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Halo 4 |OT| Spartans Never Die


Jun 7, 2004

12-18 |

This will be my last Halo thread on GAF. It's been a fun run, from the Halo 3 beta through to Halo 4, but I'm passing the torch to whoever wishes to pick it up next.

The folks at 343 are great people, and have been incredibly kind to me personally. I wish them the very best.

Sadly, I do not enjoy the game they made. Their vision of Halo, from the gameplay to the story to the feature set, is something I cannot be enthusiastic about. And it's put me off the series.

I'll still be about lurking HaloGAF and occasionally chiming in. But for the most part I'll be drifting away from HaloGAF and out of the spotlight Bungie and 343 graciously shone on me for a bit, in some ways. May it land on more deserving folks. I'm deeply grateful for it all, 343. Thanks.

I'll leave the OP as it is below, as a relic of sorts. You guys know where to go for Halo news.

Thanks for all the memories.



Reviews: Gamerankings

Resources: Official Website | Interactive Halo 4 Guide

Discs: 2 | Install MP from Disc 2, launch from Disc 1

Required HDD Space: 8 GB for War Games disc and Spartan Ops Season 1

Achievements. For additional details, head here.


Neil Davidge, of Massive Attack fame, to score Halo 4, is filling in Marty O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori's legendary shoes. Hit the OST cover for the official site, with soundtrack samples and the physical and digital albums for sale. The icon to the right leads to a behind the scenes video on the creation of the score.

Launch Trailers

The UNSC Infinity is a massive ship - seen in most preview material and trailers - that plays a pivotal role in the Halo 4 Campaign. It's also the fictional framing for multiplayer modes and the game systems that encompass them. PvP multiplayer is reimagined as War Games, a simulation running on board the UNSC infinity. Spartan Ops is an episodic cooperative campaign set six months after the events in the Campaign, and launched from the Infinity.

This section will provide an introduction to the game systems that encompass both modes.​

Load Outs
Introduced in Reach, load outs play an even more important role in Halo 4's combat. Now fully player customizable, a load out consists of:

  • Primary Weapon | Rifles such as the BR, DMR, Carbine and Light Rifle.
  • Secondary Weapon | Support weapons such as Plasma Pistol and Magnum.
  • Grenade Type | Frag or Plasma. The Promethean grenade type is considered heavy ordnance.
  • Armor Ability | One recharging ability, similar to Reach's implementation.
  • Tactical Package | One of the new classes of perks armor mods.
  • Support Upgrade | The other class of armor mod.

As players accumulate XP and progress through ranks, content unlocks for use in a number of custom load outs players can create, name, and save. The options players have to customize their load outs are determined by what content they have have unlocked, and what playlist they are in. You won't be picking DMRs when playing Grifball, for instance.

Each matchmaking playlist will provide a number of default load outs, suitable to that playlist, so you don't have to unlock content to have access to suitable weapons. (For example, BTB will include default load outs with BRs and DMRs.)

Universal Sprint
Sprint is now a base trait, and metered very similar to Reach.

Armor Abilities
Similar to the implementation in Reach, armor abilities are a "fourth leg" to the combat sandbox, a reusable ability controlled by a recharging meter. Halo 4's set strives to correct the balance issues presented by some of Reach's, through removals, replacements, or rebalancing.

Click the weapon icons to open a Halo Bulletin with complete details on each weapon and their role.

Most weapons in this class will be familiar, as the majority of UNSC weapons from Halo 3 return, with the lone returning weapon from Reach being the DMR. 343 has tried to push each weapon into a more specific role, so the AR will be more potent up close, while designing trade offs between the BR and DMR, at different ranges.

As the Covenant still play a critical role in Halo 4's story, their weapons likewise largely return with a handful of tweaks and swaps. The Carbine returns, replacing the Needle Rifle from Reach. Meanwhile the Storm Rifle steps in where the Plasma Rifle left off, as a more potent automatic plasma weapon. Oh, and the Needler is considered heavy ordnance now. You've been warned.

Halo 4 introduces a new faction of enemies, the Prometheans, and they bring a new faction of weapons with them. Many have familiar roles (the shotgun, the rifle, the sniper, and so on), but with secondary firing modes or other twists, such as banking shots around corners and disintegrating players.

Most of the Halo 4 vehicles will be familiar, and with the requisite set of tweaks to fit into the new combat sandbox. With one large exception...

