If you’ve been following Halo 4 news around the internet you’ve undoubtedly come across some of the myriad of videos put out by 343 Industries showcasing their unique approach to the Halo universe in a quest to develop the next in a series of well regarded shooters. If you’ve been doubting whether 343 is capable of pulling it all off just watch one of those videos and you’ll probably change your mind. Last week we talked about the resurgence of the Forerunners and what that means for Master Chief during the story portion of Halo 4. This week we have a nearly complete look at the Covenant, UNSC and Forerunner weapons you’ll be able to use during the various gameplay modes.
The weapons of Halo 4 include some you will be acutely familiar with but also a few that are brand spanking new to even the most seasoned of Halo players. Between the three sides (Covenant, Forerunner, and UNSC) they are much more balanced now with rocket launchers, short range SMG type weapons and sniper rifles available to all three factions. This is a far cry from the weapon assortment in Halo: Combat Evolved as the total collection of weapons was split unevenly between the two.
The Covenant are a collection of different species brought together under the leadership of a single banner with conquest and control as their goal. For the UNSC this presents a significant threat as the only species around who will stand up against their invasion. The Covenant are very well equipped though as they’ve assimilated a lot of technology on their trek across the galaxy. The Covenant also carry the infamous Plasma Grenade which sticks to its targets and can detonate other explosive rounds.
This automatic rifle is good at both medium range and heavy burst damage. It is the answer to the UNSC Assault Rifle and it serves its purpose quite well. The weapon has a significant reload time but when it is properly supplied it can deal a massive amount of damage before needing another clip. The is the more agile and quicker version of the Covenant Carbine.
This semi-automatic rifle is good at both medium and long range. It has a secondary zoom functionality which will allow your projectiles to close the distance between you and your target with more accuracy. With skill this can be a very deadly weapon at medium range taking less time and fewer rounds to kill a target than the Assault Rifle class.
Fuel Rod Cannon
The Covenant equivalent to the UNSC rocket launcher the Fuel Rod Cannon does pretty much what it sounds like it does. Load up a fuel rod, point it a the thing you want dead or melted and click the death button. Effective at longer ranges once you’re in close to your target its fire rate makes it prohibitive to aim accurately. Then again when you’re firing a massive bolt of energy the size of a football do you really need accuracy? You can let loose a significant number of rounds in just a few seconds though so don’t think you’ve got the upperhand on someone wielding this beast after they’ve only fired a single shot.
Strictly a medium ranged weapon the tried and true Needler always finds you even when you’re hiding around a corner or flying through the air. It’s rounds are very familiar to the seasoned Halo player as they stick to the target and then burn into their armor. If you get enough of the quills tagged onto a single target the result can be explosive. The Needler has always been my favorite Covenant weapon and 343 has managed to keep it familiar to me in Halo 4.
The Plasma Pistol is similar to the UNSC pistol in many ways but swaps out the increased accuracy of its counterpart for a massive charged shot that can bring almost any shielded to a halt. When in doubt always have a Plasma pistol on your side, for such a small weapon it packs a quick and deadly punch.
The UNSC was developed to protect the colonies of the collective Human race and as such harkens back to an era where we once warred even with our own kind. As a player of video games you’ll be familiar with the standard pistol, assault rifle and sniper rifle but along the way even the “Old Dog” UNSC can learn some new tricks. The UNSC forces are also provided the basic Fragmentation Grenade as an explosive tool.
This is the mainstay of the entire UNSC armed forces. A highly versatile weapon the Assault rifle can be used at short and medium range to great effectiveness. Once you get close to your enemy it can be turned into a bludgeoning instrument so don’t mistake an empty clip as an invitation for a hug. The Assault Rifle has been favored as a great cleanup weapon due in part to its ability to spit out a large number of rounds very quickly, not very accurate it is still able to finish up most jobs.
One of my favorite weapons in the game the Magnum was used as a mini sniper rifle in many previous Halo games due to it’s secondary firing feature which allowed it to zoom in on your foes. The damage this pistol can do when aimed at a head is matched only by some of its more heavy counterparts. This is a great all purpose UNSC favorite and it is a good partner to almost any other weapon in the game.
This is a semi-automatic tactical variant of the Assault Rifle and as such offers a three round burst and limited scoping ability. The Battle Rifle is a good companion to the UNSC Shotgun and Rocket Launcher offering an alternate weapon with high accuracy that you can switch out to in an emergency.
Think of this as the short-range sniper rifle. Single-shot, medium/long range, no burst, and it includes a scope. The 15 round clip means your damage output if you’re accurate can be massive at medium range. It is much quicker than the UNSC Sniper Rifle too, you can expend your 15 round mag pretty quickly.
The ubiquitous Rocket Launcher has been the bane of many a Halo player. The explosive round travels fairly quickly and if aimed properly can kill you with a single hit.
