Invasion has landed this week in Halo Reach, and I’ve had an awful lot of time to become acquainted with it. Put simply, Invasion is a 6v6 gametype that pits Spartans against Elites, in an all out objective based brawl fest. Elites have to press their way into a multi-tiered base, steal the Spartan Power Core, and escape on their getaway dropship. Spartans have a much simpler end-game: stop the Elites at all costs.
Right now only one desert outpost (Boneyard) is playable, and while some people feel like it’s a mixed bag, I’m actually enjoying it quite a bit. So let’s get down to business and check out some of the highlights!
It looks and feels like a real campaign mission
Spartans Vs. Elites isn’t a half assed concept: Bungie actually took the effort to differentiate their alien and human creations. Spartans will start out with their disctinctive human weaponry, and Elites will start off with their out of this world beam weapons (working their way up to a sword class!). Additionally, Elites will have access to greater shielding technology, and an ability to dodge, making up for their lack of class customization.
While playing Invasion, I really felt like I was experiencing an old fashioned Halo 1 mission all over again. Being an Elite wasn’t just an arbitrary “skin”, like it was in Halo 2 and 3: each side felt like their own unique entity.
More content unlocks the more you play: which is both good and bad
Initially, you’ll only start out with a generic scout class, but as the invading team presses on, each side will start to unlock more and more class, weapon, and vehicle options. It’s a pretty neat little mechanic that helps the mission get more exciting as time goes on, but there is one major hangup with this format: no progression translates to less fun.
If the Elites never make it past tier 1, you’re in for a pretty boring, basic equipment filled match. Other than skill based matchmaking, I have no idea how Bungie might solve this problem, so I’m really interested to see what they come up with.
Squad based gameplay makes a mic a must
Going along with what I said earlier in regards to Invasion feeling like a mission, each player is paired up with another member of your faction, and can spawn next to them, Halo Campaign Coop style (so long as they’re not in combat).
Any Halo junkies should be familiar with the concept of quickly ducking out of combat so your buddy can spawn, and the entire ordeal is a lot easier if your mic ready to bark orders. If you choose to go lone wolf, you can still spawn at specified map markers, so don’t worry.
It has the potential to become boring
Rather than allowing the factions to potentially switch objectives (like Generator Defense, which we will also preview), Invasion places the Spartans as the defenders, and the Elites as the aggressors every time. So if you just happened to get matched up into a game as a Spartan five times in a row against a poorly organized Elite squad, you’re going to be doing a lot of sitting around. Luckily, this is a beta, so more likely than not there will be a heap of alternative maps to play around with other than Boneyard.
On the flipside, there is a simplified variation called “Invasion Slayer”, where teams just battle it out to reach 100 kills first. There are “objective” to capture, but they aren’t necessary, and just arm with you with vehicles. I didn’t really find this mode to be all that fun (or much different than 6v6 Slayer), but I know some people will like it.
Is anyone else enjoying Invasion? Or is it too methodical to fit with the generally entropic pace of Halo?