Halo 4 for Xbox 360
(Developer: 343 Industries, Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios, Rating: R13)
Reviewed by Siobhan Keogh
Master Chief, believed dead by most of the people he once protected, wakes up. His AI companion, Cortana, is dying, and Chief wants to get to Earth for a cure. But enemies get in the way: the Covenant are back, and even more fanatical. A new enemy, the Prometheans, are also threatening humanity.
Levels are still big, with massive alien structures, and the attention to detail is better than ever. Graphics have improved, and with new enemies you also get new weapons, such as the ultra-powerful Binary Rifle, which is like the sniper rifle except you don't need a headshot to get a one-hit kill. Facing new enemies also gives you access to new armour abilities - once they drop them. A favourite of mine was the Thruster Pack, which lets you boost quickly in any direction, allowing you to get behind cover or rush someone with a melee weapon.
War Games in Halo 4 will be familiar to anyone who's played multiplayer before - you won't feel like you're playing a different game - but quite a few things have been added or overhauled. There are two completely new game types, called Dominion and Extraction. Dominion is a team-based game like Territories: you have to capture three points on the map, and eliminate your opposition, but it has a stronger defensive element. Extraction has beacons on the map that you have to extract information from.
Only one episode of the three-month season of Spartan Ops is live, but so far it's the weakest aspect of Halo 4. It's not a bad game mode, but it's disappointing when you put it next to the campaign and multiplayer, which are both polished. There are five chapters in each episode, which are designed to be played co-operatively.
Halo 4 is everything you've loved about Halo. Yes, the series has changed hands, but the franchise is great. If you're a fan of Halo, it's time to suit up and save the universe. Again.
- © Fairfax NZ News