The Halo Universe is in good hands.
With nearly a decade of dedication from Bungie, the team eventually parted ways in 2010. They went out on a high note, offering a prequel to the series, "Halo Reach". It was a great way to end Bungie's long run of games, but it didn't mean it was the end for Master Chief. With the series already ten years old, developer 343 Industries prove there's still life in the Sci-Fi franchise. Halo 4 is the birth of a new Trilogy, known as a Reclaimer Trilogy.
Taking place after events from Halo 3, Master Chief is currently frozen onboard a UNSC cruiser. He is soon awakened by his beautiful AI companion, Contana. She soon reveals that she is suffering from Rampanc, something that AI's get when they are nearing the end of a life cycle. In the opening level, the cruiser crash lands on a planet, known as Requiem. This is where most of the game takes place, and introduces you to a new alien breed. Compared to the covenant, these are an ancient evil known as Prometheans. This leaves Master Chief trying to save the Universe, as well as his friendly blue companion.
It might sound like a typical narrative, but it's the most engrossing one yet. It can be very emotional at times, leaving you to care about Contana's fate. It's solid voice acting and spectacular CGI cutscenes also help drag you in. Visually, Halo 4 is the best the series has seen. I was stunned to how much attention to detail has been given. Each cinematic cutscene looks great, with some amazing animation. Characters facial expressions are close to realism, and are the best I've seen since Rockstar's LA Noir. It's obvious that a lot of money and time has been put into Halo 4, and it really shows on screen. The levels are also visually impressive, with some eye-popping scenery. At times, I was left marvelling over it's stunning backdrops. It looks that good.
When playing the campaign, you might feel a bit of Deja Vu. The formula doesn't seem to have evolved since it's predecessors. Apart from some new enemy types, weapons, and vehicles, everything feels like another Halo game. However, it's better for 343 Industries to play it safe and stick with the same formula. The campaign runs at a smooth pace, offering something new as you progress. You are constantly introduced to something new. From weapons, locations, and vehicle sections. It keeps it fresh and entertaining, just before the end of it's 6- 8 hour journey.
Aswell as the campaign, Halo 4 also brings back competitive multiplayer. Let's face it, it wouldnt be a Halo game without it, and it's what keeps it's longevity. Now titled "War Games", here you will experience all the favourite modes from past Halo games. There's tons of unlockables and customization options. From weapons, to gear for oyur Spartan. It's bigger than any previous Halo game, and it's sure to keep you busy for the coming months. The new load-out system also fits in very nicely.
One of the most interesting new features to Co-op is Spartan Ops. This is a four player co-op mode similar to the campaign. What's interesting is that they will be release episodically over several months. Each one is presented with a short cutscene. Each episode might only last a few minutes, but it will be interesting to see how the story comes together.
It's safe to say, the Halo franchise is in good hands. 343 Industires have proven they have what it takes to make an excellent Halo game. With it's well paced and entertaining campaign, eye-popping visuals, solid multiplayer, and return of Forge, Halo 4 is an outstanding achievement.