Master Chief will be making his long-awaited return to the sci-fi "Halo" series on Nov. 6, when the fourth chapter, "Halo 4," hits stores.
Fans everywhere have been waiting to see how the saga continues with a new developer, 343 Industries, taking over for the previous team, Bungie.
While we weren’t able to see how single-player option was shaping up just yet, we did get some hands-on time with the competitive side of the game playing the new co-op and multiplayer options.
For co-op, 343 is introducing a new Spartan Ops episodic series, one that will be free to access for those with an Xbox Live Gold account, available for download through the system’s marketplace. These are short but fulfilling cooperative missions, in which your team works together to complete objectives, such as retrieving an important artifact or wiping out Covenant alien enemies. These are backed by a CG storyline sequence that explains what’s happening in that part of the universe, so you don’t feel lost.
As for the competitive multiplayer option, "Halo 4" has introduced a series of varied maps that fans will become accommodated to rather quickly. They’re different in size, and we saw two of them during a recent hands-on session, including the immense Adrift, featuring multiple walkways on a deep space freighter, and the smaller Haven, where the hallways are much more cramped, providing better opportunities for battle.[ 'God of War: Ascension' for PS3 Adds Multiplayer Gaming ]
For those concerned with how 343 would do with the controls, we’re happy to report that "Halo 4" feels just as good as previous entries in the series. These soldiers can still shoot, hurl grenades and smack someone with the butt of their rifle like a champ, while also maneuvering around and picking up bonus items. Completing certain goals within the multiplayer option also unlocks a secondary reward, such as a speed boost or extra grenades to hurl at the opposing team. [ Carnage Reigns in 'Prototype 2' for Xbox 360 and PS 3 ]
The game strongly supports Xbox Live, enabling players to track their statistics and see how they perform as a team with fellow soldiers in battle. The competition is fierce, but certainly welcome, especially when you’ve got a score to settle against a friend who beat you the previous time. You’re actually awarded points for a "revenge kill," as they call it. [ Gritty Action Returns With 'Max Payne 3' ]
"Halo 4" also looks fantastic. Between the co-op mission and the two map packs, there is plenty of diverse design here, while each locale also feels true as a whole to the "Halo" universe. Who could ask for anything more?
When " Halo 4 " hits stores in November for $60, we’ll see if Master Chief and his friends can live up to the legacy. But so far, so good.
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