Halo 4 brings back the Armor Abilities from Halo Reach with a ton of modifications. They're an important part of any Spartan's loadout and it's a good idea to know the pros and cons of each ahead of time. Now that your equipment must be purchased with Spartan Points (which require some time leveling up) you don't want to get stuck with something that doesn't fit your play style.
Overall, the new list of Armor Abilities are less powerful than what was offered in Reach, but they can still offer game-changing benefits when used properly. This guide will break down the pros and cons of each while offering up some of the best scenarios to use them in.
THRUSTER PACKThe Thruster Pack is Halo 4's take on the Evade ability from Reach. It offers up a short dash in whatever direction you're moving when you activate it. Unlike Evade which allowed you to cover a great distance, the Thruster Pack is more of a subtle sidestep. Its applications are therefore less obvious, but in the right hands it can save your life.
- In a one-on-one battle that you're losing, the Thruster Pack is great for slipping behind some cover and recovering. Sometimes the difference between a headshot and a narrow escape can be a tiny dash behind cover and this is where the Thruster Pack excels.
- If you're packing a shotgun, the Thruster Pack can be a good way to close the gap and finish an enemy quick. The dash may seem minor, but if you align it right and time your shot your opponent won't know what hit them.
- The most obvious use for the Thruster Pack is to dash away from incoming grenades. Watch your grenade indicator and dash in the other direction for a quicker escape than you could ever hope for otherwise.
- One of the Thruster Pack's major strengths is its ability to put typical Halo battles in your own terms. From example, a close-range Plasma grenade stick is usually mutually assured destruction, but with a Thruster Pack you can stick and dash away to survive another day.
- When you use the Thruster Pack the game pops into a third-person view for reasons I don't fully understand. I guess it's so you can see how cool the little rockets on your back look, but it quickly starts to feel unnecessary and disorienting. Working around this handicap is the key to making this Armor Ability worthwhile.
PROMETHEAN VISIONPromethean Vision basically allows you to see enemies through walls. If they're in range they light up red whether they're sprinting around or crouching. Activating it creates a sonar-like wave from your view that flows out and identifies any enemies it passes over.
- Many players rely on camping spots and crouch-walking to get the drop on their opponents. If you've been on the receiving end of this treatment one too many times then this is the Armor Ability for you. Now you'll be able to chase out those clowns without them knowing what happened.
- Sometimes, a particularly squirrely player-like those using my Thruster Pack tips above-duck behind cover and live to kill you another day. With Promethean Vision you can track their escape and keep them from ever getting away.
- Promethean Vision doesn't last long, but its benefits are worth buffing up. Use the Tactical Package AA Efficiency to increase the rate that Promethean Vision recharges.
- The most obvious negative with Promethean Vision is the sudden and disorienting change in view. The world turns blue, your enemies turn red, and it can definitely play with your ability to assess the area around you.
- Another negative is also a positive for anyone fighting against Promethean Vision. The wave that identifies your enemies shows up on enemy radar, allowing them to know that you can see them, even through walls.
HOLOGRAMThe Hologram is a decoy that clever players can use to fool their opponents and take the advantage in firefights. You may remember it from Halo Reach, and it returns to Halo 4 largely unchanged.
- The best thing I can say about the Hologram is that after all this time it still manages to fool other players. This is a pretty big deal, because you'd think everyone would have learned by now!
- There are few wrong ways to use the Hologram. The only rule is to make sure no one sees you send it out. From there it's either going to fool your opponents or not. So have fun!
- That said, there are some circumstances that are perfect for fooling people. Send your Hologram at objectives or high traffic areas and most players won't even think twice about firing at it.
- For extra laughs, aim the Hologram at the heads of enemy corpses and they'll automatically teabag. Not only is this hilarious, but extra embarrassing for anyone that falls for it.
- Not everyone falls for it.
AUTOSENTRYThe Autosentry is easily my personal favorite of all the Armor Abilities. It takes a little planning ahead to use correctly, but not only can the Autosentry give you a quick advantage in a fight, it can kill enemies for you!
- Place down an Autosentry and it will fire at any opponents within view and range. All it takes is one hit and you'll suddenly have an advantage over your enemy you wouldn't have normally.
