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Shield and Sword - Armor Augmentations
Posted By: Leviathan <>Date: 6/1/12 11:40 p.m.

The Menus of Halo 4

Mission 1: The Howling Dark

Mission 2: Shield World

Mission 3: The Broken Chord


I was always going to speculate and design some ideas for the armor augmentations (abilities) I've mentioned in Shield and Sword but it kept falling through the cracks, so I thought I'd get in here and present some of those ideas, before E3 smashes down on the speculation wheel. :)

Halo 4 seems to be having something similar to Reach already in regards to armor abilities, but Shield and Sword continues to be more of a 'what if?' than a 'what's going to be'. So if not in H4, maybe the next? Or maybe just in my head - which is fun too.

Armor Augmentations

As John slept, Cortana hibernated as well. She shut down much of her brain to reduce rampancy risks in such an isolated system, and conserve energy from the slowly-failing power plant onboard Forward Unto Dawn.

But another solution to rampancy is to keep oneself busy. And so Cortana left the remaining active threads of her brain a very important job.

Besides optimizing weapons and upgrading vehicles (including adding AI-controlled modules on some of them to assist weapon-firing and driving when the Master Chief required it), Cortana set about bringing the Chief’s armor up to speed. Besides reinforcing the armor-plating and upping efficiency in all of its various internal systems, she also wanted to augment the armor with additional functionality.

I'd really love to strut my stuff in a beat-up, nuts-and-bolts MJOLNIR someday...

Much of her work was based on UNSC prototypes, some of which were used on Reach and Earth in the last year of the war. But the resources of the Forward Unto Dawn were scarce and much of her designs had to be repurposed or built from scratch. It took time, even for an A.I. such as herself, and much trial and error to create such useful and powerful toys out of the seemingly empty frigate ruins.

As she worked, Cortana would awaken Johns at regular intervals throughout the years of drifting to begin testing and implementing these designs, at least that is until the Forward Unto Dawn arrived at the anomaly – the Forerunner Planet – and the last of her designs had to be hastily integrated or abandoned entirely.

These are the tools at the Master Chief’s disposal, arranged in a logical order stemming outwards from the default augmentation.

HUD concept

Pressing the D-Pad up once would bring you to the Boost ability, for example, and pressing it twice would bring you to the Jetpack augment. Once primed, you activate the augment with the right bumper just like in Reach.

Most of the augmentations are evolutions of the equipment and armor abilities found in the past and so are somewhat self-explanatory, the exceptions being Boost, Overshield, and Jamming.

Boost is a short but powerful burst from your jetpack thrusters – but instead of directing you upwards, they direct you forwards upon the ground at a high speed, wherever direction you are currently walking towards - not facing. Effectively, it does much the same as Reach’s Evade ability by either taking you out of harm’s way or into it. But this time it’s much faster and far more intense, and timed right with the melee button, you can reenact a ‘sword lunge’ with any weapon (which will be a little more remarkable as automatic lunges would not be found in this game). Also it leaves a small trail of fire behind you!

Overshield is now a sort of synthesis of the various Bubble Shields and Overshields of the past, as well as a hint of Armor Lock. When activated, Chief locks into a standing position (seen below) and outwardly projects his armor’s energy shield for a ten foot radius around him (like a Bubble Shield). The Chief cannot move and is extremely vulnerable within the bubble-shield. But besides looking cool, the shield now has triple the strength and can protect friendly A.I. or other players.

Jamming now jams radar and VISR, as well as slightly distorting your normal HUD for a brief moment, giving you a cue that the augmentation is being used.

John begins the campaign with ALL armor augmentations at his disposal. One of the reasons this won’t be overpowering at first is because the different powers are just simply not that helpful until the sandbox opens up around him throughout the game.

For example, Overshield isn’t much help until you have an AI fireteam you’d like to protect, and Active Camo isn’t much help early on against synthetics who do not rely completely on visual data for searching and targeting.

As well, the abilities and the environments you are using them within are designed in such a way to ensure that no one augment is too amazing. Jetpack doesn’t do much good indoors, VISR is terrible in the sunlight, Jamming confuses the enemy but also let’s them know you’re nearby, Boost can break into the enemy ranks but then you’re stranded there, etc.

The only times the augmentations are locked off are in zero-g segments, where your whole suit is in an enhanced Jetpack mode (and in that type of gameplay, the other abilities wouldn’t do much good anyway).


Shield and Sword will continue its regularly scheduled programming later this month!

A Fistful of Arrows

Message Index


Shield and Sword - Armor AugmentationsLeviathan 6/1/12 11:40 p.m.
     Re: Shield and Sword - Armor Augmentationsstabbim 6/2/12 12:01 a.m.
           Re: Shield and Sword - Armor AugmentationsLeviathan 6/2/12 1:10 a.m.
     Very cool, Levi. :)The Lionheart 6/2/12 1:01 a.m.
     Re: Shield and Sword - Armor AugmentationsQuirel 6/2/12 1:05 a.m.
     Re: Shield and Sword - Armor AugmentationsVAVA Mk2 6/2/12 1:51 a.m.
     Re: Shield and Sword - Armor AugmentationsZackDark 6/2/12 8:08 a.m.
           Re: Shield and Sword - Armor AugmentationsLeviathan 6/2/12 10:56 a.m.
                 Re: Shield and Sword - Armor AugmentationsGeneral Vagueness 6/2/12 10:01 p.m.
                       Re: Shield and Sword - Armor AugmentationsLeviathan 6/3/12 1:27 a.m.
                             Re: Shield and Sword - Armor AugmentationsGeneral Vagueness 6/3/12 3:16 p.m.
                                   Re: Shield and Sword - Armor AugmentationsLeviathan 6/3/12 4:02 p.m.
                                         Re: Shield and Sword - Armor AugmentationsGeneral Vagueness 6/3/12 7:10 p.m.
                                               Re: Shield and Sword - Armor AugmentationsZackDark 6/3/12 7:12 p.m.
     Awesome. As expected...munky-058 6/2/12 4:31 p.m.

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