I’ve been playing Halo since the days of Combat Evolved and the thing that sort of jumps out at me is the fact that in every title, the amount of weapons gets jumped up.
In Combat Evolved, every weapon had a (mostly) specific role - Assault Rifle was for Close to mid range, the Magnum was basically the BR but with a smaller clip, Plasma Rifle was for tearing shields, etc. And so there were only about 9 usable weapons.
(The following is a summary of my opinions on weapon roles throughout the Halo series - do not take me as trying to present these things as factual)
In Halo 2, most of these roles diversified a bit for people with different preferences, much like the BR and the Carbine operating the same, but one was slower and more powerful while the other was faster and weaker (We see this with the DMR and NR in Reach, still) but still had the same kill times, if everyone’s accuracy was good enough.
In Halo 3, everything stayed mostly the same except for the reintroduction of the Assault Rifle, which was made a close-to-mid range weapon while the SMG became a close-quarters shield/meat grinder (Finding someone dual wielding these in a closed space was just as scary as a shotgun-wielder), and most weapons having balanced alternatives for different styles of play (Beam Rifle/Sniper Rifle, BR/Carbine, etc.)
In Reach, it seems most of the roles have sort of been thrown out of the window…the DMR will kill anyone at any range, really, and having 4 or more people blasting at a vehicle will tear it apart in a frightening amount of time. The Sniper Rifle is suddenly “Anti-Whatever-I-Aim-At”, and the Assault Rifle, which used to be a close-to-mid range weapon, was suddenly a SMG/AR hybrid. It even has the same reticle size as the SMG for some reason, along with insane bloom and a barely respectable clip size. Not to mention that the DMR has more range and accuracy than the BR leading to cross-map firefights. Playing Halo 3 earlier today I noticed that the BR was great in mid-to semi-long ranges but at distances where you usually see DMR battles taking place the BR’s spread made it only suitable as an annoyance, de-scoper, or something to take out AFK players.
A few good examples of the DMR’s utilatarian nature are the fact that you can beat an Assault Rifle user in close range (In Halo 2, having a BR against an SMG in close range usually meant you were dead, same with the AR in Halo 3) and you can actually kill people at sniper range with it. Trying to snipe with a BR in 2/3 was pretty hard to do, unless the guy was way out in the open, didn’t run to cover, and you emptied a clip into him. In Reach you can easily take someone out from one end of Hemmorhage to the other as long as your target couldn’t find cover and you paced your shots. And for some reason the DMR seems to have armor-piercing FMJ rounds seeing as a Warthog will fall apart if a few enemies pick at it. In every other Halo, being faced with a Warthog either meant you needed a Rocket Launcher, well placed grenades, or a Magnum/BR marksman aiming at the driver. When people see a Hog in Reach, everyone just coordinates fire into it and it blows up around 10 or more seconds.
I’m not saying that the weapons in 1, 2, and 3 were perfect, but they got the job done and made everything tip in the favor of whoever was skilled enough to use them at their respective ranges.
Anyways…feel free to discuss the subject, I’d like to see everyone’s opinions on this.