Halo 4: A Hero Returns
On June 6, 2011 Microsoft announced they were working on a project that would set the bar for future console gaming. That project was the upcoming Halo 4! Now it is November 6 and that long awaited game is now released for the Xbox 360.
The game is set with a 4-player story mode where you and your friends can experience the next chapter of Halo together. Set almost five years after the events of Halo 3, Halo 4 takes the series in a new direction and sets the stage for an epic new sci-fi saga, in which the Master Chief returns to confront his destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe.
One of the major new components that 343i has brought to the table is the episodic co-operative 'Spartan Ops'. The Spartan Ops story is based six months after the end of the campaign, and sees you take your customized Spartan into the thick of battle with Crimson squad, completing weekly missions. This can either be with friends or in open match-making.
There will be an accompanying video every week, which progresses the story of the Spartans on board the UNSC Infinity.
In terms of play-time and longevity, Halo 4's multiplayer is arguably the core of the Halo experience. The emphasis here has been on tweaking. Halo's fantastic multiplayer experience is one that has continually improved via community input and a policy of not fixing things that aren't broken - a policy that 343i are still enforcing.
Spartan customization still includes a huge range of cosmetic options, but now you have a Call of Duty-style loadout that lets you pick a primary and secondary weapon, and a grenade type, followed by an 'Armor Ability', a 'Tactical Package', and a 'Support Upgrade.' The latter two are similar options to Call of Duty, including increased explosives damage, shield regen, faster reload times and the like, mainly a case of fine tuning your Spartan to suit your play style.Armor Abilities are more Halo-oriented, and include jet packs and boosters, 'Promethean Vision' that allows you to see nearby enemies through walls, the ability to project a hologram to distract enemies, an automated sentry turret and many others.Another Call of Duty-esque addition are the new 'ordinance packages' that act very similarly to CoD's 'care packages'. Hit a killstreak and you'll be able to call in one of two weapons or an ability boost.Any accusations that Halo is all getting a bit Call of Duty are wide of the mark.
There are some additions here, but all have been made with the utmost care, and with advice from fans and MLG pros alike. Indeed, all the maps have been built from scratch with the help of numerous MLG pros. The result doesn't feel new, but it does feel fresh and it plays as well as any Halo game - indeed any online shooter - has ever played.
This is a game where old fans and new fans of the Halo series can both enjoy. Though the story seemed too short, it was a great way to progress the story and set a motion for new Halo games to come.