So the end of 2012 brought us Halo 4 which represented a new beginning for the franchise on two fronts, the first being the start of a new trilogy (the Reclaimer trilogy) and the second more crucial one is that it is the first entry in the franchise created by 343 Industries, the team created solely to continue the Halo series.
Lets start by saying that visually the game is absolutely stunning, quite possibly one of the best looking games released this generation. Everything has been given a complete re-tooling, weapons from the older games are given an overhaul but when all said and done it’s still recognisable as a Halo game. Sound too is very good, Neil Davidge had an impossible task in following Marty O’Donnell‘s iconic score but he does an impressive job of making his own mark (listen out for a familiar tune in the end credits though).
The campaign picks up a few years after the end of Halo 3 and is exactly what you would expect from a Halo game, it’s great to be back with the Master Chief and Cortana again. The only negative side to it is that a lot of the nuance to the story is lost if you haven’t read some of the expanded universe novels or watch the Forward Unto Dawn web series but it’s still a fantastic ride from start to finish.
Multiplayer is also very good, I don’t usually bother as a rule but found myself playing a lot more than I expected. Firefight mode has been replaced with the Spartan Ops mode which actually has a story and cutscenes to further flesh the mode out and the suspicion is that this will in some ways lead into the inevitable Halo 5.
All in all 343 have crafted a hell of a debut effort, one of the games of 2012 for me, and I look forward to seeing what they can do going forwards as it’s likely to be a hell of a ride.