Slayer Multiplayer In Halo 4 Feels Familiar, With Better-Sounding Pew Pews

"Slayer." You read it in the announcer's voice, didn't you? It's a mode all Halo veterans are familiar with. It's a mode that has seen your most vicious kill streaks and caused your most tempered tantrums.

And it's a mode in the upcoming Halo 4's multiplayer, known as War Games. Since Bungie is no longer working on the series, passing the torch over to 343 Industries, I imagine there's some curiosity afloat as to just how addicted to rounds of multiplayer this next title will get you.

Tuesday night's Halo 4 multiplayer event showcased the two announced multiplayer modes. I jumped into War Games for four versus four Slayering. Adjusting my load-out (I'm a DMR + assault rifle + plasma grenade kinda girl) let me choose between a set of new armour abilities that act like bonuses on a timed cooldown.

If you played Halo: Reach, you're familiar with the concept. Halo 4 introduces Promethean Vision for seeing enemies through walls, Thruster Pack for a horizontal burst movement, Hardlight Shield for a hefty defensive shield, and Hologram (which is the one that isn't discernibly new at all, visual or otherwise). Promethean Vision, though it slows you down just after use, was the most useful new addition.

The map we played on — placed on the combat deck of the UNSC Infinity — had platforms with gaps to surprise drop in on enemies. It also had energy beams to project you onto higher levels, a well-known transportation mechanism in the Halo franchise. Once I got the hang of the geography of the map, I engaged fluid killing mode. My team wrecked the opposing team (I had 10 kills, 13 assists thanks to my tailgating friend, and 2 deaths). We absolutely slaughtered them. It was remarkably fun (maybe a little bit due to our overwhelming victory).

With a mounting kill streak comes Ordinance drops, providing me with all sorts of goodies. The energy sword is my favourite. There are speed boosts, the new Scattershot Promethean weapon, a sticky grenade launcher with an activation command, and more. It keeps the pace going, and before I know it it feels like the Halo multiplayer games I've been playing for forever. I almost forgot I was playing a new title. Almost.

Besides the musical score, 343 also revamped the weapon and sound effect audio. If you listen closely, which it was hard not to do with a quality headset at our demo stations, you can hear clearer, more impressive, more robust bursts of ammunition. It makes each kill all the more satisfying and gleeful.

Halo 4 was fun because it felt like, well, Halo. This is how I summed it up when talking with fellow journalists at the event: "For most people, it's just going to be another Halo game. But for Halo fans, it's exciting that we're getting 'just' another Halo game." I'm one such Halo fan. And while the experience wasn't drastically different from those hours I've poured into the campaigns and multiplayer rounds in years past, it was exactly what I needed to find myself smirking throughout the entire round.

Halo 4's War Games mode will launch on November 6, with the game and 10 maps.


    Promethean vision needs to be removed, or at very least even more restricted than it sounds like it already is. There will probably be people wailing that I need to "wait till the game comes out" NO I do not it is obvious this armour ability is even worse than Armor lock. (Which was the pinnacle of noobs and campers), while this new "see through walls" ability will cut down on camping it will help noobs and players who just plain suck to get an unfair advantage to exploit by making objective games impossible to enjoy. I also hope random wepons spawns, a SP that is dependant on multiplayer (terrible idea), clown spartans are either changed or removed. The only parts of this game I am actually looking forward to is the MC being back and the good graphics. I'll give 343 one chance, one that I expect they will bungle it away (the series already got its 1 bad game pass with Odst) and drive me out of the franchise. But we will have to wait and see. Doesn't the "new" map pack COD look terrible? There is no amount of fixing that could make me buy that "game".

      Random weapons failed hard. Pre-set weapon spawns in my opinion. Lets go back to when Halo was worth playing online, get those skirmishes going over the sniper spawn point.

        1. They will most likely filter various armour abilities for different playlists
        2. I'm sure if you play MLG random weapon spawns won't be occuring
        3. COD is the worst game ever mdae, so get the hell out.

