(10-16-2012, 08:21 PM)
Okay. My writeup has totaled 3,300 words (or, sans spaces, 14,500 characters long). Therefore, I'm going to break this up into several posts.
Here's Part 1.
First off I want to say how grateful I am for being treated so well by 343 employees. I’m so happy for being treated so well, and being given so much attention. Thank you so much to Jess and Alison most especially, Frank, Kevin, Jay, Chad, Sally, Kathy, Erik, Sparth, Tajin, Jeremy, and everyone else. I’m probably forgetting a few people.
David and Jess, I really wish I could’ve met you guys.
Now, on to the impressions! I was able to play Halo 4 for a solid four to five hours on Saturday night. I played three gametypes: iSlayer, Oddball, and CTF. I played on a variety of maps: Solace, Adrift, Complex, Ragnarok, Haven, and Longbow. I think I was playing a near-gold build (if that’s the proper terminology).
Good news about the maps is that they all seem to be solid maps. No stinkers like Backwash, Epitaph, and the like. My least favorite was Adrift, but I was still having fun on that. Not counting Ragnarok, which I need to digest more, my favorite map was Solace. I think, though, that is in part because I was able to have my most intense games on that map.
Primary Weapon: Carbine
Secondary Weapon: Boltshot
Thingie 1: Stability
Thingie 2: Shielding
Valhalla and Ragnarok
I will say what I think about Ragnarok, but these impressions most of all should be taken with a grain of salt if nothing else. The highest player count we could do was 4v4. Judging from my first experiences playing on this map, it seems I was wrong about the DMR being a problem, and I think having sprint might have something to do with it. My worries about the DMR is that it’ll turn most matches into “turkey shoots” as Ghaleon likes to call them, pushing encounters out to into ranges that make them uninteresting, and being constantly pinged by 3x scope weapons. With sprint, players can quickly move to close ranks with someone and fight it out, and they can quickly move into cover. This was true on iSlayer and CTF. Now, as I said before, these weren’t ideal conditions for the map. The problems that I fear will arise could do so with its optimal player count and when players realize how to best take advantage of Halo 4’s sandbox. However, right now, I would say Valhalla* seems to work well with Halo 4’s sandbox.
*It’s funny. When we were discussing the map out loud, everybody was calling it Valhalla, even the 343 employees. I think it’s because Valhalla is easier to say. (Another reason why it should’ve been called Asgard!)
Aesthetically, I am none too pleased with Rangarok. I said this when I first saw the map, but I don’t like the hot, dry makeover. I miss the cold, crisp day, and the lush green fields of Valhalla. Mancannons aren’t as fun anymore, too. It could’ve been the build I was playing, but the draw distance on the map seemed rather short, and the ground textures weren’t great – not bad! – but certainly not great.
I know the Mantis looked overpowered in the videos about it, but it’s not. It’s about as hard as the Warthog to take down if you know how to approach it. That could change if everyone isn’t able to spawn with a plasma pistol though, and I think such loadouts will be damaging to BTB play.
When the CTF changes were announced, I was at best unsure about them After sinking probably 2+ hours into the gametype (it was my most played), I’m still not sold. The good news is that when I was playing CTF, it didn’t feel like these were changes for the sake of change. It felt like 343 wanted to evolve it and add its own flavor to it. Which I can appreciate, but that doesn’t make up for the uncertainty I have about the changes.
What I remember to be the most worrying factor is the kill signal that’s placed over your head when you grab. It could’ve been this along with the other ways 343 has constrained your options in CTF, but I felt so claustrophobic when carrying the flag. I felt there wasn’t a safe route to go. In CTF of the past, when you got the flag, there was a tension in looking at your available paths and picking the safest, fastest route. Then you had the option of carrying the flag so your position remains unknown to the enemy team or dropping it so you can go faster but at the same time alerting the opposing team to your position. Risk versus reward. The new CTF removes all these dynamics, and I feel less in control of the situation. Speaking of being able to drop the flag...
I was playing CTF on Adrift and fighting my way around the enemy’s team flag when I accidentally picked it up. That was annoying, and thankfully it happened when I cleared the area and it wasn’t during a firefight. Otherwise I would’ve gotten a bit frustrated. Unless auto-pickup is disabled, I bet this won’t be the last time I do this.
From my brief time playing the game, not being able to drop the flag doesn’t seem like a change I will like. Here’s the way I see things: If I have fought my way to the flag, or if I have run the risk of grabbing it for my team, I should be able to defend it in anyway I can. I’ve earned that. It may be that I just don’t like the pistol as a weapon, but I don’t like being forced to use a weapon in a game that’s all about its sandbox. What if I had fought another player who had rockets, and I want to defend the flag using that? It seems to me that 343 is trying to alter the abilities of the flag carrier to force her teammates to help her out. And that sounds fine on paper, but I’m not confident it works out that way. I mean, with the changes to CTF, now you definitely want somebody tagging along to give you some cover, but that’s very hard to coordinate with randoms over XBL. The way I view things, if your team wants to win a game, they’ll assist the flag carrier whether it be classic CTF (because the flag carrier was already handicapped enough) or new CTF.
When looking at all these changes, you know 343 is trying to improve team work in objective games. A good and worthy goal. But I’m not sure doing that at the expense of options for the player is the best way to go.
Last edited by Dax01; 10-18-2012 at 02:59 AM.