Well then, as we feast on the bounty of fresh and juicy Halo 4 info delivered to us via the leaked scans of this month's Game Informer, there are a number of key points that require further discussion.
The things that are already causing the most ire amongst longstanding Halo fans will be the new additions to multiplayer, now dubbed "Halo Infinity". Many community members had hoped for a return to the simpler times of Halo 2 and 3. Perhaps "simpler" is the wrong choice of word there, "purer" might be better, because that, to me, was what separated Halo from its fellow FPSs CoD and BF. Halo's defining feature for me had been the purity and fairness of the combat, with everyone spawning with the same setup, everyone was equal. If someone kills me then it's because they were better than me. Reach diluted this purity by adding Loadouts allowing players to choose abilities and sometimes even weapons prior to spawn. This now meant that when I die it might not be because the person was better than me, it could just be he happened to choose a better Loadout for that specific encounter.
343i have decided that what Halo needs is not more purity (a return to the style of Halo 3), but more customisation (a move in the direction of CoD). Their reasons for this are obvious, CoD is the genre leader in terms of sales, playerbase and profits, but rather than chasing CoD it would have been nice to see Halo carve its own future rather than ride in the wake of others. The way it used to be.
The cR system from Reach has been replaced with "Spartan Points" which can be spent on aesthetic upgrades, abilities and weapon Loadouts. This basically means that people who play more start with better stuff than new/casual players, it's hard to see how this can really be a good thing.
Frankie has said that it's not like CoD's perks, which leads me to believe each ability will have a positive and a negative - plus 10% shields, minus 10% speed or similar. That's just speculation though.
Other announcements include a new armour ability allowing players to see through walls. Sounds terrible at first, but could work well, providing it has a long charge time and short usage time.
Random weapon drops, in order to prevent people fighting over sections of the map where power weapons spawn, the idea is that they will fall in drop pods at random times in random locations. Again this sounds pretty rubbish, Halo has always been about map control more so than any other shooter and this will just dilute that. I don't think it'll work as intended though, personally I don't really use power weapons, so I'll see them drop, get a line of site on the pod and then pick off anyone going to grab the weapon with a BR or DMR. If anything, this suits people who are comfortable with the more basic weapons.
Instant respawns, timed respawns have been a staple of Halo since day one. I can sort of see how this might work in Slayer, but those few seconds respawn time are vital to the ebb and flow of CTF and bomb games so hopefully it will remain unchanged in objective gametypes.
There was a brief mention of players being able to join mid-game to solve the longstanding problem of team-mates quitting. It remains to be seen how this will work, one thing's for sure, the way CoD does it, is NOT the way to go.
Well that's the bad news out of the way, on to the good. :D
Halo 4 features a mode called Spartan Ops, these are weekly co-op based challenges with bespoke story and FMV sections for each week. It's unknown how many weeks this will go on for, but it sounds fantastic and really is a superior alternative to Firefight. I can see me playing this as much of not more than the Halo Infinity mode.
The campaign still has a ton of questions to be answered, chief among which just who will we e fighting as the main enemy? The commentary of the first mission in the article sounds absolutely fantastic, I won't paraphrase it here as I think that's a little unnecessary so go read it and then come back.
Done? Good. How awesome does that sound?! People will ask questions of how chatty Chief is, but for me he was always slightly too quiet, so long as we don't end up with him like Marcus Fenix wooping every reload I think we'll be good. It's good to know the Covenant are back, they're such a massive part of the universe I think it'd be a real shame for them to have been sidelined too much.
All things considered I think we're really heading in the right direction, the game sounds like it's really coming along and there's still hundreds more questions to be answered.
- Cowboy Out.