Why H5’s coop might be the best one to date

Despite the bitter loss of local split-screen H5 could offer the best Halo coop experience to date. And while dedicated servers, seamless drop-in/-out and narrative implementation sound very promising there are other aspects that make me even more excited…

Why previous Halo coop experiences were fun but couldn’t offer a real challenge

I’m playing MCC H1-4 on legendary to get the ‘legend’ achievement with a friend right now. But while some titles (some H1 levels, H2) would be quite challenging alone the difficulty isn’t worth the name as soon as you have a coop partner anymore.

While 2-player-coop is somewhat okay it gets worse with a third or fourth player on board. I still remember how hyped I was to play a Halo campaign in 4-player coop in H3 for the first time. In reality the experience wasn’t even half as good as I had envisioned. The game had horrible lag but the worst thing was: The enemy AI couldn’t handle such a combined power at all – on legendary we crushed all resistance with ease and rushed through the missions in record time.

Yes there were some options (e.g. skulls) to create a greater challenge. But that somehow never motivated us as we probably felt that those were some artificial hurdles that turned the game into something that it originally wasn’t meant to be (if that makes any sense to you). But why didn’t the games offer a much more appropriate ‘legendary’ coop challenge to begin with? There are a couple of reasons for that I think:

  • Easy and low risk revival of teammates in ‘safe zone’ – with a minimum of caution basically an infinite life cheat - AI overburdened with the task (behavior, strategies) - Simply not enough enemy strength in terms of numbers and/or composition (especially in 4-player-coop) - Vehicle exploits: players controlling 2 tanks and 1 Warthog is basically a death sentence for any opposition - After 15 years of Halo experience players simply know the ins and outs of Halo combat which multiplies the impact of above pointsI don’t think that enemy damage output or aiming skill was the problem. On the contrary H2 is so extreme in that regard that without some weapon tricks (e.g. noob combo) you are more or less chanceless (which doesn’t make up for a good experience either).

Why H5 could offer the first true ‘legendary’ Halo coop experience

So let’s have a look at those same points with what we know of H5 so far:

  • While the revival mechanic in H5 might not be typically ‘Halo’ it’s a much more fitting system for coop gameplay. Suddenly there is a great risk involved: Instead of instantly getting out of a dangerous zone to get your fallen Spartan back into action the other players now have to either wait until their teammate ‘bleeds out’ or try to rescue him which puts their own lives at risk. In the latter case you’re also forced to give up an advantageous position which might cause a lot of troubles even if you’re able to revive your teammate. But even if you wait it out in a safe place: That substantial (additional) wait time alone is much more punishing than in previous systems which should motivate teams to stay together instead of sending lone warriors out to slowly hurt the enemy.

  • According to Josh Holmes the whole sandbox (weapons, vehicles, enemies) was overhauled for coop gameplay…

  • “That means: Enemies are faster, more responsive and generally more lethal. Many have been given new behaviors to make them more effective in dealing with a team of Spartans.”*

…especially that last part is important as increasing the damage alone is neither an elegant solution nor does it create a ‘tough but fair’ coop experience.

  • According to Josh Holmes there are not only more enemies to counter the higher Spartan numbers…

  • “Building encounters with co-op play in mind has meant an increase in the density of foes. […] With co-operative play as a focus, it has meant creating larger spaces with multiple vertical levels and intersecting pathways. Teammates are encouraged to spread out and explore, seeking advantageous positions from which to support one another.”*… but larger play spaces should also motivate players to spread out which should even out power relations …

  • H5 forces players to rethink their proven combat strategies. With the new Spartan abilities the game isn’t only faster than ever (Thrust, Sprint) it’s also more vertical than ever (Ground Pound, Clamber). As the whole sandbox was designed with that in mind (e.g. faster shooting Plasma Pistol) and enemy AI now hopefully knows how to deal with groups of Spartans your previous Halo experience might still be valuable but a copy & paste of combat behavior might not be enough this time.Conclusion: I think it’s human to moan over the loss of a feature you already know you love (split-screen) and to be indifferent to features that might turn out good. However I think that 343i doesn’t get enough credit for their attempts to make H5 the best coop experience yet. While we of course have to wait to play the campaign for ourselves every single thing we know about H5 so far points in the right direction. In fact I believe that many people havn’t realized how much of a difference designing the campaign with coop in mind might make. I’m incredibly excited to dive into the experience with my friends and I’m even thinking about playing the campaign in coop mode instead of single player for the first time.

