Microsoft usually saves the best for last when it comes to E3. I remember when they stole Sony's thunder a few years back with the surprise announcement that Final Fantasy XIII would be hitting the Xbox 360. This year was a little different as Microsoft started off with the best and got progressively worse and worse. For more on that topic, check out our own Sean Patterson's take on the press conference. Let's forget all that bad stuff, however, and just focus on the joy that is Halo 4.
Microsoft started their annual press conference off with a bang showing off a new live action trailer and gameplay from this fall's Halo 4. It was still up in the air over whether or not 343 Industries could make a Halo game on par with Bungie's efforts. I think today's gameplay proves that they not only met that high standard, but surpassed it with flying colors.
What gamers probably immediately noticed was that the game looks absolutely phenomenal. I don't know what 343 did, but the new game engine looks incredible. The UI has also received an amazing makeover that features a wider field-of-view that makes it feel like you're actually seeing through Master Chief's visor.
While it was somewhat disappointing to see the Covenant make a return, 343 didn't leave us hanging for long before introducing a new kind of synthetic enemy. These new enemies are far more interesting than The Flood and look to provide an even greater challenge to players. They also appear to have a connection to the Forerunners which opens up all kinds of story possibilities.
Speaking of story, it seems Halo 4 will finally take its story seriously. Regardless of how you feel about the prior Halo trilogy, Bungie's work never really focused on trying to tell a compelling narrative except for the first Halo and Reach. It seems that 343 has taken up the charge of engaging players with a story that's immediately accessible but looks to have enough depth for those that care about it.
We'll surely see more this week as the E3 show floor opens up tomorrow. Microsoft is going to be pushing Halo 4 as the next big piece of entertainment on the Xbox 360. After seeing today's demo, I have to agree with them.