Armor Mods
Armor mods are perks which boost or add different passive abilities to players, selected as part of a load out. Divided into two categories, players can have one from each category active at a time. Armor mods are unlocked for use in custom load outs as players progress through the ranks.

Note that the list below includes Specializations, some of which are locked away until 343 unlocks them (more on those in a moment).

Halo 4's progression is a major departure for the series, making many of the items unlocked affect gameplay, rather than pure cosmetics (though there are plenty of those as well). In most other ways, it builds on ideas introduced in Reach. For a detailed review of the progression system, head here.

Players progress through ranks, dubbed Spartan Ranks, 1-50 through Spartan XP earned during War Games, Spartan Ops and Forge. Spartan points are awarded at each rank, which can be spent unlocking items in the armory. Custom load out items are joined by cosmetic armor, decals and such to customize your Spartan IV with.

XP is also earned by completing Commendations (expanded to ~120) and Challenges.

Once SR-50 is reached, players next choose one of eight paths, each of which consists of 10 additional ranks, and which unlock their own set of armor, decals, weapon skins and armor mods. Only one Specialization can be worked on at a time, and must be completed before moving to the next.

At launch two are available, with the rest to be unlocked down the road by 343, unless you have early access via marketing promotions (namely the LE edition of the game or playing prior to November 20). For more on Specializations, head here.

It's five years after Halo 3, both since the game released, and when the story picks up in Halo 4. The Master Chief and Cortana are adrift in one half of the Forward Unto Dawn, the Chief in cryo. How'd they get there? 343 has said you don't need to know the story of the previous trilogy, so let's just say they finished a couple of fights and got shafted in the process and call it good.

Now Cortana is on the edge of rampancy, the Forward Unto Dawn is being sucked into a giant Forerunner shield world called Requiem, and some sort of ancient evil is about to awaken (because what else do ancient evils do in video games?).

Keeping this section light, folks. Campaigns are meant to be discovered.

  • Players: 2-player split screen, 4-player co-op online.
  • Difficulty: The now familiar Easy, Normal, Heroic and Legendary. 343 recommends Normal as a starting point, espeically for new players. Difficulty modifying Skulls from Halo 3 return.
  • Theater and Scoring have been removed from Campaign. :(

Shoot the Watcher.​

Spartan Ops four player cooperative, episodic campaign where players take their Spartan IV into a series of missions set six months after the Halo 4 Campaign ends. A replacement for Firefight in the sense that it's gone and this replaces it, Spartan Ops is more akin to a second Campaign, broken into smaller, more focuses pieces.

Players: 2-player split screen, 4-players online co-op
Theater: Alas, also removed from Spartan Ops.

Spartan Ops Season 1 is broken into ten episodes, but only one ships on-disc. The remaining episodes are delivered episodically, once per week, for the nine weeks after launch. Each episode begins with a CG cinematic, and consists of five missions, for a total of 50 missions (!!!).

Customization & Progression
Games of Spartan Ops reward XP just as War Games do, and contribute to the same progression through the ranks. Content unlocked in one mode can be used in the other, including custom load outs. Weapons unlocked via Spartan Ops are available in War Games, and earlier missions can be replayed with more advanced ordnance after doing so.

War Games is Halo multiplayer, renamed and rebooted by 343. While Halo's core gameplay is very much intact, game types are pruned and redesigned, game systems are updated or added and the overall flavor of the game is quite different than what came before.

Global Ordnance
The new system used to spawn heavy weapons onto the map. Whereas past Halo games spawned in weapons at specific points and times, only the initial spawn at the start of a match if fixed in Halo 4. After, ordnance spawns in at various, per-determined points on the map, with the game system rotating both the locations and weapons selected from those the designers made available on that map and game type. Spawned ordnance carries a waypoint, so all players in the game knows it has appeared.

Personal Ordnance
Used in Infinity Slayer (and available in other game modes via custom options) is an additional ordnance delivery method, initiated by individual players. Medals earned and their associated points contribute to filling an ordnance meter, which when filled prompts players to select from one of three randomly selected options. These options can include power ups, weapons and grenades. Once chose, the ordnance will spawn in near the player.

Power Ups
Deployed as part of Personal Ordnance, they include Speed Boost, Shield Boost, and Damage boost, and do pretty much what you might think from those names.

Kill cams
Featured in specific game types, kill cams show a free camera replay of your untimely demise.

Instant Respawn
Featured in certain fast paced game types (think Slayer and Flood), players can choose to tinker with their load out between spawns, or hit a button to spawn in instantly. Objective focused games like CTF still feature timed respawns.

