The First Five Things You Notice About Halo 4 Multiplayer

E3 2012: From custom loadouts to lighting effects, we examine the most immediately noticeable changes to Halo 4 multiplayer.

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While Microsoft kicked off its E3 2012 press conference with a look at Halo 4's single-player campaign, Master Chief's latest saga isn't the only part of Halo 4 on display at the show this year. Tonight, we got a chance to take a quick spin through a bit of Halo 4's competitive multiplayer mode. We'll save the real nuts-and-bolts discussion for a later date, but in the meantime, let's talk about the five things we noticed right away about 343's handiwork:

Break Out Your Sunglasses

Depending on which map you play, the first thing you'll probably notice about Halo 4 is a much more dramatic use of lighting. The series has always been fond of painting dramatic skies above players' heads, but in Halo 4 it feels like those skies are reaching down and grabbing you. This effect was especially dramatic on the Forerunner-themed map we played that mixed austere architecture with extensive gold rays bathing the play field in a golden light. It almost had a heavenly look to it--if heaven were populated by Spartans trying to kill one another.

Finding Your Own Style

One of the ways Halo 4 deviates most from previous games is through the use of customized loadouts. What this does to the overall balance and its effect on the gap between new players and veterans is the subject for a later discussion, but one thing we can definitely say right now is that they really do let you carve out your own unique playing style on the battlefield.

Say you're a defensive player who prefers to avoid risk. You can equip the "Mobility" support upgrade that grants you infinite sprinting, allowing you to hightail it to safety whenever things get too hot for your liking. Or if you like to get inside the enemy's head, you can turn on the Promethean Vision armor ability that lets you temporarily see players through walls, then watch as they react in horror when you keep banking grenades around blind corners and into their laps.

The Warthog Has Been (Somewhat) Tamed

Hop into the driving seat of the Warthog and you might notice that Halo's signature method of wild joyriding has become a little more, dare we say it, reliable. It's a subtle difference compared to previous games, but it did seem like the Warthog in Halo 4 feels less floaty and squirrely. It's not the sort of change that everyone is going to pick up on, but it did feel like the Warthog has had some modest tuning upgrades applied to it in the ol' UNSC auto garage.

The Animated Art of Dying

Halo 4's lighting isn't the only visual change you'll notice when you first pick up a controller and jump into a fight between red and blue. The character animations are now much more elaborate and nuanced. When the camera pulls back to show you dying, you no longer just sort of fall to the ground as a lifeless husk of your former self; instead, you'll often see yourself stumble, reach out in desperation, and shuffle this mortal coil in dramatic fashion. Those death animations aren't terribly longer than the old ones, and you can still skip them to respawn right away, but they definitely add a bit more grim weight to the act of seeing your character die.

Your Guns Are More Reliable

Folks who complained about weapon bloom in Halo: Reach are probably going to be happy with what 343 has done to the armory in Halo 4. In the time we spent playing multiplayer, gunfire seemed much more accurate in extended bursts. This was especially the case with the single-shot DMR. When engaging an enemy from mid to long range, we were able to fire off a quick succession of four or five rounds without feeling like our fifth bullet had taken a detour to Antarctica and back. The result is a game that moves a little more quickly, with kills coming faster and more often. Not a dramatic difference, but one that veteran Reach players will probably pick up on.

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Discussion

199 comments
SolidTy
SolidTy

We'll see what 343 will be delivering soon enough. It's their first real Halo game, and they've changed a lot. Can they top the gaming gods of Halo's Yesteryear Bungie? Stay tuned.

BigStik
BigStik

First thing I noticed: damn that sniper rifle looks ugly

DaRkNe5s
DaRkNe5s

i wont feel this game as halo 4 instead i will feel it like a new game with the same characters

RetroSEAL
RetroSEAL

I'm a ps3 user and I approve this message.

halo117xbox
halo117xbox

HALO 4 will be the best game to date untill HALO 5 comes out on the XBOX 720!! PS3 sucks! they envy because they dont have a great single  player/mulitplayer game like us! the last of us sucks and the rest of they're cheap games!

onewithtoenail7
onewithtoenail7

so excessive bloom, CoD-esque skinner box mechanics, less stupid physics, new... animations(?), and less recoil.

 

i dont know about you, but it really, really, REALLY sounds like they are desperately searching for something that differentiates this multiplayer from any of the other 4 versions of it weve played already. not a good sign.

