Hands On: Halo 4 at FirstLook Event Utrecht 2012

By Andrew Ogley, 4 years ago
Halo 4 will be the first title in the franchise that will not be developed by Bungie, with Microsoft’s 343 Industries taking sole control over the development of the series. As this is the first post-Bungie title, it is the first opportunity to see whether 343 Industries can successfully deliver.
Halo 4 Symbol

The whole presentation started with a video clip introducing us to the new single player campaign. We were told to expect new weapons, although exact details were not divulged and we were warned that we would need the new arsenal to take on a new race known as the “Prometheans”. This breed of alien are tougher to fight and harder to beat than the current Covenant Elite, and they have their own intriguing and frightening weaponry. If you’ve caught up with some of the E3 footage then you may already have seen what to expect.


Then the presentation went on to explain that there were new additions to the multiplayer game in the way of customisable weapons, and loadouts that best suit the individual players style. Furthermore, players who have levelled-up far enough will also be able to customise their Spartan character, with different armor styles and colouring, logos, numbering, and specialisations. Alongside all this there are also new multiplayer game modes and new maps on which to wage war against the all-new customised Spartans.

After the briefest of introductions on the multiplayer we were then thrown into a local game in which we were given the opportunity to play one of the new game modes 'Regicide', on one of the new maps, Exile, thus putting us all on an equal footing as nobody knew what to expect.

Halo 4 MP 6

Despite there being a number of customisable options at the beginning most of us decided to jump right into battle as we only had a limited amount of time. On entering the map, you feel immediately back home in the Halo universe. Exile is one of those canyon type maps with greenery and rock formations, with the occasional bases scattered about, which seem to be in every Halo multiplayer. The graphics do seem to have been improved, but not massively from the more recent Halo titles. It is a not a great leap forward graphically although the menus, from the few we did see, looked cleaner and sharper.

Halo 4 MP 7

The 'Regicide' game mode, although not explained fully at the time, is a deathmatch variation where one player is given the title of 'King', and all the other players are out to get him in between fragging each other. The more kills the king gets, the more his bounty goes up, and the more points the other players get from the eventual killing of the king. I probably upset a few of the other journalists playing, as I managed to get the only Scorpion Tank on the battlefield, which made me a very difficult king to kill, although they did get me eventually, and at the final reckoning I had managed a respectable third place.

Ultimately at the end of the multiplayer session, I came away feeling that despite the new weapons, armor, and maps, that there was really nothing massively new on offer. However to be fair, we only had a short play time and didn’t get try all the different loadouts. When players do get to grips with all these customisations then maybe the experience will become a little deeper.

In short, 343 Industries have taken over the baton from Bungie. They added a little polish here and there, and added depth to the multiplayer with the customisations. It’s still the Halo multiplayer that you know and love, but it just goes a little deeper this time. Now we just have to wait and see what they can do with the campaign mode.

Halo 4 is set for a worldwide release on November 6th.
Andrew Ogley
Written by Andrew Ogley
Andrew has been writing for TA since 2011 covering news, reviews and the occasional editorials and features. One of the grumpy old men of the team, his mid-life crisis has currently manifested itself in the form of an addiction to sim-racing - not being able to afford the real life car of his dreams. When not spending hours burning simulated rubber, he still likes to run around, shoot stuff and blow things up - in the virtual world only of course.