At noon PST, the doors to the main floor of E3 2012 opened with the stampede of geeks eager to get to their favorite game or company first, before lines made seeing anything an hour long chore. I myself nearly ran towards the Xbox 360 section, straight for the Halo 4 demo. I still ended up halfway back in the line and waited nearly an hour. But … it was worth it.
When I finally got inside, I found myself in a small dark room with 23 others. We went through the same demo that had been shown at the Microsoft press conference (that Chris and I wrote about earlier today). Since we already have a full discussion of that video, I won’t go through all of it.
This time through, though, it was live, with several of the fine folk from Bun… 343 talking us through the entire thing. I kept notes and came out with some nice tidbits that weren’t discussed explicitly in the video. One, the planet the game takes place on is called Requiem, and it is indeed a Forerunner shield world. The new enemies are definitely Forerunner AIs, but they have a specific name, and are called Prometheans. There were four types shown in the video. The first were the small ones, called Crawlers. The second was the standing guy that attacked with what looked like a sword. He is a Knight. The Knight released a flying guy, who is called a Watcher. Also later, there was a variant of the Knight, called the Knight Lancer, who can move incredibly fast, almost appearing to teleport.
The two types of weapons that were dropped were of the rifle class and shotgun class, respectively titled the Forerunner Light Rifle and the Forerunner Scatter Shot. A note about the Scatter Shot: Its shots will bounce off walls. Additionally, the infrared vision mode is (for some reason) referred to as Promethean Vision.
After we finished that, we had several speakers talking about the multiplayer content in Halo 4. There will be 2 modes (outside of Campaign, which can still be played with 4 players). The first is most similar to what we have in Reach, 3, 2, etc. Called ‘War Games’, the main difference will be a COD makeover. One distinct feature of Halo multiplayer has always been that changes to the character model which have to be earned are always cosmetic. You don’t have to play to get better.
In Halo 4 multiplayer, this is changed. As you play and gain experience and points, you can buy better weapons and armor abilities. While it gives a reason to play, it also will tend to disuade new players, who will find themselves fighting rockets with pistols. (Metaphorically).
The other mode in multiplayer will be called Spartan Ops. This will be a form of cooperative play, and it’s what I’m most excited about. Each week, 5 new missions will be released, along with accompanying cinematic cutscenes. This will almost be a sub-campaign as opposed to traditional multiplayer, and it will continue far after the game is released. I asked how long but wasn’t given an answer, other than, “a long time”.
Anyway, to summarize: Campaign, same as before, should be fun. Graphics are overhauled. Multiplayer, 2 modes, Wargames and Spartan Ops. The more you play, the better weapons and armor abilities you get.