Just when you thought Master Chief was dead and lost in space and Bungie had hung up their Halo-making shoes for the last time, the dominant shooter franchise of the 2000s will continue on in Halo 4. The return of Master Chief is significant because we all thought we had “finished the fight” when we put down the Covenant, the Flood and our controllers after Halo 3. Now we know a good hero never really dies.
We’ve only seen a small slice of Halo 4’s multiplayer experience but we’ve heard a whole lot of chatter about what’s in store for Halo fans later this year.
The collection of weapons in multiplayer seemed to be limited to human gear and included the assault rifle, the battle rifle, the pistol, the shotgun and the (semi-powerful) semi-automatic. We’d give you the official Halo-universe names for those guns but that info probably isn’t as important as how you’re going to use them. The balance of the weapons is surely still being tuned for multiplayer modes, however, the battle rifle still, and once again, feels like it will be the most effective instrument of death. The burst fire is just too inviting. Similarly the assault rifle feels like the same waste of bullets that it’s been since the original Halo back in 2001. One weapon element that we will note is that the range on the shotgun is very tight. Yes, you’ll be putting down enemies easily, but you’ll have to be right on top of them. Ironically, sneaking up behind enemies and using stealth will be the perfect play style with the loud and messy shotgun.
The Spartan Ops component to Halo 4 could be the future of gaming if it comes off the way 343 Industries has described. Essentially, you’ll get free weekly missions --playable by up to four cooperative players online-- that will explore characters, stories and areas that exist alongside the main single player campaign. Sounds intriguing if the Spartan Ops are, in fact, included in the price of the game AND if we’re getting missions that feel like they’re part of the main story. That is, the dialog, conditions and a few characters and locations in both the single player campaign and the downloaded missions actually sync up and mesh together.
Free weekly episodic gameplay that looks and feels like the real thing and lets up to four players battle cooperatively? That could be 60 bucks well spent this November.