It has been four years since Halo 3 was released back in September of 2007, and since then we have been waiting for a true Halo sequel that could revitalize the series. Since then, numerous Halo titles have been put out onto the market, but have failed to live up to the expectations of fans of the original trilogy. But, with the release of the most recent Halo 4: First Look trailer, I have to say that my faith in the series has been reignited. The trailer starts with the 343 Studios team talking about their expectations for what they want Halo 4 to be and what they needed to do in order to achieve this goal, but what really catches your attention, at around 45 seconds into the video, is the absolutely stunning Master Chief model. Right away you can tell that not only is this game worthy of being a Halo title, but it is by far the best looking Halo game in the series, possibly worthy of being a next generation console title. The lighting is gorgeous, all of MC’s armor reflects light giving him a true “savior” look… coupled with the new higher polygon count, Master Chief looks like the hero we all know and love. The team then gives some background information for the basis of this games story, and if you have listened to the podcast before than you know that I am an avid reader of the Halo Universe books and my favorites have to do with John’s background before he became Spartan-117. Well, to my surprise that’s what 343 decided to focus on in this installment! The Spartan project has one of, if not, the best plot backgrounds to a character in all of video game history, and for 343 to put this into a game with upgraded graphics, lighting, and the return of the BR (we will get to that in a sec) well you have a Halo game that might actually be able to topple Halo 2 as the raining champ for the best installment in the Halo Franchise.

Following the segment on Master Chief, 343 shows off some what could be awesome new features coming to Halo 4. They claim that they want you to feel like a super soldier and that it was key to integrate that into this title. What this ends up translating into, as far as the video is concerned, is some vaulting actions and Gears of War like terrain movements. Will this mean that there is going to be terrain vaulting in the game? Well, that’s yet to be seen, but what we do know is that 343 is bring some elements to the game that the Haloverse has not seen before.

 

Lastly, the return of the Battle Rifle. The BR got a remodel and it looks awesome. Part old school BR, part new model, paired with a new skin makes for one badass looking weapon, and that is something all you old school Halo fans can really appreciate and get behind. Also, it appears like 343went back to the Halo 2 health bar system, where you have a shield and once that shield depletes you die unless you find cover for long enough for it to regenerate. It also appears that they did away with the reticle bloom, and went back to the roots which encouraged players to be accurate and learn how fast they could shoot the BR to achieve  max efficiency. The last big change will be coming in the form of  the character you will be playing as. In this installment you will be playing as the Spartan IV which is the predecessor to the Halo: Reach model. 343 decided that instead of trying to tie in the multiplayer and single player they would create each separate of the other in order to maintain a fluid experience for both. This to me is an amazing change to the game and one that is well needed. This will allow both single player and multiplayer to be almost two separate games each giving the player a unique experience depending on their play style and preference.
The important thing you should you take away from all of this is pretty simple:  Having played every Halo game to date, I can honestly say that Halo 4 is shaping up to be the sequel that its hardcore fans have so longingly awaited. While nothing is certain at this point in time, the information we do have is a legitimate reason to become re-interested and possibly even hyped for the release of the anticipated Master Chief sequel. Get excited.

-Dr. T

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