Lets be honest here. HALO has been doing the whole ” large scale vehicle warfare” FPS for a long time and yet no one mentions it in the same breath as the king of the genre Battlefield 3. I recently took the time to fiddle around in HALO: Reach’s ” Big Team Battle” mode and came away with a bif smile on my face! Why havent I been playing this game mode before?!?!?!
Typically when you mention HALO the first thing that comes to mind is arena style versus modes and very frantic squad based matches ( the one game that dared to rename ” team deathmatch” to the uber cool title ” Team Slayer”). It is in fact the main reason you have the Call of Duty franchise today. That game was based on the style of gameplay that in the past belonged to HALO and Unreal tournament( okay throw Quake in there too). Call of duty blended the modern aspects of Counterstrike with the ADD style gameplay that HALO defined on the consoles.
What a lot of people dont realize is that HALO’s well runs deep. The game offers up a crazy amount of customization as far as game modes go and the one that you need to be playing right now is “Big Team Battle”!
Big Team Battle is HALO meets Battlefield. Gone are the restricting corridors of your typical Slayer map and your aresanol of destruction has been amped up to include an assortment of vehicles and heavy weapons.
Score counters as well as player count take a shot in the arm with teams of 8 players rushing to hit 100 kills first.
You can spice up the proceedings by throwing objectives into the mix like a capture the flag and control point objective game as well.
Vehicles are perhaps the biggest variant in this format of game. Both teams will have access to a whole suite of transportation and armor. Tanks, APCs, helicopters and Jets are all given the HALO treatment and those contemporary military vehicles you have been driving/flying around in while playing BF3 all of a sudden get shoved into awesome territory. I mean who couldnt love driving around in a jeep with a mounted missle launcher called a ” Warthog”!
The one interesting thing is that this game mode is not new to xbox360 users having been in the past 2 “main game” iterations of the franchise, yet people rarely consider it a viable alternative to large scale battle games.
Having played Battlefield 3 extensively I can say in fairness that it was built from the ground up to be a big battle game and in fact have made strides t0 offer smaller scale game modes as an alternative to hardcore BF3 fans ( squad deathmatch anyone?). Halo went the other route and ramped up their smaller game modes to capture that Battlefield feel.
HALO doesnt have class based multi player and there are definatley areas that could be tweaked to make it a more team based experience. A typical game of Big Team Battle in HALO plays out pretty much like a larger version of team deathmatch with players running all over the place with no clear strategy blasting away at each other. Vehicles go flying through the air and cascading explosions are common sights on the battlefield.
Battlefield 3 does what it set out to do VERY well and there is no way I am going to sit here and tell you that HALO trumps it but I can show you how to tweak a HALO Big Team Battle game to give you that same feeling large scale warfare…just fast forwarded into the future.
Recipe for ” HALO-field”
- Start with a nice Big Team Battle map that is suitable for lots of large scale carnage. I reccommend Hemohrage. It has a large open feel and can be modified with Forge in our next step.
- Boot up forge and start creating. Make sure you spend some time with each spawn area and making sure it is a safety zone for other players trying to camp it. Think like a game designer would and pay attention to other structures that can be added to the map to flesh it out. Create a concept and run with it. Bunkers, comm stations, and small bases are all good ideas.
- Weapon stashes. In the absebnce of a class based system you will need to make all the power weapons as drops in different parts of the battlefield. I reccomend that you default everyone to pistols on spawn and then create an armory somewhere on the map that allows the players to pick a gun up and rush off to battle. Sort of like a gun rack. In one version i was creating I made an armory room in the base closest to spawn and inside the player would select a starting weapon and underneath he would also select an appropiate armor ability.
- Class system done the HALO way. I was actually a little off point when I said HALO Reach doesnt have a class system. The game does in fact have a loadout concept that can be custom titled . you can create a weapon/Armore ability combo and save it as a loadout. This in effect becomes a class for the players to chjoose on spawn. It allows you to Hard Lock certain gear and abilitys and force players to learn a new style of play to go along with the ” class” you have created.
- Game Modes. Make sure you dont default to TDM. play with the various objective game modes the game provides and see if you can find a sweet spot between all out run and gun to a more refined team work experience. Capture the flag and control point game modes are perfect for this.
- Indulge your creative mind. Forge is a crazy toolset to have at your disposal and you quite literly can find yourself lost in it for hours on end tweaking your creation.
HALO:Reach may not be the king of large scale shooters but Big Team Battle is a great way to find a middle ground. Players looking for that fast paced shoot em up feel that HALO delivers and the team oriented and massive open world firefights that Battlefield has perfected should shoulder a Spartan Laser and hop into a Warthog…The galaxy needs soldiers like you!
Dwayne” EVO Knight” Morash