The venerable Halo 4 franchise is going to close out the successful life of the Xbox 360 and has a distinct advantage here in that, at E3, Halo 4 revealed quite a bit of information and we loved all of it. The "Black Friday" targeted games usually get a full unveil at E3 so fans, marketers and the folks at Wal-Mart and Target who actually order truckloads of games can get fully excited for the title's launch. There's not much left to reveal with Halo as all of its pieces have been made clear. We just have to get our hands on the damn thing to see just what the story of the Reclaimers, the Spartan armor customization in multiplayer and the very promising Spartan Ops missions actually feel like.
We know, for example, that the Covenant, at least a splinter group of them, are back in Halo 4 and they'll be joined by a malicious new category of enemies that hate Master Chief in a way that will surely seem irrational. Of course nobody wants to slay zillions of enemies in a shooter when those enemies are all emotionally stable and whatnot. Just saying, these new guys are supposed to be even more angry than the Covenant. The upside of that anger is you get to use new weapons on those new aliens and the scattershot (one of two revealed so far) seems like its ricocheting shot ability will be very handy in confined spaces. How aliens are able to get weapons that know when to ricochet off of a wall but not off of an enemies forehead is one of the great mysteries of the universe and video games. I just know I'll be using the hell out of it.
We're going to have plenty more on Halo 4 as we wind toward November 6. Like we said, this will be the final chapter for Halo on Xbox 360 and, other than Nintendo's Mario games, you'd be hard pressed to find a first-party franchise that has sold more consoles. Xbox 1080 or whatever it's called will surely be picking up the next installment in this new Halo story arc.
Honorable Mention Hot Coffee Mug for Best Veteran Shooter: Call of Duty: Black Ops II
I forget exactly what specific sales record the first Black Ops set but we know that thing sold many millions of copies around the world. Cold War-era music, locations and characters plus Ice Cube as a voice actor surely had a lot do with it. For Black Ops II, then, I'm predicting Ronald Reagan (zombie or otherwise) Tammy Faye Baker, Mr. T, Iran-Contra Scandal and other 80s tidbits that will get all sorts of mainstream coverage. If Activision hadn't held so much back, this game would be our Best Veteran Shooter for sure.