"Halo" series remains hallowed with its fourth entry

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The best game in the series? Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Spartans never die; they just go missing in action. True to its iconic saying, the Halo franchise returns under the helm of 343 Industries, and after reawakening Master Chief, opens the Halo Universe to an entire new trilogy.

After inheriting the mantle from Bungie Studios, 343 industries faced the challenge of expanding on a riveting and well-known gaming franchise. Their work has culminated in the best Halo game to date.

The completely redesigned structure of game play, graphics, audio and story create an experience like no other. The starting menu’s epic music alone was enough to have me on the edge of my seat. With the game’s emotional story, weekly cooperative missions, and competitive multiplayer option, there’s more than enough for fans to invest in.

Halo 4’s campaign is unlike any other. This time, throughout the progression of the story, our faceless, robot-like super soldier is made relatively more human. The campaign has an underlying focus on Master Chief and Cortana’s relationship that meets an emotional climax at the end. The new antagonist and his sect of cronies are some of the toughest opponents of the Halo series, armed with advanced weaponry and near impossible powers. The Covenant also make a return, but in comparison to the Prometheans, are but a minor threat. Cut scenes are amazing with breathtaking atmosphere, subtle and well-rounded audio, and beautiful motion capture.

The story however tends to get confusing toward the end. Only those well versed in the Halo lore would have a better understanding. The story itself is relatively short, composed  only of 8 missions.

Overall though, the campaign is fun to play and is sprinkled with those little secrets Halo fans love so much.

Halo 4 adds a new edition to its gaming experience: the weekly cooperative Spartan Ops. Taking the helm of a customizable Spartan super soldier, players can participate in periodic “episodes” with up to four friends as they delve deeper into the Halo lore. Spartan Ops actually takes place after the Halo 4 story line, and is said to shed some light on the mysterious Prometheans. There is no scoring system or competitiveness to the “episodes” which starts to take away from replay value. Also, Halo 4’s host system can be terrible at times; with players, enemies, and vehicles teleporting all over the map.

Ordinance is a new feature, allowing players with enough kills to reap certain rewards.

Another new feature is the Specialization class, in which players who have advanced to level 50 can go on into a special sect of the Spartans, each sect adding substantial benefits to game play.

Multiplayer is an addictive and entertaining feature in Halo 4, one that I could proudly say is keeping me from finishing my college applications.

In all aspects, Halo 4 is an amazing game. Although having minor connection problems and a somewhat shifty storyline, the game play and emotional investment undoubtedly make up for it. This is a must have for Halo fans, and for the new fans, a great introduction into a new trilogy.