Pride of Iowa State
(09-05-2012, 07:14 PM)
WARNING - WALL OF TEXT.
PAX 2012 Impressions - HaloGaf, Halo 4, Based Frankie, and BS Angels.
PAX 2012 was my second PAX. The first, a blurred stupor of lights and sounds, was in 2010. 2010 was the year Reach was set to launch, and PAX 2010 was the first time I got to see Reach in person. Halo 4...is not Reach. It is a better game all around. My time was very limited with Halo 4, so take this write-up however you see fit, but the game immediately and thoroughly felt better than Reach ever has.
I almost didn't get to play Halo 4. The line was up to 4 hours long all weekend, and by Sunday afternoon I was worried I would miss my chance. I happened to stop by the Halo 4 booth earlier in the day and grab Jessica. I had a nice 15 minute chat about PAX, the game, and working at 343/dealing with online communities in general (as I do community stuff for THQ). At that time the line was still around the 3 hour mark, however. Around 4pm I finally came back to the Halo 4 area, waved Jessica over, and asked what the deal with the line was. She noted that it was now as short as it had been all weekend, and let me jump under the rope to get over to the end of the line. I waited about 35 minutes, and was finally able to get into a game of CTF.
I immediately sat down and jumped into the options. I am an inverted (the CORRECT way to play :P ) player so I changed that over, got my sensitivity to 4, and switched to bumper jumper. The bumper jumper layout is similar to reach, but puts sprint on "X" and your AA on "A" (if I remember right). After getting that all set up I had enough time to get one "class" set up. My class consisted of BR, Promethean Pistol, thruster pack AA, shield regen speed for the tactical package, and something radar-based for my support upgrade.
The game starts. I run around for the first 5 seconds in a drunken stupor before finally gaining my senses and going off about my Halo business. The first thing I noticed was that the reticule placement seemed different. I was assured it was in the same place as previous games (slightly below center) but it, combined with the new UI, looked a bit odd right off the bat. I adapted quickly though.
I then proceeded to test out my AA, the thruster pack. As soon as I hit the button I knew that this AA could be one of the most useful in the game. Even with it being a brand new AA, it clicked for me right away and 5 minutes later I was using it as though it had existed for years in Halo. Let me be clear here; thruster pack is NOT evade. It pushes you a shorter distance, only has one use before recharge, and doesn't alter your hitbox from what I could tell. That aside, I found myself using it a great amount to avoid a grenade, or jump into cover quickly. You can't run away with it, but you certainly can use it to get to cover in more open levels easier. After using thruster, I believe I will be starting off Halo 4 using it day 1.
Sprint. Sprint has been a point of discussion and turmoil within HaloGaf for eons now. My view on the subject is well known, I like sprint. I think it adds much needed speed to Halo. Anyways, playing Halo 4 reconfirmed my views. Never did I see people using it to run away, and if it ever happened the player never got away. You won't see people using it to get away from fights, but more to get back into them. Spawning, then being able to run back across the map and get back into the fray a lot faster is fantastic.
The Ghost. The Ghost is one of my all time favorite Halo vehicles, so needless to say the first one I saw was mine. To my surprise the Ghost now has acceleration. You no longer go from 0 to whatever within a second, you gradually build speed over 2-3 seconds. I didn't like or dislike this new acceleration, but it will be something to get used to for those who typically jumped into a ghost and sped off. I think the new acceleration will prevent people from escaping in ghosts as easily too.
Weapons. Out of all the weapons I used I found out one thing. Halo 4 is NOT all about melee. From my short experience with it not once did I feel the urge to stop shooting, and run up to the person for a melee. If I did melee, it was usually a last ditch effort to avoid certain death. Halo 4 relies on your shooting skill much more than previous games did. Melee-happy folks will be sorely disappointed. As has been confirmed by others the BR and DMR felt great, and felt like they each had very specific range usages. Once using the BR I was instantly familiar with it. Yes, it does have that slight bullet drop, but not once was I hindered by it. I felt 100% confident landing my shots. The DMR is the DMR. It has a slight bloom, but feels infinitely better than the Reach base DMR. The Promethean Pistol feels decent as well. Not uber powerful, but helpful in a tight spot. It has a nice charge attack too that packs a punch. Grenades still feel good in Halo 4, but are not quite the mini-nukes we have in Reach. Chucking a random nade to save your ass won't really work anymore, you have to be very tactical about their use.
Map. I enjoyed the new map 343 showed off at the event. I didn't get the proper time to explore it, but it felt like it had a good amount of scenario-specifc areas. Areas for long range battles, short range battles, vehicles, etc. Each side had a handful of Warthogs, but I never felt "left out in the open" as I do constantly on some of Reach's maps with vehicles. No one really got the tank going more than once in our game, so I cannot speak to spawn kills. I only got spawn killed once, and it was by a person not a vehicle.
Overall I feel good about Halo 4. I am still wary of the power-ups 343 has introduced, but once I picked my shield regen and started playing I completely forgot those "perks" existed. Never did I feel that I lost a kill due to some invisible ability the other player had, and this is what excited me the most in my time with the game. The "perks" seem to give you a slight edge in one area or another, but do nothing for you if you aren't competent at the game already, and only slightly help you in very specific scenarios otherwise.
I want to thank 343 for being great to HaloGaf last weekend, and Frank & Jessica specifically for chatting with me about the game. Thanks to Duncan, and all the other HaloGaf guys who showed up for making everyone feel welcome, and being awesome overall.
I don't think I can go back to Reach now... SLRP