For the past five years, Master Chief has been asleep in deep space waiting to be awoken when he is needed again. On Nov. 6 Halo 4 was releases, and his eyes opened once more. The Halo series is one of the biggest video game franchises in the world. For many, it was the original reason to buy an Xbox, not to mention it is the biggest Xbox 360 exclusive game. The lead character, Master Chief, a futuristic soldier trained from a young age and outfitted with iconic battle armor, finished the fight back in Halo 3.
Now, he is starring in a new trilogy of games by a new developer, 343 Industries, with enemies both familiar and unknown. Master Chief and the AI, Cortana, have been floating in space. However, after a Covenant attack on the ship and a landing on an artificial planet called Requiem, Chief is back in the action and in the player’s hands. Besides doing battle with the old alien enemies of the Covenant, Chief will be fighting a new, mechanical threat, known as the Prometheans.
The Prometheans will have brand new enemy types and advanced Forerunner weaponry. Examples of new weapons are the Lightrifle, which shoots laser bolts over long distances, and Scattershot, a shotgun with ricocheting, dispersal rounds. The ominous figure that commands the Prometheans has yet to be revealed, but the threat to humanity has been hinted at being bigger than ever. While Chief battles, Cortana has been revealed as growing increasingly unstable and mad. She has long gone passed the date that AIs are supposed to last without having a memory swipe, and it shows.
What her madness may mean for the player is still a mystery. Naturally, Halo has never been just about the single-player campaign. Multiplayer is one of major draws of Halo and the main point of longevity for playing time. For the first time, multiplayer is being explained in the narrative as training ground for the new Spartan IV soldiers that are onboard the spaceship Infinity.
The spaceship also happens to crash on Requiem to join Chief. Play-wise, multiplayer is much the same as it has been, but changes have been made to the game. New abilities, such as Promethean Vision, which allows the player see through walls, have been added. Another change is that the Hard Light Shield will replace the Armor Lock of old with an actual shield that appears in front of the player. Every player will also have access to Sprint. Players will be able to decide which weapons and abilities they want to start out with in each match. For the first time in Halo, there is less emphasis on finding weapons on the map, and more emphasis just on player skill. Halo 4 will also have a new cooperative campaign in the form of Spartan Ops, which will allow up to four players to go on missions that expand on the main campaign.
Each week following the game’s release, new cinematic episodes with five new missions will be released. To get excited about the game or get an introduction to the Halo universe, the web series, “Forward Unto Dawn,” has been released on Youtube in five episodes of approximately 15-20 minutes in length. The series follows a group of young cadets that are training to be marines, during the start of the Covenant War.
The production’s value easily matches that of any similar television show. Halo 4 is rated M for Mature. It costs $59.99 for the standard game, and $99.99 for the special edition. Fans will have likely already preordered their copies, but those that have fallen away from the series or never played it before, this will be a great opportunity to start, as Halo 4 kicks off a new Halo trilogy.