Halo Reach: Quick Thoughts

So, I've been playing Halo: Reach for about a week now. It's been a blast and tomorrow the much anticipated Invasion play list opens up for general consumption. Until then I though I'd join the hundred thousands of others who've taken to blogging about their Reach experience. While it's doubtful anyone from Bungie will read this (hell, none of the other contributors on OR even own a 36) I can dream, right? Let's just say I can only hope my praise and criticism will reach someone the Bungie forums are a muck with fools.

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[taken by I K I FOR KrAzY]

Bungie has two Reach-centric forums, one for general game conversation and one for beta related commentary. On the first day of the beta the floodgates broke and the forum with besieged with fools. Fools is putting it very, very nicely. More like ignorant fuckwits. Not the kind that teabag you despite the fact that their team is losing terribly. These people bitched and moaned about not being able to get into the game, and when they were, found something to nitpick immediately. I assume the Bungie staff had some thick skin as things have since lightened up a bit. Everyone else, in the meantime, was off enjoying the beta. And boy, what a beta it is. The vast majority of Halo fans will likely find themselves pleased with the game. A little bit about my Halo self, I'm an average player and haven't played Halo 3 online in over a year. I played ODST but not online. Why? Well I don't know anyone who can/is willing to find the time to play with me. :( For me it's all about the team aspect. Probably because every time I go out alone I get my ass owned. So much of my commentary on Reach stems from the hours I've spent in the team based game modes.

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[taken by Ithe GuardiansI]

Let's begin... Holy this, this game is well balanced. As many people already know Reach introduces new armor 'loudouts.' These loadouts give you armor abilities which last a short while, recharge, and drastically change the game play, for the better. As of now there are four basic loadouts which you can swap up between lives depending on the tide of battle. Thus far in the beta you can chose between sporting a jet pack, active camo, the ability to sprint, and armor lock. Lots of people are out there shouting that "_______ is the noob loadout" or "______ is overpowered" or "sprint is completely useless." These folks couldn't be further from the truth. The more I play the more I see how well balanced these features. Throughout a match players are constantly switching up their loadout depending on the tide of battle or how things are working for them personally. Each has it's strengths that can lead to a kill and it's flaws which a smart player can exploit. Sure things here and there could be tweaked but for the most part things are spectacular. While I don't want to go into too much detail on every armor ability the armor lock one allows you to hunker down and make yourself impervious to attacks for 10 seconds or so. When it's done it releases a nice EMP blast which will mess with the shields of those around out. It's easy enough to defeat if you know what you're doing. The only trouble with this ability is that if you've been stuck with a sticky grenade, by activating the ability, you can throw them all off. I, and a lot of other players, feel that if you've been stuck you should stay stuck.

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[taken by Da 24th ItALiAN]

The final release of the game is likely to have varying loadouts featuring different weapon and armor ability combinations. According to Bungie, Invasion will feature staggered loadouts which swap up at different points in the match. I can't wait to see how that shifts things about. One thing a lot of people are adjusting to are the differences in weapon abilities and strengths between Reach and Halo 3. While it's still a beta, and they're all likely to be further refined before release, there are a lot of differences. First and foremost, grenades are super powerful. Some people don't like it, some do, I love it. The new battle rifle isn't as super accurate and as super powerful as it was in Halo 3 so a lot of people have been rather put off by it. I don't find myself picking it up that often. One thing that's nice is that the plasma sword's power has been kept the same, yet somehow, it's a lot easier to parry and counter an attack. Now players have a much better chance of making through an encounter alive.

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[taken by Reaper Pure]

Another nifty new feature are assassinations. Instead of just meleeing someone from behind you can hold the button and take them out in a slightly more insulting manner. A nice little addition. So far I really like the maps. My only complaints are the spawn locations during capture the flag matches. As a flag goes closer to it's destination both team should have shifting spawn points less players often find themselves having to march across the entire map to catch up. Capturing the flag in Sword Base can be rather easy once players figure out how to take the center lift all the way up. The only other way is a long trot around the outside where there's not enough time on the clock for a second attempt. There's not much more annoying than playing with a team who hasn't learned the value of the center lift. I can't wait to see the next evolution of Blood Gulch/Valhalla. Oh, I haven't quite figured out how to take screen shots from my own battles so I figured I'd borrow some from other players. If you think the graphics don't look too great, that's because it's a beta. Those are my simpleton thoughts for now. I have a lot more miscellaneous smaller ones floating around I'll be sure to post when the time is right. In closing, Reach, if anything like the beta, is going to be a fantastic game. Huge props to the Bungie staff for outdoing themselves once again. Hopefully they have the smarts to ignore the surplus of haters out there. And, if you're giving the beta a go, feel free to join up,

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