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Halo 4: Dissected

Trailer Analysis: 28 screenshots from the E3 footage

You might argue that Microsoft's E3 press conference was lacking something last week compared to its rivals Sony and Nintendo. One thing that kept it in the mix though was the reveal of Halo 4.

And a very pretty reveal it was too. The return of Master Chief was hailed with a fast-paced, all-action trailer sure to tease the anticipation station of any budding space marine. It was all CG footage, fine, but it was a spine-tingling one and a half minutes nonetheless.

Although the trailer might not feature any in-game footage, it still has to represent what the game has to offer. With that in mind, we've pulled the Halo 4 trailer to pieces to see if we can pick out anything we might find in the final piece.

We'll level with you, most of it just makes for some really cool imagery but we think there are one or two hints towards some of the things we can expect from the new Halo trilogy.

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The trailer starts off teasing the audience with a quiet cosmos and a burning ball of energy, which seems to slowly wake from its sleep. As soon as we saw a spacey scene punctuating the Microsoft conference, we were sure this had to be Halo 4.

Gradually, the ball of light becomes a heart, a trail of ventricles and finally a nervous system and the symbolism is clear, there's only one person in the Halo universe that needed to come back from slumber.

The voice of Cortana wobbles into clarity, "I need you! Wake up John! Chief!" Remember Chief's words to Cortana at the end of Halo 3.

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By this point arm hair is on end. The camera pulls out to see Master Chief wake from his cryonic sleep, burst out of his chamber and over to a hologram of Cortana doing that Princess Leyla impression - As far as the trailer is concerned, Halo 4 kicks off right where Halo 3 left off.

It's all going off outside, with explosions, ripping through the ship. Master Chief slots Cortana into the back of his neck and starts making his way through the carnage anti-grav style.

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A few years ago we might have thought a sequence like this was for CG trailers only but now all we can think about is Dead Space 2. We saw good ol' Isaac Clarke using a similar mode of transport in the brilliant EA sequel so there's no reason to think something like this won't be translated into in-game action by 343.

The difference of course is the player perspective, with Dead Space being a third-person franchise and Halo nestled comfortably in first. That could throw up a completely different weightless experience to what we've seen in EA's title.

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You'll also notice that that Chief has what looks like a jetpack. Considering the popularity of the packs in Halo Reach, we're sure this will please a lot of a fans in terms of gameplay but, as far as continuity is concerned, you might ask "Where the funk did that come from?"

Some industrious soul has apparently fitted Master Chief with a couple of shoulder-mounted afterburners during his extended snooze, but wait. Notice how Chief only gets short bursts out of his shoulder rockets pointing more towards thrusters to help with anti-grav movement, rather than a full on jetpack.

That would explain also why we haven't seen the augmentations before. Who needs anti-gravity thrusters when you're on planets full of good ol' gravity?

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Along the way, in-between dodging explosions and flying bits of wreckage, Chief grabs what looks like an M6D pistol mid-flight but uses it in a way we haven't seen before, namely to blow open a pair of doors with some sort of grenade attachment.

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