Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened.

The Invasion playlist is now available for inspection via the Halo Reach Beta. It’s set on the Boneyard map which appears to be the biggest Halo Map ever.

You mission as a Spartan is to defend ‘the core’ if you are the attacking Elite, you are trying to capture it. It’s like an epic Capture the Flag but with a better story and lots of guns.

And tanks. Tanks beat everything eh? I got a overkill and a killing frenzy in a tank where the elites had the core just below the steps to their goal. It was absolutely thrilling to drive the tank in at a fast crawl and annihilate the Elites and stall their charge long enough for a Spartan victory.

Invasion is going to be a useful asset for the Halo franchise, I cant.hardly.wait to see what other tricks Bungie have in store for us!


Teabag Prevention has some advice on using Reach weapons:

Plasma Repeater

This one’s pretty basic. As you may or may not know, the Plasma Repeater predates the Plasma Rifle we all grew to use in Halos 1, 2 and 3. The trick to using this weapon is to fire it in bursts. Much like the Assault Rifles in the past Halos, as well as Reach, this weapon becomes less accurate the longer it fires. The other downside is the fact that it overheats. Hold X to prevent the Plasma Repeater from overheating.

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Halo 4 Covenant Weapons Revealed with Video

Halo 4 Covenant Weapons Revealed with Video
As stolen from Halo Waypoint and compiled by BS Angel.

The Covenant weapons in Halo 4 presented us with an interesting design challenge. Traditionally, they haven’t been as popular as their UNSC counterparts, and they get much less use across the board. From a high level, we still wanted them to feel alien, futuristic, and technologically advanced (or at the very least, foreign) when compared to human weaponry, but we also wanted them to be equally viable choices.This was not an easy problem to solve.
There are a lot of gameplay specific reasons why Covenant weapons function the way they do. The blue/purple/pink color schemes and higher-pitched sound effects are intended to contrast the UNSC weapons and make enemy fire stand out. The projectiles are intentionally slower so that when fighting AI, the player is able to react and dodge them. They also tend to drain shields faster than armor health because it adds tension and creates situations where the player feels like they are escaping a fire fight by the skin of their teeth. In short, the weapons were designed to be fun to fight against, and some of these properties work against making them fun to use.
So how did we resolve these issues? On the aesthetics side, we felt like the shiny textures, bright colors, and flawless models of the past made them read a bit too toy-like, so we tried to make everything slightly more grounded. We did that by showing more wear and tear (such as scuffs and imperfections) and using new textures that made the guns look like they were created from hard metallic alloys (instead of plastic). The audio for all Covenant weapons went through several iterations until they felt a bit more punchy and visceral, while still sounding alien. As far as gameplay goes, we changed the weapon properties to make them better equivalents to UNSC weaponry. For example, the projectile speeds are drastically increased when the player uses them so that they are easier to hit targets but when AI fires them at the player, they are slower so that they are still fun to dodge. Finally, we spent a lot of time on the interface components. Two such examples are the zoom scopes, which were made to have a much more alien feel when using the guns, and the digital displays and reticles use of a similar alien language.
Halo 4 features nine Covenant weapons, with a mix of old and new. Take a look at them in action by watching the following (brand new!) video, and then we’ll chat a bit about how they feel when you’re using them on Halo 4’s virtual battlefields.

If you’re interested in the audio side of things, get your headphones ready and crank up the volume because we’ll be releasing the version without music shortly.
Frank O’Connor (Franchise Development Director), David Ellis (Spartan Ops Designer), and Chris King (Lead Sandbox Designer), along with Jeff Guy, Jayce Diaz, Joel Gifford, Kynan Pearson, Ali Zandi, Alyson Szymanski, Todd Colby, Josh Lindquist, and Chris Howard joined me to share their thoughts about this particular subset of weapons. The Covenant utilizes the following base weapons:

