Halo 4 is one of the games of the season, and there was really just too much to discuss for one review. So thus, this Halo 4 review evolved. It evolved into the Halo 4 Super review!
The Halo 4 review consists of two parts.
This part, the review of the Multiplayer.
And the second part, the review of the Campaign.
Halo 4 Review - Multiplayer
The multiplayer is also back as well, it definitely is a brand new take, with them even managing to justify its existence via the spartan IV’s and that this is part of their training. Meaning that multiplayer isn’t mindless fight but has the purpose in training the next generation of spartans. All the game types you would expect are there:
Capture the Flag
Free for All
Big team games
Flood (This is a game type that is essentially Zombies however you look like flood when infected)
The multiplayer formula changes a little from the previous installments, this time around it actually gives you “Loadouts” this allows you to create and save different combinations of weapons, armor abilities and other small style perks. Each faction has offers the same style of weapons (Assault Rifle, a burst fire/single shot rifle, pistol and grenade type). Power weapons such as the sniper rifle and rockets still must be acquired from spawns across the map. This to me screams call of duty rip off, however it does allow for some interesting combinations. They also brought back the Reach style of leveling through the “Spartan Rank (SR)” system. Playing games nets you experience towards ranking up. Each time you level you gain an SR point, these points act as a currency which allows you to unlock different specializations and armor abilities, along with the other factions weapons.
Power weapons work a little differently at the beginning of the match all power weapons will spawn in the same locations on the maps. However after that first initial wave has been picked up and used, the next wave and following will somewhat randomly spawn on different locations of the map as indicated by your HUD. One reason I really like this is because it makes it impossible to “camp” power weapons. Sometimes you may get lucky and they will spawn in your immediate vicinity, however from experience every time rockets spawn it ends in a massive bloodbath. This is one of the things really bugged me up until that point was in most matches in previous installments if you didn’t control key areas of the map where the power weapons would spawn the match was usually decided in those first few minutes. This gets rid of this issue and makes it to where anyone camping is anchored there because it is a desirable position, such as holding the higher ground. This to me allows for easier comebacks, your team is dodging snipers and rifle fire and eventually that sniper WILL run out of ammo which allows your team to advance and attempt to take that position, depending on what map you are playing on you may get rockets or some other power weapon on the way that may tip the balance in your favor.
Finally the ordnance rewards are one of the final significant changes to multiplayer. After earning so many points through Kills/Assist you unlock an ordnance. This allows you to select one of three random weapons/power ups (Speed, overshield, and Damage Boost). This is also a great tool that allows a team to turn the tide of battle, because one sided games suck. None of these changes by themselves seem like they would be a big deal, however mixed all together with the variety of different armor abilities it definitely gives multiplayer a fresh feeling. However you very rarely see anyone using some of the armor abilities such as the deployable turret. However if your team runs different armor abilities it can definitely shut the enemy down very quickly. I personally like jumping in front of teammates with my hard light shield (Watered down armor lock) and giving them cover as the shield stops pretty much anything for a short duration before its power drains.
I only have a few complaints about the multiplayer aspect of the game. First off I really dislike that for each game type there are only a few maps. I mean the maps themselves are fun to play and look great; however after like the 100th match it gets a little old because everyone wants to control one particular spot on the map and that is it. This will be fixed later through DLC I would imagine, well the lack of maps anyway. In the slayer gametype which has the smaller maps I think Haven was the only one where I felt there was a decent mix in the layout. It just like a little two story area and in my opinion felt like the map doesn’t give anyone a good place to bunker down. (In case you haven’t noticed campers really piss me off, I mean really setting in a corner with a shotgun makes you a good halo player? /end rant)
Another is more of a hardware limits from the xbox I guess. When playing splitscreen the xbox has issues with frame rates. I noticed when my roommate and I would play anything bigger than the 4v4 maps (minus complex) we would suffer from horrible frames unless we were inside of a building or scoped in on a weapon. Unfortunately these kind of issue will most likely stay unresolved until the next gen consoles are released so I can’t really fault 343 since the game runs smooth enough when you are playing solo on the console. However within my circle of friends when we try to get one of our friends who is on the fence to buy the game you let them play splitscreen with you. It is just really a pet peeve since games are kind of expensive nowadays; it helps to take it for a test drive before you buy. Finally and this may be hardware limitations I am unable to say for sure, but I got this game on the midnight release and wanted to tear up some multiplayer before I had to go to bed, nope you have to install 8g’s worth of data from the second disc in the case. So I had to play the waiting game while it installed, and if you only have one of those 20g original hard drives that is a considerable amount of space to give up just for one game.
Summing it up the multiplayer for Halo 4 feels refreshing and new, without getting too far away from its roots.