Easily one of the games I am salivating for is Halo:Reach. The game is set to drop in September, and the multiplayer beta will be up and running as of May 3 (use of accumulated sick time anyone?). As the date of the beta moves steadily closer Bungie has begun to roll back the curtain on some of the features and things to expect from the beta. Since everyone and their dog is covering this news, I’m not going to waste your time by covering every bit of it. Instead what I will be doing is covering the details that excite me the most and what i’m looking forward to.
Jetpacks, armor locks, and invisibility oh my!
The armor equipment is one of the top items on the additions list that i’m personally looking forward to. The active camouflage or invisibility will most likely be the first armor ability that I make use of. Anyone who talks to me about video games for more than a few minutes will learn how devoted I am to the sniper fighting style, and this active camo fits into my playbook seamlessly. The jetpack is also an exciting prospect. I have been a longtime Star Wars Battlefronts fan, and the use of jetpacks in that game was a lot of fun and I can see this being the case in Halo:Reach as well. Armor lock interests me for the possible uses it would have in machinima as it causes the player to strike a rather dramatic pose as their whole body is encased in a glowing shell that momentarily makes you invincible. The catch with using it is that you cannot move while using this ability and after it wears off it leaves you vulnerable, so while the use of this skill can yield great rewards you also run a substantial risk while you’re at it.
The most recent bit of information to come out of Bungie was news about the long secretive Invasion game type for Halo:Reach. Invasion operates in a Battlefield style game mode where one side are the defenders, while the other serve as the attackers. The match has three phases that as each unlock more of the battlefield comes into play as well as the addition of vehicles. The sheer insanity that is bound to ensue from this gametype has my teeth itching in anticipation. The use of weapon loadouts, vehicles, and the terrain of the map itself will make this a stand out favorite for larger engagements. The scope of the map this gametype will play on during the beta also looks impressive. The setting is a shipyard where a decommissioned vessel is being scrapped, so the map is a variety of close quarters ship interiors, and a construction zone style exterior.
Does this armor make my butt look fat?
The last feature i’m most excited about is the most useless of them all, armor permutations. In Halo 3 armor permutations were rewarded for various set benchmarks the player would gain access to after completing. In Halo:Reach players receive credits for their performance after every match that acts as a sort of currency allowing the player to purchase various aesthetic upgrades to customize their character. I say this feature is useless so far as to the fact that the armor mods do not affect the players skill base, they are purely cosmetic. I am most excited for this feature because customization has always been a big deal to me in games. If i’m going to spend hours and hours staring at something on my screen I want it to look a certain way. Another interesting part of this feature is that the armor permutations you use for your multiplayer character will also be in your first person campaign making your spartan the same through both experiences. The sense of investment that this will create will make each piece earned a point of pride. For players who decided to drop into Halo 2 for one last time on the 14th of this month, Bungie has promised to give them a piece of visual accoutrement in Halo:Reach for doing so. As I was one of these players I am excited to see what it will be.
I am excited to see all that Bungie has come up with for us in September. From what I’ve seen thus far, it would appear that they’ve taken the classic joy of Halo gameplay and added in new elements to keep people interested in the long run and reward players for all play styles. The latest Bungie ViDoc is posted below, and stay tuned to this blog for future updates and reports about Halo:Reach as I take part in the open beta come May 3rd.