I wasn't pleased. But then my son showed me gameplay of the title, Halo: Reach, and he told me the plot of the campaign. I reconsidered buying him the game because the gameplay wasn't very violent, and there was no gore, only mild blood. I bought him the game and he was very happy, and he played it with his brothers and my husband a lot.

I come to this site often during Christmas, when I'm thinking about what games I'm going to buy for my kids. When I saw this game was coming out, I decided to buy it for them so that they could have an "early present." So I came to look at CSM, it said Not For Kids. This made me very confused, as the past titles had been marked for 16 year olds, so I decided to go and look at the review. It included several misleading remarks in the review, like saying assassinations were a new feature in Halo 4. These existed in Halo: Reach as well, and I didn't find that it bothered me very much, as it was similar to the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game. I decided to take a chance and buy it anyway for my kids, and they were so excited. When the week was over, all three of them played the game together (a rare occurrence) through the whole story. I watched them have fun and even took a couple of pictures of them using teamwork to overcome the different combat missions and heard them "distracting enemies" and "boosting each other up" to previously unreachable places.

I think CSM is rarely wrong, but on this title, I'd have to disagree with myself. It's just as violent as the previous titles, which all deserved a "T" rating. I think what families should look out for is violence (you can turn the blood off and even go into 3rd person if you desire), mild language, and positive role models. This game is spectacular and I think any kid that is a fan of video games older than 12 should get this game. It teaches teamwork, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination.

This title contains:

Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Language
Adult Written byWilli3m November 6, 2012

Shouldn't be "M" should be "T"

When they say "hand-to-hand combat kills appear more dramatic. This version of Halo ups the ante in terms of violence as players can now watch Master Chief violently beating his opponents to death" I think they were exagerating. I watched my son play through the game and it was not that violent. The hand-to-hand combat wasn't brutal like other games. I think this game should be rated Teen as should all of the Halo games.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bybubbleman567 December 25, 2012

2 Thumbs Up

Fantastic game, and kids will be ripped of a great title by the completely wrong review by Common Sense Media. No blood or gore, so it's a good title for most 8+ children. A must buy!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 13, 13, and 16-year-old Written byA. Nguyen February 15, 2013

Bought this as a present...

I purchased this game as a Christmas present for my younger son, who is thirteen years old. He enjoys video games, mostly as a social exercise (he loves to chat with a buddy as they play FIFA or Madden together, and I have never bought him a shooter before. I did some research with my husband, who was dissenting the idea, and after a week of some research in our spare time, we both came out with entirely different perspectives. My husband was against the game, he said that the ESRB rated things a certain way for a reason, and if they said the game should be reserved for ages 17+, then that's how it should be. My husband was also worried our son might become spoiled, and said that the amount of gifts he receives should be moderated. Meanwhile, I had done a bit more research. To me, psychologist, it was worrying at first that the first-person-shooter gameplay style would instill ideas of glorified killing in my child. With this as a mindset, I dove deeper into the world of Halo. As it turns out, in the story mode, the main enemy are these glowing, partially floating aliens, who, when killed, flake into golden pieces and disappear into the air. I then watched a little bit of gameplay I found on Youtube. Suddenly, the blood and guts images of gore that had been painted in my head by soccer moms and overprotective parents seemed ridiculous. Admittedly, some of the firearms used in the game (that don't glow or shoot light pellets) do look realistic, but no worse than anything seen in daily city news. The map building feature included in the game intrigued me. The amount of freedom that it gives the player to create, in HD and 3D was fascinating. This could actually rationalize a shooting game for most parents wondering whether or not to buy Halo for their child. But all in all, Halo 4 is no worse violence-wise than the latest Star Trek remake, or any sci fi PG-13 movie. But back to my son. He had been anticipating its arrival in stores for a month or two, and had wanted it since it came out. After the research and revelations mentioned above, I convinced my husband to buy this for our son for Christmas. Now, he plays this during his free time on weekends, sometimes in split screen cooperative mode with his older brother, sometimes with his buddies, online or in person. Even his twin sister plays the multiplayer once in a while. I once caught her and her friends having a tournament in the basement, late at night during one of her sleepovers. In the end, I believe that as long as my son isn't playing those ultra violent, ultra realistic shooters like Call of Duty, or playing video games every day, I have done a swell job with my media parenting.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Parent of a 10 and 11-year-old Written bySafetyParent112 September 9, 2014

Exaggerating.

When they said: Violently beating aliens to death, They meant: punching a alien once and running away. My 10 year-old is fine with it and it does not really encourage violence or anything. It is quite fun (I've played it with my son!) and not scary to my boys at all! There is not much violence (besides mild shooting) and no bad language at all. The blood is obviously fake and I recommend it if your kids want Call Of Duty!

P.S. There is only chat if you are on multiplayer. Many people do not chat and they do not use bad language!

