Halo 4

XB360 / Action / Release: Nov 6, 2012 / ESRB: M

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Halo 4 offers free MS Points in multiplayer

Halo 4 offers free MS Points in multiplayer

Say, you wouldn't happen to be planning to play a lot of Halo 4, would you? If so, you're in luck, as Microsoft is offering a stack of free MS Points through its Xbox Live Rewards programme simply for playing the latest shooty-shoots. If you're not that bothered about Halo 4 and just want the free points, well, there are probably better uses for your time.

Read more: Up to $10 in 'free' Points »

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Halo 4 Forge preview: building traits

Halo 4 Forge preview: building traits

Halo 4 brings back a fan-favorite mode: Forge. This time around, the mode will feature three exclusive maps, each offering some much-need variety. Ravine is a lush green environment, similar in appearance to Halo 3's Valhalla. Erosion is a cavernous area located within a desert terrain, and Impact is set in an abandoned area in deep space filled with asteroids, craters, and UNSC facilities.

Dynamic lighting is a new addition to Forge that helps create a greater sense of immersion. Objects that are placed in outdoor areas will create realistic shadow effects. Shadows will appear in real-time through the map's natural light sources and also from the various artificial light pieces available.

Read more: How 'traits' change the game »

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Halo 4 Spartan Ops preview: getting what you pay for

Halo 4 Spartan Ops preview: getting what you pay for

Buzzwords like "platform" get tossed out a lot these days with major franchises. In business terms, it refers to the notion that a game can keep doling out content well after its release. Halo 4 wants to be more than a game, it wants to be a content hub that will be relevant for months and maybe even years to come.

The main tentpole in 343's attempt to transform the game into a "platform" is the new Spartan Ops mode--a replacement for Halo Reach's Firefights, featuring a series of discrete missions organized into 10-week seasons. Each mission is like an episode in a television series, only if that show released five episodes a week instead of one. That adds up to 50 episodes a season, and it's all free.

Read more: Uneven quality, but hey, it's free »

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Halo 4 'Competitive Skill Rank' coming post-launch

Halo 4 'Competitive Skill Rank' coming post-launch

You can start throwing down in Halo 4 multiplayer matches tomorrow, but 343 Industries has already detailed a major update coming to the ranking system early next year. The "Competitive Skill Rank" system will assign you a skill rank, fully visible on your Waypoint profile, and use it to match you in games with opponents of comparable skill ranks.

Read more: A separate CSR for each game type »

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How friendly is Halo 4 to series newcomers?

How friendly is Halo 4 to series newcomers?

The Halo universe can be bewildering at times. Like any good sci-fi franchise, it has its own vocabulary--Forerunners, the Flood, the Mantle, Reach. It also a lot of backstory, most of which has been parceled out in licensed books and other material over the years.

Is it even possible to get into Halo 4 without knowing about the original games? Should you be playing Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary first? Here's the case for both approaches.

Read more: A stand-alone story »

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Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn final episode released

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn final episode released

With Halo 4 arriving on store shelves next week to start a new chapter in the series, it's time for another story to end. The fifth and final episode of live-action webseries Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn launched today, wrapping up the prequel story of a rag-tag group of space-cadets facing an alien invasion.

Watch: Pow zap »

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Halo 4 review: setting the stage under new management

Halo 4 review: setting the stage under new management

If the newly announced Star Wars: Episode VII is anything like Halo 4, it figures to be at once ambitious but conservative; ready to rope in new fans, but desperate to please the old ones. As such, newcomer 343 Industries is looking less for a new beginning than to set the table for the franchise without alienating the fans. In that, they are reasonably successful.

Halo 4 picks up where the last numbered entry left off, but a few things have changed in the intervening years. The Flood is long gone, and the franchise's namesake -- the galaxy-busting Halo superweapons--only warrants a passing few mentions. The Covenant is still kicking around, but they could be replaced with any generic alien villain and function just as well. Their presence in the story mostly feels like a product of 343 Studios trying to inject a sense of familiarity into the proceedings. From there, Halo 4 jumps into what amounts to its own Mass Effect or Star Wars Episode IV--a standalone story that leaves the door open for something bigger.

Read more: Building for what's to come »

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Halo 4 studio calls Xbox Live sexism 'completely unacceptable'

Halo 4 studio calls Xbox Live sexism 'completely unacceptable'

Halo 4 is due out in less than a week, and you'll be able to hop onto a game on Xbox Live and hear insults you didn't even know were still in use. Gendered insults are among the popular past times on the service, and developer 343 wants users to know that is not cool. In fact, you guys shaming ladies are flat-out "jerks."

Read more: 'Dangerous to give adolescents a broadcast mechanism' »

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Halo 4 trailer shows off Spartan Ops Season 1

Halo 4 trailer shows off Spartan Ops Season 1

With Halo 4 arriving next week, Microsoft is cramming trailers and titbits into the gaping maws of hungry fans awaiting the most expensive game it's ever made. Someone's been sneaking snacks, though, as a trailer for the co-op Spartan Ops mode has appeared on the Internet, seemingly leaked out early.

Watch: Ooh, those naughty Covenant! »

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Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn introduces Master Chief

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn introduces Master Chief

Halo 4 is the most expensive game Microsoft's ever made, which isn't really surprising considering the surrounding marketing includes a feature-length live-action webseries with special effects up the wazoo. You can see more of the fruits of that big spending today, as fourth episode of Forward Unto Dawn is out now, introducing a real-life version of everyone's favourite chef, Petty Officer John-117.

Watch: Come on, you donkey »

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Halo 4 is 'most expensive' Microsoft title ever

Halo 4 is 'most expensive' Microsoft title ever

Microsoft has put out a lot of big games, but none have had more riding on them than Halo 4. Microsoft Studios chief Phil Spencer said the next installment in the Master Chief series is the most expensive game the company has ever made.

Read more: A $3 billion franchise »

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Halo 4 Map Pass adds nine DLC multiplayer maps

Halo 4 Map Pass adds nine DLC multiplayer maps

As expected for a tripe-A multiplayer game like Halo 4, there will be a DLC season pass available. Developer 343 Industries had revealed that the War Games Map Pass would be available for sale when the game launched November 6, but we finally find out what maps the DLC will include.

Watch: An ancient evil returns launch trailer »

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Forward Unto Dawn episode 3: War gets real

Forward Unto Dawn episode 3: War gets real

Episode 3 of the live-action Halo 4 video series Forward Unto Dawn is out today, with Cortana talking to herself, the cadets getting an unauthorized look at a Spartan, and war finally hitting the UNSC military academy.

Watch: Lasky has an allergy »

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Halo 4 trailer gives glimpse of Master Chief's origin

Halo 4 trailer gives glimpse of Master Chief's origin

The much-anticipated "Scanned" trailer for Halo 4 debuted last night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, giving a glimpse into the origins of Master Chief. It also makes it quite clear that Spartan 117 and the alien Prometheans aren't going to be getting along very well.

Watch: The origin of Master Chief »

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Halo 4 trailer goes in depth on multiplayer

Halo 4 trailer goes in depth on multiplayer

The Halo series in known for its multiplayer, but Halo 4 is looking to infuse some story in the multiplayer experience. 343 Industries has released a 13-minute trailer talking about co-op and multiplayer and how it ties to Infinity, the UNSC capital ship at the center of it all.

Read more: New map called Vortex »

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