This aint yer daddys Halo...

Time and time again i see topics rating this as a sup par Halo experience, many claiming it has been made too “casual” or far too much like C.O.D. or other modern day set war games without taking into account exactly what Halo 4 is trying to be.

The Spartan Project:

The Spartan project was designed to be a counter insurgency special elimination team designed primarily for black ops that could be deployed in small 2-8 man teams to “pacify” rebel planets with minimal loss of life as a surgical strike platform.

Despite massive “in training accidents” and the dubious nature of recruitment the Spartan 2 project received full approval of the UNSC prior to the covenant war and stratifies were developed to utilize these super soldiers in the field.

The first three Halo games are dedicated to the action and physicality and combat skills of what is considered the single most lethal member of the Spartan 2 project. It has been stated that Master chief petty officer John-117 is classed as a “hyper lethal” combatant or to put it another way he is a one man army in and of himself. With this in mind we must consider that all gameplay both in the single and multi player game is based around the soldiers of the Spartan 2 project and as such cannot be compared to conventional military combat in any real way.

A Spartan 2 soldier is roughly 6’10" - 7’8" (based on both wiki entry’s and in game physical stature) equipped with a 1000lb suit of state of the art power armour with regenerating shields that augmented there physical strength well beyond there already superhuman levels to the point where they could with little to no effort flip a 70 tonne battle tank while under fire in less than two seconds without injury.
This is what you were playing as in Halo 1-3, a living breathing engine of raw combative destruction so far beyond human potential as to be considered by forerunner tech as a separate species to humanity as a whole.
Conventional tactics are of no consequence to a S2 soldier and as such our game was not a traditional first person shooter.

Halo Reach:

Halo Reach introduced us to the 3rd generation of Spartans and the first that could be considered as using conventional military tactics.
Rather than 2-8 man strike teams able to pacify planets the S3 soldiers were mass produced in order to be both a symbol of human superiority to normal soldiers but as a massive wall of flesh trained to sell there lives at the highest mortal cost to the enemy.

Spartan 3 soldiers were not trained from pre teens to be the perfect soldier and as such had numerous flaws that needed to be compensated for with both tech and training. In terms of tech we noted advancements to the armour in the form of pre equipped armour ability’s as well as technically improved abet slightly less powerful shields.
Weapon systems were also improved for the S3 Spartans so that soldiers were not forced to acquire on site or be stuck with the standard Assault rifle and magnum loadout associated with UNSC wartime issue.

As players the Spartans in Halo reach gave us our first real taste of vulnerability despite our armour and weapons and forced us to adapt our play style to a much less durable combatant.
Games in Multi player bacame more cat and mouse forcing players to think tactically about loadouts based on terrain and cover as well as ranged vs CQB battle, after all nobody wanted an assault rifle in a pitched range sniper battle now did they?
As such players adapted (abet grudgingly) to the new tactics required to beat the advantages of a good loadout and eventually the bickering stopped for most and for the few that couldn’t wrap there heads around the changes a swift return to Halo 3 resolved the differences of opinion.

The Spartan 3 project functioned exactly as required but was never designed to fill long term military needs as a tactical strike military unit thus the introduction of the Spartan 4 project.

Halo 4:

Like the Spartan 3’s Spartan 4 soldiers are not inducted but rather recruited from volunteers, unlike Spartan 3’s the requirement to be in your mid teens in order to receive augmentation has been removed thanks in part to advancements to medical tech developed during the covenant war.
As the majority of surviving S3 soldiers were folded into the S4 project as veterans and instructors certain Spartan specific tactics were carried over developed to take advantage of the increased durability of the personal powered armour and regenerating shielding but with the vast majority of new Spartan 4 soldiers having come from traditional wings of the military and Navy they brought some personal hang ups associated with being a “normal” human up against the vastly physically superior covenant forces such as hugging cover and getting out of the way of incoming weapons fire, this may well save there collective lives considering the structural weakness of the Spartan 4 MJOLNIR armour compared to previous incarnations.

Once again as players we are forced to adapt to no longer being THE super soldier in the field (in Spartan Ops) but rather simply a soldier in the field with a few advantages.
We are no longer able to simply soak up enemy fire and throw it back, the game is set after an extended war where both sides have learned to adapt to each others weapons and armour capability with varying results as well as tactics to the point that this is no longer an arms race but a war of equals where your armour simply levels the playing field, after all when everybody is special nobody is.
The game has been considered too close to modern day shooters because simply put by this stage of the war overwhelming tactical advantages of individuals has been eliminated to the point where conventional tactics and team based play must be adhered to. There is a reason certain tactics are adopted by all modern day military forces and that is simply because they maximize personal variability and potential for survival while maximizing tactical movement and firepower on specific targets.
Spartan Ops is a near perfect platform for “forced” tactical team-play putting you against massively overwhelming odds that demands you play to your skill sets and optimize your loadouts in a different way to the traditional RvB wargames allowing you a chance to play a Player vs environment gameplay style akin to the campaign but on a much more closed stage.
Now this is all well and good but what about wargames? why should we feel so nerfed while playing against each other in PVP?
The short answer is because it really is an even field, the long answer is a combination of in game mechanics and the introduction of new weapons that beak traditional tactics such as the still massively over powered bolt shot and the fact this is a whole new company at the head of the game because frankly Bungee had had enough of the Halo franchise.

And for those of you that cant be bothered to read that wall of text

TLDNR Version:

The game IS a modern day shooter with Halo bells and whistles strapped on because its exactly what the story and canon of the Halo universe demanded. The dubious nature of the creation of the Spartan 2 soldiers means that nobody (especially in peace time) would offer up there 4-8 year old’s for potentially lethal augmentation. Adult volunteers with a crimped peace time military budget and a comparatively safe augmentation process is more easily accepted as the norm, this lack of superior specimens leads to diminished returns, that’s what we now are…

…yea were whats left when you try to make a “politically correct” Spartan super soldier.

You my friend put the cart before the horse. Really. You are citing lore as the reason for game mechanics, as though these changes where needed in order to comply with the lore. In reality it is more likely the other way around. Lore was invented to explain changes in mechanics, which where made due to marketing decisions. Really, this is the truth, and it is odd that you can’t see it.

You don’t believe me, then explain why we ended up with -Yoink- Spartan 3’s that nobody had ever heard off in Reach, when there where plenty of Spartan 2’s at reach, and a pre-existing story to work with. Hell, we could of even played as the master chief. These dramatic changes in lore direction where not the cause of changes to core halo mechanics. The desire to CODify halo was! And the new weaker spartans had to be explained to the die hard lore fans!

im not arguing with that but a lot of lore was established specifically to deal with the death of so many of the Spartan 2’s and the ridiculous amount of deaths of the S3’s in such quick succession when compared to the unrelenting force that is master Chief.

basically what i was attempting to surmise was the in canon lore that shows the deterioration of super soldier to augmented soldier and why it effects us as players.

Nice work, OP. Thanks for the well thought out post, whether the lore or gameplay came first