I’ve spoken before about the changes to Capture the Flag in Halo 4, and how I wasn’t sold on the difference to past Halo games. That hasn’t changed because I haven’t played game; however, developers 343 Industries has expanded on the concept.
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I like a lot of things in Halo 4. I like the new graphics engine, I like the return of the Battle Rifle, I like how the narrative is integrating the novels, I like the return of Master Chief (and Cortana if you’re talking about Halo: Reach), and I like the idea of streamlining multiplayer lists. What I don’t like to changing the fundamentals of Halo, and that includes Capture the Flag.
When I’m talking about fundamentals, I’m talking about walking over a flag to pick it up. You can argue there is the Speedflag gametype in Halo: Reach where the flag is on the back of a player and movement speed isn’t reduced, though that’s a gametype within Capture the Flag. 343 Industries is making that the default mechanic in Halo 4’s Capture the Flag. If you’ve watched any professional Halo match, you’ll see flag juggling. You’ll see the flag being thrown to other player. The advantage of holding the flag is that you’ve … well, you’ve got the flag. The disadvantage if you’re not holding a weapon and you’re slower. That’s gone in Halo 4.
Now you hold a magnum, albeit a magnum that’s probably weaker than the rest of the weapon sandbox, and you run at normal speed. Potentially armor abilities will increase weapon reload time, so I may be able to quickly fire the pistol and quickly reload to get kills.
We also can’t drop the flag. I guess that make sense considering you’re already holding a weapon, and you’re movement speed isn’t reduced. However, longstanding players who don’t know about the changes probably won’t be happy to find out trying to drop the flag does nothing.
I’m behind 343 Industries introducing changes in Halo 4. The series need a fresh experience; Halo: Reach refined Halo 3 and ODST. The campaign looks beyond previous Halos, perhaps even Halo: Combat Evolved, so I’m very excited for that.
Halo 4 launches November 6 on Xbox 360.