After finishing the fight in Halo 3, the Master Chief returns to the Xbox 360 this November following a 5-year absence (unless you count 2011’s Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary) to begin an entirely new chapter in the Halo mythos. Halo 4, the first title produced exclusively by 343 Industries, is also the first in a new trilogy of Halo games that will further the wildly popular series. Continuing our gaming coverage at San Diego Comic-Con, we had the opportunity to sit down and play a few rounds of Halo 4 multiplayer, as well as hear about what to expect from the new title this fall.
After diving into a round of the new Infinity Slayer multiplayer mode, one word describes the experience: familiar. Not stale or rehashed, but comfortable and recognizable. Right away, the armaments you’ve come to know and love are readily available, and, almost instinctively, you know that your grenades are at that left trigger, just waiting to be stuck to someone’s face. One detail that jumped out at me was the sound design in the new game. The assault rifle sounded louder and angrier, an improvement that I also saw (or heard…) in Mass Effect 3. It’s a small detail, but it adds more to the gameplay experience than you might think.
The Halo franchise may have been bequeathed by Bungie to 343i, but these new custodians are definitely treating it with respect. They have maintained a visual style that has evolved over the course of 11 years (and two consoles), and even incorporated game mechanics that have recently made their way into the series, such as the multiplayer weapons loadout and assassinations, which first appeared in Halo: Reach. Style and mechanics aside, as a rabid Halo fan, I am waiting to hear how composer Neil Davidge follows an act like the decade-long collaboration of Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori. Music matters.
With only a few rounds of multiplayer to satiate our Halo cravings, our desire to dive into the new campaign grows even more ravenous. The promise of the new Spartan Ops episodic DLC isn’t helping either…
Halo 4 arrives on Xbox 360 consoles on November 6th.