2012-11-15

Halo 4 – There’s Some Call of Duty In My Halo

by Yo Snyder

One of the unique things about Halo 4 is it tells a
single-player campaign that’s actually worth experiencing. That’s not
always the case with modern-day shooters (I’m looking at you, Battlefield 3).
Of course the nice thing is you don’t have to experience the story by
yourself, you can have up to three friends join you, which makes it even
more fun. Nevertheless, the real reason people will keep on playing Halo 4 is the multiplayer, but longtime fans may notice some pretty distinct changes this time around.

Yes, there is some Call of Duty in Halo 4‘s
multiplayer. I know some die-hard fans who aren’t pleased with that,
but I think it may have been a necessary step forward for the franchise.
Specifically, you can now use and customize various loadouts. You pick a
primary weapon, a secondary, your grenade type, and even a few
abilities and perks to create a class that plays to your strengths on
the battlefield. I welcome this change. In fact, I enjoy Halo’s
multiplayer much more because of this change. I feel like the game
conforms more to my play style now rather than trying to force me to
conform to the game’s play style. Now, don’t worry. There are still
weapons scattered about the battlefield, but I no longer feel like I
have to focus on finding one now because I have some weapons I like and
I’m good with right from the start. The armor abilities are back from Reach,
and now they’re complimented by some specializations and “perks” to
help you truly create a unique class that suits your play style (for
instance, I like using Promethean vision which allows me to briefly see
through walls along with dexterity which allows me to reload and switch
weapons faster). It’s not quite as wide open as the new class
customization found in Black Ops 2, but it works well for being a first in the Halo series.

Outside of this major change, Halo 4‘s
multiplayer will feel instantly familiar to fans. All of the familiar
modes are back, like Infinite Slayer, along with some new comers. Flood
has a team of Spartans facing off two Flood. The Spartans must survive.
If you get killed, you’re converted to the Flood’s side. It’s a three
round affair, and it’s incredibly fun. These games are generally short,
fast-paced affairs, so if you’re looking for a quick way to start
leveling up your Spartan, this is probably the best place to start.
Another new addition is Regicide. Get the first kill and you’re the
king, which means all the other players will be gunning for your crown.
The catch is that once the reigning king is eliminated, the player with
the highest score will take their place, which means even as you hunt
the king, you need to eliminate your fellow players. This make for
tremendously chaotic and frenzied games, but it’s fun. Some others have
been tweaked a bit, such as the Dominion mode now having a little bit of
a tower defense strategy to it, which makes it a lot fun.

I have
to admit that I miss the Firefight mode, which has gone AWOL this time
around. I also miss the ability to filter your matchmaking so you can at
least play with others who are close to your own rank. Especially with
the loadouts now, it’s pretty tough to play against higher ranked
characters who have some better gear; it just makes things frustrating.
Considering Halo has had that filter ability in so many previous games,
it seems rather odd to exclude it in the game where it probably would
have been most useful.

So again, although there are fun co-op
options in the campaign and with the weekly Spartan Ops episodes (which
we’ll review soon), Halo’s bread and butter has always been the
multiplayer, and it’s no different with Halo 4. Now, I’ve never
been a huge fan of Halo multiplayer, but the tweaks with the loadouts
and some of the new game types have changed my mind about that. Yes, it
has a vaguely Call of Duty-esque feel to it, but it’s still distinctly
Halo. Is it the best Halo multiplayer yet? Well, purists might disagree,
but I’m definitely starting to think so.