This title contains:

Ease of Play
Adult Written byBig Blind Max July 8, 2013

Okay for teens

Halo 4 is a high quality space opera that really demonstrates the shortcomings of the ESRB rating system. From a gameplay standpoint, Halo 4 is the best Halo game yet. Unfortunately, the story isn't quite as engaging. Multiplayer and Forge are still great fun, and the game is worth a purchase for those features alone. Content wise, there is little reason for this game's M rating. It has moderate violence and a bit of blood, but is probably the tamest Halo game released, with a story that is nowhere near as dark as Halo: Reach.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent Written byGorge r February 12, 2013

Halo 4

Halo 4 is the best halo game ever. Not only the storyline but it is great for kids 8 and up because you can turn of the blood (well the is not much only blue and yellow blood from the alians). If your son/daughter knows that a game is fiction and is pretty mature get this game but if there like some teens that after playing the game they go all crazy and get in love with violence dont get this game. I let my son play halo combat evolved and he loved it so for his 9th birthday I got him halo reach now he has halo 4 that he got himself I would give this game a 10out of 10 because there's no blood and good for kids
Parent of a 11 and 13-year-old Written bytenaciousddude December 31, 2013

Halo 4

This has minimal violence with almost zero blood. really the only ay you see blood is if someones already dead and u shoot him to death with your gun. other that that theres no language or sex or anything like that.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written bymohammed67 January 18, 2013

Great game!

if your son likes first personn shooters but you are not wanting to buy it for him because you tjink it will affect his behavior on other chilldre?
well this game is perfect becaus the violence in this game is extreamlly mild aand there is absoulutly no bad language i know this because i have played through the game before allowing my son to play, so i recomend this game more than other shooters out there for example COD (call of duty) is really bad for kids under 15 because it really effects them but don,t woory about this game because it made no side effects on my son so i recomend it for children 10 and up

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written bydead gamer May 22, 2013

Get it

Anyone can get it. It is the best game ever.
Adult Written bySgtUnicorn May 5, 2013

A great shooter for Kids, not too violent at all

I am a very big fan of the Halo series. Not because of all the shooting, or cool guns, but because of the story (it has spawned a franchise of books too) There are many other games that don't involve Halo 4's character Master Chief. In almost every Halo game there is VERY little blood and gore. I always miss it. The story of H4 is great, you awaken from your 4 year slumber in your torn apart ship Forward Unto Dawn. Your AI companion Cortana (she is basically a blue very attractive figure if a woman, she is "naked" BUT DON'T GET ME WRONG, it's not detailed, just like Mystique from Xmen) is going rampant. You crash in a uncharted planet Requiem, meet a new enemy Didact. It is a very inspiring and great sci Fi shooter, voted for best graphics, and the story will even make you cry if you're a fan. (Take not there are "Assassinations" in Halo 4, when you sneak up at the back of someone, you can instantly kill them using this and your character either stabs the opponent or punches it, and still no blood in this one)

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Parent Written byRating Gamer January 15, 2013

To be Honest

This game is one of my most favourite, But then again COMMON SENSE MEDIA, This game is okay for kids, I can hardly see Blood and swearing than the previous ones... Yes, it's a first person "shooter"... It's one of the best Role-Playing games too, I let my 9 year old play this game and he absolutely love it than the VIOLENT CALL OF DUTY... I recomended this Game...
Adult Written byPerilous December 17, 2012

Future parent and long time gamer approves Halo 4

As a 23 year old male, I'm an active gamer that plans to have kids in the future. I've completed Halo 4 by myself on the hardest difficulty (Legendary) and played online a bit. The game has a fantastic, surprising story, thanks to the new developer, 343 Industries. The game is linear and story based, so it's more like a movie versus GTA, where players can potentially choose to deviate from the story and go into strip clubs.

Halo 4, in the best case scenario of positive parenting, can encourage hand-eye coordination, motor skill development, team work, communication skills and perseverance/anger management (on harder difficulties).

If kids play online, they should probably be 15+ if they use voice chat. Everyone else should turn voice off, which I think is possible in the settings. There is blatant profanity, racism, sexism and homophobic remarks from anonymous players online, or at least the potential for such things. Kids should be trained to expect such behavior and ignore these people and leave the particular match if they are really rude. Also, it's possible to mute specific players mid-game and send reports on their behavior.

Cortana appears to be nude, but I'd compare her to Mystique from X-Men. It's a blue, skin-tight suit that doesn't show any anatomical details. But the female form is there for sure. In certain parts, she comes up in 3d hologram form and the player can rotate the image of her. I'd image this might cause giggles in young kids, but not much more.

The game can desensitize players to becoming skilled at getting head shots, or instant kills. These shooting games, if analyzed critically, always make me ask why are these soldiers are going to war and why we're killing these hundreds of troops. It's important to talk about death, what it means and why we might have to kill, in the case of war and protecting our families. Like what happens when we die? It might be a hard conversation to have, but no one thinks twice about how the bodies are piling up and what it ultimately means. Thinking can make you question why you are killing all these people/creatures in games.

Some enemies (The Covenant) in the game are technologically advanced, but religiously insane in their black and white views of the universe. They always seek to gain entrance to heaven by killing everyone in the universe through use of various weapons. It's never a good thing to be so black and white, but perhaps an analysis of fundamentalist religion can be made here.