Multiplayer now features personal scoring, with medals and actions accumulating XP and conveying each increment on-screen. Headshot +10 pic

343 has pared down and refocused Halo's multiplayer modes, which has allowed them to invest greater resources into each. The good news is that means each mode is well polished, and the matchmaking playlists are more focused affairs. The downside is fan favorites such as Race, Stockpile, and Assault did not make the cut.

Slayer is of course back, in FFA and Team modes, along with Infinity Slayer, 343's feature showcase. Infinity Slayer can be FFA or team based, and allows the full range of custom load outs, personal ordnance, kill cams, and so on.

A point-based free for all Slayer mode, where the goal is to score the most points to win. One player is designated a king with a large point bounty, which grows as they earn kills. Other hunt down the king to collect the bounty; points are earned for killing other, non-king players as well. First player to the point goal wins.
  • A King is designated at the start of the match.

    Infection, evolved; a round based zombies mode. For a complete run down on the Flood rules and updates, head here.

    Capture the Flag
    CTF has been evolved more than any returning game type, with 343's stated goal to make for a faster playing game with more clearly defined player roles. It's almost best to think of it as being an entirely new mode, as it plays quite differently than before. For a complete run down on the new rules and features medals, head here.

    A bit of a hybrid between Assault and Territories, but more free-flowing than either, Extraction pits opposing teams in a race to capture multiple "extraction points" on the map and defend them.
    • Multiple extraction points appear on the map at the start of the game.
    • A team must access the extraction point, capture it, and then defend it long long enough to score a point.
    • Once an extraction point is locked down and the point awarded, another opens up and teams fight for control of it.
    • The team to capture the required number of points, or has the most when time ends, wins.

    Hold the ball to score points, in FFA or team modes. With Assault gone, Grifball has been folded into Oddball. The primary new feature is the ability to throw the ball - passing from player to player.

    A BTB Territories-style mode based on capturing and holding bases, which upgrade the longer they are held. Opposing teams will fight for control of the three bases to determine the winner of the game.
    • Three bases are located on the map, and teams spawn and fight for control over them.
    • The longer a base is held, the more it upgrades over time.
    • Game ends when one team aquires enough points, or captures all three bases and eliminates the opposting team in Sudden Death.

    King of the Hill
    There's this hill, see. You want to stand in it and score points....

  • Halo 4 ships with 10 War Games maps, shown below. Click on each for a ~10 minute walkthrough video with 343 developer commentary.

    For a much more comprehensive look at Forge, see GodlyPerfection's thread. Halo 4's Forge is very much an iteration on Reach's version, for better or worse. Co-developed by Certain Affinity and 343, it remains an object editor for spawns, weapons and pre-built geometry for use in customizing, or creating custom, maps. Still allowing up to eight players to romp on a map in construction, it has a handful of improvements, among them:

    • A "magnet" system to snap Forge pieces together neatly and quickly. Think Legos.
    • The lighting system applies to Forge objects, improving the visuals of custom maps.
    • Controls to rapidly duplicate or delete objects, to speed up the building process.
    • Gravity zones, so that sections of maps can have altered gravity traits. Trampolines!
    • Defined player trait zones, enabling players who enter them to take on defined abilities.

    The Forge spaces are shown below. Click each image for a direct feed video with developer commentary, covering various aspects of Forge.

    Special thanks: Louis Wu for web hosting, m0dus for banner art and nillapuddin for Infinity content.


Jun 7, 2004
I have a small list of items to polish up in the morning; one MP map to add (couldn't find good media for it yet), a video to add, a few images to polish. But the natives were getting restless. 'Night.

Six days.


Sep 16, 2007
Chicago, IL
Wouldn't be current-era HaloGAF without

p.s. is it really spelt "Ragnarock"? I was under the impression that the 'proper' spelling was "Ragnarok"


Jul 7, 2009
I will be playing this on my 30" monitor with my face up close to the screen. It takes a little getting used to but the art direction of the previous Halos all many to suck me in and immerse me.


Jul 7, 2009
Time to plan those days I am going to take off work.

Good thing I have some vacation days left.


Oct 2, 2009
Classy OP! Very clean and easy to read. Can't fucking wait to get back into Halo.


Not bitter, just unsweetened
Jun 6, 2004
Wording a little weird for reviews

It says embargo up in a couple days

When its really about 20.75 hours from now