Though I enjoyed the copious amount of time I spent with Halo: Reach‘s multiplayer options, I am looking forward to returning to a Master Chief-centric title.  With the recent reveals about Halo 4s multiplayer suite, it appears that the series is taking the necessary steps to match the industry’s other leading cooperative and competitive shooters.

Games have attempted in the past to infuse a story and single-player connectivity with the multiplayer aspects of games.  BioShock 2 sought to tell the story of the fall of Rapture through it’s online modes, and while the multiplayer itself did little else new, it did provide incentives to continue playing and improving along the way.  Dubbed the “Infinity Multiplayer,” the hub world of this component of the game will place players on the UNSC Infinity.  Accessible modes will include the cooperative “Spartan Ops,” which without anything else to go on will undoubtedly lift from the framework of Call of Duty‘s Spec Ops missions in addition to the standard multiplayer options like Deathmatch and Capture the Flag in a mode dubbed “War Games.”  Multiplayer will also allow for specializations, customizable options that include weapon and armor abilities that are chosen before jumping into a match.

All of this sounds like the series playing a bit of catch-up with its competitors, which is certainly something the game should attempt, I only hope it is willing to push these modes beyond what other games have established.  Halo used to be the definition of multiplayer console gaming, and while I haven’t been disappointed by its recent outings, the Call of Duty franchise has certainly dominated the market, and Battlefield 3 made a sizable dent into the market last year and will likely seek to do so again.  I have faith in the series to prove why Halo should continue to be a staple of competitive gaming, but what has been mentioned so far, while exciting, does not sound like it is upping the ante just yet.

Details were also released about the Limited Edition, coming in at $99.99.  Included in the package will be the promise of access to three future map packs for a total of nine maps (which, at the least would cost about $30), the ability unlock six of those specializations early, and, within the “USNC Briefing Packet,” armor schematics, a blueprint of the Infinity, and information about the new Spartan IVs.  Additional armor and weapon skins and Avatar unlockables will also be included, as well as a 90-minute version of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, which will be the live-action digital video series that sets up the events of Halo 4.

All in all, it sounds like a worthwhile package for Halo aficionados, and if players want a little memorabilia with their map pack purchases, this sounds like a worthy purchase.  It’s no Halo: Reach statue, or Halo 3 Master Chief helmet perfect for small house pets, but its value may depend on how big a multiplayer fan purchasers are.  Is the package enough to warrant a purchase for you?  I’ll personally be sticking with the regular edition, but that may be because it sounds as if I’ll be too busy hunting down Spartans to focus on the extra content.