After the showfloor closed down yesterday, we were invited to a special Halo 4 party in order to hang out with other industry folks. We had time to sit down and play through two different modes in Halo 4.

First came the competitive multiplayer, then came the cooperative Spartan Ops. Both were Halo, both were awesome.

The sound of Halo 4.

Before we move on too quickly, I wanted to point at 343 Industries’ work on the sound design of this new entry in Chief’s story. It’s brilliant. When you watch the videos above and below, pay special attention to how good the guns sound. Really, they sound downright brutal. That’s new for this game.

The competitive multiplayer you already love.

343 Industries is calling their competitive multiplayer mode in Halo 4 ’War Games.’ They’re building 10 new maps based on the UNSC Infinity ship and adding a bunch of additions.

The additions? Actually, I’m not sure what’s new quite yet. The fact sheet provided by 343 at the preview indicates that they are adding a slew of new modes to the competitive multiplayer slate, but we don’t know what those are.

We played Infinity Slayer, team deathmatch on the deck of the USNC Infinity. We had a moment to select our loadout and then hopped straight into the killing. This is Halo combat, it feels exactly like it has over the last several years. That’s not a complaint, but we’re just noting that Halo 4 is a work of polish and detail in terms of mechanics. It feels like Halo, just really, really well made.

As you see in the clip above, players have access to armor enhancements during the loadout building phase. I chose to carry the nice temporary energy shield in combat. Whenever I was met with a group of enemies, I popped out the shield and used it to back out of fights and recover. It bought precious time and worked well.

There’s also a new ordinance drop system that comes in during play. As you earn kills and assists in Infinity Slayer, you’re given points. Those points pile up and fill an ordinance meter. Once the meter is full, you’ll be able to select your ordinance.

My choice? The Forerunner Shotgun. Holy crap, that thing feels great.

Get ready for free weekly co-op content.

The idea for Spartan Ops is great. Basically, 343 Industries will hand players a solo or up to four person cooperative mode for Halo 4 when the game launches this fall. That mode will feature chapters that tell the story of the UNSC Infinity battleship and the Majestic Squad. The chapters and cinematics will come on a weekly basis, and they will feature stories that support the Halo 4 campaign.

The best part? It’s all free. Spartan Ops will deliver players weekly, story-based content at no extra charge.

The play in these titles feels exactly like Halo should feel: precise, smooth and almost mechanical. Just like the multiplayer effort 343 Industries is building in War Games, only cooperative.

This idea of letting the Halo 4 universe expand and develop after the launch of the initial title is one we’re extremely excited for. Plus, who doesn’t like free content?

How long will it last? 343 Industries said that all depends on its popularity.

Halo 4 launches for the Xbox 360 this November (thanks for the correction, guys!).

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