      Eh? SP is dependant on multiplayer? How so?
      "it will help noobs and players who just plain suck to get an unfair advantage" It will also help players who just plain don't suck too, so I think that balances it out a bit. :P
      Anyway, it would be cool if Promethean Vision worked like the motion sensor, so you can only see players that are moving.

        But the problem is people are ALWAYS moving in halo games, and those that aren't, are usually campers, so there goes that idea. I agree that promethean vision could be horribly overpowered, but what really scares me is that new killstreak system. It's bad enough in call of duty, but now in halo, with the really skilled halo players? It's bad enough that I'd get out BR'd repeatedly, but then you go and drop in power weapons for those players directly? Insane.

        The counter argument that I would give is by pointing out the issues that Street Fighter X Tekken has been having with their gem system. SFxTK features gems that give bonuses to characters. Certain gems (called Assist Gems) will give players distinct advantages by automatically performing certain game mechanics (like automatically blocking or 'teching' throws) for a small amount of meter.

        This is all good and well for beginners who are learning how to play the game (I'd argue that they stop players learning how to use the mechanics on their own, but that's neither here nor there), but you'll find that experienced players will also select these gems not only because it gives them distinct advantages, but because it also puts severe disadvantages on the opposing player by removing options they would normally have. For example, if an opponent has an 'Auto-Tech' gem, I would not be able to use throws on them, as they would automatically escape any throws I would use. If my opponent had an auto-block gem, they would stop any physical attack (which accounts for most of a character's options) even if the player wasn't blocking themselves, making high-low mixups and cross-ups pointless.

        The point I'm getting at is that when you introduce a mechanic that puts your opponent/s at a severe disadvantage, you damage the balance of the game. If somebody chooses Promethean Vision (and due to the fact that it seems to be extremely overpowered with limited to no drawbacks, I imagine most people will), anybody who utilises the level layout to their advantage (as you would in any first-person shooter) is put at a distinct disadvantage.

        That being said, if Promethean Vision has some drawbacks to match its effectiveness (for example, having a limited viewing area, only picking up moving players, also highlighting the user for everyone else, or some other disadvantage), people wouldn't have an issue. Other abilities in previous Halos have both pros and cons to them that make them relatively balanced, and Promethean Vision really needs a similar treatment (assuming it already hasn't).

      Yeah that vision sounds a little op, but we will have to see.
      Random weapon spawns? Had not heard that one and surely hope that it is not the case - would remove much of the strategy from games.

      One thing that does concern me is the CoD style kill-streak rewards she mentions. Never liked that part of CoD - it makes things unbalanced, the loosing team does not have a chance to turn things around when the winning side gets more powerful with every kill.
      One of the good things about Halo imo is that everyone is on an even footing, from start to finish, this sounds like it will break that.
      Also just because CoD is successful does not mean they should try to imitate. it. People who want that style MP will play CoD. Those who enjoyed classic Halo MP will sigh with fond memories of H3 and go play something else - just like they did with Reach.

        Exactly what I was thinking. At least with the set weapon spawns there was a mad rush for the power weapons and skirmish, but I can't help but feel that by the end of a match there could be one team all rocking with energy swords and grenade launchers laying waste to a team with nothing but assault rifles and br's.

        if it sucks, just play the classic slayer game modes? no big deal.

      You get that you come off as a crazy person going on a massive rant about things you don't even know the details of yet, right? Are you a beta tester for this game?

      Do us a favor and don't buy it if its such a big deal. Saves me running into you online.

    Wow, they made wall hacks legit -- hilarious.

    Halo has always been about dominating that areas of the map where the best weapons spawn. If we know one thing about Halo's multiplayer, it's that it will be very easy to chop and change. For that reason, these changes don't have me too worried.

    There will most likely be a "Classic" Slayer mode, which is where I'll be spending most of my time. That, and Team Doubles.

      I love it whenever somebody says "Halo has always been about..." because you just know that they're going to say something incredibly strict or something they personally think.

    choose between a set of new armour abilities

    With a mounting kill streak comes Ordinance drops, providing me with all sorts of goodies.

    Halo 4 was fun because it felt like, well, Halo.


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