Last week we saw the return of Master Chief after a five year absence in the Halo series. The franchise is now under the helm of 343 Industries with their first title Halo 4. We have not seen Spartan 117 since Halo 3 back in 2007. The series was originally created and ran by Bungie until 2010 with Halo: Reach as their final title in the series. Now the Chief is back and he has not lost his touch.

The campaign takes place four years after the events of Halo 3 with our Spartan facing a new threat, the Prometheans and their leader, The Didact. While this is going on Cortana is also suffering from rampancy, a condition where the AI thinks itself to death after being in service for seven years. There are also moments when it makes a callback to previous Halo titles such as the first level with Chief waking up from a cyrotube in a UNSC vessel similar to the opening in Halo 1 and getting into a firefight in space similar to Halo 2’s first level. These little tidbits really show fans that although a new company has taken over the series it gives players that security that they know the franchise and want to do it right.

The story overall is truly a work of art, we get a better feel of how Master Chief is as a character while he is trying to find a way back to Earth to save Cortana. There are moments where he shows true compassion and concern of Cortana's condition. We still see some of Chief's amazing one-liners and epic lines and he still proves to be the badass we knew him as in the original trilogy.

Halo 04 Halo 4

Halo 4 also comes packed with some new toys, some proving capable in a firefight and others being just plain useless. The UNSC comes with some fun new weapons such as the SAW, Sticky Detonator and the Railgun. You do not want to be on the receiving end on any of these weapons. The SAW is a powerful machine gun that will leave a trail of destruction to anyone that gets in its firing path. The Sticky Detonator works like a plasma grenade only you aim it with a small device and you can remotely detonate it like you would with C4. However the kickback with it is after a certain amount of time it will detonate on its own. The Railgun works just like the Spartan Laser only a little bit less powerful but still a force to be reckoned with.

The Covenant only has one new toy and that is the Storm Rifle. It’s a pretty useless weapon and something to be avoided if you can afford it.

With the Prometheans coming in as the new enemy they also have some neat play things of their own and these weapons pack quite a punch. Most the weapons are knockoffs of existing UNSC and Covenant weapons put the most powerful weapon in their arsenal; the Incineration Cannon will leave nothing but destruction in its wake. This weapon is a rocket launcher, shotgun, Spartan laser and grenade launcher rolled up into one deadly powerful weapon that will make you pee your pants and cry for mommy when you see someone firing it.

So with all these new toys what about the UNSC pistol?

The Halo 1 pistol was one of the most overly powered weapons in the game. You could use it as a sniper rifle for crying out loud it was that powerful. So how does the pistol get treated in Halo 4? Well it may not be as powerful as Halo 1 but it is not as weak as it was in Halo 2 and 3 either. It proves to be a good secondary weapon when you run out of ammo for your primary weapon but not so much to where it is overkill on your enemies. A few well placed shots makes the UNSC pistol a trusted ally.

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Halo’s good ole multiplayer also comes back with new maps and new customization options. With all the weapons this title offers it gives players the chance to actually pick out which primary weapon (Assault Rifle, DMR, Battle Rifle, Covenant Carbine, Storm Rifle, Suprressor and Lightrifle) and secondary weapon (Pistol, Plasma Pistol and Boltshot) as well as grenade and armor abilities. This adds strategy and great customization to the title having it to where people can play how their style is rather than everyone starting out with the same weapons and having to run around the map locating them.

The downside with multiplayer is everyone can sprint which makes the maps feel smaller than they really appear. The respawn system from the Call of Duty games has also made its way into Halo. Although this system is only present in the slayer variants as well as King of the Hill and Oddball to keep the action fast paced. It is a minor annoyance that does not really give you the satisfaction of killing other players when they just respawn in one second. The other minor annoyance is in order to access multiplayer you have to install that portion on your 360. These are only small gripes but still annoying nonetheless.

Spartan Ops is the new multiplayer co-op mode replacing Firefight. It adds its own story meaning there are not one but two campaigns in this title. The Spartan Ops campaign follows the Reach formula to where the main character of this campaign is in the player’s image. You are the Spartan and what he/she looks like is your decision. The game comes packed with five Spartan Op missions with more to be released each week and so far 343 has delivered on that promise release Episode 2 today.

Overall, this is an excellent way to mark the return of Master Chief into the Halo franchise and a good way for 343 Industries to let fans know that the series is in good hands. I am eagerly waiting to see where 343 takes the series next in Halo 5 for they now have my support.

Halo 4 gets a 5/5


Also don’t forget we have a Halo 4 tournament coming up on Dec. 1., at Laugh out Loud. It will feature 4v4 and Free For All game types. To get signed up  for you chance to win cash, prizes and most of all bragging rights follow the two links below.

We are also taking registrations on the day of and they will start at 11 a.m.

Halo 4 is rated M for Mature. Contestants under the age of 18 must complete parent consent form and bring it day of the tournament. Persons under the age of 18 without parental consent will not be able to play.


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