Last night as Romney and Obama slugged it out in battleground states vying for pieces of the electoral pie, another battle was just beginning. In the coming months, friendships will be tested, relationships will be put on hold and alien blood will flow for one glorious cause. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the world of Halo 4; the galaxy will never be the same.

Halo 4 isn’t just a game; it’s an emotional experience that pushes the boundaries of what video games can achieve as an entertainment medium.

From a visual perspective, nothing is out of place. The dynamic lighting and 3-D rendering feel so real that at times the game feels more like a live action movie than a digital construct. These stupendous visuals are coupled with a completely overhauled sound engine and a story that would make Asimov proud. The result is the Sistine Chapel of video games.

The story picks up right where the third game left off. After floating in space for nearly five years, the Master Chief awakens to find himself in the middle of a firefight and rushing headlong towards the Forerunner shield world of Requiem.

On Requiem, things are not what they seem. As you investigate a mysterious distress beacon, you come to realize that the Flood were the least of humanity’s problems.

The initial gameplay experience allows players to immediately feel out the subtle changes that 343 Industries has worked into Halo 4’s gameplay mechanics. Now that the gauntlet has been possessed from Bungie to a new developer, it is abundantly clear that this new publisher isn’t content to rest on its laurels and rely on brand recognition to sell units.

Initially, the most noticeable change from previous installments is that you can no longer duel wield weapons. At first veteran players will be disappointed by this, but as you get deeper into the game, players will realize that in order to compensate for this apparent shortfall in fire power, the creators made all the small arms more effective against enemies.

By beefing up the damage on the weapons you would usually ignore, 343 Industries gives Halo mainstays like the plasma pistol new relevance.

Unlike in previous Halo games where you could get through every level with a battle rifle and a few well-tossed grenades, Halo 4 forces you to constantly swap weapons and reassess your tactics. The A.I. in this game is smart. Enemies coordinate attacks and punish tactical errors with ruthless efficiency. For those of you amping to try your hand playing on Legendary, be prepared to die … a lot.

Those less campaign-inclined individuals will find themselves acclimating to the multiplayer in Halo 4 as if it were an old friend. This new chapter plays similarly to Halo 3, yet has a distinctive style of its own.

The addition of New Maps and Spartan Ops, similar to Special Ops in Call of Duty, adds a level of depth that makes the online experience immensely enjoyable. Expect to hear cries of joy and rage echoing through the dorms for months to come as friends kill each other in the friendliest of blood sports.

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