There’s been some new details released from 343 Industries’ Halo 4 (found in the newest issue of Game Informer). Here’s a rundown, and what I think of them:
- Spartan Points: Like the credits in Reach, you earn these points in multiplayer and use them for transactions. You can get new armor pieces, but more interesting is getting new Armor Abilities. This brings Halo closer to modern FPS systems, as ongoing play rewards with better gear. I’m fine with this, since I’m used to the grind of all these shooters by now.
- Infinity: This is the name of Halo 4’s multiplayer mode, which will likely be played as it’s own brand as far as stat tracking is concerned. Wouldn’t be surprised if it had it’s own title screen. With this new title, I wonder if it means Spartan Points can not be earned in single player/co-op, as credits were in Reach.
- Spartan Ops: A new co-op mode that essentially replaces Firefight. This mode is to rival campaign, and will have new episodes months after release. I like this idea, though I’ll miss the arcadey nature of Firefight. Watch kiddies consider this a rip on Call of Duty’s Spec Ops due to the name. Note: Halo 4’s campaign is still co-op ready, so if one happens to prefer the main story with their friends, they can do that. I love options to death.
- Red vs Blue: An explanation as to why red spartans fight blue ones finally comes to light; it’s a training program for the Spartan 4s. Obvious really. They battle in a giant hologram field akin to the Danger Room, which explains how they fight in different locations. This doesn’t really change anything in the grand scheme of things, but now we know. I wonder what the deal is for multi-team matches where other colors are used, or am I being anal?
- Default Sprint: Sprinting is now a default ability of all players. Saw this coming. I dig it.
- Armor Abilities Return: The Armor Abilities from Reach make their return, including Camo, Jetpack, and Hologram (YES). New to the gang is X-Ray vision, which let’s you see thru- well you know. Betting X-Ray mode will cut off your radar for balance reasons. Also betting campers will be pissed at the newest initiative to make their lives a living hell.
- No More Elites: Perhaps Scarlett Witch got pissed at those dinosaurs because they are gone gone gone as an option to use. I can care less, as I never enjoyed the bastards. Bye dinosaurs.
- Custom Loadouts: Unlike how Reach regulated loadouts according to map and gametype, you can now edit your own and take it on your quests for pwnage. You choose your primary and secondary weapons (gonna assume power weapons will not be selectable), Armor Ability, and grenade types. And on that, it seems there’s more than frag and plasma grenades now (2 more). I wonder if Spike Grenades make a return. I like this, because it’s a natural evolution of loadouts and more in line with what I expect of shooters today. I hated having to locate Plasma Grenades when they really weren’t any more lethal than frags.
- Regicide: I don’t know if this is a new Free For All rule or a separate game mode, but basically the leading player has a bounty on his head that increases with each kill. I guess you get more Spartan Points for slaying this mass murderer, similar to a feature in Red Dead Redemption. It’s possible the bonus is actually match points, but I doubt it (as it would truly make it a new mode of play). I need more information, but I dig it so far.
- Distraction Medal: Apparently there’s a new medal for distracting a player who gets killed by a teammate. I would love to know how the game can decipher whether you really did that tactically or not. It might end up like the melee medal, something that happens so often I wouldn’t deem it worthy of acquiring a medal for. Sure you should know how many times you whacked somebody in a game for interest, but a medal? And really… most kills in any FPS is due to a player focused on somebody else. A FFA game will give out Distraction Medals like they’re made of grass.
- Drop Pod Weapons: Weapons no longer start in the map, but randomly(?) drop throughout the match. This is to mix up players who time the power weapon spawns. This is sketchy, since Halo is all about map control and keeping tabs on certain weapon spawns are paramount. This makes me think power weapons (like the Sword, Rocket Launcher, etc) will be available for Loadouts. Not to mention how this sort of thing would look in an indoors map, I’m just aesthetically minded like that. Hopefully this isn’t random and it does have a cycle or logic to it, but if it does and players figure it out anyway – the change is moot. Not digging it.
- Instant Respawn: When you die you can immediately rejoin the match with a button press. This will speed things up, but I’m sure there’s many reasons why respawn time is important for an FPS match. Namely objective games where putting a player out for a few seconds is a key bonus for slaying him. This feature may be gametype specific, but we have to wait and see. half and half on this.
- Joining Games: You can now join games in progress, which means the joy of joining a game moments before it ends has arrived to the Halo series. Perhaps you can see how far along a game has gone, as with Reach’s queue screen, and see if it’s worth arriving to. What this really does is facilitate the Spartan Point grind in that you may not care for seeing a match start to end so long as you ‘scored some money’ anyway you can when you join. This does alleviate uneven teams from quitters/disconnects, but I figured Halo typically had enough games going at a given moment that one doesn’t need to join games in progress to get some action. Maybe I’m being too hard on this otherwise standard feature, and in the end it won’t mean too much. It may also help people squad up for lobbies.
I will find this issue of Game Informer and see there’s anything I can add to these details, sorry for the third party account. So far I like what I hear, and the things I don’t like will probably blow over once the full game is in my hands. I love Halo and hope 343 Industries nails their first try (of a planned trilogy).