After a couple of sub-chapters to the series, namely ODST and Reach, Microsoft have finally released a Halo game with a new number. Aside from its number, Halo 4 has something else new - its developer.
When the baton changes hand, there's always the fear a game may lose its identity and the very thing which made it so special to so many people. The most surprising thing was how little new developer 343 Industries have actually changed things. The guns, the weaponry, the enemies, and the vehicles all feel the same.
The storyline focuses on Master Chief for the first time since Halo 3 and sees him awake from four years and seven months of cryogenic sleep. The ship's been invaded by the Covenant - and so the new story begins.
Whilst it’s great to be reacquainted with the chief, to get a brand new storyline, and to enjoy the new enemy race, the similarities are far too great. It's solid - it's just not particularly unique.
Good thing Halo is mainly about multiplayer.
The multiplayer has received a shakeup in terms of its format. It's now separated into two main sections. Spartan Ops provides a series of co-op missions which further explores the plot-threads of the campaign. Up to four players can play these at once, the difficulty varying when more people take part. Five episodes are available at launch, and more are due to hit as DLC in the coming months. And the best thing - they'll be free to download.
War Games is for the more competitive online experience. A generous medley of game modes, both old and new, makes this an awesome to play with others. Experience points are rewarded with play, and can then be used to unlock in-game perks or to customise characters.
Graphically, things have come a long way. Textures are more detailed, and although it still has its hallmark bright colours, there's a dark shadowy edge. It looks fantastic, and it’s the lick of paint the series was looking for.
With a solid campaign and one of the best multiplayer modes to date, it's a good start for 343 Industries and proves they're not just worthy of taking the baton - they have the scope to win future races.
SCORE: 8 / 10
PROS: A great storyline, nice visuals, and some familiar play..
CONS: Way too familiar and not enough individuality.
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