Halo Multiplayer is awesome, there is no doubt about it, but every shooter has multiplayer and 343 Industries have had to find a way to separate Halo 4 from the crowd. To do so they have essentially given us some more back ground on how the multiplayer is carried out, how it is possible for red Spartans to kill blue Spartans and they’ve given it a shiny new name. Halo 4 doesn’t have multiplayer. Halo 4 has Halo: Infinity.
The aim of re-branding the games multiplayer experience seems to be focused on adding more depth, rather then just giving us the opportunity of running around shooting blue or red, Halo 4 explains why this is possible. The name comes from the flagship of the UNSC fleet Infinity is not only the biggest at three kilometers long, but is also far more technologically advanced thanks to the use of Forerunner technology which has been recovered and gives the ship, amongst other things, a far more powerful and accurate slip-space drive. Aboard Infinity is a combat deck where Spartan IV’s train, they do this by using the combat deck to simulate different environments and scenarios with the decks abilities close to limitless. The ships primary mission however, is not just as a training facility but top secret expeditions into discovering and researching Forerunner technology, this mission will cause the ship to cross paths with Master Chief meaning that some parts of the multiplayer will link directly into the single player campaign.
Now that the story is out of the way, it’s time to explore the gritty heart of multiplayer, because on top of giving the multiplayer more depth, 343 have worked hard to create a new experience all round. Loadouts are making a return but there has been a near complete overhaul, each still has a primary and secondary weapon, grenade type will be selectable, armour abilities will return and a modification system has been added with one modification and ability per loadout. Thankfully for most, armour lock will not be returning, the three that are will be jet pack, active camouflage and hologram. All players will have sprint and as of yet there is no information relating to what the modification system will be or how it will work.
When it comes to game types in multiplayer we have some information but not a whole lot to go on, one new free for all variant has been confirmed and it sounds like a good time. Regicide will run with basic Slayer rules but a bit of a twist, the leading Slayer will become King, as the game progresses the King will have a bounty on his head which builds as the game goes on. So while killing the King in Regicide will be a great bonus for whoever bags the kill, other players will still be able to kill each other for points and, in theory, be able to steal the crown by building a higher score. Team Slayer will obviously be making a return but is currently the only game that is confirmed as having a new, instant respawn system where the player will be able to hit a button and immediately respawn, time to wave goodbye to landing an extermination medal in regular Team Slayer.We can also expect some fairer lay when it comes to camping on the stronger weapons, power weapons are set to be introduced at random times and locations throughout the game. Speaking of medals, they have also been mentioned with confirmation that revenge medals will be changed, possibly allowing for revenge sprees but also that we will be able to bag a new medal for causing a distraction, taking the assist medal one step further.
Unfortunately for some of us we will not be seeing a return of Firefight. Perhaps it just isn’t a feasible option for wave after wave of the new, more intelligent species to mindlessly attack, or maybe it’s based on the fact that troops on Infinity don’t have to prepare for a Covenant onslaught, whatever the story related reason, it’s not happening but it has been replaced. Co-op missions will be available in the place of Firefight and look as though they will add a fresher experience, more frequently updated experience. Spartan Ops missions are set to be playable with your friends and are set to be updated on a weekly basis, based around the missions and adventures of the crew on Infinity. So far it has also been confirmed that completing these missions will earn players Spartan points and feature difficulty options the same as campaign.
Overall, many are comparing the changes to the Call of Duty franchise, which is a fair comparison but I believe that the heart of the game will remain unchanged. 343 Industries have a lot to prove in this solo outing and making tweaks and changes to appeal to a wider audience is a naturally intelligent idea that will make the game more popular and, in theory, a more enjoyable experience. For the die hard fans who don’t like COD, myself included, there will still be a core element to the game that won’t be changed by these new additions, this will still be Halo and it will still be amazing, don’t look at the possible bad points, just think that one of the biggest and best Xbox exclusives is coming back and it’s going to be a wild ride.
Halo 4 is set for release November 6th 2012.