Halo returns with new blood and new focus

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When it was announced that future Halo games wouldn’t be developed by series creator, Bungie and instead to the brand new 343 Industries, fans kicked and screamed at the thought. This was Bungie’s baby, always has been and and the track record of other game companies coming in and taking over someone else’s property has been mixed at best.

343 was created by Microsoft with the sole purpose overseeing their golden egg franchise, Halo, as Bungie had made enough revenue to separate from the electronic giant. From the get go, all odds were against this little game development team.

So it is with great relief and enthusiasm to report that 343 Industries deserves our apologies. Not only did this newborn company pick up the heavy burden of a colossal franchise, but they also managed to excel at it, which may be the result of some Bungie workers actually leaving to join 343.

So the first things first; if you’re looking for a game that renovates and rethinks design, than you shouldn’t buy Halo 4.

This game is specifically built by fans for fans, and for those who weren’t fans this wont convert, if anything this will bring former fans of the series tired from the last few installments back into the fray.

The most surprising strength of Halo 4 is its storyline. For a game about killing aliens it has a genuine emotional core. The theme itself is a question on whether man is a killing machine or a compassionate, loving being that is the successor of a long evolutionary chain.

The greatest struggle Master Chief, the main character, faces isn’t the physical onslaught of interstellar war but the ongoing fear of losing his closest friend.

The story is so good that we only wish the game was longer. Not only because of its addictive gameplay, but each new twist and turn comes a little too close together.

343 can’t really be blamed for making the game short, they have deadlines to meet and families to go home to, but it’s something every game developer and producer should think of. Is the pacing right? It seems that it’s financially easier just to cut back on content.

We haven’t focused a lot on gameplay or multiplayer and the reason is because there’s nothing to talk about. Its Halo, it’s the template for other first person shooters.

The one element that has seen a boost is in the sound design. It compliments the already fine tuned shooter gameplay with bone crunching, viscera shredding audio.

This time around multiplayer has “loadouts” and “killstreaks” a concept that has been played out by the Call of Duty series.

Mulitplayer hasn’t really needed changing with the exception of a few new gadgets and guns, but again the series doesn’t need to change much.

The future of Halo is now brighter than it had any right to be. We give Halo 4,  four rampant AI’s out of five.