The long awaited return of Master Chief to the Xbox 360 is now less than a week away, and the first reviews are starting to come in. The good news is that the critical response has been overwhelmingly positive, with plenty of praise for the way 343 Studios has picked up the reins from series creator, Bungie.
"Halo 4 is a masterstroke everyone can and should celebrate," reckons IGN, handing out a stonking 9.8/10 score. "Halo has been rebuilt," continues the review. "It has been redefined. And it has been reinvigorated. The Xbox's original king has returned to his rightful place on the throne."
A full five stars have been awarded by Joystiq, with a review that highlights increased difficulty and greater variety as evidence that 343 has done more than just follow in Bungie's footsteps. "The game strives for more than competence, giving it a forceful march and a decadent show of strength," says the review. "Our doubt and questioning of Halo's continued existence has, in some small way, helped deliver one of the best games in the series and one of the finest shooters in years."
Even the more serious end of the gaming press has come away impressed, with US website Polygon dishing out a 9.5 score and commenting on how the game uses new enemies, locations and gameplay ideas to bring back the element of surprise. "Halo 4 is most like the original Halo, where the novelty and wonder of exploring something really alien and different is a key factor," says the review. "That sense of awe, of discovery, has been light since the first game, and I didn't realize how much I missed it until I played Halo 4."
Halo 4 is out on November 6th exclusively for Xbox 360.