Halo 4 is an Xbox 360 exclusive first person shooting game created by 343 Industries and released November 6, 2012. The game is a continuation of what has proven to be an FPS dynasty, started by Halo: Combat Evolved back in 2001. Halo 4 is widely considered the best game of the series, and some critics have said it is the best Xbox 360 first person shooting game of 2012 if not the best overall. It features a campaign that can be played cooperatively with another person on the same console or online, the "Infinity" online multiplayer, objective-based missions called Spartan Ops as well as the Forge, wherein players can create their own multiplayer maps.
The Halo franchise started out with Halo: Combat Evolved, and rapidly rose to be one of the top shooting franchises in the industry. Halo 2 also enjoyed success, while Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST both were thought to fall short of the bar set by their predecessors (according to critics; Halo 3 far outsold Halo 2). Halo: Reach was considered much better than either of the previous games, but again didn't do as well as expected. Those are the only games created by Bungie, the company (owned by Microsoft at the time) that started the franchise. Halo 4 was created by 343 Industries (created by Microsoft for that purpose), putting the new company under pressure to perform as well as their predecessor.
343 delivered, giving fans a game that has an aggregate rating of 87/100 according to Metacritic. Many rating organizations gave it a 9/10 or higher; the Official Xbox Magazine gave Halo 4 a 9.5 in their U.S. publication.
Halo 4's campaign was widely reviewed as being the most engaging and enjoyable campaign in the franchise to date, featuring a good balance of fighting on foot, in vehicles and having excellent cutscene cinematics as well as enjoyable graphics. The enemy in this game is the Covenant, a coalition of alien races waging a religious battle against the protagonist, Master Chief (SPARTAN-117), and those aboard the UNSC Infinity.
The online multiplayer, called "Infinity" in-game, is incorporated into the story of the game by assuming players are aboard the UNSC Infinity and undergoing training operations. There are a number of game types, from the classic Slayer (kill the enemy team) to the ever-popular Grifball. Old fans of the franchise will find all of their favorite game types still there, from Team Doubles to Capture The Flag. New updates and occasionally new game types are introduced weekly.
Spartan Ops is considered to be the replacement for Firefight from Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, although many consider the loss of Firefight mode (fight against waves of enemies to survive) to be one of the few negatives about Halo 4. Spartan Ops, like Infinity, features Spartans aboard the UNSC Infinity. These Spartans are carrying out missions against the Covenant enemy called Spartan Ops. New chapters have been released continuously for Spartan Ops since the game was released, with five missions per week per chapter.
Overall, Halo 4 has been praised for being an excellent continuation of a powerhouse series of games in the shooter world.