Good post, good points, and I totally agree. Even just watching those hunters’ reaction time in the blue team vidoc and the aggressive way they would turn and one-hit players into oblivion even when surrounded and taking massive damage was very promising. Enemy AI in Halo has always been one of the franchise’s strong points, but it looks to have finally gotten another significant upgrade. I share your optimism in regards to this new co-op experience (truthfully I’m as optimistic and excited as ever for every aspect of this game).

> 2535464699776153;2:
> Good post, good points, and I totally agree. Even just watching those hunters’ reaction time in the blue team vidoc and the aggressive way they would turn and one-hit players into oblivion even when surrounded and taking massive damage was very promising. Enemy AI in Halo has always been one of the franchise’s strong points, but it looks to have finally gotten another significant upgrade. I share your optimism in regards to this new co-op experience (truthfully I’m as optimistic and excited as ever for every aspect of this game).

While writing that text and thinking about previous experiences I realized how important those gameplay additions are.

We talked so much about MP but in campaign it is so apparent. We’ve had so many many encounters with Elites etc. with bascially the same combat rules for 15 years.

And while I will forever love those old Halo experiences it’s time for something new.
Enemies, weapons and abilities changing is both a great risk and a great opportunity.

As I’m playing the MCC right now I don’t need another Halo game that plays the same.

I’m interested in seeing what new behaviors our enemies have picked up. One of them was a Jackal being able to melee, which was unexpected. Who knows, maybe Grunts even picked up some new tactics.

I notice that every time an Elite gets on a turret, he stays on it, but they should be able to rip it off as well. Holding a turret should not be exclusive to us or an Elite General.

watching the campaign for Osiris at e3 i was pretty meh about it because most of it was walking and chatter, but the blue team footage at gamescom got my attention especially like you said with the hunters, in previous titles for halo i have solo’d multiple legendary hunters with small arms fire and not had to die to do it, but now I’m thinking i might need help… and this excites me

It cant be “the best”
Its subjective.

But Im pretty sure it will be a lot easier on legendary then HCE or H2.
They would need tomake drastic improvements over Halo 4s campaign which was a walk in the park.
Thruster and revial just make things easier.

We will see how they implement more enemies at the same time. That sounds good to me, but I havent see that in any campaign gameplay yet.

> 2533274818521550;6:
> It cant be “the best”
> Its subjective.
>
> But Im pretty sure it will be a lot easier on legendary then HCE or H2.
> They would need tomake drastic improvements over Halo 4s campaign which was a walk in the park.
> Thruster and revial just make things easier.
>
> We will see how they implement more enemies at the same time. That sounds good to me, but I havent see that in any campaign gameplay yet.

… Did you read it?

I’m not sure how you think it will be so much easier on Legendary in the past when enemies are more lethal, more numerous, and more responsive to co-op. New tactics and strategies, not just better shields. That alone allows it to be harder than past legendaries.
Thrust won’t do a ton, and the enemies are more responsive anyway so they can still react.
And to revive someone you have to run out into combat and risk yourself, in which case you’ll probably get killed before you can revive them anway. Revive makes things more difficult than just backing into a corner and getting an instant respawn for all dead players.

> 2533274907934539;7:
> > 2533274818521550;6:
> > It cant be “the best”
> > Its subjective.
> >
> > But Im pretty sure it will be a lot easier on legendary then HCE or H2.
> > They would need tomake drastic improvements over Halo 4s campaign which was a walk in the park.
> > Thruster and revial just make things easier.
> >
> > We will see how they implement more enemies at the same time. That sounds good to me, but I havent see that in any campaign gameplay yet.
>
>
> And to revive someone you have to run out into combat and risk yourself, in which case you’ll probably get killed before you can revive them anway. Revive makes things more difficult than just backing into a corner and getting an instant respawn for all dead players.