Halo 4 Covenant Weapons

DESIGNATION: T-25 Directed Energy Pistol
Directed-energy weapon capable of semi-automatic firing and a scaled-burst effect which disables electronics.How it feels:Frank – Absolute beast, tempered by the fact that you’ll deplete your charge quickly and are brutally punished for running around with it pre-charged all the time. I had it in one of my go-to loadouts on a semi-permanent basis but I’ve kind of moved away from that, except where early vehicle domination seems likely.David – Let me answer your first question: No, we’re not introducing the Halo 2 Noob Combo as a standard loadout in Halo 4. While the Plasma Pistol still strips shields, in my experience it doesn’t track nearly as much at a distance when compared to previous titles. It’s still very useful against shielded enemies (UNSC and Covenant alike) but as Frank mentioned, pay attention to your remaining charge.Chris – Don’t be deceived by the toy-ish looks. This is a powerful gun! To be effective with the normal shot, you will need to use it at close ranges because the projectiles are extremely slow relative to other weapons. And since players spawn with it from the get-go as a secondary weapon, we’ve had to retune the number of charge shots down from the past (when charging, the energy drains pretty quickly in multiplayer compared to the past). It’s still a great choice, though, especially on vehicle maps. If you are a fan of the Noob Combo, I’d recommend trying to scavenge a Magnum as a backup. The Halo 4 pistols all have faster animation timings than in the past, allowing you to switch to them faster than any other weapon in the game. Charged Plasma Shot + Magnum headshot = WIN!Jeff (Test) – The Plasma Pistol continues its role as one of the strongest utility weapons in the Covenant arsenal. Its ability to strip enemy shields or disable enemy vehicles makes it a dangerous and deceptive weapon in the hands of the right player. There’s something so satisfying about landing a charged shot against a Banshee and watching it fall from the sky, the pilot helpless to avoid his descent to an inevitable barrage of fire from your appreciative team members. The soaring green blasts in any PvP match are a reminder that you are only one good shot away from being defenseless against headshots. The sound of the charged weapon rounding the corner as the player un-crouches from cover to engage you stops your breath for a moment. The sting to a Spartan’s hands when the weapon overloads from charging too long is a bittersweet reminder that the weapon remains destined for the hands of the tactical player.

Halo 4 Covenant Weapons

DESIGNATION: T-33 Guided Munitions Launcher
Exotic guided-munitions weapon firing crystalline shards that home in, impale, and detonate on soft targets.How it feels:Frank – The Needler is not my favorite weapon in terms of efficacy – and you’ll see that in my Reach stats, but as something I used to only use in cases of last resort, I’m finding it more and more useful in Campaign and Spartan Ops than ever before – and taking out Elites and Promethean Knights by supercombining can be a great way to break up strategic logjams in big encounters.David – Here’s some friendly advice for your Legendary Campaign runs in Halo 4: make friends with the Needler. For clearing out Elites and Knights, it has quickly become the pick-up weapon of choice at higher difficulty levels in both Campaign and Spartan Ops.Chris – The Halo 4 Needler is probably the most powerful version of the gun to date. I love the new, more mechanical firing sounds of the gun as it feels more visceral. One of the big changes this time around is that the needles stick to shields again (in Reach, the needles only supercombined when shields were down). This makes it deadly for sure. However, its effectiveness is tempered by the overall faster pace of the game, which gives players a better chance of avoiding the needles. If you catch an opponent off-guard, they are in for a world of hurt.Chris H. (SDE) – The Needler has received a damage and speed boost, which definitely makes it more powerful this time around. It’s always been a fun gun to use, but now it’s extremely satisfying and almost always a good idea to pick up if found on the battlefield.Josh (Senior SDE) – The Needler is so bad-ass, some of us call it the “noobler”. It feels like the Halo 2 Needler to me. It will wreck your -Yoink!-

Halo 4 Covenant Weapons

DESIGNATION: T-55 Directed Energy Rifle/Advanced
Fully automatic, directed-energy weapon, widely considered the successor to the traditional Plasma Rifle.How it feels:Frank – This isn’t accurate in terms of power or performance, exactly, but in a way I am reminded of the Brute Plasma Rifle from Halo 2 in terms of ferocity and sheer visceral pleasure. Of course it doesn’t work well at long range and can’t be dual wielded, but that’s my snapshot impression, if it makes any sense.David – The Storm Rifle fills a role similar to that of the UNSC Assault Rifle, but somehow the Storm Rifle is just plain more frightening to come up against. Early in development, there weren’t a lot of people using this weapon, despite how effective it was at close range. That changed overnight when the weapons effects and sounds started to come online.Chris – This is a fantastic close-range weapon, once you figure out the rhythm on the overheat. I especially love using this weapon on smaller maps or in tight areas as it’s incredibly lethal. It doesn’t have the range or accuracy of the AR but if you manage the heat well, you can continue firing for quite a while and it will give you a significant advantage over other weapons that require longer reloads. It takes some getting used to, though. If you just hold the trigger down and let the gun reach its overheat state, you are faced with a long cool down penalty.Alyson (Producer) – The first level of the campaign is set up really nicely for the Storm Rifle. Use a charged shot on the Plasma Pistol to knock down the Elite’s shields, then pop him with the Storm Rifle, and finally finish off the fodder of Grunts. Then pick up the Plasma Grenades for yourself. Mwhahahaha!Todd (UI) – Before Halo 4, I was lukewarm on Covenant weapons. I never felt like I got the meaty feedback I got from UNSC weaponry. The Storm Rifle has converted me to the Covenant arsenal – half of my loadouts are customized with it in mind. Its rapid fire rate makes it perfect for run-and-gun, and covering teammates has never been so rewarding. When I engage enemies with the Storm Rifle, it’s like I’m repeatedly slapping my opponent in the face with a thousand fruit roll-ups. Delicious victory.

