What 343 Industries seems to be focusing a lot on is integration for Halo 4. Sure the story is new and there are a ton of tweaks to maps, weapons and all that but what really seems to be the main mission is making game play seamless. The objective from the developer's ambition is to guide players from campaign to coop and then to competitive. What they have been able to accomplish this far does that in a non-invasive way. You're still free to do whatever you want but to get the most out of Halo 4, you should roll the suggested route.
The story takes place 4 years after Halo 3 on the UNSC Infinity. Master Chief is awaken from his cryogenic sleep by Cortana who picks up on an invasion. Master Chief wakes up, checks it out and Cortana is right, the ship's been invaded by the Covenant. From there, all hell breaks loose.
Since we now have the main plot out of the way, here are a few detailed notes about the game itself.
Improved Animation and Graphics
Gone are the days of characters looking like Botoxed soccer moms when they're expressing emotion. In a demo I was able to get a look at, Cortana's face accurately connected to what she was dealing with at that moment. The detail on everything especially the Covenant aliens are sharp, more vivid and bigger. They don't feel like random AI enemies anymore, you get the feeling that you're dealing with an actual being and not digital dummies.
Left-haned Players Are Welcomed
The average gamer like most of the population is right-handed, so a lot of the time lefties are left out. In Halo 4, more controller options are being included for southpaws.
There will be 5 extra objective-based missions called Spartan Ops that will be released weekly along with the main game. Each cooperative mission will focus heavily on characters that you come across in campaign mode. They're like sequels to the main story but more so felt like complimentary stories for the hardcore Halo heads deep into the title's universe. It's advised to play through campaign mode before the extra stories to avoid spoilers but who follows good advice in gaming anyway?
Maps will be more vehicle friendly.
Not much else to say about that right now. We'll see later on as the game further develops.
Casual Players Won't Feel Alienated
Just because you're not a head shot artist doesn't mean that you won't be able to reap the rewards of warfare. Instead of scoring points just for kills, players who aren't as skilled in combat can earn points for performing other roles like distracting the enemy, being a support shooter, etc. These lower impact roles will allow casuals to level up their Spartans to better prepare themselves for multi-player battles against the more dangerous players.
With November 6th still a while away, there's still a lot going on in the back that 343 refused to talk about. However, they did say that they will be making a few big announcements at E3 in June. We'll be there covering so expect to find out all the latest developments as we hear them.