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Halo 4

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#1 Syracuse022

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:07 PM

I've got to be honest - I'm not really enjoying the multiplayer in this game. Not at all. I took an eBay listing picture last night. I wussed out at the last minute and didn't pull the trigger. Still... ugh.

Maps
The map designs seem to fall into one of two basic categories: huge open expanses or cramped hallways with zero line of sight and few angles in play. Neither of these make for good Halo maps. When I think of Halo design standouts, they're almost invariably multi-tiered and structured around the possibility for either up-close-and-personal or ranged play depending on where you position yourself. On larger maps, vehicles are given some open areas to make hay in, but they're also constrained by various choke points and structural impediments. Historically, in Halo, large map standouts are not fucking donuts where vehicles have free reign, and small map standouts are not claustrophobic hallway fests with lifts all over the place. Why, then, are those the only maps 343i seem to want to make?

Ivan, you defended the convoluted DLC map objective routes where a Waypoint is often pointing you in a direction you shouldn't actually be heading (because of the nonsensical central building structure on Shatter, for example). Fuck that. At no time during one's first objective run on Sanctuary, Midship, Zanzibar, etc. was there any doubt whether you were heading the right way, map control considerations aside. If I have to open a Custom Game to figure out how to get from one base to the other, you fail at design. End of story.

I can really only point to one map design that 343i absolutely nailed: Ragnarok. Oh wait.

Weapons
Gunplay, on the whole, is vastly more enjoyable than in Halo 3 or Halo Reach. Netcode and framerate gripes aside, I love the way the DMR handles. Most of the power weapons that I highlighted in my campaign review (Railgun, Incinerator Cannon, Binary Rifle) are as fun to use as they were in Campaign. However, acquiring them through magical Halo conjuring or random drops is the absolute opposite of anything Halo has ever stood for. Forget map control, forget choke points. I used to lament the loss of drop timers. The Infinity Slayer system is so far away from everything drop timer Halo stood for that it doesn't even inspire Cuse rants anymore, it just makes me sad. A number of people on NeoGAF suggested a much better system - weapons drop in set spawns, on set timers, but now there's a countdown letting noobs everywhere know that a rocket launcher drop is imminent. This is vastly preferable to the current system. Do I trust 343i to implement an idea so sensible in a timely fashion? Not even a little bit.

Close Quarters Combat
The amount of feedback I feel like I'm getting when I'm in close is minimal. I feel like I'm flailing around blindly. People who use sprint + double melee are the bane of my existence.

Vehicles
I rarely use them apart from the occasional "Wheee, 15 kill spree guaranteed," jaunt in a Mantis or Banshee. I do, however, like hunting them down on foot. The game makes this a very feasible task, much more so than probably any other Halo game ever. I enjoy this greatly, but every time I own a vehicle singlehandedly, I wonder whether the people who are on the opposite side of the coin find the new mechanics less enjoyable.

Spartan Ranks
I don't give a shit. The game's not fun.

Objective Games
Instant respawn on King of the Hill and Oddball? Oddball passing could actually be an interesting mechanic if it were possible to set up any kind of map control or strategy. Nope. Just mash X and run headlong toward that Oddball waypoint my young friend, there's no need for strategy here.

No Assault? No One Flag? It's painfully apparent that most of the people who handled multiplayer had never played Halo before.

Guess what we got instead? Zombies, Swat, Grifball, WHEEEE! Pro tip: ignore what your mom says; DO NOT take your Vivance before you hop in those playlists.

Community Relations
Admit when you make mistakes, then fix them and learn from them. Or, as you clearly seem to have chosen, don't. Wave your hands and make a bunch of excuses. In the process, you're systematically alienating a lot of the old guard of Halo fans. Who cares? The gaming press seems to be eating your shit up. Never mind the fact that those guys have attention spans that are, at best, marginally longer than the COD kiddies you also seem to be wooing. And all the while, playlist counts dwindle...

Extras
No online file share support? Really? Never underestimate how hard the people who desperately want Halo to still be good will work to keep your community afloat - someone's already invented a way to create 1 flag maps in Forge. And you're hamstringing the fuck out of him because he can't share his files.