Halo 4 Covenant Weapons

Notable semi-automatic mid-range accuracy, firing ballistic rounds unlike most other Covenant weapons.How it feels:Frank – It’s the Carbine. I have always felt it was a perfectly good sub for BR and DMR and indeed sits somewhere between the two in terms of its utility for my style of play – but I have tended to avoid it every now and then because of the super-visible contrail. For some reason, in Halo 4 that hasn’t been much of an issue for me – or it was my imagination to begin with, but I have been using it more and more and in Campaign, it’s essential.David – I can’t decide if it’s the size of the bolts you fire or some other intangible, but the Carbine feels (to me) like the most accurate weapon in the game. I find it especially useful for when I’m waiting to launch an ambush. Against inexperienced foes, the barrage of rapid fire shots can cause enemies to panic and make mistakes… to their doom. As Chris mentions below, it’s great as a finishing weapon. I would recommend pairing it with a Plasma Pistol or Storm Rifle.Chris – Mathematically, this is the most lethal long-range rifle in the game in a one-on-one encounter. It fires extremely fast – double the rate of the other rifles. But it doesn’t have the range of the DMR or LightRifle, and each individual shot is relatively weak. A player that can land the bulk of their shots and manage their ammo well can be extremely successful with it, though. Because of its headshot capability, it is also a great weapon for playing cleanup with teammates (have them drop opponent shields and then score the headshot). I love using this weapon but I can only use it in short bursts. The firing rate is so fast, it makes my fingers tired after a while!Joel (Test) – The Covenant Carbine is an absolute terror when going up against unshielded foes. Bringing it into Spartan Ops missions against Grunts, Jackals, and Crawlers allows you to quickly drop waves of enemies, provided you can land the headshot. In PVP, it has a little trouble getting through enemy shields, but the precision and high rate of fire allow you to constantly bombard your opponent.Ali (Systems Designer) – It’s my go-to weapon on the Covenant side because it’s the anti-Grunt and Jackal weapon from a distance, and it caters to my somewhat stealthy play style. I enjoy the firing rhythm and the punch it delivers.It’s fascinating compared to UNSC rifles because the look, feel and audio feedback are unique and alien, especially when scoped in.

Halo 4 Covenant Weapons

DESIGNATION: T-27 Special Application Sniper Rifle
MANUFACTURER: Merchants of Qikost
Extreme-range sniper rifle, charging ionized hydrogen gas into a lethal beam of accelerated particles.How it feels:Frank – The Beam Rifle always felt a bit more solid and frightening to me than at least one or two iterations of the UNSC sniper. Now I prefer the UNSC sniper overall, both aesthetically and in terms of performance, but the sonic impact of the Beam Rifle is super satisfying. Like the Carbine, they seem to be easier to find in Campaign than human snipers. It’s also a bit easier to know where you’re being pinged from [with the Beam Rifle].David – First off, I love that a proper Covenant sniper weapon is back for Halo 4. It’s been sorely missed. Secondly, the new HUD elements on the Beam Rifle when zoomed in really help to sell this as a piece of alien technology. As before, the meta-game of managing the heat of your rifle and firing on enemies means that every shot counts. Get too hasty and you’ll be looking down at your dead body in the flash of venting gas.Chris – I love the Halo 4 version of the Beam Rifle! This thing is ridiculously large and imposing looking, and it has a really mean firing sound. Because of its enormous size, it does have a decent amount of recoil between shots but the firing rate is the fastest of the snipers and if you manage the heat state of the gun, you can get off all shots in quick succession without an overheat or reload. One other pro-tip on this one: it’s the best sniper rifle for hip shots in Halo 4!Kynan (Lead Multiplayer Level Design) – The Beam Rifle is sick. What’s not to like about being able to clear out an enemy team with a single weapon that when used correctly doesn’t require a reload… and the sound is so satisfying.

