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!