When Bungie released the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta to everyone with Halo: ODST, we jumped at the opportunity and were able to play extensively for the duration of the public beta. My first thought after sinking a few hours into the game was, ďThis is great, itís the biggest change in game play since the Halo went online.Ē If you are worried about the change donít be, Halo: Reach lives up to the high standards of the Halo series and continues the tradition of phenomenal online gameplay.
The beta included only a taste of what we will be getting in the full version of Reach, but there were new levels, guns, game types, and of course the new armor abilities to try out. You can look forward to new game types like invasion and stockpile, plus others that weren't included in the beta. Then there is the really exciting stuff, new guns and the new load out system that provides you with a choice of special powers. First up the guns. The most notable change is removal of the battle rifle and the addition of the DMR. For all intents and purposes the DMR is the battle rifle's replacement, however it is a very different gun and definitely takes a few games to adjust to. Instead of firing bursts, the DMR is a semi-automatic gun and the guys at Bungie have upped the realism by adding a recoil effect. The recoil means that the faster you shoot, the less accurate your shots become. To master this gun you have to find a real balance between speed and accuracy. In addition to the DMR, we have an updated pistol that will take you back to the days of Halo 1, a focus rifle that replaces the Covenant Sniper, and a host of other new weapons for you to cause mayhem with.
Finally we have made it to what everyone really cares about, the armor abilities that you select as part of your load out at the beginning of the game and each time you die. The most publicized of these abilities has to be the jet pack and inevitably in every game you will have people flying above your heading shooting at you from above. The jet pack felt fairly powered while I was playing, it didn't give you a major advantage over your opponents but did provide some strategic benefits. Choice number two is the sprint ability. This is exactly what is sounds like, your player goes into a sprint for a brief period that allows you to move much more quickly than your enemies. You can't shoot while sprinting, however you can currently melee while sprinting making it a deadly power when holding a sword. Camouflage is another of your choices and this allows you to become invisible at the expense of your sound. While invisible you have no sound and at least during the beta neither did anyone else playing on the same TV as you, in addition both you and the enemies you are near will experience a scrambled radar. Last there is armor lock, to me this ability has a lot of potential but is currently under powered and needs a bit of tweaking. This allows you a few moments of invincibility at the expense of all mobility. Plus when you release your armor lock surrounding players will lose their shields. Unfortunately, in its current state this ability is only useful if you are surrounded by a few enemies who can fend off an attack while you go into armor lock to protect yourself. On the whole, with a few minor tweaks needed, I think these armor abilities are a great addition to the game.
So you have new guns, levels, game types, and armor abilities, but that's not all. You also have several other minor changes that will drastically effect your gaming experience. These changes include the ability to fend off a sword attack with a well timed beat down and the fact that when your enemy has any amount of shield left, a beat down will only take them to 0% shield and will not kill them. A headshot also won't do any more damage than a shot to the foot until after you have drained your enemy of all his shields. These may irritate some gamers at first but I think will really appreciate the changes and let's be honest, we still aren't sure what else Bungie will change for the official release.