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Halo 4 Review

Halo 4 Review

It feels like an age since Halo 3 was released on the Xbox 360 and we saw an end to the original trilogy. Yes, we've had games like Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach to keep us occupied in the mean time, but the desire to play as Master Chief again has always remained. Cue the Reclaimer trilogy, a new saga that not only sees return Master Chief at the helm, but 343 Industries take over from Bungie as the main developer moving forward.

Having been awoken from his cryonic sleep by Cortana, Master Chief doesn't have much time to acclimatise to his situation. The UNSC Forward Unto Dawn is under attack by an unknown foe and his immediate concern is to defend the ship and try to get the situation under control.

Before he's able to do this, the ship, and numerous Covenant vessels, are sucked into a gravity well, forcing them to crash land on a Forerunner planet. From here, Master Chief gets involved in another conflict of epic proportions, as he must stop an ancient Forerunner from destroying the human race.

Previous Halo games have perhaps been overly praised for their story, but with Halo 4 any praise that goes in the direction of story feels justified. The relationship between Master Chief and Cortana, who is struggling to fight off her Rampancy, feels genuine and how Master Chief interacts with other UNSC soldiers also feels more developed. There are those who are still in awe of him for his achievements, but there are others who are quick to undermine and dismiss him - it all helps to give the story some substance.

The construction of the story also deserves some praise. You're always aware of not only what you're doing, but why it's critical that it gets done. This is something that benefits from cutscenes where interactions with other soldiers take place as you're given not only extra impetus to perform the tasks, but additional information on why it's necessary.

Gameplay in Halo 4 is everything that fans of the franchise have come to expect and 343 industries has done a great job in ensuring the transition from development studio hasn't been very noticeable. You'll get to experience the sheer power of Master Chief as he smacks Covenant in the face, but also boards Banshees to reign fire down on his opposition.

Traditional weapons are available, such as the Assault Rifle and Battle Rifle and there are some pretty neat Forerunner weapons in there too, which act as a slightly more high-tech pistol, sniper rifle, assault rifle and sniper rifle. However, while much of the gameplay works pretty well, the zooming of weapons still feels very dated. Many other first-person shooters have adopted the user of iron sights, but Halo 4 still has a full-screen takeover if you want to focus in a specific target. The vehicular combat also seems a bit clunky, especially when manning Banshee.

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