It’s terrifying news, but it’s the truth: in Halo 4, The Flood are back. Now before some of you run for the hills, cradling your shotguns and hoping to stay hidden, allow us to clarify. The new campaign taking players to Requiem, and into a fight with the ancient Prometheans will not include The Flood as an additional opposing force. But in the online multiplayer, it’s a different story.
The Flood will be worked into the existing ‘Infection’ game type, facing a squad of players off against a single infected enemy. As the enemy begins taking out the group one by one, they in turn become infected and eventually (hopefully) overwhelm the humans. For Halo 4, the developers at 343 Industries have added The Flood to the mixture, resulting in some truly impressive visuals while staying true to the rhythm and speed of the original mode. Footage of the Flood multiplayer has arrived, so see their results for yourself.
Instead of wielding an Energy sword to dispatch the non-infected with a single blow, the Flood come equipped with a single corrupted spike. It may not be as high-tech or refined a weapon as the Spartan soldiers were used to prior to being infected by the intergalactic plague, but it seems to do the trick just as well. Frankly, we’re just happy that at least part of the grotesque Flood-infected-Spartan imagery that the art team came up with is visible in first-person perspective.
In gameplay terms, the Flood look to be just as lethal as they did in previous games, with the ability to move faster and farther than other players. However powerful these advantages may be, the gameplay footage does prove that the Spartan Floood-forms are only as effective as the players controlling them.
Take a look at some additional footage of Flood on the ‘Complex’ map, courtesy of CVG:
While some may wish that 343 would have left The Flood behind when launching their new Reclaimer Trilogy, there’s no question that they hold a special place in the hearts of the franchise’s most devoted fans. The terror and frustration they instilled in every player was unmatched by the Covenant, and as dangerous as the updated Elites and Grunts appear, there’s no comparison. For now campaign enthusiast have no need to worry, since it’s incredibly unlikely for any Flood forms to appear on Requiem – those mind-blowing Terminal entries aside.
The inclusion of The Flood into multiplayer is a nice touch by the developers, both as a nod to fans and as proof that they aren’t taking every aspect of Halo 4 too seriously. The new Promethean enemy types are guaranteed to demand higher levels of strategy and tactics from players right from the first level, meaning an inevitable rise in The Art of War inquiries at public libraries around the world come November (libraries still exist, right?). With that in mind, having a multiplayer mode that recreates the mindless, pulse-pounding carnage of a Flood outbreak is a welcome addition.
The Flood’s twist on the Infection game type isn’t the only case of fun and quirk that players both old and new can find in Halo 4‘s online arenas, with Grifball now officially designed and improved(?) by the developers themselves. Of course, those players who prefer more coordinated, team-based modes are also being catered to. And now, players who actually grasp the main goal of ‘Capture The Flag’ won’t be punished or weakened by sticking to the plan, but granted the ability to pull off one of many ridiculous ‘Flagsassinations.’
What’s the verdict on this first look at The Flood in action as part of Halo 4‘s multiplayer? Does it look like more balancing is needed before launch, or is the mindless, uneven carnage a welcome change to the standard multiplayer? For those who never tried out Infection, has the new design got your interest piqued? Sound off in the comments.
Halo 4 will be released on November 6, 2012, exclusively for the Xbox 360.
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