As Halo fans we were shocked when Microsoft revealed halo 4 at E3 in 2011, why would they want to ruin a franchise with a load of sequels the fans didn’t ask for? A year later and it’s here and wow is it good. We’ve been playing the online for a few hours and here are our first impressions.
We’ve been playing Halo since the beginning, way before there was Xbox live, and while many believe the joy of Halo was that everyone started with the same weapon and learning the maps so they would have a slight advantage. But with Halo 4 they decided to change it up a bit, removing fixed weapon placement and mixing in echoes of the class system from the Call of Duty franchise, but don’t worry as this is still the Halo you know and love.
Players customize their load outs with a rifle and sidearm then they choose a grenade and a set amount of custom Spartan perks that are unlocked with each level. Adding this, along with character customization, makes the game have more reason for you to keep going, many a time we would finish a match and say “Just one more match, only one more level until a new item is unlocked.” This makes the game very addictive and very rewarding.
The game play remains largely unchanged apart from kill rewards. As you kill enemies you add points to a circle that, once full, allows you to call in a selection of three randomized perks that could be either weapons or slight power-ups such as a speed boost or over shield. This makes your kills seem more worthwhile and rewarding. We noticed that when playing with a group of friends, we would let each other get others kills so we could call in a kill reward. This idea makes teamwork more effective than in past Halo games. Some people may dislike this, but we think it’s a great improvement.
While we haven’t had the chance to play on every map so far (keeping in mind this is a first impression), we can say that the new maps are some of the more interesting maps we’ve played. They take a spin on original maps (such as Halo 3’s guardian) and even the fan favourite Valhalla makes a return which has been re-named Ragnarok. New Metal Gear Rex like vehicles have been added to the map and you’re able to take down air vehicles with ease. While all of this is great there is one slight change that may annoy some fans.
The weapon spawn locations are no longer always in the same place and move around all the time. We’re sure they did this to make it so new players would still be able to try the power weapons but it was a bit of a shock when we was expecting a shotgun to spawn near us, instead it was across the map. This change didn’t annoy me so much and we can easily understand why it may cause the hardcore crowd some trouble.
We’re sure there will be another update later down the line when we get to try out Spartan Ops and when more game types have been added. For now we think that Halo 4’s online is one of the best and well-rounded Halo experiences we’ve had the joy of playing. It always feels fair and lets everyone play to a style that suits them best.