GameSpot have published their thoughts on the Halo 4 preview they've been given and is available >here<.
A lot of the article is treading familiar ground so I'll just highlight the key points, you can jump over to GameSpot to read the full feature.
Microsoft's 343 Industries is taking Halo to the next level, while maintaining that almost undefinable feel of what it's like to be the Master Chief. "Wake up Chief. I need you." With Cortana's first words you feel like you are back to all of those hours of action-packed storytelling that filled the original Halo trilogy.
"We changed the HUD and we also added a sense of immersion--you can hear your breath as it sounds inside the helmet," said Frank O'Connor.
Running, jumping, shooting the battle rifle or pistol--it all feels very familiar. "It's definitely at a higher fidelity at this point. Our facial animation and motion capture technology are all going to make it look better."
The difference with Halo 4 [Spartan Ops] is that this story is episodic, with new missions being released each week. O'Connor said, "It's about the same amount of story as [a traditional] campaign stretched over weeks."
"Most people actually play campaign and don't play competitive." Besides giving players more bang for their buck, the Spartan Ops mode was created for another practical reason. Despite what a glance at the leaderboards seems to tell you, Halo players really don't play online. "Most people actually play campaign and don't play competitive. It's because the competitive landscape is really intimidating for people. So they prefer to play at their own pace," said O'Connor.
343 is hoping that Spartan Ops will get more gamers connecting online. O'Connor said, "It's competitive; [players are] competing for objectives and scores, but they are also cooperating to get the job done and experience the story."
The Spartan Ops story will stretch out for several weeks, but not months, according to O'Connor. And beyond that? "Season one comes free with the game. If we did another season we would be building that from scratch. Maybe that will be DLC; maybe it goes in the next game. We are still tinkering with that."
"We are not supporting 3D TVs or Kinect for Halo 4," said O'Connor. "3D in Halo Anniversary was a benefit we got from the method we used to switch between classic and modern graphics, and we were able
to use that area of the frame buffer to put out two sets of data at the same time."
"We are still pushing more and more of the graphics. We had one guy at the showcase who thought this was the next-gen preview. I wouldn't go that far, but it does look good. There is still more and more to be squeezed out of the box," said O'Connor.
As I watch Master Chief take down groups of Covenant, or as I run through the halls of a multiplayer map, it is hard to argue that the experience has been diminished by the use of current hardware. It is Halo, with a new shine of polish and new facets, but still the Master Chief's story. 343 just may satisfy Halo fans old and new. O'Connor said, "You have to strike a fine balance between adding and evolving, and messing with and breaking the recipe that's already been successful. It's a fine line to walk."
- Cowboy Out.