Beyond DLC, there's the new and improved Forge Mode, where you're once again free to unleash your inner Cartographer. In place of Halo: Reach's sprawling, singular Forge World, Halo 4's editor offers a selection of smaller maps (including all those you'll find in regular multiplayer) to tinker with. The tinkering is a lot easier nowadays, thanks to some smart new tools which allow you to duplicate or lock down objects and delete whole groups at once. There are some great new props, too, like the "trait zones" which let you dramatically alter the proceedings by, for instance, turning all those in the vicinity invisible or dialling back their gravity by 50 per cent. At the same time, the tweaking is very much an exercise in preaching to the converted; impatient players will probably forgo the pleasure.
It's tempting to treat Halo 4 as a taste of things to come. Arriving right at the cusp of a console generation change-over, the game's alluring looks hint at the cosmic attractions of Halo 5. The tellingly named Infinity fiction, meanwhile, points to a future where downloadable, possibly free-to-play episodes are the main event rather than a sideshow. But the hesitancy of 343's revisions and additions also invites you to look through their creation, pondering what might have been - or more justly, what probably will be. Microsoft's home-grown mega-studio has proven that it can make a great Halo. It has yet, however, to render Bungie's creations surplus to requirements.
For more about multiplayer, read Ed's thoughts as to how Halo 4 learns from Call of Duty and Battlefield.
A fine start for the Reclaimer Trilogy
- The most beautiful shooter we've played
- The usual terrific on and offline gunplay
- Expanded elements are worthwhile
- Underwhelming campaign
- Spartan Ops can't match Firefight