At SDCC, Microsoft threw a Halo 4 promotional party in the after-hours. Sure, food and drinks were served. But the attendees were a little too busy getting drunk on Halo 4.
The basic overall gameplay is mostly similar to that of Halo: Reach, especially with the additions from that game such as assassinations when (hard) meleeing someone from behind or the special abilities that come from specific load-outs (Active camo, rocket packs, etc.). The loadouts appeared to be more customizable than before, giving the player a chance to choose the rifle, pistol and grenade assortment they spawn with. We got our hands on two of the new weapons such as: the Scattershot – a gun that resembles the makings of a buckshot-shotgun which fires ricocheting projectiles and the Stick Detonator – a sort of sticky-bomb launcher that can be detonated remotely by the user.
Some of the newer armor abilities we had the chance to try out included a kind of heat vision that seemed to come straight out of Predator. Another was a “Riot Shield” that work like the jackals, instead it was a bit larger. When playing Team Slayer, we noticed an new personal ordinance drop in which players are given a choice from a randomized selection of three weapon drops. They can also choose exactly when they want the weapon drop to occur to allow them to time a pick-up when enemies aren’t around to interrupt their gift-unwrapping.
A new mode, Spartan Ops, was also introduced. This mode features four player Co-op in weekly shorts that build up an overall developing story line. Microsoft reps indicated that there will be five new episodes every week. Each episode will feature cinematics before each mission explaining said mission and adding to the overall plot. Our demo of this mode had us playing for about 15 minutes, and that included the mission intro.
Although a demo was not available on the floor for this mode, we also heard about a new Free-for-All mode called Regicide. This mode exists as an effort to keep the level of gameplay fair amongst players of varying Halo experience. The players in first place will have a constant marker over their heads, showing their opponents where they are at all times. Over time, as the player stays alive, the value of points gained from killing him/her steadily grows – giving more incentive to the other players to take out whomever is on top. No more full-game hiding in that hard-to-reach corner that you climbed using two grenades, a ghost, and a MacGyver-standard-dental-floss.