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5 Reasons to Play Halo 4

Tuesday is a big day in North America. It’s a day where we decide to choose a man to lead us, to protect us, to do what’s best for us, no matter the risk.

Of course, I’m talking about Master Chief making his triumphant return in Halo 4, the highly anticipated sequel to the Xbox exclusive series that redefined the first-person shooter a generation ago.

But on several fronts, it’s not necessarily the most familiar territory Chief is venturing into. Coming in from a new development studio, adding in new story elements, and looking to change up the gameplay, Halo 4 is trying to prove that it can build on a formula while still managing to do something different with the franchise. And with glowing critical reception already being announced, it’s looking more than likely that Halo 4 will not disappoint. Still, as we’re only a few days away from it’s release, here are five reasons why this is a game that should be on your radar:

1) HALO GETS A MAKEOVER

Developers have said that the engine for Halo 4 is a significantly re-vamped version of the one used to make Combat Evolved: Anniversary. Their goal was to improve the visuals and make it a more seamless and living experience for players.

And on all accounts, they’ve succeeded. Halo 4’s graphical fidelity is nothing if not impressive. The lighting is realistic, the animation is fluid, the HUD has been redesigned to lend a more immersive feel to the experience, and enemies both old and new have been slightly re-imagined to give them a more hostile look and edge.

But it’s not just the graphics alone that impress in Halo 4. The presentation as a whole is much more well-realized and thought out. Sound design gives weapons and atmosphere more weight and life, and although the soundtrack is done by a different composer and borrows more of an electronic edge than the music of games before, it has still managed to impress, even being reported by Billboard as one of the top-selling game soundtracks of all time.

2) A NEW NARRATIVE WITH GREATER DEPTH

Halo 4 begins with Master Chief and Cortana landing on the mysterious planet Requiem as they track down the crashed Infinity. From there, the story takes  a number of surprise twists and turns, including the impending breakdown of Cortana as she struggles with Rampancy, a negative effect that happens to all UNSC AI after they’ve been in service for over seven years.

With Halo 4’s story, developers have tried to create a deeper and more rich narrative, adding a new layer of depth and humanity to John as he struggles with the dangers and trials put to him. Add to that their attempt at keeping a good pace for the story, and you’ve got a promising setup for a hard-hitting narrative.

3) RISE OF THE PROMETHIANS

It’s been said that Master Chief will encounter familiar and strange faces alike in his enemies. And yes, the Covenant will make an appearance, coming in with a redesign that has rendered them a little more alien and frightening than they were in previous installments.

But perhaps the most interesting development in Halo 4 is its introduction of new enemies, namely the Promethians, an ancient alien race and a new threat to Chief and the soldiers of the Infinity.

The Promethians come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the animal-like Crawlers to the feared Knights who are said to be tougher than Elites. Knights are one of the more dangerous new enemies Chief will face off against during his time on Requiem, and they’ll prove to be a challenge both with their combat-savvy approach to fighting and the pesky Watchers that follow and regenerate fallen Knights.

How the Promethians fit into the story and what their motives are are yet unknown to fans (other than those of you who played the game early, naughty), but with multiple difficulty levels and their own set of strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a wider range of challenges than the enemies of Halo 4.

4) TO ARMS!

Where the original Halo saw the introduction of weapons like the Needler andthe Energy Sword, Halo 4 looks to build on Master Chief’s arsenal by introducing a number of brand new weapons, including the powerful Foreunner Light Rifle and the shot-bouncing Scattershot. Weapons are obtained from fallen enemies, and the new enemies introduced in Halo 4 lead to this expanded set of options heading into battle.

Best of all, these new weapons won’t be confined to the single-player campaign only and will be available on Multiplayer loadouts as well.

Which leads me to…

5) NEW MULTIPLAYER

It’s no secret that Halo has a rich history of multiplayer, setting the bar for shooters back in the early days of the Xbox and proving to be exceptional time and time again. And with Halo 4, 343 Industries looks to continue the trend by introducing modes both old and new.

Probably the most familiar and beloved multiplayer made up of running around environments and knifing each other in Deathmatch will take place on the UNSC Infinity. Looking to add some narrative depth to the multiplayer experience in Halo 4, developers have said that these modes will serve as a time for players to build their character and hone their skills.

You’ll hone your skills, of course, for Spartan Ops, the episodic cooperative multiplayer mode that will allow players to help each other through various missions the studio plans to release on a regular basis. Spartan Ops looks to be a continued story arc involving the Infinity and the soldiers stationed within, giving the game a new layer for players to explore. Best of all, anyone who owns the game is automatically entitled to new episodes of Spartan Ops as they’re released, essentially giving Halo 4 a two-for-one package by including what could be considered an entirely separate co-op-based game.

Of course, there are many reasons beyond even these 5 to be excited for Halo 4’s release on the Xbox 360 on November 6th. But really, the most exciting part about Halo 4 is just that; it’s more Halo, but a Halo redesigned for a new wave of players and new opportunities.

Oh yeah, and the election is on Tuesday as well. But, we’ll leave it to your Facebook friends to make sure you don’t forget about that.

 



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