Halo Killers

Lesson: Team Strategy

Teacher: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2
Substitutes: Call of Duty 3

Here again, Halo was a pioneer, if only by default. All "team strategy" really required to thrive on consoles was a bunch of folks with headsets and a good enough game to bring them together online. Halo was one of the first to do so.

But despite the existence of several team-friendly modes like Oddball and Territories, the franchise has never invented a way to force players into working cohesively as a unit. Sticking to a partner or two is always smartest, of course, but each of you is still single-mindedly focused on killing everything around you that moves.

Recent shooters like GRAW 2, however, have discovered a better method - giving team members a specific and special role to play in each match. Here, you won't find a gaggle of Spartans running around with the exact same weapons, equipment and goals. Instead, your purpose is determined by your soldier class. Choose a Sniper, receive a scoped rifle and provide your mates with silent cover from afar. Choose a Grenadier, on the other hand, and you'll get a rocket launcher perfect for wiping out entrenched groups of enemies up close. Each role has its strengths, its weaknesses and its unique value to the team.

We can already hear you protesting, "Halo was NOT designed to be a squad-based shooter!" A fair enough point... but neither was the Call of Duty franchise. Yet it benefits greatly from the alternate role we would most like to see carried over to Halo - that of the medic.

See, the accusation most often leveled at the series is that its multiplayer is completely exclusive. If you're not an elite player - capable of strafing, jumping, dodging a grenade, squeezing a head shot and making a sandwich all at the same time - then you usually can't survive for more than ten seconds. It's frustrating and it's not fun.

What better way to counteract that problem than by giving those left out something to do besides fight? Running around and healing your superiorly skilled friends may not sound glamorous, but believe us or not, it can often be just as rewarding as pulling off the perfect kill.