Halo Week 2014 – Halo 4

Halo 4 CoverRounding out the four full games in the Master Chief Collection, let’s now look at 2012’s Halo 4. Since it’s the most recent game in the series, I think it’s probably the most familiar with fans. While I wasn’t super pleased that 343 decided to tell a new story with Master Chief – I would have liked them to use the universe to create something new – the game was still a real fun entry in the franchise. The multiplayer took a lot of the new features that Halo: Reach had introduced, in particular customized loadouts and armor abilities. The new maps had a good mix of arena sized competitive maps, along with a couple bigger maps that took advantage of classic Halo vehicle action.

In terms of the tactics for Halo 4, I thought that it did a good job of striking a balance with classic Halo strafing and shooting, as well as using the new abilities to add in new options for movement. Find an armor ability that you feel comfortable with, and learn how to really use it effectively in combat. The Hardlight shield can be great to throw an enemy off his game for a second; Jetpack gives you access to some verticality that might not be there otherwise; Active Camo is always a great choice for stealth, and Promethean Vision is another really solid option to see your enemies through the walls. In general, your primary weapons don’t matter a whole lot – the DMR and BR are both really solid options, and the Carbine or Light Rifle also work quite well; I wouldn’t recommend the automatic weapons, unless it’s a specific game mode.

Maps in Halo 4 run the gamut from really strong, to rather unbalanced. I think in general the smaller maps are better, but there are a couple big ones that work well. In particular, Ragnarok – the updated version of Valhalla. Since Valhalla was already a very strong symmetrical map, adding in the Mantis didn’t terribly change the map. It does place a little more emphasis on getting heavy weapons, or boarding the enemies vehicles. Just like in Valhalla – DMR, BR and Snipers all do very well still, but again, the Scattershot and Shotgun both still have uses within the caves and bases. Timing your ordinance drops also can play an important role in changing the tide of a match, assuming you’re playing a match that has them.

Halo 4 Adrift

One of the better small maps that I really liked playing was Adrift. It’s a symmetrical map, based around a central, multi-level room. It’s good for team games, CTF in particular is a very fun game, as is Oddball. Controlling the man cannons is important though, as in those objective games, those cannons can play a huge role in a successful score. Weapons like the Shotgun and Scattershot can really dominate, as can the Energy Sword, found at the top of the center pillar. There are still sightlines that longer range weapons excel at, especially along the outter walkways. Callouts can be a little complicated though, since the map doesn’t have lots of differentiating features.

Halo 4 Abandon

One last map to look at, I want to talk about Abandon. It’s an asymmetrical map that’s more on the small side. It’s good for team games, even with the asymmetric nature of it, but shines in multi-team games. Oddball is great on it, since the map is small enough that it is pretty difficult to camp. In general, combat tends to focus around control of the central tower, which can be difficult to lock down, as there’s multiple ways into every level of the tower. Explosives are good to keep on hand, since they can help clear out the top floor. Heavy weapons are good to keep control of too, so keep an eye on Ordinance drops.

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