The question is what happens if you dont revive someone?

Will he:

A. Just die after bleeding out and then respawn.
B. Stay there forever till you revive him. (which would probably be the best imo)
C. Die after bleeding out and make everyone go to the last checkpoint. (which basically would just be an easier form of the Iron skull)

And yes I read the post and I dont really get the overall message. Will it be the best or the hardest?
We always had new enemies with new tacticts in every Halo. Doesnt make it necessary harder.

I believe it when I see it, but H4 was a walk in the park…

> 2533274818521550;6:
> It cant be “the best”
> Its subjective.
>
> But Im pretty sure it will be a lot easier on legendary then HCE or H2.
> They would need tomake drastic improvements over Halo 4s campaign which was a walk in the park.
> Thruster and revial just make things easier.
>
> We will see how they implement more enemies at the same time. That sounds good to me, but I havent see that in any campaign gameplay yet.

I meant best in terms of ‘designed for coop from the ground up’ and ‘challenging’.
While the latter is still up in the air it’s pretty obvious that there has never been such a big investment in coop from a developing point of view.

About the rest of your post… you don’t even seem to try to respond to my post.

There is a much greater risk involved in reviving someone than to simply hide behind cover or to go back into a safe zone to get all of your fallen teammates back.

> 2533274818521550;8:
> > 2533274907934539;7:
> > > 2533274818521550;6:
> > > It cant be “the best”
> > > Its subjective.
> > >
> > > But Im pretty sure it will be a lot easier on legendary then HCE or H2.
> > > They would need tomake drastic improvements over Halo 4s campaign which was a walk in the park.
> > > Thruster and revial just make things easier.
> > >
> > > We will see how they implement more enemies at the same time. That sounds good to me, but I havent see that in any campaign gameplay yet.
> >
> >
> > And to revive someone you have to run out into combat and risk yourself, in which case you’ll probably get killed before you can revive them anway. Revive makes things more difficult than just backing into a corner and getting an instant respawn for all dead players.
>
>
> The question is what happens if you dont revive someone?
>
> Will he:
>
> A. Just die after bleeding out and then respawn.
> B. Stay there forever till you revive him. (which would probably be the best imo)
> C. Die after bleeding out and make everyone go to the last checkpoint. (which basically would just be an easier form of the Iron skull)
>
> And yes I read the post and I dont really get the overall message.

No you didn’t read my post because the answer to your question is right there.

After bleeding out the player dies but can be revived in a safe place like in previous Halo titles.

> 2533274793332039;10:
> > 2533274818521550;8:
> > > 2533274907934539;7:
> > > > 2533274818521550;6:
> > > > It cant be “the best”
> > > > Its subjective.
> > > >
> > > > But Im pretty sure it will be a lot easier on legendary then HCE or H2.
> > > > They would need tomake drastic improvements over Halo 4s campaign which was a walk in the park.
> > > > Thruster and revial just make things easier.
> > > >
> > > > We will see how they implement more enemies at the same time. That sounds good to me, but I havent see that in any campaign gameplay yet.
> > >
> > >
> > > And to revive someone you have to run out into combat and risk yourself, in which case you’ll probably get killed before you can revive them anway. Revive makes things more difficult than just backing into a corner and getting an instant respawn for all dead players.
> >
> >
> > The question is what happens if you dont revive someone?
> >
> > Will he:
> >
> > A. Just die after bleeding out and then respawn.
> > B. Stay there forever till you revive him. (which would probably be the best imo)
> > C. Die after bleeding out and make everyone go to the last checkpoint. (which basically would just be an easier form of the Iron skull)
> >
> > And yes I read the post and I dont really get the overall message.
>
>
> No you didn’t read my post because the answer to your question is right there.
>
> After bleeding out the player dies but can be revived in a safe place like in previous Halo titles.

