The best sign that the Xbox 360 is nearing the end of its life as the main gaming console from Microsoft is the way the company has been treating exclusives for the platform, carefully making sure that a number of them are delayed to the spring of next year in order to power sales during the last few months of the console's life.
With the new Gears of War game delayed, it fell to Halo 4 to keep the Xbox 360 interesting for the fall and the Christmas shopping season and the game, to my surprise, delivers.
I had expected quality to drop after original developer Bungie left the Halo franchise and Microsoft created 343 Industries from scratch in order to steer its future, but Halo 4 is a glorious first-person shooter that offers great battles, some interesting narrative elements and innovation for the multiplayer modes.
Master Chief is again the main character and, with Cortana by its side but also somewhat separated as the game progresses, Halo 4 manages to recapture the feeling of exploration and awe that the first game in the series generated.
The game might err somewhat on the side of familiarity, but this is a game that understands that firefights are interesting when enemies are smart, groups are well designed and ammo is scarce enough to force players to scavenge and move around the battlefield.
Halo 4 also manages to look great, with bright colors, detailed characters and a smooth movement, showing that, even at the end of its life cycle, the Xbox 360 can still impress.
Sony had no big exclusive franchise that could take Microsoft’s Halo 4 on during this holiday season and that might explain some of the disparity in sales between the two companies.
We have a full Softpedia review for Halo 4 here.