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Halo has come a really long way: in both the gaming realm, and my personal life. I started out as an addicted tourney winning Halo 1 player, became a hardcore Halo 2 player, then completely lost interest by Halo 3. Fast forward to the present: I’m about three days into the Halo: Reach beta, and I have a bunch of thoughts to share with the rest of the internet world: some good, some bad, all interesting.

If you’re one of the poor unfortunate souls that doesn’t own ODST, feel free to jump in for some quick thoughts on what you’re missing.

Both maps available in the beta are well made

Powerhouse, the outdoor map, is very reminiscent of Halo 2′s Zanzibar, and Sanctuary, which I love. Every facet of the map, whether it’s indoor or outdoor, just feels right.

There are plenty of nooks and crannies to slip in and out of, and the rooftops even have some cover if you’re playing with jetpacks, but I’ve found the shield works best here, given that the rocket launcher lays in wait right next to the waterfall.

Sword Base, the second level, feels like a Halo 1 homage, with the source map Prisoner. It’s basically two “bases” separated by a plethora of cool looking translucent walkways, which very clearly lends itself to the jetpack.

I have plenty of memories winning plasma pistol duels on Prisoner, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty more in Sword Base.

Overall I felt like Halo 3′s maps were lacking in comparison to 2, so if these two beta maps are any indication of the new direction Reach is going, I’m excited.

Tribes, rise from your grave!

Reach abandons the wonky item system of Halo 3 in favor of all out classes. One class can sprint, one can use a shield, another can cloak, and the last class has a freaking jetpack. The best part about the pack is that it works similar to the Tribes game series. You can throttle your fuel for a quick firm landing, or a short burst to get over a ledge that’s just out of your reach.

Bungie spent a ton of time fine tuning all the classes, and just about everything feels balanced at this point (although the shield can feel overpowered at times, but time will tell).

The non-slayer playlists are wacky

Thank God the beta is in full swing today, and finally introduced the slayer (deathmatch) playlist. Before this afternoon, testers were required to enter in the “grab-bag” list, meaning you could play a heap of random, nonsensical gametypes like HeadHunter and Stockpile.

Both basically involve finding items and returning them to a base of some sort, and are way too entropic to be enjoyed on a constant basis.

Stay tuned May 7th for the unveiling of the Invasion gametype, if you’re bored already! I’m particularly excited, because in Reach, Elites will actually have unique abilities to counter their special ability from previous games: a giant head that’s easier to snipe.

Back to the basics

Shooting games these days are too perky. Bungie has stated that unlike their main competitor, the Call of Duty series, the ranking system in Halo: Reach will not provide advantages of any kind. Whereas in Modern Warfare, ranking up would mean more abilities and weapons, Reach simply provides you with aesthetically pleasing armor choices. If you ask me, that’s a good thing.

The barrier of entry is severely lowered if everyone is starting out the same, which can only mean good things for the community if Reach takes off as the new competitive shooter in town.

Are you enjoying the beta right now? Feel free to leave your thoughts below!

  1. Thanks for writing this up, Chris. I’m one of those unfortunate souls, only because I couldn’t be arsed shelling out ridiculous cash for an add-on.

    I’ll definitely be picking up Reach on day one, though.

    • Err … don’t those two statements contradict each other, Simon? :P

    • @Matty
      I think he means he didn’t want to drop $60 on ODST (which received mediocre reviews), but he’ll wait for Reach.

    • avatar Carpe Clunes

      It was only $60 for you guys? It was $109 here in Australia (I know the Aussie and US dollars aren’t equal, but US60 and AU109 are not even remotely close).
      I downright couldn’t afford ODST.

  2. avatar Kagebure

    Yeah I felt I wasted some money buying ODST for 60 Dollars. But eh my Halo 3 Disc was Cracked and now I get too play the Beta. hooray!
    Hopefully the servers will be Capable of supporting everyone tomorrow.

    • avatar Salam

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  3. In the short amount of time that I’ve played the beta so far, I’ve really enjoyed it. There are a lot of little tweaks everywhere that I feel make a considerable difference to the overall gameplay.

  4. avatar francisco

    xbox 360 sucks!!!!!!!!
    Get a PS3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • avatar II STUKA RC II

      hell nah so we got more ppl an we got nice game not like yall that try to copy us u dick hand

    • avatar chris

      i got both and the 36o is so much better PS3 has no good games

    • Don’t worry STUKA RC, we PS3 fanboys have no intention to copy you, 360 fanboys, and project an attitude of immaturity and ignorant insults.