- As long as you place it in a good spot, this little bot can see a pretty good distance. It isn't exactly a sniper, but it will often fire at enemies before you even know they're there, allowing you to triangulate where they are and finish them off.
- While this is mainly a multiplayer guide, use the Autosentry in Legendary difficulty and it will make even playing solo significantly easier. It's the little co-op buddy you always wished you had.
- It takes a moment to release the Autosentry. In that moment, anyone who sees you will probably kill you. Basically, if you're tapping LB in the middle of a gun battle you may as well be hitting a forfeit button on your life. Plan ahead with the Autosentry and you'll have one of the best Halo 4 Armor Abilities at your disposal.
HARDLIGHT SHIELDThe Hardlight Shield is a quick activating riot shield that protects your front side and deflects incoming bullets. It's also a great way to get yourself killed or mildly delay your death. In fact, I'd go as far to say that the Hardlight Shield is some kind of sick joke 343 added to the game for anyone who misses Armor Lock.
- There aren't many. In a long range battle you can get away and recharge your shields. With a wingman you can potentially be a distraction and absorb some bullets while your buddy cleans up. You can use it quite often and it deflects bullets, but at the end of the day the Hardlight Shield is defined by its...
- You are simply prolonging your inevitable death in almost all circumstances. Put up the shield and your enemy simply has to wait for it to fade away or shoot you from one of the many exposed areas of your body. They can toss grenades your way and you'll still take damage pretty much no matter what. Even if you wait for them to reload there's enough of a delay after you drop the shield that you aren't gaining a big advantage.
JET PACKThe Jet Pack is a fun way to blast around and attain greater heights than you normally could. Think of it as the vertical version of the Thruster Pack.
- There are parts of most maps in Halo 4 that you simply can't reach without the Jet Pack. There are other parts that require a bunch of running around without it. The bottom line is that it's an amazing way to get around and attack from spots most players won't expect.
- One of the more disorienting ways to attack players is to fly above their head and attack. Not only is it kind of rare to fight enemies above you, but you'll have a nice view of their head for better headshots!
- The heights you could attain with the Jet Pack in Halo Reach aren't as impressive in Halo 4. It simply doesn't have as much gas. A lot of the map design plays into this, creating heights that even a skilled Jet Pack user can't skip up to.
ACTIVE CAMOUFLAGEA certain type of player simply loves the stealth sniper assassin potential of Active Camouflage. I'm not that type of player, but I'll try to give you a few pointers all the same. Basically, you get an invisibility cloak that keeps you hidden as long as you don't shoot or move too quickly.
- Active Camo is an extremely sniper-friendly ability. If you're the type of player that likes to perch up somewhere and survey the land, Camo allows you to do this without anyone knowing. Snipe away and your next victim most likely won't even know where you shot from.
- One of the beneficial additions to Camo in Halo 4 is how it shows up on the motion tracker. In Reach it appeared as a sea of red dots. In Halo 4, however, it appears as a swarm of friendly targets. A smart player can still use this to pinpoint your location, but it's a lot less attention-grabbing than a motion tracker covered in red.
- Crouching is one way to ensure you stay completely invisible while using Camo. You'll want to learn how to walk with it, though. It takes more skill, but walking allows you to remain invisible but move faster than crouching.
- This is one Armor Ability that's so specialized that a lot of players simply avoid it entirely. It takes a certain kind of player to appreciate it, but those that do will have some cool advantages.
REGENERATION FIELDIt's a big green bubble that heals anyone who steps into it! Pretty straightforward, right? Well, with this one it's all about smart placement and applying it in the right circumstances. Screw up and the benefits can backfire in your face.
- Well-placed Regeneration Fields can sway a battle. In objective gametypes like Oddball, CTF, and Dominion, groups can use it to win over some territory or protect an objective-carrying teammate. When fighting for bases in Dominion, the team using a Regen Field is almost destined to take the base in the end.
- What heals you can also heal your enemies. Lose your ground and you may find yourself dying to a fully-healed enemy that survived because you saved him. How embarrassing is that?
- Also, it's worth noting that the Regen Field makes a horrible sound while you're inside of it. It may heal your Spartan but it's hell on your ears.
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