RRP: $ 89.95 ( Reviewed on Xbox 360)
THE success of Microsoft’s Xbox console cannot be discussed without a mention of the smash hit franchise that has been kicking goals from the start.
This year the series is in new hands though, with a different developer as we embark on the first in a fresh trilogy of games.
Back in the boots of Master Chief for the first time in five years, the first thing Halo fans will experience, is a strong sense of nostalgia.
Off- handed grenade throws, snatched head shots and quick melees – the pace and rhythm will be as familiar as an old song to series veterans, but you’ll push on, pummelled by incredible graphics, breathtaking vistas, and before you know it, that old song gets into your head.
Just as that familiarity starts to crystallise into boredom, along come the changes. The most obvious of these are the Prometheans, synthetic warriors that are aggressive, surprising, and striking.
With repair drones, attack dogs, and sentry turrets bolstering their ranks, they make for a fresh challenge from the rank and file of Covenant troops.
But the real religious zealots of Halo 4 are its new creators, 343 Industries, taking Bungie’s famed 30 seconds of fun design philosophy as gospel. The fact they succeed is admirable, but it’s hard not to wish that they dared to play with, and subvert, this rule book.
The action is divided between the co- operative Spartan Ops mode and the competitive team based skirmishes. The extra level of effort here brings everything together.
An interesting side effect of the changes is that the online modes feel like the most accessible to new players, with specialisations guiding their progression, load- outs keeping them equipped and kill cams helping them to learn new techniques.
Best of all this latest chapter of Halo feels worlds away from other shooters on the market. With its jetpack powered kinetic battles, vehicle- based missions, and flashy pyrotechnics feeling more essential than ever.