I will readily admit that I am a Halo hater. I’ve played almost every entry in the franchise (except Reach, I heard mostly negative things from my hardcore Halo playing friends). I reached a point where I decided that the Halo franchise just was not for me. Part of the reason could have been because I was bad at the game, but to be honest, I was bad at the game because I was not willing to put forth the effort to learn it. With Call of Duty, I put in the hours needed to become a good player, and with Halo, I just never did.
Now, Halo 4 comes along, and I completely ignored it at launch and remained gleefully enamored with Black Ops 2. After some persuasion, a friend convinced me to pick up Halo 4, and I just assumed that I would hate it. I must say, I was incredibly wrong. Since I picked up Halo 4 a couple of weeks ago, I have not placed Black Ops 2 in my Xbox 360 again. The team at 343 made some key changes to the multiplayer in Halo 4 that go a long way towards making it appeal to COD players while still maintaining what makes it Halo. If, like me, you’ve given up on the Halo franchise, Halo 4 is the game you should give another chance, and here are the reasons.
Halo 4 has implemented a loadout option that allows you to build a basic kit to bring into battle. While not as crazy as the pick 10 system in Black Ops 2, it still gives options, which is something that most people who play COD are accustomed to.
With loadouts, you can choose a gun, armor ability, grenades, and more. This allows you to customize the game to work with your play style, and that makes it a game that fans of COD can get behind.
Halo 4 has implemented a ranking system that is akin to that of Call of Duty. I am the type of gamer that needs to see some form of progression to stay interested in a game for a long time, and Halo 4’s new system delivers on that. Halo 4 has worked in a leveling system that is quite similar to that of Call of Duty.
Just like Call of Duty, you unlock new items and skills as you level up in rank, so the ranks are more than just a number. They actually alter the way you play the game, which makes you feel more powerful with each new level. It makes it incredibly easy to invest hours and hours in the game when you know that with each battle, you are getting closer to something that will make you better, or at the very least, something that will alter the game a bit.
In Call of Duty, when you reach the highest level, you enter Prestige mode. This strips away everything and starts you from the beginning with a new icon. In Halo 4, the team at 343 added a feature called Specializations. When you reach level 50, you can move to a new specialization and level that one up, just like you would in Call of Duty.
The difference between Specializations and Prestige mode is that Specializations actually change the way you play the game. It changes the look of your Spartan and brings you some new skills and a new way to play. Not only does it extend the life of the game, but it changes the game in some noticeable ways. That’s about as good as it can get in terms of extending the game’s life.
Ordnance in Halo 4 is similar to kill/point streaks in the Call of Duty series. Instead of helicopters and nukes, you get things like damage boost, weapons, and shields.
You don’t get to choose them, as you do in COD, but it still gives you a sense of accomplishment when you get to roll out to the battlefield with something a little more powerful for a while. It should help Call of Duty players, like myself, feel a little more at home in Halo 4.
The cool features of Halo 4 have won you over; awesome! However, sometimes, the need to play something that feels a little more like Call of Duty might overtake you, and you might want to go back to your evil ways. SWAT mode is just what you are looking for. It takes Halo, and makes it feel a little more like Call of Duty.
In SWAT mode, the radar is gone, as are shields and ordnances. This means enemies die much more quickly, which should feel right at home to a dedicated COD player coming over to Halo. When the urge to drop enemies in just a few shots overtakes you, jump into SWAT mode and feel right at home.
If, like me, you’ve written Halo off, Halo 4 might just be the game to get you back on the horse. I still love COD, and I always will, but it’s nice to make a change every now and then. Halo 4 has just the right amount of differences to feel new, but it borrows enough from Call of Duty to make feel it comfortable.
One last tip, if you make the switch, change your controller layout to Fishstick, as it features the exact same button layout as Call of Duty. This will make the transition a much smoother process for you.