Halo 4 Covenant Weapons

DESIGNATION: T-50 Directed Energy Weapon/Heavy
MANUFACTURER: Merchants of Qikost
Similar to other Covenant mortar weapons, firing explosive bolts of plasma at close-range to mid-range distances.How it feels:Frank – I have always found this weapon to be useful in close quarters combat and even against vehicles as a “confuser” – and I think the combination of fireworks and physics does a tremendous amount to add chaos and doubt to a battlefield. While I don’t use it except in desperation in Campaign, in MP I will absolutely grab it as a secondary, or when I am out of ammo on a primary.Chris – The Concussion Rifle and Brute shot have always been somewhat controversial in that players either love them or hate them – there doesn’t seem to be an in-between. The biggest change to the Halo 4 Concussion Rifle are the stronger physics impulses from the explosions along with faster projectile speed, which makes it work better in more open spaces and from a longer distance. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend trying to use this in a duel with a DMR from across the map. I love the firing rate on this weapon but IMO, the best part about it is the emergent sandbox moments you can get from the strong physics impulses on the explosion. Try drilling a speeding enemy Warthog from the side, and watch as hilarity ensues!David – I suppose you can put me in the latter of Chris’s camps as I still haven’t quite been able to wrap my brain around this iteration of the Concussion Rifle quite yet. It’s great against vehicles and the physics impulses are great, but I suppose I’m a simple man and I like blowing stuff up in a shower of fire and brimstone.Jayce (Spartan Ops Designer) – Against AI, it can topple vehicles and has a fast enough firing rate to scatter large groups, and against other players it has the uncanny ability to cause confusion and pain at a safe distance. It is the ultimate noise gun, a disruptor that can leave enemies in complete disarray before they die.Chris H. – I am impressed with the precision the AI can wield the Concussion Rifle with in Spartan Ops. They are really good at juggling my lifeless body after they obliterate me.

Halo 4 Covenant Weapons

DESIGNATION: T-33 Light Anti-Armor Weapon
MANUFACTURER: Merchants of Qikost
Typically used against heavy armor by launching charged fuel rods which violently detonate upon impact.How it feels:Frank – A great weapon, not exactly a Covenant Rocket Launcher, but not too far off – also one of the weapons that oddly enough, really shows off some of the environment mapping on our surfaces. You really get a “feel” for whatever space you’re in based on the reflectivity and the way it catches color and light.David – For me, the Fuel Rod Cannon sits somewhere between the Rocket Launcher and the Brute Shot, with regard to how I use it. Against Covenant or Promethean forces, you can clear out the cannon fodder with relative ease, but against more evenly matched enemies, expect to need multiple hits to drop them.Chris – Traditionally, the Fuel Rod hasn’t gotten a lot of love in Halo multiplayer. This has changed in Halo 4. This is another case where I am really excited about the direction the audio and FX teams went in with the weapon. It’s not drastically different but the changes just make it feel that much more satisfying and visceral. As with the other “area of effect” weapons in the game, the projectile speeds have been increased on this one, and we’ve fine-tuned the blast radiuses just a tad. Despite the faster speeds, you will still need to land a couple fuel rod shots to finish off an opponent, as an individual blast isn’t powerful enough to kill someone. Because of the large magazine size on this one, it’s also great for area of denial as well.

Halo 4 Covenant Weapons

DESIGNATION: T-1 Energy Weapon/Sword
MANUFACTURER: Merchants of Qikost
Composed of superheated plasma, this sword remains the preferred close-quarters weapon of specialized Elites.How it feels:Frank – I am just eating it with this right now. I thought universal Sprint would give me a huge advantage, but the reality is it flattens it out for me. I used to go on crazy tears with the sword, but now I find myself being stopped short – that “gun game” thing people are referring to more and more seems to be hitting me where it counts during would-be sword sprees. I do find myself on the receiving end of it a fair amount, however.Chris – To Frank’s comment, I think one of the mistakes I see people making with our sword is that now that players move faster with Sprint by default, they assume they can just run at opponents and kill them with the lunge from far away. This is a mistake – you still need to be somewhat sneaky with it. That being said, if you can restrain yourself from going all Rambo and just use it in tight spaces, it’s as lethal as ever. Important changes include making it swing much faster than it has in the past and eliminating those pesky melee parries (no more “CLAAAAAANG!” unless the other person also has a sword). One final pro tip: when sprinting with normal weapons, if opponents shoot you, the shots will slow you down a tad. A sword wielding player is immune to this!David – It’s big, it’s made of hard light, and it will wreck your world if you’re not paying attention to your surroundings. I think Frank and Chris covered everything else.Kynan – I love the sword in combination with the Thruster Pack. There’s no better feeling than sprint jumping off the roof of a building into a crowd below and then thrusting to dodge or close distance, putting you perfectly in range to cut through them all like butter.