Tekken312
Tekken312

Glad to see 343 is paying attention to even the smallest details.

texastitan123
texastitan123

I only wish the new halo would be on a new consol. I am tired of of early 2000 technology being milked way to long.

idriss22
idriss22

Fans who became fans after getting Halo 3 or Reach killed this series.

the_actor_man
the_actor_man

Does anyone know if Brutes are going to be in Halo 4? I just thought... why were Elites in the demo and bad guys, because at the end of Halo 3 the Elites were on your side, and the Brutes had taken their place on the Covenant! :S

KingBeyondWall
KingBeyondWall

I'm not totally against loadouts in Halo, but they do worry me. The weapons in Halo vary greatly with huge differences in power. I don't want to go into matches where everyone is running around with shotguns and sniper rifles. If they can keep balance in multiplayer, i'm on board. 

BLAS1AN
BLAS1AN

A lot of games mimic certain features from games. why is Halo subjected to criticism just because it has Loadouts? Halo has sparked elements that are in other games as well

 

Havent been this excited for a game since Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Reach

SangheliZealotX
SangheliZealotX

 @onewithtoenail7 excessive bloom? they said there's no bloom, and the GREAT physics are the same, there's still ragdoll, just different death animations like that one in reach where your guy would reach out his hand when he fell on the ground/

pieterdevliet
pieterdevliet

 @texastitan123 what do you think about dairy cows, we been milking those for god knows how long. still do it, if sumthings good you don't mess with it. xbox 360 still does the job, what would a new console bring to us that would really make games better?  a great game doesn't depend on its hardware it depends on its gameplay.

 

Ovirew
Ovirew

 @idriss22 I'm sorry I killed Halo for all of you when I got into it after Halo 3 came out.

dancingsmurfs01
dancingsmurfs01

 @the_actor_man it is most likely that after the events of halo 3 with the main prophets gone and their "religion" showed for the what it really is the covenant was put into disarray, and the brutes who were originally found and given technology by the prophets had nobody to turn to, and the elites were able to take over again. while this may not be official reason. based on the lore and no official reason announced it is the most likely.

Goj1ra
Goj1ra

 @the_actor_manRead Glasslands by Karen Travis.In the book a group of ONI have a secret mission that involves the Elite.It will answer your question on why the Elites might go to war with humanity.Also Catherine Hasley is in the book.It is a wonderfull read!Its my favorite Halo novel!

 

EvilMonkie3
EvilMonkie3

 @the_actor_man thats probably because 343 took one look at halo, copied it, and spat out some bullshit that became halo 4

legofiddler
legofiddler

 @KingBeyondWall The load outs Have been revealed to be just choices between DMR, battle rifle, assault rifle, and carbine, with magnum or plasma pistol.  Snipers and shotguns are power weapons found on map.  The other choices are "minimally" different from Reach. i.e. sprint or armor lock type choices.  Most else is cosmetic.

mike468
mike468

 @KingBeyondWall

I don't think they would give you too much freedom with the loads-outs (at least I would hope not). I'm under the impression that you have some choice with your starting weapons (either an assault rifle or battle rifle or the covenant or forerunner equivalents (needler rifle), perks (like jetpacks or sprinting) and maybe grenade type. I don't think they will give you a choice to start out with stuff like a rocket launcher, energy sword and shield, brute shot or sniper rifle.

BLAS1AN
BLAS1AN

 @KingBeyondWall I cant see them eliminating classic slayer and forcing everyone to use loadouts

hlm2
hlm2

 @BLAS1AN Because Halo has always been about everyone starting with the same weapons and grenades, Reach changed it slightly, but not much with armour abilities, which were ok, but Halo 4 seems to be taking an entirely different route, and with the vast differences in power and usabilityh between Halo's weapons,it could dramatically imbalance the game.

onewithtoenail7
onewithtoenail7

 @SangheliZealotX whatever technical term you want to apply to it, it has the same unnatural glow around everything popularized in halo 3. thats also not the point.

 

quips like "physics are the same" and "like that one in reach" are what im talking about. they are grasping at straws to find something new, something to justify its redundant existence.

julioccs88
julioccs88

 @pieterdevliet Thats right but what about co-op mode?, imagine a game with great graphics and 4 players with a 1080p resolution at 60fps without any issue in performance?, that's what xbox 360 and ps3 lacks off and that is why we need a better hardware so developers can achieve that. PS i love to play with my brothers and friends in the same room.

the_actor_man
the_actor_man

 @EvilMonkie3 o.....k, I'll wait till I hear from someone who actually knows what they're talking about. I can't even be bothered to counter this stupid reply from you.

