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Video Game Review: New ‘Halo’ rises above the rest

Robert Penalber
News Editor

The “Halo” franchise has continued its momentum as Xbox’s killer app, stifling any worries over Microsoft’s decision to replace developing partner Bungie with 343 Industries.

Following its successful predecessors, members of Halo Nation can rejoice and be certain that the first installment of the Reclaimer Trilogy will not disappoint.

Four years after falling into a cryogenic sleep, Master Chief is awakened to find that a new evil known as the Prometheans has risen, leading him to the planet Requiem.

The Prometheans arguably pose the greatest challenge to players thus far, with their ability to promptly teleport, shield allies, and ricochet explosives.

Their weapons include suppressor rifles, pulse grenades and scattershot shotguns.

The Prometheans are broken down into three types – Crawlers, Knights and Watchers – and join the Covenant enemies, such as the Grunts and Elites.

Still, the Prometheans stand as much greater opponents to Master Chief than the Covenant ever did.

The game introduces several changes to player weaponry for the protagonists as well, including the classics such as the standard assault rifle and long-range designated marksman rifle.

Players will be forced to search for ammunition or shoot conservatively- tactics they may not have picked up from the previous games.

It is at the point of landing on Requiem that the game succeeds in paying homage to the preceding games by showcasing a similar setup.

The plot holds strong, drawing focus to Master Chief’s ally Cortana, who is nearing her expiration date as artificial intelligence.

As the duo takes on the new antagonists, players will begin to see an unexpected emotional shift in relationship between the two.

Though the game puts forth an impressive narrative that is a new breakthrough for the Halo series, it’s the action that puts “Halo 4” on a separate tier.

One of its greatest features lies in the multiplayer mode known as the War Games.

Though still secondary to the game’s story campaign, the enhanced multiplayer mode introduces new customization options and a variety of matches.

Customization options become available based upon a player’s experience level in multiplayer mode and determine which perks are available for your custom loadouts.

The game still has original matches like King of the Hill and Infinity Team Slayer, but contains new types like Regicide, in which players earn points by killing the first-place opponent.

Dominion replaces Invasion as a match type where each team must focus on capturing and maintaining control of three bases.

Firefight mode from “Halo 3” and “Halo: Reach” is replaced by Spartan Ops, the new cooperative mode that allows up to four players to participate in a series of missions.

The downloadable series extension will be made available to players throughout the course of several months, hopefully proving worthy to the trilogy.

The cherry on top is the game’s graphic development and improved sound effects, far better than any of the previous installments.

The three-dimensional maps in the game are among the best for any Xbox 360 game.

Ultimately, 343 Industries has done an incredible job in setting a new standard for future sequels to the Halo franchise.

Robert Penalber can be reached at robert.penalber@laverne.edu.

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