November 6, 2012: the Master Chief lives again.
For those of you who thought everything ended with 2007’s HALO3: suit up, reload and get ready to enter the HALO universe again. HALO 4 is the start of a brand-new saga of HALO games called the Reclaimer Trilogy. Whereas the original trilogy of HALO games was developed by Bungie, this new games is the work of 343 Industries (a subsidiary of Microsoft), who took over development of all things HALO. They’ve reason to be proud: HALO 4 proudly wields and IGN score of 9.8 and a Metacritic score of 87.
HALO (the progeny of Microsoft and Bungie) is legend. It’s the biggest shooter in XBOX history. The original HALO pioneered many of the shooter mechanics in modern games and brought to life a vivid, sci-fi universe. Over time, novels and short movies filled up the backstory, explored other storylines, developing the HALO universe into a worthy rival to the likes of Star Wars and BOLO. 2 game installments later: the protagonist, the cybernetically engineered supersoldier known as the Master Chief, ended up drifting away into space in a battered hulk of a spaceship. The story arc ended.
The new game sees the Master Chief awaken after a four-year sleep (a curious parallel to the game’s development time) and pits the players against a new nemesis: the Didact, a Forerunner bent of retooling humanity. That’s the blurb, but in truth there’s a deeper tale: the struggle of Cortana, the ageing Ai sidekick, who now fights against her inevitable, electronic madness. We’ll leave the finer points storyline to those of you who actually play the game.
We can say that HALO 4 sticks to the time-honored HALO tradition of raising the bar with each new game – visuals, audio, the lot, and it has retained the series’ open gameplay. Unfortunately, like HALO 3, this is an Xbox 360 exclusive. With HALO 5 and 6 on the horizon, Microsoft has bought its ageing Xbox360 console (released in 2005) a whole lot more time.