Halo 4 Covenant Weapons

DESIGNATION: T-2 Energy Weapon/Hammer
MANUFACTURER: Recovered from field (originally Sacred Promissory)
Crude yet formidable close-range Brute weapon, substantially improved by way of a powerful gravity drive.How it feels:Frank – For me, it’s kind of the opposite philosophy from a lightsaber, an inelegant weapon for a more barbaric time. I love the fact that the splash effect can buy you some distance, even when you whiff it badly. I love the fact that a direct hit is a cast-iron guarantee of success, and I love the fact that you feel almost exactly like Donkey Kong for a similar amount of swings at the “barrels” the sandbox presents you. And yes, I know Mario is the one swinging the hammer, but it’s important to make the Donkey Kong analogy sing!David – I think this says everything.Chris – The saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies here. This is one of my all-time favorite Halo weapons. There aren’t a ton of changes that we made to it – more like nuanced tweaks. The animation speeds are a tad quicker, the area of effect has been expanded, the damage tuning tweaked but overall, it’s pretty similar to past incarnations. Probably the biggest change comes in the form of the physics impulses – they are much more powerful now to compensate for the beefier vehicles in the game. This has the awesome side effect of making the Gravity Hammer ragdoll players and objects much more than it has in the past. In short, you should expect the hammer to function similar to past versions, but with more showboating flair!
And that wraps up today’s feature about Covenant weapons. Don’t leave yet, though, because we’re about to breakdown the different editions of Halo 4. Join me, won’t you?

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Halo 4’s UNSC Weapons

Halo 4’s UNSC Weapons
This post originally appeared on Halo Way Point. I just borrowed it from BS Angel

Much like past Halo games, the UNSC weapons in Halo 4 are meant to be grounded in modern day tech. They tend to be purpose built with function superseding aesthetics. There are a couple reasons for this – one reason is to make the player feel like an underdog in comparison to the highly futuristic and sophisticated weaponry used by the Covenant and Forerunner enemies. The other purpose is that it provides a good starting point for new players because they already have some familiarity and understanding of the core weapon roles, making them easily relatable.

Despite the majority of them being similar to modern day military weapons, they do have several specialized power weapons that help convey mankind’s progress when it comes to future tech. These include weapons like the Railgun, Spartan Laser, and Sticky Detonator.

Before you learn more about the UNSC weapons available in Halo 4, we thought you’d like to see them in action. So, check out the following video, and then continue reading to find out the specifics about what you’ll soon have at your disposal. (By the way, the music in this video is not from the original soundtrack. We’ll tell you more about where it is from on a later date.)

If you’d like to hear the UNSC weapon sound effects in all of their not wub-wub-wub glory, here is the same video without the music. And yes, we will be doing the same thing with Covenant and Promethean weapons soon-ish, and we may even show them off on a different level.

Frank O’Connor, David Ellis, and Chris King, along with Vic DeLeon, Joel Gifford, Chris Howard, Scott Warner, Bill Clark, Kynan Pearson, Pierre Rivest, and Christopher Hands joined me to share their thoughts about UNSC weapons. The UNSC utilizes the following base weapons:

DESIGNATION: MA5D Individual Combat Weapon System
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Standard fully automatic firearm of all UNSC branches, effective at both close-range and mid-range combat.

How it feels:

Frank – AR is still pretty much what it always was, a decent mid-range weapon which currently might feel underpowered compared to some prior incarnations, especially in the context of newer guns – but is remarkably useful for certain kinds of panicky encounters, such as close quarters retreating in MP or dealing with swarms of Crawlers in Campaign and Spartan Ops.

David – I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I definitely feel like I have more control over my bullet spread when pulsing my AR starts than in past games. No doubt about it, the Assault Rifle is definitely still at its best in close quarters.

Chris – Relative to other Halos, this feels to me like a slightly more powerful Halo 3 AR. Some people might have some prejudice against the weapon because it’s not the newest, flashiest weapon on the block and there are a lot of other things that will catch your eye first. That being said, this is one of the best looking weapons in the game IMO. Gameplay-wise, we’ve tried to extend the range on the AR a bit from what it’s traditionally been and made it a tad more accurate. This is one of my favorite weapons in Halo 4 and I’m particularly fond of pairing it with a long range rifle in MP using the Firepower armor mod.

DESIGNATION: BR85 Heavy-Barrel Service Rifle
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Utilizes precise, three-round burst functionality, making it a formidable mid-range, semi-automatic weapon.

How it feels:

Frank – Designed to be precise at mid-range and reasonably predictable at long range, the BR is currently my favorite loadout rifle. It’s not as precise or surgical as the DMR and feels more predictable to me than the LightRifle, its closest Promethean counterpart. For headshots and quick takedowns for an intermediate player like me, it’s just a great balance.

David – Like a well-oiled baseball glove, pick up the Battle Rifle in Halo 4 and you’ll feel right at home. With the BR being hitscan (projectiles register hits immediately upon trigger pull), it is definitely a force to be reckoned with at mid to long range. Roll into battle with a teammate or two at your side, and enemies will turn and run at the mere threat of your groupshots. There’s just something inherently satisfying about that triple thud unleashed with each trigger pull.

