With the launch of the new ‘Reclaimer Trilogy’ that Halo 4 represents, Master Chief is poised to become not just one of the most violent space marines the world of video games has seen to date, but one of the most complicated. But in order to get him to those lofty heights, the developers at 343 Industries will need to produce some stellar gameplay along with compelling fiction.
That seems to be where the new enemies come in. The Covenant mix of Elites, Grunts and Jackals are all confirmed (sorry to you Brute fans) to appear, but the mysterious, glowing Prometheans will be the biggest headache for the Chief and Cortana. Thanks to some newly released details, we now have a better idea of just how much the Halo 4 enemy classes will differ from past opposition, and how they’ll be staying the same.
The new class information comes from TheHaloCouncil, pulled from what seems to be the October issue of GameInformer. The information all looks to be reliable, so hopefully the new dose of information being sent to out to subscribers means 343 will be releasing official details or images soon. Until then, we have a first idea of how the Watcher, Knight and Crawler enemies will be working in tandem to pose a harder fight than the Chief – or players – have ever been through.
The first look at Halo 4 gameplay introduced the glowing enemies, exhibiting far different tactics and movement than traditional Covenant. The most notable differences come in the form of the Crawlers. Essentially pack animals that use agility and speed to swarm the player, a Crawler Snipe is also confirmed, although the exact differences between them aren’t clear. The Alpha Crawler, though, will lead a pack of Crawlers into battle wielding a Suppressor, identifiable by long spikes on its head and back. Going by past games, it’s likely that taking out the Alpha will lower the coordination of the other Crawlers, but that’s just speculation.
While the Crawlers could be seen as a more aggressive version of the Grunt, the Watcher enemy type is a whole different animal. Launched from the shell of a Promethean Knight, the Watcher, according to the article, can deploy a shield for the Knight, call forth additional Crawlers “from the bowels of Requiem,” or bring a fallen Knight back into the fray. An that is most certainly bad news.
The Promethean Knights look to fill the vacancy left by both the Elites and Brutes, with more than enough enemy classes to do the trick. Wielding either a Suppressor LightRifle, the Knights represent the standard commanders of Promethean forces, occasionally found on their own, but able to immediately add more allies to the encounter. The Knight Lancers are long-range variants, using sniper rifles and Promethean Vision (available as a perk in Halo 4 multiplayer) to track targets.
The Knight and Lancer will be tough enough to defend against alongside rushing Crawlers and powerful Watchers, but the two highest ranks look to pose the biggest threat. The Knight Commander leads a group of Knights, equipped with heavier armor, Incineration Cannons, and Autosentry turrets. Should the Commander fail to get the job done, then the player is looking at facing off against the Knight Battlewagon (in the competition for best name, we have a winner). More armor, hardlight shields, turrets and a brutally damaging Scattershot make the Battlewagon the closest thing to a Hunter we’ve seen so far, but without the obvious weaknesses.
Halo fans might automatically begin dissecting the groups by priority, with leaders being taken out first to scatter ranks, then save the biggest and baddest for last. 343’s Frank O’Connor cited a personal encounter he’d had in the game that proves just how unique this new combat will be:
“My shields are low, and I go hide behind a pillar to try and recoup some shield before I go back out to the encounter. Typically, the bad guys would have to rethink their strategy at that point. Instead of flanking, because [I] took cover, is it in [their] best interest to continue, or do something else? As I was going through that thought process, the Crawlers completely ignored all that, clambered up over the top of the thing I was hiding behind, and came vertically down towards me.”
“There’s no safe order for how to bring them down. it’s going to depend on the encounter […] The sheer complexity of the encounters means that the strategy that you think you need to repeat to plow through Legendary just might not be possible.”
As far as the Promethean arsenal is concerned, most will have similar connections to UNSC weapons of the past, albeit designed with the Flood in mind. The Z-750 Binary Rifle is a sniper rifle powered by twin particle accelerators, and the Z-250 LightRifle delivers a variable punch along the lines of the DMR or Battle Rifle. From there, the fully-automatic Suppressor pounds enemies with a storm of hardlight bullets, and the devastating Z-180 Close Combat Rifle – Scattershot, for short – sends ricocheting shotgun blasts off surfaces and into flesh. The Scattershot was shown in action at this year’s E3, so hopefully the rest will live up to that standard.
If there is one weapon that definitely has our attention, it’s the Anti-Materiel Z-390 High-Explosive Munitions Rifle, claimed to mix features of a “rocket launcher, shotgun, and flame-thrower.” Exactly how close the Z-110 Directed Energy Pistol – a.k.a. Boltshot – will resemble the Plasma Pistol is unclear, but all of these tools seem like ones we’d rather wield than see in the hands of the enemy.
Hopefully more official details on the Prometheans’ mysterious history, not to mention who is leading them, will be available soon, or at least a chance to see this cast of characters in action. We’ll keep you updated as soon as more assets are available.
Halo 4 releases on November 6, 2012, exclusively for the Xbox 360.
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Source: Game Informer (via TheHaloCouncil)