I have read the whole post. But it seems that I overread this.

Is it confirmed that it works this way? Because in my eyes that doesnt make it harder at all. You should “NEED TO” rivive your teammate in my opinion. Otherwise you just need to wait longer for them to respawn. No big deal.

I just think that a 4 player coop game cant be hard without something like the Iron skull, because you just need 1 afk controller staying in the back.

> 2533274818521550;6:
> It cant be “the best”
> Its subjective.

That doesn’t stop a lot of people from saying Halo 2 is the best and Halo 4 is the worst.

I have to wonder: does that phrase of yours work both ways? Or are “purists” allowed to say that Halo 2 is the best, but fans of “new Halo” aren’t allowed to say that Halo 4 (and soon Halo 5) is the best? The attitude around the forums is that if you say Halo 4 is better than Halo 2, you’re trolling, yet nobody bats an eye when someone says Halo 2 is better than 4.

So where’s the line? At what point does subjectivity kick in?

> 2533274818521550;11:
> > 2533274793332039;10:
> > > 2533274818521550;8:
> > > > 2533274907934539;7:
> > > > > 2533274818521550;6:
> > > > > It cant be “the best”
> > > > > Its subjective.
> > > > >
> > > > > But Im pretty sure it will be a lot easier on legendary then HCE or H2.
> > > > > They would need tomake drastic improvements over Halo 4s campaign which was a walk in the park.
> > > > > Thruster and revial just make things easier.
> > > > >
> > > > > We will see how they implement more enemies at the same time. That sounds good to me, but I havent see that in any campaign gameplay yet.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > And to revive someone you have to run out into combat and risk yourself, in which case you’ll probably get killed before you can revive them anway. Revive makes things more difficult than just backing into a corner and getting an instant respawn for all dead players.
> > >
> > >
> > > The question is what happens if you dont revive someone?
> > >
> > > Will he:
> > >
> > > A. Just die after bleeding out and then respawn.
> > > B. Stay there forever till you revive him. (which would probably be the best imo)
> > > C. Die after bleeding out and make everyone go to the last checkpoint. (which basically would just be an easier form of the Iron skull)
> > >
> > > And yes I read the post and I dont really get the overall message.
> >
> >
> > No you didn’t read my post because the answer to your question is right there.
> >
> > After bleeding out the player dies but can be revived in a safe place like in previous Halo titles.
>
>
> I have read the whole post. But it seems that I overread this.
>
> Is it confirmed that it works this way? Because in my eyes that doesnt make it harder at all. You should “NEED TO” rivive your teammate in my opinion. Otherwise you just need to wait longer for them to respawn. No big deal.
>
> I just think that a 4 player coop game cant be hard without something like the Iron skull, because you just need 1 afk controller staying in the back.

From what I’ve read in that Josh Holmes Blog post that’s how it’s going to be.

While I have to agree with you it would probably be too tiresome to revive a teammate that is far away EVERY time… probably a good solution at least on legendary would be to set back the whole team to the last checkpoint as soon as one player bleeds out.

But I’m pretty sure that H5 will have an Iron skull too… so at least in comparison it makes that ‘one player behind’ tactic more frustrating which is a good thing.

But yeah… legendary should be really hard. But I want a Dark Souls hard in that it always makes you feel as though it’s your fault not because of some overpowered enemy that you can only defeat because you’re using some dirty tricks (I know, there’s some of that too in DS but you get the point).

> 2533274810150284;12:
> > 2533274818521550;6:
> > It cant be “the best”
> > Its subjective.
>
>
> That doesn’t stop a lot of people from saying Halo 2 is the best and Halo 4 is the worst.
>
> I have to wonder: does that phrase of yours work both ways? Or are “purists” allowed to say that Halo 2 is the best, but fans of “new Halo” aren’t allowed to say that Halo 4 (and soon Halo 5) is the best? The attitude around the forums is that if you say Halo 4 is better than Halo 2, you’re trolling, yet nobody bats an eye when someone says Halo 2 is better than 4.
>
> So where’s the line? At what point does subjectivity kick in?