      “dick hand”? Really?

    • avatar Anonymous

      Cant you guys just agree that 360 and ps3 are insanely better than Wii and stop fighting?

  5. avatar ii stuka rc ii

    no niqkkas xbox is tha shit ps3 suk ass bitchhh

    • avatar francisco

      shut up! dats y we got blu-ray! and built in wifi.!!!!!!

    • avatar francisco

      we got more new and exclusive games such as god of war 3 dat kicked ur ass. or uncharted 1 and 2

    • avatar chris

      francisco i think ps and xbox fans should relize what really SUCKS the GOD D**N Wii

  6. avatar francisco

    we coming out with 3d, now what????????

    • avatar Anonymous

      its ok you dont understand how bad the ps3 really is its a trashy peice of shit i have one and i like my xbox so much better i went into my backyard and shot it up with my 12 guage because its that bad xbox is the shit so fuck you

    • avatar PS3 SUCKS?

      Dude, don’t say you have more new exclusives, your exclusives are shit, all you have is God of War 3 Uncharted and Metal Gear…everything else the 360 is exclusive to, all new games, that actually are good, come out on the 360, all games that are sequels, and are EXPECTED to be good and profitable come out on 360. And, you brag about your blu-ray? -_-, how many times have you used you retard, and your built in Wi-Fi, congratulations, hard core lag for online gamers XD

  7. I’m 50 50 on the maps really. The Sword Base a bit of a chore to get around if I’m not using the Jet Pack (which is amazing!) but Powerhouse is brilliant!

    I find the Armour Lock ability is a bit useless and the invisible is somewhat redundant since when you aim at them their name appear in nice big letters to warn you of their presence.

    Sprint and Jet Pack however add an entire new dimension to the game. never before have I had to be so cautious of enemies falling from the sky!

    • Armor Lock pretty much makes you invincible to grenades if you throttle it for a second, and if you’re playing a team game, the seven seconds or so of invincibility is enough time for your team to save you.

    • So far each time I’ve used it, all that’s happened is the enemies stand there waiting for it to end then kill me the second I’m vulnerable haha. Reading up on it, it apparently makes plasma grenades and needler rounds become unstuck and is great on vehicles so it may be handy on vehicle heavy maps.

    • DJShep: That sounds exactly like being a Medic in TF2 that’s ubered (invulnerable) with no teammates around. They just block you in and wait for it to run out lol.

  8. I’ve never been a Halo fan. The first game was alright, never played the second, and the third didn’t feel like a current gen game or current gen shooter. But the stuff they’ve done so far with Reach intrigues me. Maybe I’ll give it a rental once it’s released.

  9. avatar Akujinn

    PS3 is a blue-ray player that plays some games ……woopti fukin doo . Ifi wanted a blue ray i would have purchased one ….so its a little clearer than a reg dvd …i say again woopti fukin doo … A game system is just for that GAmes !!! i mean extra features are cool like netfix , zune , and that music app last fm , but most are more concerned about good games . nuff said .

  10. avatar Akujinn

    Armor lock is cool , at least when you are playing team death match and are about to bite it , you can lock and let you buddies mop up the enemy
    or enemies you almost killed .

    • avatar Jack

      Your use of such epihatmc words in your article shows an intense excitement in what you are trying to convey. Keep up the good work! I will most definitely make a link to on my site.

  11. avatar WonderWaffle


    The Slim has build in Wi-fi to, so all we really know without having a WWIII is that PS3 and 360 are way better then the Wii, and that the Wii copys people. Can’t we leave it at that?

  12. avatar WonderWaffle

    I mean the Wii now has Netflix. (Xbox 360/ PS3 had it first). And now the Wii also has built-in wi-fi, and sell it in a black color (Xbox 360 Elite steal) that make no differnce from the real Wii at all.

  13. avatar WonderWaffle

    And I know Xbox has payed “Live” that matches the free internet on the PS3, but in 2011 or sometime even this year the internet wont be free any more.

  14. avatar a mon

    reach is da shit

  15. avatar do you mean halo reach?




  17. avatar Sara

    Very itenresting info !Perfect just what I was looking for! If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today. by Rotarian.

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