First Thoughts on Halo 4 Multiplayer

Posted by kbondelli (14 posts) -

The most notable change to Halo's multiplayer is the addition of loadouts with unlockable weapons and boosts. While I guess it was only a matter of time before Halo joined the COD-ification that has been emulated by nearly every FPS from the last few years, it does change the feel of Halo quite a bit. First and foremost, Pre-Halo 4 multiplayer was predominately about map/weapon control. It was more a descendant of Quake than Call of Duty. While Halo 4 strikes a balance between weapon location pickups and starting loadouts, once you unlock the DMR you are no longer in dire need of finding a new weapon. I found myself sticking to the DMR unless I happened upon something powerful, but it wasn't necessary since I could drop enemy Spartans at range quite effectively. Another change is the highlighting of weapon locations on your HUD, which I actually don't mind since it does make multiplayer a bit more accessible to those players who don't have hundreds of hours memorizing all of the weapon locations on all of the maps.

Returning to the COD-ification of multiplayer, there were a few times early on that I was frustrated by a higher level player putting up a light shield that I could not use, effectively turning the tide of the duel and resulting in their surviving and winning where in previous Halos I would have had the kill. It takes a few hours of play to unlock the base level of all your loadout spots, so in the long term it isn't such a big deal, but it is a source of early frustration.

Lone wolves/FFA mode as it were no longer exists. It has been replaced by Regicide, where the leader had a giant target on them and killing them awards up to 3.5X the points of a kill of anyone else. It's an interesting mode, and it certainly allows new players a chance to be competitive, but it seems counterintuitive to have a game mode where being in the lead for most of a match makes it more likely you will not finish on top. I will admit being frustrated when I had the most kills, best K/D ratio, and most time as King, and still lost the match. It would be fine to have this game mode--it can be quite enjoyable--but it would be nice to also have the option to play a pure FFA deathmatch mode.

I'm also constantly baffled by competitive shooters' inability to learn from Halo 3's ranked multiplayer matchmaking. In my first match as SR1 I was put in a Regicide game with SR43 players. For some reason games have been unable to effectively match people based on skill level and experience ever since Halo 3 did it so well.

Another note is that 343's file share system is still broken and not expected to be working until mid-January.

While my first impressions are a little nitpicky, as a whole it felt good to be back in a new Halo multiplayer experience. The game looks great, controls quite well, though the new grenade physics take some practice and adjustment, and I plan on playing quite a bit more of it.

#1 Posted by kbondelli (14 posts) -

The most notable change to Halo's multiplayer is the addition of loadouts with unlockable weapons and boosts. While I guess it was only a matter of time before Halo joined the COD-ification that has been emulated by nearly every FPS from the last few years, it does change the feel of Halo quite a bit. First and foremost, Pre-Halo 4 multiplayer was predominately about map/weapon control. It was more a descendant of Quake than Call of Duty. While Halo 4 strikes a balance between weapon location pickups and starting loadouts, once you unlock the DMR you are no longer in dire need of finding a new weapon. I found myself sticking to the DMR unless I happened upon something powerful, but it wasn't necessary since I could drop enemy Spartans at range quite effectively. Another change is the highlighting of weapon locations on your HUD, which I actually don't mind since it does make multiplayer a bit more accessible to those players who don't have hundreds of hours memorizing all of the weapon locations on all of the maps.

Returning to the COD-ification of multiplayer, there were a few times early on that I was frustrated by a higher level player putting up a light shield that I could not use, effectively turning the tide of the duel and resulting in their surviving and winning where in previous Halos I would have had the kill. It takes a few hours of play to unlock the base level of all your loadout spots, so in the long term it isn't such a big deal, but it is a source of early frustration.

Lone wolves/FFA mode as it were no longer exists. It has been replaced by Regicide, where the leader had a giant target on them and killing them awards up to 3.5X the points of a kill of anyone else. It's an interesting mode, and it certainly allows new players a chance to be competitive, but it seems counterintuitive to have a game mode where being in the lead for most of a match makes it more likely you will not finish on top. I will admit being frustrated when I had the most kills, best K/D ratio, and most time as King, and still lost the match. It would be fine to have this game mode--it can be quite enjoyable--but it would be nice to also have the option to play a pure FFA deathmatch mode.

I'm also constantly baffled by competitive shooters' inability to learn from Halo 3's ranked multiplayer matchmaking. In my first match as SR1 I was put in a Regicide game with SR43 players. For some reason games have been unable to effectively match people based on skill level and experience ever since Halo 3 did it so well.

Another note is that 343's file share system is still broken and not expected to be working until mid-January.

While my first impressions are a little nitpicky, as a whole it felt good to be back in a new Halo multiplayer experience. The game looks great, controls quite well, though the new grenade physics take some practice and adjustment, and I plan on playing quite a bit more of it.

#2 Posted by csl316 (8082 posts) -

My problem is once I got my ideal loadout 5 hours in, I felt like I "beat" the multiplayer and stopped playing. Unlike in 3 and Reach, where I played endless games just for the fun of it.

#3 Posted by Tarsier (1056 posts) -

@csl316 said:

My problem is once I got my ideal loadout 5 hours in, I felt like I "beat" the multiplayer and stopped playing. Unlike in 3 and Reach, where I played endless games just for the fun of it.

i hated reach and i had that problem with it actually. halo 4 is the true halo game for me . .. i enjoy unlocking the specializations after level 50 and getting new sets of armor and abilities every few levels the whole way through.

but i am pretty big into the overall flow of gameplay of halo games. i enjoy the fact that it actually takes skill, and that when you engage a battle with someone , an amount of thought and decision making and strategy goes into it beyond just having a better connection and shooting him in the head twice to kill him instantly (like in some other online shooters).. you can actually challenge someone and throughout the fight be confronted with choices that will change the outcome depending on your quick thinking and use of the environment and team communication etc. i understand how the GB crew takes to call of duty more though. they are very busy reviewing tons of games and dont have time to get good at any of them, so they enjoy multiplayer experiences that make them feel like they own without having to actually own anything. lol

that said i think this halo is what was needed. i think calling it 'just more halo' is silly talk. the multiplayer is evolved in significant ways. and it stays the same in ways it needs to.

#4 Posted by csl316 (8082 posts) -
@Tarsier My other problem is I unlocked the Mark VI armor before touching multiplayer so I had no incentive to unlock anything else.

Regardless, they put the mp together very well and I should really get back to it.
#5 Posted by kbondelli (14 posts) -

I think the fact that kills require more than a couple shots is an important characteristic of Halo multiplayer that does make it much more appealing to me. On the whole, I enjoy the Halo 4 multiplayer experience. There are just some changes that I think would improve it. I do think that 343 did a pretty good job striking a balance between loadout and map control.

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