I am not responsible for those people. Which Halos “the best” is clearly subjective.
For me the best one is Halo 3 by far. And I get bashed for it big time by Halo CE and Halo 2 fans as well.

You might see me posts a lot how XYZ in H5 should be done different and how XYZ in H4 sucked.

But I respect when people enjoy or prefere Halo 4.

I have a feeling your spot on Op.

Personally it should be like Halo 3 and the Arbiter. If you hanged back and let him to all the killing, If he gets overcome he “dies” and after you clear the enemy out of the enemy he gets back up and fight.

If a team mate falls I’m not going to send someone out to heal them, I’ll just let them bleed out if they are going to respawn on me in a safe zone and their back in action. If you don’t recover them then they stay down until you do or you clear the enemy out. Which would punish human players from running a head and being one man armies like I tend to play since I hate sitting back.

I just hope it’s really hard in 4 player co-op.

I hope 4-player co-op is difficult in Halo 5 without the use of skulls. It’s honestly been pretty annoying since Halo 3 how easy it’s been to blow through on legendary if you have more than two people. GRANTED, Halo 3 and 4 weren’t challenging with single-player on legendary so, it was to be expected that co-op would also be easy knowing they’ve never really been able to properly adjust the difficulty for more people. Reach was only “kind of” challenging on co-op due to enemies getting such a huge boost on health and shields but even that with more than two people was like, “Okay, we’re back to playing on normal. Got it.” Aside from maybe the first two games ( which weren’t 4-player ), I only really ever got a challenging co-op experience when my buddies and I would play LASO in the other games which is honestly kind of ridiculous when you think about it. LASO should not be the only thing that makes 4-player co-op remotely challenging when legendary alone should already be challenging.

I really wish more games would work more on builds for co-op play. I’ve always said that if more games kept the challenge of difficulty levels combined with co-op play like Gears of War has done, I’d be more inclined to replay campaigns multiple times through co-op. I think this is part of why I got excited when I saw the squad-based gameplay being added into Halo 5. It’s going to be a pretty significant adjustment for a lot of people but, I think it was a good move on their part if they planned on keeping 4-player co-op intact in the campaign. While minor, I think it’s good they’re also utilizing having previously established characters be your squad mates. Just a nice little added detail.

I actually also agree that the revive system itself can make co-op play more challenging. Aside from the points you listed, OP, I see one particular scenario proving how the revival system could seriously mess over a team’s progress a lot faster than in previous games. Say, for example, your teammates happen to be clustered up too close to one another and a Grunt comes over to hang out with a fuel rod. Two or even three of your squadmates are downed by the shot. You ( and possibly a teammate ) have to then decide do we revive them or try and take cover until they bleed out and respawn, hoping nothing comes wandering around to find you? Or, even the area like in the B-roll for Blue Team with the Hunters I could see this happening. If the new AI are indeed more aggressive with squad-play ( which it looks like with those Hunters yeesssss ) combined with you having to *wait thirty seconds for teammates to respawn after bleeding out, hiding may not even be a viable option. I’ll actually be really excited if this is the case in Halo 5. This alone would force players to change their strategy of duck-and-cover while noob-comboing their way through legendary together or, people just charging in recklessly.

*Note: I thought this was confirmed in a Sprint video or maybe a community update where they were discussing campaign stuff. Not entirely sure which and it actually makes me want to go digging for that again.

ANYWAY tl;dr, I’m excited to see how they tuned the campaign more towards squad-based gameplay. If it turns out providing more of a challenge than the last couple of games, that’ll be icing on the cake. :slight_smile:

Why halo 5’s coop might be the best one?
I’ve got an answer I think: Because it’s designed for coop in mind.

Enemy thread increases with more players.

What I like about this is that means most likely every single enemy must of been overhauled slightly, including grunts to keep up with 4 players that all have a few new movement abilties.

As long as we don’t get insta kill BS sniper jackels again.