BLAS1AN
BLAS1AN

 @hlm2 Thats true but Halo has to evolve just like other games. keep in mind that theres still going to be game types where everyone starts out with same weapons. these new editions doesnt mean there wont be classic gameplay

Ovirew
Ovirew

 @onewithtoenail7 That's exactly what I said the other day.  It's still the same game I played four times now on the 360.

 

I enjoyed 3 and ODST and Reach and CE, but buying and playing pretty much the same game over and over again gets old fast.  There's really not enough new stuff going on here from Reach to make this game original.

pieterdevliet
pieterdevliet

 @EvilMonkie3Obviously if u can't even handle the lore from the Halo saga why even bother commenting about it?  oh wait probably because you took one look at HALO spat out some bullshit and you thought therefore you knew everything about Halo... you didn't try too hard did you?

 

AngelCage-2
AngelCage-2

 @the_actor_man most successful franchise in gaming history???????????Youre talking of mario, the legend of zelda or Metal Gear???????????

Omni_Paradox
Omni_Paradox

 @EvilMonkie3 

"They can't even handle checking the lore?" The fuck are you smoking, dude? How many things has 343 put in this game that only originally appeared in the Halo expanded universe?

Spartan IVs, the Infinity, the Prometheans, the Didact, Cortana's age limit, the Chief's backstory... seriously dude. 343 is making a serious effort to "check the lore".

the_actor_man
the_actor_man

 @EvilMonkie3 I said I couldn't be bothered, but I'm going to have to...

 

Do you REALLY think 343i - tasked with carrying on the most successful franchise in gaming history - just thought "fuck it, we'll make our own story"? No you idiot, you don't know the story of Halo 4 yet, no one does hence why i asked the question.

It could be this is a separate batch of Covenant who still follow the Prophets lies, or they don't KNOW the war's over as they're marooned there... and number of reasons I'm sure will be explained.

Don't think 343 would be as dumb... as YOU when carrying on the Halo lore.

EvilMonkie3
EvilMonkie3

 @the_actor_man obviously if they cant even handle checking the lore from the previous halo games enough to know about whats happening in the actual story, then they didnt try too hard did they?

muchakachaka
muchakachaka

 @COLDFIRE25 Loadouts have nothing to do with CoD??? What world are you from, halo style is everyone starts out with the same weapon to keep it balance, CoD everyone can spawn with a sniper or shotgun(one hit weapon)

COLDFIRE25
COLDFIRE25

 @EvilMonkie3

 Loadouts have nothing to do with CoD, and tons of games things similar. Not everyone wants to copy CoD. And in a way, BattleField had customer classes before CoD did, soo.....

nickery123
nickery123

 @BLAS1AN no but this changes the base game, which if done incorrectly could very well spawn another COD insanity fest, I agree it seems at first glance like a small issue but this could easily ruin the game. The pickup system has been part of halo from the beginning and I think it plays a key role in why the multiplayer of Halo is so much better than that of COD nowadays. Sure, changing the formula every once in a while isn't awful, but not at the expense of making the entire game unplayable.

BLAS1AN
BLAS1AN

 @EvilMonkie3  @hlm2 You guys really think EVERY game type in Halo 4 will be the same??? you really think there going to eliminate sniper mode, infection and classic slayer?. come on people

hlm2
hlm2

 @EvilMonkie3  @BLAS1AN It's more the fact that this is such a massive change to what was a great, popular system that worries me....

EvilMonkie3
EvilMonkie3

 @BLAS1AN  @hlm2 the difference between bungie and 343 is that bungie listens to the halo community, and 343 listens to the part of the community that says everything should be like COD.....

BLAS1AN
BLAS1AN

 @hlm2 gametypes have always been tweaked and updated in Halo. Bungie and 343 listens to the community. ask for gametypes w/o armor lock...they did it. asked for gametype w/o armor abilities we got classic slayer added . what source you need? look at history of halo

hlm2
hlm2

 @BLAS1AN There are? I have not heard anything about this....got a source on that, fairly exciting, piece of information? Please?