Combat Evolved? Halo 4, a contradiction in gameplay, and why it’s all good

There’s a question that’s been in the back of my head (from my own inner-Cortana, perhaps?) ever since Halo 4 has been playable, and as details about the gameplay come in it’s become more and more Revenant relevant.

The details I’m talking about give us a better idea of what the game will play like, but certainly not a complete picture. Even though Halo 4 is nearly here, no one knows exactly what they’re going to pick up on November 6th (for the record, I think a little ambiguity is a good thing).

The question is this: Halo’s combat has evolved – will my skill set do the same?

While I hesitate to use the word “skill” in describing what I bring to the virtual battlefield, I do have a set of actions I enjoy over others. For example:

  • Shotgunning someone in the face
  • Serving up a right-angle of justice (melee) to someone’s face
  • Shooting a well-timed rocket directly in the opponent’s face
  • Seemingly anything where I blow up your face

While I will still perform these actions with glee Halo 4, my patterns of play will be within a different context – one of ordinance drops, armor specializations, Promethean Vision, etc. How will this affect my play, when the patterns I’m used to no longer have the exactly same outcome?

Based on my experience with the past games I think two seemingly contradictory things will happen – first, Halo 4 will force me to adapt in ways I would never have done otherwise. The emphasis on gun play, the movement speed and how it affects my Spartan – these changes/modifications cannot be ignored and without even realizing it my style of play with adapt.

(This is why going back and playing past iterations of Halo muliplayer is always fun, but not because I’m winning. My level of skill takes a big hit when switching between games – I have to re-learn the controls each time.)

Second, Halo 4 will allow me to play the game the way I want to – which is a fancy way of saying that my play style will not have to change too much when I play the game from what I’m used to.

Indeed, the specializations and load outs point to this fact – 343 Industries is making an effort (as other shooters have done before them) to have their game tailor more to me and not the other way around.

While players will endlessly debate the merits of such moves, I personally can’t wait to see what Halo 4 evolves my game into. When people talk about Halo’s sandbox I often think of the enemy AI and how it interacts with the player, but there’s more to it than that; it’s the relationship between the player and his Spartan counterpart.

How those two things come together will determine my play experience for Halo 4, and the future looks bright.

Now if you excuse me, I need to reload.


>>>>>>>[Post tenebras lux]


  1. Oh the adjustment period. I know this feeling. You’re playing a new Halo game and it feels so similar to the previous title… but it’s different.

    The old faithful muscle memory that I could almost always count on before becomes an enemy to be countered.

    “That would of worked in Reach” my brain will say. “I don’t understand why I died!?” “What am I doing wrong!?” and of course my old trusty “Why do I suck so hard!!” will be spewed from my lips far more than once.

    I know this is waiting for me. I had it going from 3 to Reach. It was back again in full force for my all to brief encounter with Halo 4 at Eurogamer.

    We all know it will pass. We will adjust no matter how much our brains have grown resistant to change.

    But I can offer something even more encouraging to those of us who may be a little slow to adapt. I’ve played Halo 4. I’ve sucked REALLY hard at it. And the best thing I’ve learned about Halo 4 so far?

    It’s really REALLY fun to get owned in.


    1. I agree, getting owned in Halo 4 was fun … at first. But after the newness wore off a little bit getting destroyed felt just like it always did – bad.

      I say that with a smile though because it reminds me of two truths: one, I’m not that good at Halo to begin with and two, the adjustment period always takes longer than you think it should, i.e., I’m impatient.

      Every time I feel like throwing my controller across the room it’s not really the game I’m mad at – I’m mad at the fact that the two truths I just listed are exactly that – truths 🙂


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