Halo. The game that single handedly changed the first-person shooter genre and contributed to Microsoft’s Xbox becoming one of the most popular gaming consoles. A hit phenomena, the Halo franchise has “evolved” from video games to books, movies, action figures, and a fan following of epic proportions. After 9 years and 5 game releases, Bungie is close to completing a new game, Halo: Reach, which serves as a prequel to the series. Set on the fictional planet Reach, a testing facility for new weapons and the birthplace of the Spartan super-soldiers, the game depicts the account of Noble Team (a six man squad of Spartan-IIIs), on the day that the hostile alien alliance known as the Covenant arrives for the sole purpose of exterminating every human on the planet. You play as Noble Six, a last minute addition to Noble, and a “lone wolf”.
The Halo games are know primarily for their multiplayer, and to further produce a perfect product, Bungie has released a multiplayer beta for fans to test Reach’s new features and hunt for bugs and glitches to fix. The beta was accessible exclusively for fans who purchased Halo 3: ODST, and seeing as today is its final day, I decided to do a review and commemorate a job well done and get you guys syked for the game’s release in September.
The Beta was released on May 3, and after two and a half hours (damn internets) I finally downloaded it, launched it, and joined my first game.
The play lists consisted of Arena, Free For All, Grab Bag, Network Test 1 (more commonly known as Generator Defense), and Invasion.
-Grab Bag consists of Slayer and Objective game types designed for a four man team. Same old same old.
-Free For All is pretty much a clone of Lone Wolves from Halo 3. Included is Headhunter (Or Sperm Bank as I like to call it); every kill you get earns you a skull, which you deposit at the various territories across the map. Fantastic to play with a group.
-Generator Defense is a new game type, where a team of Spartans defends three generators against a team of Elites who are trying to destroy them. Didn’t play a lot of this, but the few times I did were certainly enjoyable.
-Invasion is another new game type, again where Spartans are defending against the Elites- this time, the Elites have to unlock a Data Core and carry it to a designated spot on the map. After time passes, new Tiers- loadouts (see below) and weapons- become available for both teams. The slayer version of this game is similar to Big Team Slayer, but with the concept of Tiers integrated into it.
-Arena is Bungie’s answer to excessive competitive multiplayer gamers (try saying that three times fast). It’s hard for me to explain it, but it’s almost like playing in a month-long tournament with global rankings and prizes for winners.
New features include Armor Abilities, all of which are extremely well-balanced-
Scout allows you to Sprint
Guardian allows your suit to Lockdown, and you essentially become untouchable for a few seconds;
Stalker turns your suit invisible, but your HUD displays enemies on everyone’s screen;
Airborne gives you a Jetpack.
Elites can Evade instead of sprinting.
Some awesome new weapons include:
The DMR- Battle Rifle without the three round bursts.
The Grenade Launcher- Hold down left trigger to delay the round’s detonation.
The Needle Cannon- Covenant version on the DMR with Needle rounds that don’t seek.
The Plasma Repeater- Plasma Rifle with a higher rate of fire.
The Plasma Cannon- fires plasma grenades that seek your opponent.
The Pulse Rifle- what would happen if you spliced a Sentinel Beam with a Beam Rifle.
Gameplay changes include:
-the return of the Health Pack. Elites health now regenerates.
-the ability to block swords (which can come in handy, believe me).
-more realistic grenade throwing.
-improved physics engine.
Character Customization allows you to purchase new armor upgrades with points you receive after each match, and some new emblems are available to slap on your shoulders. A greater selection will be available in the full game.
All in all, I was very impressed with what the unfinished product looked like already. The experience I was granted makes me glad to be a part of a tight nit community, and I applaud Bungie in all of their efforts to continuously raise the bar in videogame standards.
And, as to no surprise to those who know me, I have already preordered the Legendary Edition of the game. All $150 of it.