Published on December 1st, 2012 | by Tyler Lee13
Halo 4: A Beginner’s Guide
Jumping straight into the Halo story with Halo 4 may seem daunting to some, but it actually isn’t a bad starting point for those ready to begin their adventure with Master Chief and Cortana. Everyone needs a little help, though, so I thought this beginners guide could help give newbies some insight and helpful tips when diving headfirst into Halo 4. This guide will help give a better grasp of the story thus far, and provide a few gameplay tips for those not familiar with how Halo plays.
At the start of Halo 4, it goes without saying that if you haven’t played any of the previous installments, then you will probably be wondering what is going on. Master Chief wakes up in cryo sleep with Cortana urging him to action with some heavy stuff going down. Luckily, after Master Chief wakes up and you take control, you can head down the first stairwell in the next room and find a very useful terminal that will break down the basic story of the first Halo, Halo 2, and Halo 3. Pay attention and everything begins to make since.
Halo 4’s own story takes place four years after Halo 3 leaves off after Chief and Cortana set off one of the Halo Arrays, an ancient and massive device designed to wipeout all sentient life to starve The Flood, an old enemy from previous games. They escaped the destructive blast by boarding the UNFC frigate Forward Unto Dawn and are now adrift in the damaged ship somewhere in space. Cortana wakes Chief from cryo sleep and crash lands on the planet Requiem. Now Master Chief must blast his way through, not only the familiar Covenant forces, but a new enemy, the Didact and his Promethean army. Add the fact that Cortana’s AI mind is deteriorating at a rapid pace, and Master Chief and his AI companion have a lot on their plate.
Now that you’re all caught up on the story, or at least have a general idea of what’s going on, it’s time to get down to what makes the Halo series so much fun: the gameplay. Something very important to remember about the Halo series, especially Halo 4, is that this is not a game where you can just run in and start blasting things away without thinking, which brings me to my first tip; think before you run in, guns a blazin’. It is very easy to get surrounded, flanked, or just plain overrun with enemies in Halo 4, so running towards the enemy Rambo style will probably get you killed. Stay back and pick them off one by one so as not to get surrounded.
Weapon choice is also crucial. The right weapon for the right job is always a big help. It can make things go a lot smoother. Your best bet would be to, if possible, choose a mid to long range weapon, such as the Battle Rifle, DMR, Sniper Rifle, or even the Covenant Carbine to take out your enemies before you have to get too close. The less enemies you have to worry about when you get close, the better.
However, firearms aren’t your only friends. Grenades have a tendency to come in handy as well. Most enemies will flee from them, so they are great for forcing the baddies out of cover and into the line of fire. The go to grenade for Halo 4, and all subsequent Halo games, is still the Plasma Grenade. Learn to stick ‘em, newbies. The Plasma Grenade will stick to any enemy hit with it, guaranteeing some high damage if you can aim it just right. The new Pulse Grenade is a nice tool as well. While not as effective as clinging to your doomed foe, this baby creates a small field that damages shields, slows vehicles, and deals some serious damage. Again, this is great for forcing enemies out of hiding, but also great for hurting charging foes.
Now, whether you have played Halo before or not, you probably know that the series has more than a few great weapons, and taking your dead enemies’ weapons is always a first reaction, especially to new gamers. However, in the beginning, it is probably best to keep hold of your Assault Rifle. It might be standard and a starter weapon, but it still deals good damage and has a great rate of fire. Most weapons in the beginning won’t do you as much good, nor have as much ammo, at least until you find a Covenant Storm Rifle. The Storm Rifle deals much more damage. However, it also has limited ammo that cannot be refilled, so keeping your Assault Rifle as back up is probably your best bet.
After you’ve logged some hours with Master Chief and Cortana, you will encounter the Prometheans. More importantly, you will encounter their weapons. This is the time to drop what you have and replace them with these treasures. The Promethean weapons are some of the best in the game. They pack more of a punch, and when you are being swarmed by a squad of Prometheans, you’re guaranteed some ammo. The Supressor is an excellent fully automatic, close to mid range weapon, the Lightrifle is great for sniping from mid to long range, and the Incineration Cannon….well, the name speaks for itself. If you already have a pistol, don’t swap it for the Boltshot, though. The pistol has a zoom feature and has a decent rate of fire. It isn’t the best weapon, but if it comes down to the Promethean Boltshot and the UNSC Pistol, keep the pistol.
Finally, just a side note: make good use of your melee attack. It may not be a gun, and it may be dangerous to get in close, but your melee does a lot of damage and is well worth the risk, especially when you’ve just taken out an Elite’s shield or a Knight has just lunged at you.
You will find no shortage of monsters wanting nothing more than your head on a stake in Halo 4. Some, such as the basic Grunts, aren’t much of a bother if you tend to them when needed. However, most of Halo 4’s enemies are very unique and have their own special way of annoying you and killing you, most of the time simultaneously.
Elites will primarily be what you will want to be wary of until the Prometheans make their appearance. Elites are big and bad and usually have firepower and shields to match. They can take a lot of damage, as well as deal it if you try to get close. Get in close and don’t kill them quickly, and their brute strength can deal massive damage with just one shot. If they have a beam sword, then you probably won’t survive a close encounter.
Jackles are another pesky enemy that you’ll need to contend with. Luckily, they are more annoying than fearsome. The ones with the energy shields are no trouble if you aim for the notch in the shield. This opens them up for some nice bullet riddling. The snipers, on the other hand, are just annoying. Armed with Beam Rifles (powerful sniper rifles of the Covenant), they will normally kill you in one to two shots before you can spot them. Be cautious and look for them before you go out in the open.
The last Covenant enemy you’ll need to really worry about are the Hunters. The Hunters are really big and really powerful. They….well…they will kill you very quickly. Keep your distance, shoot them in the back, and use explosives if you can. The best strategy, albeit a bit dangerous, is to get close enough to stick them with a Plasma Grenade. A couple of those and they won’t be so tough. Be careful though, as Hunters pack quite a punch.
The Prometheans play the main group of antagonists in Halo 4, and for good reason. Your best strategy is to keep your distance from the Prometheans. These new enemies are much stronger, much meaner, and much more resilient than the covenant you will face for the first hour or so. Keep your distance and keep firing.
The Crawlers come fast, come in herds and can swarm and maul if not kept thinned. Keep a look out and keep killing them or you’ll be overrun and quickly.
The Knights are basically stronger, faster, and smarter Covenant Elites with better firepower. Keep your distance, keep shooting, find cover when you can, and when possible, go in for a well placed melee attack.
Finally, the Watchers. The Watchers are the most annoying, most irritating enemies in Halo 4. They should rank at the top of your list of things to kill right next to Joffrey Barathean and Dolores Umbridge. They can shoot you, but that isn’t their most damaging weapon. What makes them so deadly, so annoying, and have such a need to be killed is the fact that they can shield and resurrect enemies and bring Promethean turrets online. Kill them quickly and put them out of your misery.
There you have it. You should be ready to survive whatever comes your way, give or take a few deaths along the way. Remember that these are just tips. There are plenty of weapons and enemies in Halo 4 for everyone to find their own play style. Experiment, try different things, and find something that suits you.