The beginning of the beginning of the end!
It is almost hard to believe after all the months of waiting in anticipation for the Halo Reach multiplayer beta, that the beta is all but a distant memory. In my travels the prevailing sentiments over the beta have been mixed. While many of the gamers were impressed with the great new modes and armor abilities, others ere taken back by the lack of polish on the visuals and some of the way the game was playing. Fortunately the issues that most gamers’ had could be chalked up to the beta state of the game. There are still a lot of coats of paint to go on the final product, in fact I recently read on Bungie.net that the blandest of all the maps, Sword Base, is well into receiving its overhaul and will look quite different in the final product.
The main thing that I took away from the beta is that Halo Reach is still Halo, but is Halo ++, Halo on steroids, it had made the game exactly the same yet completely different at the same time. I know that this will come off sounding weird, but long time Halo gamers will understand what I am talking about. When Bungie built the first Halo, they came up with the ultimate console FPS. With each iteration they have always left the core gameplay intact but have kept tweaking the formula. The guns, ‘nades, and melee combination is still there, but now with the inclusion of armor abilities and a host of new weapons the gameplay is more varied than ever!
I could go into a deep analysis of what Halo Reach had to offer as far as modes and the back-end had to offer, but that would take up a serious amount of page real estate. Instead I thought I would highlight and briefly describe my favorite components of the Halo Reach beta:
- Level Up: Persistent character creation and modification has arrived to Halo and much like it has in other shooters. We just had but a taste in the beta.
- Cool New Game Types and Modes: Arena, Invasion, Headhunter, and Stockpile were the highlights of the beta for me. It is nice to have some fresh game modes to add to the already legendary library of Halo game types
- Armour Abilities: Running, flying, sneaking, and shielding are all cool new additions to the game, and your choices effect how you approach each match and situations within each match.
- File Share: While not new to Halo, I really explored this feature in the beta.
Now that the beta is over and Bungie prepares for its recently announced September 14 release date there is still much to be revealed regarding the single player as well as the multiplayer. I believe we have only scratched the surface of what Halo Reach has to offer. I remember looking back post Halo 3’s release and thinking what a complete package that game was. Reach will have the feature set of Halo 3 plus all off the newly announced features, and perhaps we will even see Firefight make it over from ODST. June’s E3 will reveal that much more for us, and I can hardly wait.