I have been playing Halo for years, and it always had unique gameplay that separated it from other first person shooters. Halo CE, Halo 2, and Halo 3 were all arena shooters. Reach went away from this to an extent, but that was ok because it was a spinoff from the main trilogy. Halo 2, and Halo 3 were by and far the most popular Halo titles, and it reflected in their sales and their longevity. Reach was not as popular, and this also showed by the weaker sales and the short lifespan of the matchmaking.
Considering Halo 3 was a juggernaut, and the most popular game on any console you would think that Halo 4 would have refined that gameplay instead of taking Halo 4 further down the Reach road.
Many are wondering why so many people are upset with Halo 4, and I will tell you why this is the case. Halo 4 has officially taken Halo out of the arena shooter sub-genre.
Many people including myself are very confused on why they would do this. Again, Halo 3 was by far the most popular Halo, and it lasted for years. Its population was much higher a full year after release than what Halo 4 has now. Arena shooters are much more competitive than Halo 4, and they required a greater amount of skill to succeed.I will prove this through an analogy of chess vs monopoly.
Arena shooters such as halo 2 and halo 3 can be compared to chess. It had very simplistic gameplay and everyone starts on equal footing, but there were many different strategies with each map, and you had to perfect these strategies in order to succeed. Power weapons, and power positions were vital to succeeding in those titles. You always knew who had what power weapons, and you would know when they would respawn. You had to outwit, our outplay the other team in order to get these weapons, they were not just handed to you.
Halo 4 can be compared to monopoly. It is a decently fun game, but it isn’t really competitive. That is because it is a game of chance. You depend on the roll of a die (ordinances) either to your benefit or to your detriment. This is shown in Halo 4 by the random ordinances, the random JIP, and the random spawning which can leave you out to dry.
Now a lot of people respond to this with well Halo had to evolve and be innovative in order to succeed. Well I don’t know about you but why would you have to stray away from the most popular Halo in order to succeed? The reason Halo has fallen off is because games like ODST and Reach were too different. Also please explain to me how Halo 4 is innovative? Nothing Halo has added is revolutionary or innovative, they are simply ripped off mechanics taken from other games. This is most apparent with the mass additions of COD game mechanics (I am not saying COD was the first game to use these mechanics.)
Instant respawn- Ruins the flow of the map, you will often respawn and kill the person that just killed you or vice versa, and makes it impossible to hold any map position of significance.
Loadouts- Again Halo was an ARENA SHOOTER, allowing people to have loadouts just moves away from that basic gameplay mechanic.
AA- Again why use this mechanic? All this does is allow people of less skill to gain an advantage they didn’t earn over you. People putting up a shield when they are one-hit is an example of this. If in Halo 3 you put up a bubble shield that was different, because both teams had an equal opportunity to gain that advantage.
Ordinances- By and far the most dramatic change to the Halo gameplay. Instead of static weapons that both teams had an EQUAL opportunity of getting, weapons show up at random (yay!) Play in any BTB game and there will be at least 10+ power weapons on the map. How is it fun to be shot by 2 different snipers then respawn only to be killed by rockets? Remember when it was actually important to control the hill in Ragnarok? Now it’s pointless, there is little to no advantage to holding that position, and it makes the map irrelevant. Ordinances are even worse than killstreaks in COD, because you don’t even need to get consecutive kills to get them, and what you receive in them is completely random (Again going back to the monopoly die analogy.)
There are way more things that were added in this game that were ripped off from other games, but you get the idea.
I understand from a business perspective why 343 is trying to emulate a game such as COD. COD is the king of the fps market, however Halo will never regain the throne by trying to be more or less the same as its main competitor. The reason Halo was so successful is because it was UNIQUE. People tell me if I don’t like this game why I don’t just play COD, but the reason I don’t like this game is because they added in so many gameplay features from COD. 343 will not draw people in by trying to be like COD, because those people will just play the real thing. They would have been more successful in building on Halo 3 and giving gamers a choice between 2 different unique experiences. Take Counterstrike for example. It over 10 years old, and is still VERY relevant in the PC world. That is because it has very unique gameplay that only that game can give to the gamers.
TL/DR Halo used to be a unique arena shooter that drove Xbox sales. Now it is just another game in a sea of games, and it is pretty sad in my opinion.
Also don’t flame me saying that I suck at this game, because my stats prove I am a very solid player.