I'm back on the Halo Wagon. 343 Industries released the tokusatsu themed TROOPER armour for Halo 2 Anniversary, and anyone who knows me knows that I want my grubby weeb hands all over them. But before I can make my dream Kamen Rider and start gunning people down to RealxEyez I first need to earn enough Spartan Points to buy the damn things.
Having finished all the campaign challenges I could, I decided to open Matchmaking and complete some PvP challenges where I promptly got loaded into a game of Halo: Reach. Great! I thought, Reach is my favourite multiplayer game, it's got a nice look, a nice sandbox, some really creative levels. I was enthusiastic, right up until I saw the gametype in the bottom right corner: SWAT.
Reader, if you hadn't already guessed from the title SWAT is my least favourite gametype in all of Halo MCC. Now you're probably thinking "well it sounds like you're just bad at SWAT". Of course, I'm bad at SWAT, if I was good at SWAT I wouldn't be calling it the worst game modem would I? But it's also worth mentioning that I'm bad at Juggernaut, Team Slayer, Grifball, Sniper Slayer, Assault, Infinity Slayer, Oddball, and regular Slayer.
SWAT annoys me not because I'm bad at it. My absolutely abysmall ability to play Halo doesn't detract from how much I enjoy other gametypes. SWAT just feels lazy to me. It takes a lot of what makes Halo unique and strips it down to something that feels like the most generic FPS ever.
Halo has a really nice weapon sandbox, well thought out, usually pretty well balanced. But in SWAT we start with a DMR and a pistol (Battle Rifle in Halo 4) and can't pick anything else. While a few variations of SWAT let you pick up other weapons and equipment, I've not been lucky enough to play one of those yet. Nothing wrong with the DMR of course, but when neither team can really adapt or grab anything other than the weapons they start with, which makes the game feel, to me at least, duller and more repetetive.
Focusing on precision mid-long range weapons, most of the fighting takes place at range, which I suppose is why the motion tracker is disabled? Partly to reward players who are able to close that distance and flank. But to me it feels ... odd. I like the motion tracker, it's one of the things that made Halo unique when it first released in 2001! You're able to see allies and enemies from a distance and know where they are. It feels frustrating to be assassinated by someone I didn't see coming, when in most other gametypes I can at least put up a bit of resistance.
Another unique element of Halo removed from SWAT is your energy shield. Something that gives you a good deal more surviability than you'd expect, aparrt from headshots and assassinations your energy shield going down gives you a bit of time to recover if an unseen opponent fires a shot or surprises you. A 150% damage reduction saves me from getting one-shotted most of the time, but seeing my health drop so much while I hide makes me feel more like I'm hiding than regaining my strength.
In short, I don't like SWAT because it takes a lot of the elements of Halo I love and just gets rid of them. But that's just my opinion, do you feel differently? Do you like SWAT? Or are you going to leave it off your Matchmaking options, like me?