The forerunner element of the game highlights mankind's flaws, like our agression and manifest destiny for conquest of other countries and the universe itself. Forerunners are the original protectors of the universe and they point out how mankind might lead to the downfall of everything if they're left to their own devices. Parents can draw parallels to the Cuban Missile Crisis and possible self-extinction events. Are we as a species capable of surviving in the future or do we need guidance from a higher authority?

Depending on your view of the military, the Master Chief can be a positive role model only in the sense that he is a tireless military protector of mankind, or of his country/nation (in this case, Earth).

I think important themes of losing your humanity at a cost are prevalent - in the way that Chief and Cortana (the player's assistant, an AI woman) question which one of them is really the machine. In the same way that a military soldier must dehumanize himself and his enemy in order to kill, so too must the Chief look forwards in fairly simplistic ways. Chief (John 117) was engineered in a special science program to be stronger than other humans, but the cost being that he is antisocial and can't relate to other humans. He talks to his AI, Cortana, almost exclusively, to preserve his mind.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Privacy & Safety
Parent Written bydadoftheworld2 November 18, 2012

Halo 4 review +answers to some people's questions

Halo 4 is about master chief who is trying to save an A.I. or cpu.There is violence but to all the people out there wondering why this game isnt T for teen instead of M for mature here's why:WHENEVER YOU KILL SOMETHING IN A VIDEO GAME ITS AUTOMATICLY M (mature).Overall there is zero swearing ok for kids 13 and under :D

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 6, 9, and 12-year-old Written byMayaHaydon100 November 12, 2012

Team building, fun game. ON for 12 and up

I know that a lot of families would immediately be fooled by Common Sense Media saying "Not For Kids." I usually think that Common Sense Media has it down. But here they kind of screwed up.

I've bought my 12 year old son (my oldest) Halo: Reach last year (the previous game), when he was 11, and I thought it was a great game for kids his age to enjoy and even older kids to enjoy. I always check on Common Sense Media for reviews and appropriateness checks for these types of games that I get my son. When I saw Halo 4 was rated "Not For Kids" I said to him that I couldn't get it for him because CSM said otherwise. He was sad, of course, since Halo is his favorite game. But then I asked him to show me some other people playing the game and when he showed me the game, I thought it looked exactly the same as the other Halo games. He got annoyed at me for saying that :) But to ME it looked the same. So I decided to get it for him even though my most trustworthy source said not to. And I don't regret it. He and my husband played it for a couple of hours and my husband was hooked (which showed how good of a game it was). I watched them play it together for a little while and it was a little bit violent like the previous games, but I still don't think CSM was right on this game. Do your kids a favor parents! Buy your kids this game. It looks fun, and I don't even like video games. It teaches team building and maybe even a little bit of reflexes too.

I give this game 5 stars, fair for learning, positive role models (Master Chief), watch out for a little bit of violence, and it's a FPS, so parents out there who don't like FPS-es look out for that. I think this game is ON for 12 year olds and up.

This title contains:

Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byaSmartParent May 3, 2019

Fun game

This game is ok for anyone! There are sci-fi guns that shoot lasers at aliens, and the aliens emit a little bit of purple blood, it is about as violent as power rangers! The only thing I would say this bad about this game for kids is this type of alien called the flood, that has a twisted face, and looks a little bit creepy, but it is fine for kids overall, it would just be one slightly creepy alien.
Adult Written bySdog223 April 22, 2019

BEST GAME!!!!!

This is the best halo game probably the most violent one though. I think your your child should be 12 to be able to play.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byMatthew Mays April 7, 2019

Pretty Good

Ok, this game is NOT 18+

CSM, are you crazy? It's kinda violent, sure. But it's not gory. If you get shot you bleed a bit, but othher than that its fine. The story is enthralling, and the levels are fun, easy to play, and if you play it with a friend, its even better!

(by the way, this is just for the campaign)

This title contains:

Ease of Play
Adult Written byUr toast March 10, 2019

18+! Seriously

Halo is a revolutionary games with an amazing story. Though this game has lots of blood, any kid 10 and up should be able to play this game.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byDadoftwodaughters October 20, 2018

It is a boring story, and Cortana is NAKED

The game is boring, same enemies, same guns, same basic layout of maps, but not a good story.People say Cortana has some AI skin to out with and throw people off to win arguments, but that's just a dumb excuse why her breasts, crotch and butt are visibile. Just because there's not an actual vagina, nipples or anything doesn't make it right. No I'm not a woman shamer, and no I don't hate women. I just think she doesn't need to be sexualized. Master Chief isn't. The aliens aren't. Only she is. In the whole game. You can't advertise a game to KIDS and think this is okay. Yes, the rating is M, but parents let their kids see this stuff anyway. I don't need to think of other women naked, as I am married and this nudity isn't well placed or subtle. Her boobs are very detailed and it's very uncomfortable to play this Halo game. It sends a message that girls should use their body not their brain to counter your enemy. Also, there IS a lot of violence for kids to see.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff

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