I gotta say it. Halo 4 is the Halo franchise’s Mario Kart.
Mario Kart is a Racing game like many others before it. What separates it from racing games such as Forza, PGR, Need for Speed, or even classics like Cruisn’ USA/The World, Excite Bike, or Super Hang On, is one word:
Mario Kart was the popularizing game in a sub-genre of racing games where you could ‘attack’ other players with powerups you gained from boxes. This span-off into games like Diddy Kong Racing, and Crash Team Racing. The major reason it is hard to take it seriously as a copetitive racing game is - RANDOM.
When you are playing Mario Kart, the boxes that contain weapons give you RANDOMLY one of 10-20 (depending on sequel) items. Some were insanely powerful, others not so much. But you had no way of predicting what powerup you would get. Heck you had no way of ensuring yours would be better than everyone else’s until they introduced ‘place-based selection’ in 64 (where being in “last place” got you amazing items, and being in “first” got you bananas and single green shells (sigh)).
As well as introducing the Blue Shell… An abomination that actually punished the players doing well.
(I can also make comparisons of character/kart selection helping boost the unfairness of the game, but I’ll just make note of it now).
Then we have Halo 4. This game is now following a sub-genre of shooters popularized by Call of Duty, where you have crazy customization leading to extremely unpredictable situations. But let’s get to the part where it’s as bad as Mario Kart:
It is RANDOM.
Ordinance Drops are in every way the exact same thing as those stupid random boxes in Mario Kart. They give you a completely random selection of weapons or powerups to use against the enemy. Some players will get amazing things like Rocket Launchers, Snipers or Halo 4’s Blue Shell, the Incineration Cannon, while other players will get crap choices like Needlers, Pulse Grenades, and Speed Boosts.
On top of that, though, we also have the Random Map Ordinance, which drops a SINGLE weapon on to a random location of the map every 2-3 minutes. And depending on that location it could be a random one of a selection of possible weapons (such as the Needler/Sticky Detonator/Scattershot spawns all over Haven).
This randomly rewards one team with a limited but random weapon. FOR FREE.
(And now I will make note of how Custom Loadouts are an exact equivalent of driver/kart selection in Mario Kart)
It’s just like Mario Kart. One of the most casually played video games of all time (64 being up there with Minecraft). How can this be considered a good idea for what was once considered the most competitive console shooter of the decade?
The crowd attracted to Halo want to play intense skill based games, not random casual fun. And once more casual players WONT CARE if the game actually is designed competitively! They won’t have noticed the difference AT ALL.
If you just made personal ordinance static instead of random, if you just made the map weapon spawns set in waves of certain weapons at certain times throughout the match, if you just limited the selection of weapons more strictly in Custom Loadouts, and didn’t bother with this silly Armour Ability/Perks system. This game would please BOTH CROWDS instead of completely alienating the group that wants a great competitive experience.
Seriously, think about this 343i. Think about the state of the game. Think about the people you let down. You can’t let down casual players because they will play pretty much anything.