So as Dosser already informed you we recently had the chance to play a bit of Halo 4 at the Eurogamer Expo. It was epic, the atmosphere among the Haloites there was one of nervous excitement and from the moment we stepped into the conference hall waiting for Frankie to begin his play-through of the third level in the new campaign appetites were well and truly whetted. The campaign looks brilliant, seems to be a really clever mix of classic Halo gameplay and the new exciting elements on show. All of the Forerunner weaponry has a completely unique look but also retains enough familiarity that you can immediately recognise what role each weapon will fulfill. What we were all really looking forward to though was getting some hands on time with a bit of Infinity slayer.
I have to admit I have been somewhat apprehensive about the additions the good folk over at 343i are bringing to the table, as a long time Halo fanboy I was worried that new load-out options, new weaponry and the added ordinance drops were going to make my beloved franchise into a COD clone… Far from it. 343 have undoubtedly taken note of some elements of the worlds biggest selling fps but they have made them their own and incorporated them into the Halo sandbox seamlessly. The most important difference for me between Halo and the military based shooters out there is that it makes you feel like a super human bad ass. In Battlefield, for example, you can spend an entire round pinned down in a corner trying to hold off a full on assault from wave after wave of merciless opposing troops as a Spartan however that feeling of fear is completely removed and Halo 4 is setting itself up to be no different in that respect. Overpowered weapons, insane assassinations and tremendous speed are a Spartans best friend, you find yourself whooping with joy after pulling off the most insane moves and surviving with barely a millimeter of shield bar remaining. Even when loosing a firefight I felt like I wanted to get back into the fight and have my revenge, the new instant re-spawn gives you the ability to do just that launching yourself back into the high octane, adrenaline pumping battle mere moments after you were mercilessly plowed down by your enemy can give you the drop on your opponents as they try to recover from your previous battle, this fact puts even more emphasis on ensuring you keep moving, there will be no snipe camping in this game, that much I can already tell.
My weapon of choice from the main load-out options was without a doubt the returning Halo 3 favourite the Covenant carbine rifle, not quite as powerful as the UNSC equivalent (the DMR) the carbine has a much higher rate of fire which means those players with a steady aim can often shred down your shields and pop in the decisive head shot before the opposition has fired off the first round. I didn’t really experiment with too many armour abilities but I think the thruster pack is shaping up to be a real life saver in a pinch, the Promethean vision is no doubt a game changer in a one-on-one situation and the hardlight shield could prove to be incredibly effective …. if I could just figure out when to use the damn thing.
Specializations are going to be a key element in multiplayer and having a good balance in your squads abilities could very well turn the tide in your teams favour which will massively increase the importance of having a team of Spartans you are used to playing with. Halo has always been more fun with friends and these additions will no doubt increase the importance of building on what is already an exceptional community. While we didn’t really have time to actually fool around with these aspects during the frantic action packed ten minute rounds it was still evident that each choice in your load-out will make a substantial difference to your gameplay experience. The one thing that irks me about the experience is the apparent lack of gameplay differences presented by playing as a Spartan IV as opposed to the earlier games Spartan II’s which the extended fiction informs us are far more powerful and well trained super soldiers, that said the Spartan III’s in Reach presented very little differences too and I never complained about that.
Spartan II’s vs Spartan IV’S what is the difference?
Truth be told I was so incredibly excited to actually be at a games con let alone playing Halo 4 that I was always going to love it really, add to that playing with my fellow TeaBaggers and some great other people from the community including the gents from Dust and Echoes and the one and only MCG_Mushball aka Mitch we were left with all the ingredients to have something really special. I probably would’ve had just as much fun playing Halo 2 over in the retro zone with these guys but we didn’t. We got to play Halo 4 and … it …. rocks.
Hve you played Halo 4 yet? What did you think? Does this installment entice or disgust you? let us know, follow, comment, rinse, repeat. Spartans Never Die.