343 Industries’ “Halo 4” has been an anticipated release for Halo enthusiasts for a while because it brings the return of the much-loved character, Master Chief, who gamers have missed since 2007’s “Halo 3”. It is the first installment of a new trilogy for the series called the “Reclaimer Trilogy.”
The plot of the game picks up with Master Chief and Cortana aboard the wreckage of the UNSC ship “Forward Unto Dawn”. The adrift ship puts the protagonists close to a strange planet, which is obviously just begging for investigation. A large part of the plot line will reportedly deal with Cortana’s exposure to Halo at the end of “Halo 3” and how that exposure affects her functionality. It’s theorized that it could cause her to suffer from what is essentially Artificial Intelligence insanity, and could ultimately cause her destruction. The story will also show how the people have adjusted to life after defeating Covenant.
The title is a first person shooter; however, there is a lot more mystery and exploration than what one would typically see in an FPS. The modes of the game consist of campaign and multiplayer. The campaign mode can be completed both solo and cooperatively. The cooperative campaign can be played via split screen with one additional person or over Xbox Live with up three additional players. Interestingly, in the cooperative campaign all players will reportedly play as Master Chief. “Halo 4” is also offering a story driven game mode similar to the Firefight game mode found in “Halo: Reach” and “Halo 3: ODST.” “Spartan Ops” will have five objective-based campaigns over a period of ten weeks.
The multiplayer mode, “Infinity”, will allow the gamer to customize their Spartan-IV super soldier, and allow them to advance rank through gameplay in War Games, Spartan Ops, and Forge and Theater. XP points, used to upgrade rank, can also be won by completing commendations and challenges. Each rank achieved awards the player with Spartan Points that can be used to purchase weapons, armor, and other equipment upgrades. After successfully reaching rank SR-50, eight specializations will unlock allowing players to further customize their Spartan. Each specialization contains ten ranks, and once those ten ranks are complete, the gamer can switch to a different specialization. The specializations are Pioneer and Wetworks which will be available at launch; Engineer, Tracker, Rogue, Stalker, Pathfinder, and Operator.
“Halo 4” will also include the map-editing tool Forge that was introduced in “Halo 3”.
So far, it sounds like 343 Industries, who took over this franchise from Bungie, has done a promising job with the title. At around 12:15am tomorrow morning most of the “Halo” franchise fans will be finding out firsthand what it’s like to be Master Chief once again. Happy Haloing.