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Halo 4 Multiplayer Gameplay Report

/ Dec 6th, 2012 2 Comments

Halo 4 Multiplater
Halo 4

Halo 4

Easily one of the most anticipated games of 2012, Halo 4 is the first real test for Microsoft’s 343 Industries (343i). Tasked with taking over the Halo franchise after Bungie’s exit from Microsoft, 343i certainly had big shoes to fill. With the release of Halo 2, Bungie set the benchmark in online multiplayer console gaming, setting the bar higher with every major Halo title since. Now, just shy of a month after Halo 4’s debut, it’s time to examine how 343i is shaking things up.

Game Types

Halo 4’s multiplayer (non-campaign) mode is referred to as Infinity multiplayer. From the Infinity menu, gamers have the option of choosing between the competitive War Games or the co-operative Spartan Ops. Forge and Theater also return. Firefight, from Halo: Reach, is no longer an option.

In War Games mode, Halo veterans will find familiarity in Capture the Flag, Team Slayer, King of the Hill, and Oddball. Other returning, yet renamed, game types include Dominion (Territories) and Flood (Infection). Regicide is an all-new game type that pits the leading player against the rest in a chaotic free-for-all setting. Die hard Halo fans will notice some missing game types, including free-for-all slayer, SWAT, and Griffball. To appease longtime fans of the game, 343i is rotating in these missing classic game types every week.

Spartan Ops essentially replaces the firefight mode introduced in Halo: Reach. It’s an episodic, mission-based co-operative play mode new to the Halo series. Spartan Ops will last five seasons, consisting of 10 episodes per season. Each mission is accompanied by a CG cutscene episode that advances a story-line taking place six months after the events of the main campaign.

Halo 4

Halo 4 Warthog Domination

Ranking System and Loadouts

Like Reach before it, Halo 4 carries over the ranking system in which gamers earn experience for playing through War Games matches and Spartan Ops missions. Unlike Reach, the experience earned can be used towards upgrades beyond the look of your armor and insignia. Players are now able to customize their loadouts by spending Spartan Points (SP) earned by leveling up. The loadouts include a primary weapon, secondary weapon, grenades, armor abilities, tactical packages, and support upgrades. This new system allows for a high level of customization and requires the player to make more strategic choices–do you want your grenades to explode with more force, or would you rather start off with twice as much ammo?

Weapons

The introduction of an entirely new race to the Halo universe ensured a much more robust weapon list than we’ve seen in the series to date. The Promethean weapons aren’t the only new weapons on the block, as both the UNSC and Covenant have their fair share of shiny new toys. The Halo 4 ordinance system also levels the playing field for gamers who are late to the multiplayer party. Instead of numerous weapon and shield spawns scattered through the map, the ordinance system allows for weapon and power up drops for each player, once they’ve earned them via killing enemy players.

Halo 4

Halo 4 Assassination

One thing Halo vets may notice is the return of the Battle Rifle alongside the DMR. In addition to the familiar UNSC and Covenant armaments, Halo 4 introduces a bevy of new hardware to the arsenal:

Railgun (UNSC) – Heavy weapon that charges up to fire a powerful explosive round.
SAW (UNSC) – Squad Automatic Weapon, a fully automatic weapon more powerful than the standard assualt rifle.
Sticky Detonator (UNSC) – Fires remotely deonated grenades that can stick to the ground or the enemy.
Storm Rifle (Covenant) – Fully automatic weapon and successor to the Plasma Rifle.
Concussion Rifle (Covenant) – Fires powerful, superheated bolts of plasma.
Lightrifle (Promethean) – Semi-automatic rifle that fires bolts of light. Equivalent to DMR or Covenant Carbine.
Boltshot (Promethean) – Semi-automatic pistol that can also be charged to shoot a more powerful burst, something between the Magnum and Plasma Pistol.
Pulse Grenade (Promethean) – Grenade that generates a field that slows vehicles and damages shields and health of enemies.
Scattershot (Promethean) – Powerful, close range weapon that fires multiple energy beams that can be bounced off the floors and walls. Similar in practical application to the UNSC shotgun.
Suppressor (Promethean) – Fully automatic hard light rifle. Equivalent to Assault Rifle or Storm Rifle.
Binary Rifle (Promethean) – Forerunner sniper rifle.
Incineration Cannon (Promethean) – Heavy weapon that fires several streams of explosive particles that detonate on impact. Somewhat of a hybrid of the Rocket Launcher and the Concussion Rifle.

Summary

343 Industries updated Halo 4’s multiplayer component in a way that stays true to Bungie’s vision while moving the franchise forward. Even with all of the changes, Infinity multiplayer feels very familiar, if even nostalgic. Alas, we have only begun to scratch the surface of what Halo 4 has to offer. Next week we’ll take a closer look at Halo 4’s new multiplayer maps and their advantages and disadvantages in combat.

Joe Van Fossen

Joe Van Fossen

Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Joe Van Fossen is an avid gamer, film nerd, and unabashed gadget geek. When he's not playing games, watching movies or gadgeteering, he's writing about it (or he's off playing music in some seedy bar somewhere in L.A. or Orange County).
Joe Van Fossen

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  • mishi

    Dominion is different than territories and firefight was introduced in halo 3 odst not reach

    • http://www.gamingillustrated.com Joe Van Fossen

      Thanks for the corrections. That’s true, Dominion is somewhat a hybrid of King of the Hill, Invasion, and Territories with the added defensive stations.

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