A utilitarian weapon if there ever was one the shotgun is the master of the short range. Even at medium short range in the right hands it is unmatched. This will be the weapon of choice in close quarters areas on certain maps.
The Sniper Rifle will end you before you even know where you’re being fired upon from. The death comes quickly and usually it is with 100% accuracy. If you manage to dodge the Sniper Rifle or the shooter is a particularly bad marksmen then you will see a trail leading back to the rifle barrel giving you a point of reference to aim your next few shots. As the shooter you better be accurate. As the target you’re either dead or you’ve got a nice guideline to put the troublesome shooter down.
Do you ever find yourself needing to lob C4 around like it was a spit ball? The Sticky Detonator switches out standard rounds for remotely detonated high explosives. If you can land a couple of these on a player or vehicle it’s lights out for good. This is a messy weapon and if you’re caught out in the open with just this by your side you may be at a disadvantage.
A fully automatic answer to the Battle Rifle this puppy spits out the largest number of rounds per second of all the Halo 4 weapons. Not the most accurate tool in the shed it still can do a significant amount of damage in a pinch. Medium and short ranged only, at longer ranges it is utterly ineffective.
The end all of UNSC weapons the Spartan Laser is a poor man’s orbital strike that offers the focused power of the sun in the form of a projectile weapon. You have a second before the weapon fires to aim the deadly beam, anyone unlucky enough to feel even a fraction of its warmth is likely to regret it...or not.
Similar to the Spartan Laser the UNSC Railgun fires a single magnetically accelerated high density round at a multiple of the speed of sound. Single shot, but quite an effective individual round.
The Forerunner weaponry like their armor forms from many pieces into a shell around the user and is held in place via some sort of magnetic or gravitational support system. The binding method allows the weapon to literally form to the user when they pick it up but it still maintains the definition between individual pieces. The weapons featured so far are energy based and sport a yellow energy field that differentiates their weapons from the Covenant. Advanced ground based units also carry Pulse Grenades that slow and damage enemies in a different fashion than other grenades in the game.
The Forerunner shotgun is very effective. With the power behind it it’s a wonder your enemies aren’t atomized when you fire it in their general direction. Primary firing gives you a standard shotgun effect.
The answer to the Assault Rifles of the Covenant and UNSC the Suppressor Rifle fires rapid shots of white-hot energy that deal medium amounts of damage with varied accuracy. Intended as a medium ranged weapon this will fill in the clean-up role for Forerunner weapons.
The development team at 343 have been quoted as saying the Forerunner Light Rifle behaves like a combination of the UNSC DMR and the UNSC Battle Rifle. You can use the Light Rifle by firing it from the hilt like an assault rifle but also scoped for accuracy like the DMR.
Heavy Weapons for everyone! Even the Forerunner’s thought of giving heavy weapons to their troops so they blessed them with the Incineration Cannon. Little information is available on this variant but it’s assumed that the cannon fires a round of energy bolts that do massive splash damage.
Connect two points of energy and force one to annihilate the other with a laser that focuses all it’s energy into a single atom destroying the target using the energy of a tiny nuclear meltdown. The Binary Rifle acts as though it works on the atomic level in most demos and footage seen of Halo 4. It is a very technically advanced sniper rifle that has been rumored to be “one shot - one kill” in its effectiveness.
Featured in the most recent video showcasing the Forerunner’s return the Bolt pistol has two firing modes. The first mode functions like any pistol and looks very much like a UNSC magnum that fires yellow plasma rounds. The secondary mode functions more like a single-handed shotgun and unloads nearly its entire clip at once.
After stacking all the weapons for each side up it becomes apparent that Covenant weapons favor a medium distance between you and your target while UNSC weapons favor a longer ranging, but have a couple deadly short range tools. The Forerunners assortment of “tools” give them an advantage at all distances. During the single player campaign you may be limited to only using certain weapons you will encounter and those will even include scavenged Forerunner equipment you’ll loot off of enemies so you can’t be too picky. Pick up what works for you and point it at the bad guys.
In the multiplayer arena matches, for which Halo is most well known, you may want to be more tactful in your weapon choices. Pick short range weapons like the Shotgun or Scattershot when in confined spaces. The Battle Rifle, Light Rifle, and Storm Rifle will fill the inbetween areas providing cover support and quick accuracy. Each race also has it’s prefered clean-up weapons in the form of the Suppressor, Assault Rifle, and Carbine.
Halo 4 is shaping up to be a massive multiplayer monster featuring a swarm of weapons for you to choose from. Picking the best weapons to slay your friends and enemies with will be a challenge for sure. During the story mode you’ll come across each weapon in its own time and as such you’ll likely be provided with logical counterparts to suppress them. Halo 4 has a lot of “BOOM!” to pass around that’s for sure.