The Many Ways Halo 4 Changes The Series' Competitive Multiplayer

Illustration for article titled The Many Ways Halo 4 Changes The Series' Competitive Multiplayer

By now, a whole lot of folks have reviewed Halo 4. Our own Tina Amini played it, and liked it quite a bit.

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Most every review has focused on the single player and multiplayer in more or less equal measure. But so, so many people play Halo only for the multiplayer. Surely there's a review out there for them! And hey, good news: Now there is.

Video game academic/roustabout/smart dude Simon Ferrari has written a lengthy, detailed analysis of Halo 4's multiplayer over at Paste magazine.

Ferrari takes Halo multiplayer very, very seriously, and he has a better grasp of its ever-shifting intricacies than anyone else I know. His breakdown is intelligent, sprawling, and well-reasoned, and it effectively illustrates just how many things have changed in 343's new game.

From armor abilities to weapon-drops, and everything in between, Simon's got you covered. Some highlights:

Armor abilities are a bit of a mixed bag, and everybody gets to sprint now, because it isn't the mid-2000s anymore. The jet pack is slower and won't get you as high, so it's no longer the default choice for better players. The hardlight shield is a weaker, unidirectional version of the armor lock. Auto-turrets and regeneration fields are good for point defense, but they're expensive to unlock and suffer from a slower recharge. Most people will sport the new Promethean Vision ability, and their decision is understandable. All things being equal, one-on-one fights in Halo come down to a single headshot; if you can see through walls, you'll get the first shot off (and you can avoid 2-on-1 situations entirely).

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As well as:

The ability to drop in random weapons also shatters the fragile weapon ecology that all previous Halo games were based around. You used to know exactly where a map's one rocket launcher would spawn. Understanding how to get there safely and quickly was part of learning the game. There was also a dramatic moment when you turned the corner near a weapon spawn, dreading the possibility that an opponent had beaten you to the chase. Now there's a HUD overlay marking each special weapon at the beginning of a match. If it blips off the screen, there's no longer a reason to go anywhere near the area.

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For those who live and breathe Halo multiplayer, this article will no doubt provide lots of food for thought, debate, and critical discussion. Give it a read.

Halo 4 Review [Paste Magazine]

DISCUSSION

archronos
archronos

I still hate the fact that 343 opted to copy CoD's Killstreaks by adding in Ordinance Drops.

Knowing where weapons spawned and having map control is an essential part of Halo, and any competitive shooter for that matter (Quake, Unreal, ect). Sure there were always the assholes who would betray you to steal your Sniper Rifle, but that's why you play with a party of friends, or you boot the asshole from the game.

It seems like they just want to cater to the CoD crowd by adding in custom loadouts as well. The reason for CoD's mass appeal is it's ability to generate a sense of artificial skill into it's players. The forgiving auto aim, perks and Killstreaks are all supposed to help the player amass as many kills as possible, often without consideration towards balance and map design. Players feel like they're 'doing good' when they see a ton of points fly onto the screen, when all they've done is unlocked a Killstreak that allows them to effectively spawn kill a bunch of hapless enemies. There's very little actual skill involved.

By taking away weapon spawns and adding in ordinance drops 343 has effectively gone the Oprah route of allowing everyone to access power weapons at their own choosing ('You get a power weapon and you get a power weapon! You all get power weapons!)