Spartan Ops
Ew.

Overall
I'm trying to decide whether I like the campaign enough to keep the game around for an occasional trip through the jungle level or Cocop's level. Probably. But I'm pretty much done with multiplayer. I guess I'll watch the rest of the Spartan Ops cut scenes once the whole series has been released - as far as I'm concerned, that is not a game mode, it's episodic animated content with optional torture chambers for people who like depriving themselves of fun.

Halo 4 was also, without question, the last midnight Halo launch of my life (I'd done it for every game from Halo 2 onward, Anniversary included). I'll pick Halo 5 up when it's on sale. There is no reason for me to buy a game where I'm going to be playing only Campaign right on its release date.

The end of an era - this is sad stuff. Check out my games played with each major Halo release. Granted Halo 4 will probably see a few more games played before it fizzles out, but there's definitely some asymptotic action at work here, no?
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EDIT: Added another relevant statistic to the "Games Played" graphic to ward off any cries of, "But Cuse, you're getting old!" or "You suck! Adapt!"

Edited by Syracuse022, 13 December 2012 - 01:18 PM.


#2 Kinetic

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:55 PM

My review: I bought Halo 4 in November 2012. There is new DLC out right now for it that costs $10, and I haven't played the game in over 3 weeks. I couldn't care less. I bought Skyrim in November 2011. There is new DLC out right now for it that costs twice as much as Halo 4's, and I haven't played the game since September. I can't fucking wait to get home and spend 40 hours in Solstheim. Fin.

#3 Blaze

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:18 PM

I don't want to hate Halo 4's multiplayer, but I do.

#4 Jironimo

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:55 AM

The fundamentals of Halo 4 are strong, but what you have to say about settings is spot-on. This is why Team Regicide and CTF are fun, no personal ordnance and in the case of CTF a respawn timer.

#5 JCTucker

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:05 PM

I'll only play multipayer if there's a group on. I'm not making an effort to play it. I would rather play BlOps 2 by myself than play H4. And that's sad. What makes CoD multiplayer better isn't "jamming X." It isn't the lack of weapons on the map (which means your maps have to be pretty damn good) or the unlocks or anything of the sort. It's the flow of the game. The speed, the immediacy with which things happen. If someone gets an angle on you, there is no recovery, no "Oh, I guess I better sprint behind this wall and drop this green ball o'health over here." Trying to copy CoD was a terrible misstep. I'll play single player Halo 5. I've always been into Halo for the story, anyway. I haven't even started Blops 2 campaign. It's obvious to everyone who has played any other Halo that the people who made the multiplayer decisions had zero knowledge about what makes Halo different from other FPS games.

#6 Blaze

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 03:55 PM

It's funny going back and reading Halo 2-era Cuse rants. Some of that stuff translates really well to Halo 4 in regard to the difference between it and Halo 1 - 3. A lot of the rants talk about specifics and can't really be applied, but this one in particular is pretty good.

That's the problem. It IS a great multiplayer game. But it professes to be the sequel to the greatest multiplayer game I've ever played. And from weapon behavior to physics to vehicular combat to melees, it's nothing like it. And that's not okay. Publish it under a different title and I'll bet you money you'd have people saying, "It's good, but it's not Halo. Halo does (insert complaint here) much better." I fucking guarantee that's what would have happened. Instead, I feel like I'm bashing my head against a wall, trying to fit a square peg into the circular hole because Bungie followed a sequel formula that went something like this: "Damn. People really liked our game, huh? Let's change everything. It's cool how 2 years later people still turn to our game for multiplayer because it's so deep and rewards skill. Let's make it so that instead of having a learning curve, everything's automated so that people can enjoy that rewarding feeling of success without pesky things like playing the game and learning its nuances. In fact, while we're changing stuff, let's not even look at actual fan complaints and just do whatever the hell we want. Yeah. Ready... break!" Fixing what's not broken can kill a sequel. By the same token, sometimes it can revolutionize the way we play the game, give us something amazing that changes everything. Apparently Bungie and Ubisoft decided to take the "fix what's not broken" route, ignoring critical acclaim and hardcore fanbases. For most of us (i.e. not Ivan and UHYVE), it's becoming increasingly apparent that Halo 2 is hardly a revolution and that the changes Bungie went out on a limb for were less than successful (lunge melees, dual-wielding, the sword, disappearing bullets, power weapon system, no pistol, etc. - these didn't amaze me or change the way I want to play the game... instead, they frustrated me and made me want to go back to Halo 1).