Chris – The firing cadence and rhythm of the BR are music to my ears. This one features a 2x zoom vs. the DMR’s 3x so I tend to utilize it more on smaller maps like Haven and Adrift, although it’s still effective on larger maps as well. It features a tad bit of recoil. This means you will need to realign your target (especially in a prolonged duel) but also has the added upside of being slightly easier to get a finishing headshot as you can focus more on the upper torso and land the headshot via recoil on the second or third bullet.

Vic – I love playing with the new BR in Halo 4. It feels and sounds oh-so-solid, and I didn’t have to re-learn how to use it, which made me happy. Much to my surprise, the custom skins for it are a nice addition. I didn’t think I’d like them since I lean towards a more purist approach when it comes to the UNSC weapons but after playing around with them, I think they are actually pretty sweet.

DESIGNATION: M395 Designated Marksman Rifle
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Premiere marksman rifle of the UNSC, offering impressive single-fire accuracy at reasonably long distances.

How it feels:

Frank – Laser precise, predictable, but with the associated slower rate of fire, I definitely prefer it in long-range encounters or purpose-specific “mini-snipe” conditions, like taking someone off a turret, for example. In my experience over mid-long range combat, I am invariably defeated when bringing BR to bear, but the closer those encounters are, the less likely it is to happen.

David – This might surprise some people, but based solely on pure lethality, I’d have to give the ever-so-slight edge to the DMR right now. As Frank mentioned, it’s incredibly precise and simplified with lower rate of fire than in Reach. Now the only info you need to juggle in your head when going toe-to-toe is the middle of the reticle as you line it up to dome your unfortunate foe. For my money, BR with groupshot is greater than DMR, but if you’re lone wolfing, DMR is the way to go.

Chris – This thing is absolutely ridiculous long-range. While it does feature a slight amount of bloom to balance it at extreme distances, for the majority of mid to long range encounters it doesn’t really come into play. The combination of the accuracy, headshot functionality and the improvements we have made to the aim assist system make this one of the best feeling guns in any Halo game IMO. One other thing worth mentioning on this one… I can’t get over how awesome this weapon sounds – it has an insanely meaty punch to each shot and gives me an adrenaline rush just firing it!

Joel – When compared to the BR, the DMR is better at long ranges and taking down shields, but is a little tougher to pull off that last headshot with. Also, it sounds like I’m firing a cannon with each shot from a DMR. SO MUCH POWER!

DESIGNATION: M6H Personal Defense Weapon System
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

UNSC’s personal sidearm of choice due to its excellence at close-range to mid-range engagements.

How it feels:

Frank – I only ever used this weapon historically in Halo: CE because it was a beast (or dual wielded it in Halo 2), and in SWAT because it let me spam in panicky corners. In Halo 4, I am still trying to figure out what to use it for. I seldom pack it as a loadout, but I am getting beaned by it consistently so I may experiment more.

David – The Magnum in Halo 4 is designated as a secondary weapon and as such it should be a just a little weaker than your primary options. With a faster rate of fire, it’s more deadly than the DMR close-range, but a twitchy trigger finger will limit its effectiveness at longer ranges.

Chris – The Halo 4 Magnum isn’t meant to compete with the big boys (DMR, BR, Carbine, LightRifle) so its role is a bit different than in the past. It definitely won’t compete with the Halo 1 Magnum (although, what weapon will?). It’s still lethal but best used as a backup (switch to a Magnum to finish someone vs. waiting for a long reload on your primary weapon) or to pair with a fully auto primary weapon like the AR or Storm Rifle (drop an enemy’s shields and then finish them with a single headshot). In the hands of a skilled player though, this thing can still be a beast as it’s one of the fastest firing guns in the game. The other big change I think players will notice is that we have drastically sped up animation times when using a pistol. So you will be able to switch to it quicker, pull off melees and grenade throws faster, etc. than you will with primary weapons.

Specialty UNSC Weapons:

DESIGNATION: M45D Tactical Shotgun
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Dominant close-quarters weapon specializing in boarding actions, breach maneuvers, and urban operations.

How it feels:

Frank – Definitely not as overpowered as it has been in the past, it’s a one-shot kill at point-blank range (usually) but I find it’s not quite as deadly as Reach’s in close quarter strafing encounters. I use a LOT of ammo trying to take folks down without risking swapping weapons, if that makes sense.

David – I’ve always been the kind of guy who loves to jump in the middle of a squad of enemies to see how many I can take out in my blaze of glory. As such, the Shotgun, if I might borrow a phrase, scratches that particular itch for me. With the aesthetic redesign, the Shotgun feels like a future bangstick designed with one purpose: to blow heads clean off their shoulders. Unlike Frank, I actually find this shotgun to be easier to use than the one in Reach, but when getting the jump on enemies, you better make that first shot count. Otherwise, you’ll be left wondering what could have been while waiting to respawn.

