“Halo 4” shoots high in quality

Master Chief made his long awaited return to college campuses around the world, and once again, it is worth the wait.

“Halo 4,” part of a video game series based in a future society where protagonist Master Chief fights aliens for the freedom of mankind, hit stores last week as an Xbox 360 exclusive.

There are a plethora of small yet significant additions to both the campaign and online gameplay that enhance the player’s experience. These changes make “Halo 4” a more three-dimensional game, yet are subtle enough to stay true to “Halo’s” revolutionary style of first-person shooting. In first-person shooters, too many complicated features often make the game difficult to figure out, and thus a challenge to enjoy.

Taking a page out of the “Call of Duty” (another popular first person shooter) book, “Halo” implemented a handful of features to the fourth installment. Sprint, active crosshairs, and power ups (like a jet pack and a shield) have all taken the gaming experience to the next level.

The campaign received a ground level face lift with a massive improvement in graphics. Both the in-game display and the animated videos before each level are refined with sharp images and movement that immerse the player into the newest chapter of the story. “Halo” has always been strong at creating original story lines, and with the covenant aliens back at war with the United Nations Space Command (UNSC), the war from the previous games continues to grab the player’s attention.

The high-flying online experience, with improved aerial vehicles, brings a new element to the game. The load out is a new feature that brings each player a personalized set of weapons, power ups, ordinances and grenades to begin each life with. This was a massive boost for online play because it enables gamers to customize his or her character with all of their favorite features. Players now have the ability to unlock weapons with level-ups while simultaneously increasing the performance of any given combination of futuristic weaponry. This makes the game interesting long after the initial marathon-week of playing.

If there is any remotely weak point of “Halo 4,” it would be the new levels. While a handful of battlegrounds are reminiscent of traditional levels from the earlier “Halo” games, and some of them purely revamped versions, too often the levels for online play are a hindrance. In some of the new locations, there isn’t a defined direction for either side. That means coordinating with your team (made up of other gamers on Xbox Live) is harder than it should be.

Yet overall, “Halo”s latest masterpiece is nothing short of brilliant, and is well worth the inflated $64.99. Now get out there and help Master Chief save the world, again.

 

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