Halo 4 - What we want to see
26th Feb 2012 | 16:00
With Halo 4's release slowly creeping up on us, and few details released so far announced, we've put on our speculating hat and and drawn up a list of the things we'd like to see in 343's first Halo effort.
And if you're wondering: our speculating hat is a fez, because they're awesome.
Let us know what you want to see in Halo 4 in the comments below.
Mix it up, tough guy
With Halo 4 being the birth of a new trilogy, and being set on another planet on the other side of the galaxy, we expect to see some completely new enemies.
We've been fighting the same grunts and jackals for over a decade now, and any enemies introduced in sequels didn't really force us to mix up our strategy too much. From our experience, the majority of the enemies in the Halo series could be defeated by staying on our toes and spraying our gun at them until they dropped dead.
We want to see something completely different in terms of enemies - a collection of foes that pressures us to adopt a variety of combat tactics.
And please, for the sake of all things holy - no Flood.
The kids got heart
Some us didn't feel much more than indifference when each member of Noble team met their demise during Halo: Reach, and we're sure we weren't alone.
Much of Noble team didn't really interest us as characters - they were too by-the-numbers; soldier clichés that we've seen many times before. There was Carter, the no nonsense leader of the group. Kat, the 'badass' female - modelled on Vasquez from Aliens. Jorge - the big, heavy weapons guy. Emile - he has a skull carved in to his helmet, and is therefore is obviously a badass or something.
Their personalities only really went as far as their accent and armour, so it would be nice to see 343 try to create some original characters with a little more depth. We're not asking for characters that go on massive rants about politics, ideology and the philosophy of war in the same vein as a Metal Gear Solid character, but a characters with a little more flavour wouldn't hurt.
Wrap it up
The story in some of the series' entries wasn't the easiest to follow. The problem with many of the games were that they just assumed you already had extensive knowledge of the universe, read all of the Halo novels about three times each, had Spartan posters plastered all over your bedroom walls and slept under a Master Chief duvet.
We'd like for Halo 4 to tell a more self-contained story, so those that don't understand every aspect of the fiction can jump in and enjoy a great narrative without having chunks of the plot lost on them.
By all means, include nods and mentions to the books or the past games, but the narrative shouldn't expect you to know every detail of the universe.
It's a new trilogy, so let's start afresh.
Halo is at its best when we find ourselves in a large, open battlefield with a selection of guns and vehicles to choose from and a whole load of covenant to take down in any way we see fit.
We like that freedom to adopt any tactics and strategy we like, no matter how brazen and ill-thought out. We like ramming our warthog in to the scarab's shins, and that's what Halo does really well - gives you as much opportunity to mess about with friends as it does to embody a badass super soldier.
What we liked about the first Halo was the fairly large levels that we could drive our warthog around and explore before getting stuck in to a fight. In the subsequent Halo titles, we felt that the levels funnelled us in the right direction just a touch more.
That's not to say all the most recent Halos have small levels - they still contain fairly large areas, but we liked that little extra freedom of the first game. It felt the more sandbox-like, and more like an explorable world rather than levels. Give us some of that again.
Fun for the whole family
Whether you're a fan of Halo or not, there's no denying its multiplayer is some of the best we've had this gen, simply for the sheer abundance of options and features available to the player. Few games provide a bigger bang to buck ratio than Bungie's sci-fi epic, but even so there are a couple of things that we feel are missing.
First of all: bots. Fans have been requesting bots since the first game, but we still haven't got them. Bots were a very welcome addition to Call of Duty: Black Ops, but Treyarch dropped the ball a bit with the implementation. It feels odd to call out bots for being cheap aim-botters but go play a round of combat training and you'll see what we mean after you've been one-shotted by a bullet in the head for the thirty-seventh time.
Not everyone is connected to Xbox Live, and we feel those that don't are missing out on a large portion of what makes Halo great, so let's get bots in there for the offline folk. Also, we can kill easy bots in exotic ways and record it in theatre mode to make ourselves look like pros. Yeah.
Secondly, and probably more importantly - matchmaking for custom games. The Halo community has crafted so many weird and wonderful maps and game modes, it seems a shame to not be able to play them with the rest of the world. Not everyone has fifteen friends always readily available to play custom games with, so there's an opportunity there to allow other people from around the world in to our games and let them insult our map-making ability and call out our choice of starting weapons. Something to think about 343.