Chris – The new Shotgun model is SICK and definitely reads as a bit more futuristic than the previous versions. It actually has a lot longer range now, less damage falloff, and is quite a bit more powerful than say the Reach version overall, but some of that dialed up power is countered by the other changes in the game like Sprint by default, mobility-based Armor Abilities, and generally faster movement speeds. This is definitely one of my favorite ordnance weapons. I especially love finding one when I have the Speed Boost in MP.

DESIGNATION: M739 Light Machine Gun
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Squad automatic weapon used in protracted engagements where sustained or suppressive fire is required.

How it feels:

Frank – I LOVE the way it sounds and feels, but my mistake was approaching it as some kind of mega-powerful AR. It’s not. I still haven’t mastered when to use it, but have had good experience using it to finish players as I close on them, but the speed at which it goes through a clip means you have to make every shot count.

David – The SAW is, without a doubt, the most psychologically intimidating GUN in the game. It looks unlike any gun you’ve seen before in a Halo game, and packs a world champion-class punch when spraying molten projectiles at everything in your way. The SAW is also incredibly useful as a force modifier when encountering a vehicle on foot. A skilled SAW user will use every tool at his disposal to clear space while shredding surrounding vehicles. The comparison to the AR is apt, but whereas a skilled AR user (yes, they do exist) will use finesse to drop a foe, the SAW almost demands of you to unleash its fury by burning down enemies with overwhelming force. As Frank said, though, you do want to keep an eye out on the ammo count as before you know it you’ll be hearing that familiar “click, click, click” or impending death.

Chris – We are still dialing in the final range on this one so I think some of Frank’s opinions will change here. I absolutely love the “fireworks” show it puts on though when it fires a barrage of tracers at an unsuspecting opponent. This is one of the fastest firing fully auto guns in the game and fires faster than some of the mounted/vehicle machine guns even to put it into perspective. It features a slight bit of recoil and a lot of spread but makes up for it with sheer brute force and an enormous drum barrel magazine. This is definitely one of my favorite new weapons in the game.

Chris H. – This is my favorite weapon. It’s like the AR’s mean older brother, or a more mobile turret emplacement.

DESIGNATION: M363 Remote Projectile Detonator
MANUFACTURER: Acheron Security

Single-hand, short-range explosives launcher which can detonate remotely and at the operator’s discretion.

How it feels:

Frank – I love this thing. I love the fact that I can use it strategically or tactically, but it’s definitely a weapon that requires a lot of skill and planning. In reality that’s what it has in common with the Grenade Launcher, but it’s not a replacement. I think the same kind of players will use it though – that is to say folks who like to spend time mastering its nuance. The audio indicator means it’s not a foolproof trap you can set people up with, but when it works, it’s incredibly satisfying. VERY tough to stick people with directly, but fun when it happens.

David – Risk and reward. Such simple words, and the Sticky Detonator is that concept forged into an instrument of destruction. Against foot soldiers, it requires strategic thinking and lightning reflexes. Against vehicles, it’s more forgiving, thanks to the bigger target to place your shot. My personal favorite is initiating a game of on-foot chicken against a Ghost followed by a stick and side thrust, then calmly detonating as the Covenant vehicle moves a safe distance away. I don’t find myself getting surprised by players who attempt to use it as an area of denial weapon. But against the right enemy you can quickly find yourself carrying imminent death back to your teammates as you jog back for reinforcement.

Chris – I totally agree with everything Frank and David have mentioned here. This is a really satisfying gun to use! The other thing I love about it is that it really lends itself to creativity on the part of players. I have seen members of the team employ some hilariously awesome tactics with this thing like hiding the sticky detonator projectile inside of empty vehicles, in clever locations on a map like behind grenade pickups, sticking it to a vehicle and then driving said vehicle at enemies and hopping out and detonating it, etc.

Scott – I find there are three great uses for the Sticky Detonator: Blowing up whole squads of Covenant all at once, sticking a grenade to a Warthog (or, better yet, someone’s face – KABOOM!), and setting up secret Claymore-like placements of grenades in key areas of the map where you know there will be enemies coming by soon.

Bill – I love the Sticky Detonator because it’s fun to stick a few grenades on a Warthog and drive it around like a parade float with festive streamers trailing behind.

DESIGNATION: Asymmetric Recoilless Carbine-920
MANUFACTURER: Acheron Security

Powerful linear accelerator that fires explosive rounds at tremendous speed to efficiently eliminate targets.

How it feels:

Frank – The charge time is interesting. It charges quicker than a Spartan Laser (and is weaker, obviously) but is so quick that it’s hard to use on “planned” targets in the way the Splaser was – so you often feel like it goes off before you intended it to and before the target you intended to lead, falls into view. Satisfying for sure and a good backup when trying to take down a troublesome vehicle, but hardly a giant-killer.

