Halo 4 Is Finally Here

November 7, 2012

News organizations are reporting that the youth turnout for yesterday's Presidential election was even higher than it was in 2012, which is absolutely astounding considering that Halo 4 was released yesterday.

The fourth installment of the franchise is set four years after Halo 3, and kicks off a new series and storyline which its creators have dubbed "The Reclaimer Trilogy." This means new challenges for the returning Master Chief, as well as new enemies including armored Prometheans, the teleporting monstrosities known as Knights, and many more.

Halo 4 also comes with a new cooperative game mode called "Spartan Ops," an ambitious venture which provides new levels via downloadable content from X-Box Live with five new objectives and cinematics released every week over the course of ten-week seasons. It's an expansion of Halo's already popular multiplayer option, but the shorter missions also make the game accessible to players with a more finite amount of free/playing time.

There's also increased customization for Spartans in multiplayer mode, as well as an expansion of the Commendations system from Halo: Reach. A new system of Specializations allows you to focus your Spartans' abilities and achieve higher ranks depending on which one you use. You start off immediately with two specialization sets, Wetworks and Pioneer, and six others are available for download: Engineer, Tracker, Rogue, Stalker, Pathfinder, and Operator.The game is out now in both Standard and Limited Editions. The Limited Edition comes packaged in a steel case emblazoned with the UNSC insignia, a "briefing packet" with information on new weapons and armor, a making-of documentary called "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn," and fiction to expand on the game's story. The perks don't stop with the presentation, however, as the Limited Edition also includes the War Games Map Pack, immediate access to all eight Specializations, the Assault Rifle Prime weapon skin, a Spartan Prime skin, and other features.

Critical reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, with the game netting a 9.8 out of 10 over at IGN and a 9.0 on GameTrailers. The game also received an 8.0 from Paste, a 9.0 from Gamespot, and an aggregate score of 87 according to Metacritic. USA Today calls the game "an action powerhouse." In particular, the game is being praised for providing a fresh and more engaging enemy than in more recent installments of the franchise, as well as providing new ways for the franchise to become accessible to more casual gamers.With the new features, perks, and game modes, Halo 4 promises to not only improve on its predecessors but also provide an enticement for gamers who have long since put down their controllers to revisit the franchise.

Check out GameTrailers' review of Halo 4 below.

Halo 4 is available now. The Standard Edition runs at a suggested retail price of $59.99. The Limited Edition set has a suggested retail price of $99.99.

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Source: 343 Industries/Microsoft Studios