The overarching plot in Halo 4 takes a back-seat to character development admittedly (and we'll get to that in a second), but Halo 4 has an intriguing enough narrative, particularly as it pertains to Cortana, and seeing whether she can find a way to resolve her seemingly inevitable technological melt-down. Though the "land on planet, shoot aliens" part of the story is as familiar as ever, it's the unexpected emotional dimension that the game enters to in its later stages that proves most surprising and compelling. Black Ops 2, meanwhile, also raises the emotional stakes considerably from what we've seen before; likely thanks to David S. Goyer (who wrote the story for The Dark Knight), the action feels more character-driven than ever before, and the narrative is therefore more visceral and less invested in simplistic jingoism that has characterised the series up to this point. Even the villain is more sympathetic and ambiguous than before, giving the player a little more agency in what is taking place. Still, despite the in-roads Black Ops 2 has made, Halo 4 really runs away with it here; its story just feels more coherent and keen to form a complete arc, even if part of a bigger "new trilogy". WINNER: Halo 4
Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.