David – First described to me as a junior Spartan Laser, the Railgun is anything but. The quicker charge times allow me to be a little more fast and free in engaging in 1v1 showdowns. I also find it more useful against vehicles in situations where, say, a Banshee gets a drop on me in the open. The lack of a zoom means you have to be careful at what range you’re attempting to engage others, but when you do, the feeling of satisfaction is fantastic.

Chris – This one has a bit of a learning curve on it because you have to master the quick charge time to be successful but man, once you get it down this is one of the most satisfying weapons to use in the game. It’s really good against vehicles and in tight corridor spaces. It also utilizes some splash damage so it’s great against bunches of enemies as well. Mechanically, it’s somewhat similar to a Spartan Laser – you charge it up and it fires, but unlike a Splaser, you have some control over it. What I mean is that it has an overcharge so you can’t hold it down forever but there is also a small window where you can release the trigger early to fire as well so you don’t have to time your charge absolutely perfectly as is the case with the Splaser. One other pro-tip: Try using this in conjunction with Promethean Vision!

Kynan – I like the Rail Gun since it’s basically a Sniper Rifle, Rocket Launcher, and Spartan Laser all wrapped into one. You charge it up to shoot a direct damage shot that explodes on impact. WIN!

Pierre – The Railgun is awesome! The combination of the charge and the one-shot kill makes this weapon the ultimate risk/reward weapon for me. Killing a guy as soon as he pokes his visor around a corner or getting mid-air Railgun kills have to be some of the most satisfying kills the game offers.

DESIGNATION: Weapon/Anti-Vehicle M6 Grindell/Galileian Nonlinear Rifle
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Formidable nonlinear coherent light rifle that is highly proficient at destroying vehicles over impressively long distances.

How it feels:

Frank – I haven’t used it enough to really say how I feel about it. Definitely just as challenging to use as before, but to me it feels less powerful, so you probably still have to control it to deal with big team vehicle maps where it shows up, but it won’t simply stop transit across those maps the way it used to. Also can’t “fan” it like I did in Halo 3.

David – Currently, I’d put the Laser just below Halo 3’s “red dot of death” and slightly above the Halo: Reach variant. It seems to have slightly less aim assist than Halo 3, but still packs a mean punch when you connect. In matchmaking, you will primarily see this as an occasional ordnance drop on maps and modes designed for BTB.

Chris – Those are pretty accurate assessments. Still tears apart vehicles and still can be lethal against guys on foot when in the hands of a skilled player.

Christopher – This is my favorite UNSC weapon. The sheer joy in blowing up that pesky Ghost who was harassing your team, or taking out that Wraith who keeps taking out your team’s vehicles is just great.

DESIGNATION: M41 SSR Medium Anti-Vehicle/Assault Weapon
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Devastating from close-range to mid-range, capable of tracking airborne vehicles after locking onto them.

How it feels:

Frank – It’s definitely got its own flavor in Halo 4 but to me, it’s still the trusty Rocket Launcher. Feels tuned to be a bit more predictable for your opponents, but still does what you intend it to do in terms of direct hits and splash damage.

David – If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I love any advantage I can use, and the Rocket Launcher is the ultimate advantage for me. It’s big, it fires rockets. What’s not to love?

Chris – Functionally, it’s similar to past versions. The big differences from past versions are that the projectile speed has been upped a hair to help compensate for the overall faster pace of our game and the splash damage is a bit larger.

DESIGNATION: Sniper Rifle System 99-Series 5 Anti-Materiel
MANUFACTURER: Misriah Armory

Considered the UNSC’s best long-range rifle, boasting formidable stopping power and unparalleled accuracy.

How it feels:

Frank – Sits for me, right between Reach and Halo 2 in terms of ease of use. I basically couldn’t snipe at all in Halo 3, other than swipe-sniping, so this is a great feeling weapon for my campy style, but I am frequently defeated by DMR players if I get spotted quickly enough.

David – I have to be honest, I still haven’t been able to get the hang of this version of the Sniper Rifle, but, if I’m being honest, I never really got the hang of any previous iteration either. The new sound of the gunblast as the bullet breaks the sound barrier is incredibly rewarding, but pinpoint aiming is necessary for dispatching folks at extreme distances.

Chris – The UNSC Sniper Rifle feels really, REALLY powerful this time around. I went back and tried the Halo 3 and Reach Sniper rifles a few weeks back and was surprised how much more visceral ours felt. I think the big changes causing this are the new sound FX and the firing recoil (resets back to center after each shot). The recoil makes it a bit harder to line up again between shots but we have adjusted the accuracy and aim assist to help compensate. Overall, I find that I can be more successful with our Sniper Rifle than I could with the Halo 3 or Reach ones so it’s probably a tad bit easier to use.

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