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How does 343i's newest chapter in the Halo universe compare to its predecessors, and why has it become one of the most anticipated games of 2012? Jump in to find out!

Halo 4 is the culmination of the entire franchise, marking a new era for the Halo universe with the brand new Reclaimer saga. Featuring a multitude of new interactive features, pristine graphics, and a dynamic, epic story arc, Halo 4 breathes new life into the saga and brings gamers to a newly evolved series.

Many gamers were dubious about Bungie handing off their fan-favorite franchise to 343 Industries, passing off the torch of Halo–who's flame has been brightly burning for more than a decade–to a brand new studio…but 343i has proven that they are more than capable and that the Halo universe is in safe hands.

Halo 4 marks the return of the iconic Master Chief to the battlefield, reawakened after four long years of cryo-sleep to take on an ancient evil hidden within the strange Forerunner planet construct of Requiem. Spartan 117 faces impossible odds in true Halo style, balancing a hundred different incredible tasks on his shoulders while trying to save the cosmos as well as the UNSC and the rest of mankind at the same time.

This new chapter in the franchise brings with it a host of new features, adding a plethora of in-game content, game modes, weapons, and a huge story arc that continues over the next two chapters of the Reclaimer trilogy.

Halo 4 is filled with fully fleshed characters that have their own distinct personas: Commander Lasky (yes, that same cadet from the live-action series Forward Unto Dawn has grown up quite a bit) is easy-going, whereas Captain Del Rio is stern and stoic, leaving Commander Palmer an assertive and authorative female Spartan IV warrior who doesn't take no for an answer.

343 Industries has created an awe-inspiring visual spectacle that ushers in a new age of graphical presentation with Halo 4, leaping far ahead of that of Halo: Reach and raising the bar even further to deliver jaw-dropping vistas and incredible Forerunner constructs.

Everything from the expanse of the skies to the bizarre array of advanced Forerunner tech is eye-catching, and the character animations are perfectly fluid and incredibly realistic. During the game's many cutscenes, it's easy to mistake Commander Lasky's in-game character for a live-action recording of a real person: that's how good the graphics are.

343i's latest chapter in the series is pure entertainment and inspires a true sense of sci-fi fantasy that defines the series, bringing with it a mix of elation and curiosity as the Forerunners are shrouded in infinite mystery. The fourth installment of the Halo universe easily provides hundreds of hours of visually stimulating and entertaining gameplay, providing a treat for the eyes and ears of any gamer.

Infinity Multiplayer makes up the game's other half, and is just as impressive as Campaign. Featuring many new and familiar game modes, the multiplayer is split between Spartan Ops–which delivers a short and sweet Firefight-like gameplay experience–and War Games–the definitive competitive multiplayer action filled to the brim with frenetic action.

In Spartan Ops four players team together in co-operative matches to complete various objectives in episodic chapters that change week to week, affording a fresh new experience every week. War Games is the heart of Halo 4's multiplayer, delivering the classic in-your-face action that gamers are accustomed to: from King of the HIll to Oddball or classic Team Slayer, War Games is the ultimate Halo experience, bringing a new experience with every game.

Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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