Little did we know...

#7 Vanwadilion

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 04:29 PM

The way I look at is, there are basically two multiplayer games for xbox: CoD and Halo. Every once in a while, a Battlefield or Gears game will come along, but often the community and developer support disappear quickly (or the UI/menu/getting into a game is too annoying to deal with long term). So, while I have several complaints about both both games, when I want my multiplayer fix, I know which games I'll be turning to. So, I will likely nag onto Halo 4 until whenever the next Halo comes out. PS I agree with all of Tucker's comments re: BLOPS2 v.s. Halo 4.

Edited by Vanwadilion, 16 December 2012 - 04:30 PM.


#8 Drew

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:03 PM

I mean, I really want to like it. I do like the base gameplay. There's just so much other shit that detracts from it. Ridiculous Armor Abilities like Jet Pack and Active Camo, the Ordnance system as a whole (random Ordnance on map, personal Ordnance), the fact that you can spawn with a shotgun or a Plasma Pistol... Vehicles are made of paper, the Banshee is awful compared to its previous iteration, there are too many weapons that are too similar... I could go on for a long time. I will probably still play it on occasion, but I'm having a lot more fun with other shooters right now, and I have little interest in continuing to play Halo 4. Oh well.

#9 Nuvalari

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 09:22 AM

It's been far too long since I posted on AJ, University has really sapped my time for games. I couldn't resist a new Halo though, so against my better judgement I have put in a good 300 games and 5000 kills whilst trying to study at the same time. Has it been worth it? Just about.

First thought: wow this has really gone in the direction of COD. More choice for load outs is good I suppose, since Bungie had already jumped on load outs for Reach, but nav points to show the noobs when and where power weapons spawn? No. Timing weapons strategy just went out the window. Also, randomised ordnance mid game? It's hard enough to plan an encounter when each member of the other team is spawning with a different weapon but when they're randomly thrown rocket launchers and portable mac cannons it's impossible to tell what you will face around the corner. That's the most annoying COD multiplayer element they brought to the table - giving the dominating player in a game a reward and advantage.

My initial 50 orso games were confusing and infuriating, the Halo experience has definitely evolved once again. However it is starting to make more sense now that I am accustomed to most of the new weapons and the increased pace of perma-sprint. The amount of customisation, options and weaponry was sort of overwhelming at first, but i'm now fairly settled on my favourite load out set ups. I think this level of customisation is the natural way to take the multiplayer experience so I have no problems with it. The sandbox is excellent and there are many welcome new weapons. DMR is now great without the Reach level of bloom, sticky detonator is hilarious, binary rifle is badass and the boltshot... i'm slowing becoming a surgeon with that charged up shot, it's such a satisfying kill.

Maps on the other hand are severely disappointing. Not one special or favourite map except maybe (as Syracuse said) the Valhalla remake. I haven't had a chance to try the Crimson maps so I can't comment on those, but big maps aren't my fort? anyway. Overall i'm just really surprised there isn't at least an equivalent to say The Pit or Guardian. That said I don't think Reach had many special maps either. I have a lot of saved clips from Reach, and I find most of them are taken on remakes/forged versions of older maps like Sanctuary, Ascension etc. As much as community maps are integral to the experience now, I still expect there to be some awesome original ones shipping with the game. Halo 4 is lacking in this department.

