Has Halo Changed for Better or for Worse?

As the release date of Halo 4 draws nearer, the players who anxiously await its release begin to question whether or not Halo 4 will live up to its predecessors. Halo 1, 2, and 3 were some of the highest selling games of all time, and for good reason. Halo focuses on equality. Everyone starts the game with the same weapons, movement speed, etc.

When Halo: Reach was released, Bungie decided to change these core values and see how their audience would react. The results were not well accepted. Players found the game to be too slow, and the armor abilities to be almost game-breaking in the manner they were implemented. 343 Industries has seen what its audience does not like, and are attempting to fix where Reach went wrong. For instance, the jetpack no longer keeps its players flying in the air for a very long amount of time. Now, when a player uses the jetpack, he or she can fly almost in a burst, and will fall back before really being able to "hover" like they could in Reach. Another ability was armor lock. 343 is not even going to include armor lock into Halo 4. They feel it to be too slow for Halo 4.

Their reasoning is that if someone were to armor lock, than everyone around that player has to stop and wait for him or her to pop out of it. This caused too much of a halt in the flow of the game, and was removed. Instead, the Hardlight shield has been implemented in Halo 4. The Hardlight shield is similar to armor lock, but the player using it is only protected from the front, and they can move while using it. This fixes the halting of the flow of the game, while giving players a similar opportunity to get that same armor lock feel to the game.

343 Industries insists that in Halo 4, with the introduction to customizable classes, players will not feel that one primary weapon completely dominates all the others. This was the case in Halo 1, where the magnum was the go-to weapon for any player. In Halo 2 and Halo 3, the Battle Rifle was the player's weapon of choice. In Reach, the DMR was similar in power and range that it became the instant starting weapon for the professional circuit. However, in Halo 4, players will get to choose their own primary weapon. There are many to choose from, such as the Battle Rifle, the DMR, and the Light Rifle. 343 feels that these weapons are all balanced with each other, and that the choice made by players on which weapon to choose will be purely on personal preference, and not because one is better than the other.

It will be interesting to see in the coming months if these weapons and perks are truly balanced as 343 Industries claims. Generally, it takes a few weeks before most players find that there is in fact one starting weapon that dominates over the rest, but 343 may have changed that in Halo 4.