Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: Halo 4 (Multiplayer)

Right into the thick of it - you need to face a truth about multiplayer and Halo 4.  It's one I'm horribly sad to both report to you, and accept as an individual. 

If you played any previous version of Halo, and you weren't good with the Battle Rifle (or equivalent weapon), you won't be good at Halo 4's multiplayer, as it is 100% Battle Rifle oriented, with the exception of a very small amount of different game types. 

 There are two UNSC versions of the Battle Rifle in Halo 4 - the traditional variant that fires a very quick 3-round burst, and the "DMR", which fires a one round burst.

The difference between the two is that the battle rifle is a little better suited for medium/long range, while the DMR has a slightly better scope/zoom multiplier on it, and is a tad better for long range.  Both weapons are nearly identical, it takes the same amount of trigger-pulls to kill something with either gun, it's really a matter of preference.

I use the word preference, and not choice.  You have no choice.  One of these two guns will be your primary weapon, or you will be bad.  There's no if, and, or but.  Pick one of them and master it, or try to, or enjoy getting dropped by the players that have.

Now that we have that behind us, Halo 4's multiplayer is fantastic.  Allowing you a pseudo call-of-duty customization suite to compliment your play style.  I use that word a lot, play style.  What I really mean is figuring out what you like to do, and how you like to do it - from there play with different weapon sets (as long as the primary is the Battle Rifle or DMR :) and abilities, and find something that works for you.

Now, I plan on releasing a few guides, so I won't spoil the tidbits for you, but I did mention primary weapons above and at this point you might be asking yourself, "Are there secondary weapons?"  Indeed!  Allow me to explain:

As you level up, you'll gain rank.  Think of it as a level.  These levels aren't based on skill however, instead they're based on how much experience you earn.  This is important to keep in mind - if you see a level 50 in your game, it might not be because they're good!  It might be that they just have an inordinate amount of time to play Halo.  Although, anyone that stuck with it that long is likely to be decent - winning games, and performing well levels you about 1.25-1.75x faster then just playing a losing.

As you gain rank, you'll get SP (Spartan Points) which can be used to unlock items for your loadout.  A very cool feature they included.  You can have 5 loadouts, or variants of gear you can choose to bring into battle with you.  You can switch a loadout every time you die in-game, so you're not stuck with one set for an entire match.

Loadouts consist of 6 slots, Primary Weapon, Secondary Weapon, Grenade, Armor Ability, Tactical Package, and Support Upgrade.

Primary slot consists of the DMR or Battle Rifle, don't bother buying anything else in that one.  Especially the god-awful Promethean weapons.

Secondary Weapons give you some options, the Magnum (pistol) for rapid fire close range finishing of enemies, or the plasma pistol for disabling vehicles and noob-comboing people with a DMR or Battle Rifle.  There's the piece of shit boltshot too, which is a useless piece of shit.

Grenades also come with 3 options, frag, plasma, or worthless Promethean.  You should know what these do by now.

Armor ability is somewhat new, although some of the features are directly from (or versioned off of) previous games.  Things like the Hologram, Jet Pack, and Active Camo. all return from previous games.  There's a few other options, like a (shitty) automated sentry gun that is the only Peomethean anything even close to worth using, and a regeneration field that rapidly heals all friendly players around you (it kicks ass.)

Tactical Package (I said Package) lets you add an augmentation ranging from faster cooldowns on the armor abilities listed above (super useful) to faster shield regeneration, infinite sprint (for people who think this is call of duty), extra grenades, or the use of two primary weapons (LIKE THE DMR AND BATTLE RIFLE, TOGETHER!)

The support upgrade rounds out the customization slots, and has a few things which can be invaluable to your character.  Aside from making sure you have a DMR or Battle Rifle at all times, this slot might be the most important choice you'll make.

The Ammo upgrade gives you extra ammo for your starting weapons (MOAR DMR AND BATTLE RIFLE AMMO), as well as extra ammo from ordnance drops that appear randomly throughout the matches (or when you kill enough people to earn one).  That means you can get a spartan laser with 6 shots instead of 4.  Pretty kick ass.

There's an upgrade that lets you use your motion sensor even when zooming with a weapon, which is fantastic for snipers that can't stop getting snuck up on.  And one that makes you reload/switch weapons faster.

All in all, there's a lot of potential setups, and with enough time and patience you can level up and get them all.  You can only use one for each slot at a time though. boo.

This all serves a grander purpose though, specializations!  Once you make the long, arduous trek to level 50, you'll unlock a special armor set that you can use!  This is where the game really begins, but seeing as I'm only level 31 at the time of writing this, I can't talk much about it.  INSTEAD I'll link this kickass video for you:


I'm excited as hell to try some of those out.  Be sure there are guides coming from me as soon as I get a hold of them.

There are also a few new game types too!  You won't find much information about them though - this is because 343 dropped the ball and didn't even bother to put them on their website.  I literally had to google and search through forums to figure out what some of these games were about.  Don't bother to look in-game either, Halo 4's menu's don't tell you shit either.  Thanks guys, appreciate that.

There's the typical Slayer and Big Team Slayer, of course.  There's also "Slayer Pro" which takes away the motion sensor.  This is for babies that can't deal with playing the real Halo in all its glory, and want a watered down version with less distractions so they can feel good about themselves.

King of the Hill, Oddball, Capture the Flag and Flood all return.

But then there's Regicide.  What the hell is that?  Well, its a game mode where the person with the highest score gets a target put on his head at all times.  You can kill anyone, though, and get points.  The person with the high score is worth a little more.  First to the score limit wins.  Its a nice change up from solo slayer, but a little stupid.

Dominion is the other major gametype, it replaces territories in almost every way, except now you take bases instead of random plots of land.  These bases can get turrets, give you vehicles, and erect (I said erect) shields to keep enemy players from just walking in - they take about 2 melee hits to take down, which buys you time to defend.  It's fun, but can be annoying unless you join with a good team.

The maps in general are all pretty solid, I have no complaints with the over all design of the levels.

My last and final note is semi-personal, the state of the Banshee which has fallen into near-uselessness.  With a myriad of weapons and vehicles that possess strong anti-air capability, the Banshee might score you a kill or two before getting the attention of everyone on the battlefield who will eventually shoot you out of the air with whatever they have handy.