Halo 1’s Unique Success at the 2 Weapon Limit

Where do you think Halo 1 succeeds with the two weapon limit system where Bioshock Infinite and other games fail?

Actually, I think Halo 2 fails at the 2 weapon system for similar reasons to other games, which I’ll discuss in that review (which is mostly done, I just want to comment on each level a bit).

Overall, I think if you limit a game to 2 weapons at a time, then it creates a situation where you can’t have a wide weapon diversity, and all weapons need to be good at all ranges, with more situational weapons only vended out for specific sections (like that one sniper section in BS:I where you have a barrel with a sniper rifle in it right before like 3 snipers).

A lot of people like to tout that 2 weapon systems force you to think about your choices more, but I’ve never found that to be the case. I’ve always found in 2 weapon games that I trade up based on the sorting order from worst to best gun. The best gun is typically the best machine gun. Since the assault rifle in Halo is trash, that’s obviously not the case.

Halo succeeds at the 2 weapon system because it has enemy variety that respond differently to different weapons and a well balanced ammo economy, with regular periods of scarcity. Normal 2 weapon shooters have no sense of an ammo economy and vend ammo for nearly any weapon all the time. They basically drop random guns. Regular shooters don’t have differing enemy types that take more damage from certain types of weapons, or have specific weapons that counter them through their effective ranges and projectile properties. In Halo, you’re constantly switching weapons, and there’s a small pool of weapons that are very different from one another in terms of their effective range, their type effectiveness against specific enemies, and their ammo behaviors. You have a consistent idea of what enemies you’ll probably face ahead, different mixtures of enemies demand different weapons, and you need to alter your tactics for when you inevitably get caught with the wrong combo of weapons.

BS:I doesn’t really do this, some weapons are clearly better than others, and you have absolutely no reason to use the worse weapons. There isn’t a strong aspect of situationality either.

I think in shooters that don’t regulate their ammo economy very tightly, you need at least 3 weapons before you can afford more weapon diversity, so it can be guaranteed that the player always has a slot for the generic mid-range machinegun weapon that is good in the majority of encounters, then specialized weapons on top of that. Otherwise you end up needing to build an arsenal with a ton of similar mid-range weapons, because players will pass up the more specialized ones, because they aren’t forced to pick them up by the ammo economy or by the situation demanding it. Vanquish is an example of a game that does 3 weapons well (by having 3 machine guns to weigh out the more specialized LFE, lock-on laser, and shotgun, among others).

Halo 1’s schema is really unique + delicate and normally wouldn’t work and there’s still better weapon diversity out there.

What do you think about games that only let the player use a select few pieces of equipment at a time (ie DMC3 Dante) compared to those letting the player use their whole arsenal at once?

Being forced to make a selection of which moves you can use means building a playstyle that is subject to having weaknesses, which can make later encounters more uniquely strategic than if you had the purely correct answer to those encounters. I praised Halo 1 for doing this with its 2 weapon system and ammo scarcity constantly forcing you to switch weapons.

Is it the best idea for DMC3? Maybe not, given the weapon and style switcher mods. People clearly want as many options as possible at a single time for that particular game (and style of game). That and many options in DMC aren’t totally oriented around situationality. The game is designed so you can beat it with any weapon, and so you don’t suffer a particular disadvantage for choosing any weapon. Some weapons have utilities others don’t, like double jump and stinger moves, but most don’t lack that type of utility in other departments.

On the other hand, the control scheme to use the weapon/style switcher is kinda crazy and limiting how many weapons you can use at once can keep that type of thing more manageable.

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