Halo 4 multiplayer preview - Hands-on with the shooter's next evolution

Besides getting a chance to see the genre-defining Spartan Ops at E3 2012, we also spent some time exploring Halo 4's competitive side, playing a few matches of Team Slayer on the newest entry in the series that changed the way gamers viewed console FPS. After bashing in some heads, shooting some dudes, and teabagging some enemies, we're confident that... yup, it's more Halo. 

Prettier more Halo. More weapons more Halo. New items more Halo, but... more Halo. Your enjoyment of Halo 4 's multiplayer is going to be directly coordinated to how much you think you'd enjoy more Halo - if you're interested in a slightly expanded, slightly modified version of one of the most popular FPS of all time, then Halo 4 is going to be exactly what you’re looking for. 

In only a few minutes, we were right back in the Halo groove; after throwing a few grenades at our own feet in desperate attempts to activate iron sights, we were ready to go. Before long, we were doing exactly what we always do in Halo: throwing grenades at enemies as soon as we see them, running at opponents and trying to bash them with our weapons in a game of joust, and praying that we find a rocket launcher to score some lucky kills. 

The controls felt mostly the same, save for the ability to use different active skills, like alternate vision modes and shields (actual shields, not passive energy ones). But even that felt like an enhanced version of the same feature from Halo: Reach. Sprinting (which is mapped to clicking the left stick, and something everyone can now do), obviously makes things move a little faster, but there were no other major updates to the actual act of running around and shooting the other guys. There's no cover and there are no iron sights, which keeps the game's arcadey style intact. 343 Industries isn't taking any gigantic risks with Halo 4's multiplayer - it's just cleaning up some of the rough patches.

That's not to say that this post-Bungie Halo doesn't change things at all. On the contrary, some elements have been updated to stay competitive with contemporary shooters. Loadouts of different weapons, grenades, and abilities make the experience more personalized, and less focused on memorizing weapon locations on the map. It creates a more skill-based experience, and one that'll click with Call of Duty and Battlefield players without betraying what makes Halo so popular.

There are other changes, too, including the addition of different weapons, some of which still spawn dynamically into the world. The Scattershot, for instance, was an awesome Forerunner shotgun that tore through enemies, and there was also a gun that essentially shot remote mines, making quick work of our foes. They both folded easily into the typical Halo experience in a way that felt totally natural.

Other elements we heard about (but didn't see) included some loose story elements surrounding the game's multiplayer, and a shared experience system that keeps your character persistently leveling through both multiplayer and Spartan Ops. But we've got a feeling that, even with those additions, it's still going to be more Halo.

And you know what? We're absolutely fine with that. Please, the more Halo the better - sign us up.


  • samiamJack - June 6, 2012 10:46 a.m.

    Sounds good to me, I hope they actually do completely new maps and not just rip them from single player like reach did
  • MadMan - June 6, 2012 12:40 p.m.

    That is something I always liked about Halo over other popular shooters. The Multiplayer wasn't tied to the single player at all, there were completely original maps that you hadn't seen before going through single player.
  • Defguru7777 - June 6, 2012 1:44 p.m.

    Not to nitpick, but Bungie's said that they made the multiplayer maps for Reach first and then decided to integrate them into the campaign. But I agree that I enjoy maps that are solely in multiplayer.
  • Lucstanfa - June 6, 2012 2:33 p.m.

    If you go to and check out the Halo 4 hub then you'll see what they're doing. They're making maps from scratch for multiplayer. No relation to Campaign.
  • Plan10FromOuterSpace - June 7, 2012 4:40 a.m.

    Good news!
  • mikehoncho - June 6, 2012 10:49 a.m.

    So this is coming this generation, because you would think it'd be a launch title for the 720
  • samiamJack - June 6, 2012 11:07 a.m.

    They're doing the same thing they did with halo 2 by putting it out right at the end of the generation to keep fans happy for another year or so
  • spideralex90 - June 6, 2012 11:26 a.m.

    I imagine Halo 5 to be a launch title for the next consoles given that the next console probably won't launch until 2014. But then again Halo 3 was not a launch title for the Xbox 360.
  • Plan10FromOuterSpace - June 7, 2012 4:43 a.m.

    I think its a bit risky launching Microsoft's flagship franchise as a launch title, I think they would rather let the developers get to grips with the technology so they have every chance of making the game amazing. I personally think something like Fable or perhaps even a third Crackdown game would be a less risky launch title, but this is mere speculation.
  • bhaywardio - June 6, 2012 11:37 a.m.

    it wouldn't be fiscally sound for them to switch to a new console now- theyre coming out with smart glass and all that, they want to get the most out of this current generation before pumping money into a new machine. also, you gotta figure im pre-ordering this.
  • angelusdlion - June 6, 2012 6:47 p.m.

    When was halo anything but money? they could put a turd in a CD tray, label it Halo 4 and it'd sell a million copies.
  • Doctalen - June 6, 2012 4:56 p.m.

    Looks amazing. I had my doubts at first. I thought that Halo 4 couldn't be done. I was even against Halo 4 at first, I thought it might turn into another cow to be milked. But from what I've seen in that preview alone has changed my mind. The story so far seems to be good quality. The gameplay is unchanged yet still looks fresh. Overall my entire opinion about 343 has been changed by this, I trust them to continue the Halo franchise. I love Halo and I wish that no matter what happens that it is taken care of well. That said, I am disappointed with the visor modes. I personally hate different types of visors. I feel it is a cliche that appears too often in Sci-Fi games. I do understand that it is an advantage to have,not only in real life, but in a video game, I just personally detest it.
  • Plan10FromOuterSpace - June 7, 2012 4:39 a.m.

    I HATE this, I understand the need to progress but I also understand much more the need for variety. If I wanted to play an online perk based first person shooter I would play call of duty, I play Halo because I love Halo and its own unique brand of gameplay and I cant see any need to introduce perks or customisable loadouts into this. Memorizing the map is part of what makes Halo's multiplayer different to COD and Battlefield, different NOT worse. I'm sure it all feels like Halo, but if they meddle too far in this direction they'll destroy the unique feel of the franchise, Halo 3 had such perfectly balance online gameplay and they should be building on this not pushing in other directions. I know this is all my opinion, im just struggling not to be very worried about this game, considering all that rests on its sucsess.
  • Cwf2008 - June 21, 2012 11:05 a.m.

    " It creates a more skill-based experience, and one that'll click with Call of Duty and Battlefield players" Well crap. Now I'm kind of worried

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