Halo 4 has arrived with a new story and a newbie-friendly multiplayer setup.
You don’t have to be a hardcore gamer to know that every Halo release is a big deal. Not only has the first-person shooter raked in over $40 million during its run so far, it’s also responsible for bringing gaming back into the mainstream. Halo transformed all the awkward lock-ins who lacked punany-hunting skills into rock stars. These days, megastars like Justin Bieber can be seen bypassing the velvet rope to get Halo franchises on launch day. Microsoft and 343 Industries know this and they intend to maintain the hype leading up to the November release of Halo 4.
This time around, Master Chief is awakened from his cryogenic sleep by his sexy, blue companion, Cortana, to investigate an alien invasion on their spaceship. As you’d suspect, it’s the Covenant, Chief’s long-time space foes. The difference in this release, though, is a broader storyline that’s separate from the previous titles and a more welcoming experience for players who aren’t FPS veterans. For example, players are able to level up their Spartan offline so they won’t get slaughtered as easily online during multiplay.
For gamers who are into the story just as much as emptying clips into E.T.s, 343 Industries is offering “Spartan Ops,” a weekly download of missions that spin off of the main plot. Think of them as playable bonus episodes that tie in the lore of the Halo universe explored in the novels and anime.
Other additions to Halo 4 include better controller options for lefties, more vehicle-friendly maps, and alternate ways to earn points other than racking up kills. This release is intended to recruit Spartan virgins into the franchise and by the looks of it, that will happen. Unfortunately for all the 13-year-old sharpshooters looking for fresh meat online, the battlefield is leveling out.
November 6, $60, xbox.com