Since they plan to update every week now, I thought i'd make a wish list to address the stuff that is still annoying me.
  • First and foremost, I want some compelling, memorable new maps.
  • Lose the nav points to weapon drops. Noobs deserve to be destroyed by a freshly spawned sniper, because they're noobs.
  • Modify the randomness of ordnance, or at least give some clear warning that everyone on the other team just got man sized tommy guns.
  • Bring back the 50 level skill system rather than ratings, but don't pull that sticky level shit that Halo 3 had. I don't want to have to win 35 team slayer matches in a row to hit level 49 only to lose one and go back to 48.
  • As much as I appreciate getting new team mates join mid game to even things out, don't insert me into a game that is already 8 minutes old and completely one sided. I don't want to get owned for 2 minutes and then have a game loss on my stats.
  • Similarly, don't insert people off my friends list into matchmaking games on the other team. Queue them up, sure, but only bring them into the match if they are going to be on my side.
There's a lot that has annoyed me, but I am actually now having a lot of fun. How each Halo game is perceived is relative. After playing many many nights of Halo 1 LAN, Halo 2 felt nothing like 'Halo'. Yet after 5000 games online I was quite fond of it. Halo 3 brought some new shit to the table. I gave that a chance and after 3000 games it also became a favourite. Reach was a little more awkward because of the bloom and armour abilities, however I would even call that a solid online experience. Now that I'm eased into Halo 4 it's starting to feel good again. I just hope 343 buck up and bring some more competitive slayer experiences to the table.

Footnote: I forgot to mention game types. Regicide is a lot of fun, Flood and Dominion are ok. Admittedly I am a pure slayer guy so I do not lament the loss of 1 flag or Assault. I did enjoy a bit of Firefight though so it's sad that they didn't bring that back.
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#10 Jironimo

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:25 PM

I disagree with you about the nav points to the weapons spawns. I don't think they harm a good team who knows what they're doing as they'll be headed in that direction at the beginning of the match anyway since they know to grab them. I was really against this at first but it honestly doesn't bother me at all anymore and I feel it's a good bone to toss to the new people. I do wish ordnance drops past the initial one were a bit more consistent but again, you generally know when they're about to come down and become available. I do agree with you about personal ordnance, luckily it's only in Infinity Slayer for now. I think it could work if it was (power-up, grenades, mid-tier weapon like a Needler, SAW, etc.) instead of (binary rifle, rockets, power-up). Heavy or power weapons should be on the map for people to have to fight for and account for. This is a reason why I don't like Dominion too, it's basically just big team heavies; wraiths, scorpions, warthogs everywhere and almost everyone has rockets, laser, sniper weapons. Not to mention the turrets and other vehicles which just make the game total chaos.

#11 KrAzY WiSh

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:54 AM

As an overall experience I'm really enjoying Halo 4, the campaign and multiplayer. The biggest problem I'm having with the multiplayer experience is with annoying teammates. You know, the guys who wait for you to get in a vehicle then EMP you or blow the crap out of you with plasma grenades. Some people also seem to have the impression that I have stolen THEIR vehicle, they then dish out the same treatment. So, I guess I would like them to remove friendly fire/grenade damage from vehicles...
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#12 Syracuse022

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:14 AM

Not gonna lie, I did that once. A Warthog full of teammates came barreling toward me with plenty of time to change course --- nope. Just kept on trucking. Lo and behold, I spawned in near those clowns. How could I not perform a citizen's arrest/license suspension with 2 plasma grenades?

#13 Jironimo

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 10:00 AM

The biggest problem I'm having with the multiplayer experience is with annoying teammates. You know, the guys who wait for you to get in a vehicle then EMP you or blow the crap out of you with plasma grenades. Some people also seem to have the impression that I have stolen THEIR vehicle, they then dish out the same treatment.

I don't know if I have you on my friend's list. If I don't send me a FR. Is your gamertag Krazy Wish also?

#14 KrAzY WiSh

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 12:26 PM

I don't know if I have you on my friend's list. If I don't send me a FR. Is your gamertag Krazy Wish also?


I'm pretty sure your on my list, though I think we've only played a few games of Halo 3 together, a few years ago lol.
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