Continuing from the first episode that was in Halo 4, the second episode for Spartan Ops continues from where you left off: you found a Forerunner artifact in your last mission with your squad of other Spartan IV’s and returned it to the Infinity with some unfortunate results.
If you don’t want any spoilers from the first episode, you should avoid this review entirely. You should check out my review for Halo 4 which mentions the first episode in a few minor details giving my impressions and what I thought about the new gametype.
SAVE THE EGGHEADS
Great Storytelling - In the first episode, I wasn't really impressed with the storytelling because it felt like just a plain introduction to the characters with no story arc of what'll be happening to them six months after the events of Halo 4. After taking the artifact from the Forerunner planet Requiem, there was a chance to see where the story was going and, though it's slow and broadly told, there is something deeply going on with the Halo universe that'll likely effect what is going to happen in Halo 5.
Usually in core Halo games, the story is basically just told through the eyes of Spartan 117 but Spartan Ops gives us a chance to continue learning the lore while enjoying some average gameplay. Seeing where the Spartans of the Infinity go to research and explore the planet is something that intrigues me and might even get me to purchase the books to research the mythology even more.
Additional Content - After you purchase the game and play through the campaign then maybe play a match or two through War Games, you have a chance to continue consuming more story for the cheap price of free. Yeah, Spartan Ops requires Xbox Live Gold membership to play so technically it isn't free but it's a lot cheaper than what it could have been. Then again when it comes to things you pay for the simple proverb always pops into my head: you get what you paid for.
WAY TO NOT SAVE THOSE MARINES
Poor Respawns - Nothing pains me more than spawning back after screwing up to be immediately ambushed by several Elites giving me no more than a quarter of a minute of life because I was spawned right next to a herd of Covenant forces. With constant rolling over of forces, you are forced to sacrifice yourself over and over again. On lower difficulties, this is less evident but on Legendary it’s almost impossible to avoid these issues unless you have mastered the long-range weapons.
Designed for Four-player Cooperative Play... Sort of - With the number of enemies that spawn, you can tell that Spartan Ops isn't meant to be played alone. Unfortunately with connectivity issues and not always planning exactly when everyone wants to play together, you usually have to just play with one other person or just solo the experience but even on the lower difficulties episode two isn't fun to play by yourself.
For those people who play with friends that have a closed NAT, you have no chance of having a chapter played that would be at least interesting. Personally, I have an open NAT and I was able to play with others that had no network conflicts but still suffered from some minor lag that doesn't appear in the War Games mode as evidently. Understandably, the player who hosts the lobby has the best experience as they also host the ping between each player but even for players within the states it creates a frustrating situation that'll keep a lot of international players from enjoying a bit of Spartan Ops with friends that maybe live in Australia or South Africa.
The second time around, Halo 4's Spartan Ops has me hooked for the story but pushed me away with it's terrible design for single-player & cooperative experiences. Progressing in story, players interested in seeing what happens to Crimson Squad should most definitely at least try the first two chapters. Unfortunately with connectivity between players, the only way I can highly suggest players with their friends is on a couch. I don't think we'll be seeing an update for that but I do hope the level programmers figure out a better location for certain spawns.
Episode 2 of Spartan Ops was just an alright experience. I'll be personally sticking through all the episodes to see where it progresses but most gamers should just stick to War Games which is what of course they purchased the game for.