Halo Reach Beta Impressions

With Halo Reach, Bungie has created the perfect Halo… and this is only a beta.

Some will criticize, rightly so, that Halo Reach contains few new ideas. What is new to the Halo universe is certainly not new to the shooter genre. Leveling up, earning new armor, selecting classes… does this all sound familiar yet?

Undoubtedly, Bungie saw their lead on home consoles slipping, replaced by a franchise with such a hold on people they suddenly believed $15 was a fair price for a map pack. When falling into second place, you push and fight your way back to the top. That is what Bungie seems to have done here.

Core gameplay, Halo’s somewhat choppier feel and wilder, floatier jumping than the competition, remain. Enhancements and changes come int the form of classes, including the long-awaited jetpacks. Implementation is natural, logical, and game changing. A simple jump, something sniping masters had honed into, are now turned into level-high leaps. Everything becomes inbounds.

If you have trouble adjusting, now Halo (finally) gives players the ability to run, assuming they choose a class that allows it. You could always go into stealth or use an amped up shield when in a jam. Reach makes itself accesible, making class swapping tempting between each kill.

One of Reach’s easily passed over features is the location information. What might have been a “blue room” before becomes “the water room,” because as you scurry around the map, the name of your location is fully revealed. This puts everyone on the same page, weird nicknames for certain rooms no longer needed.

A subtle change occurs in how grenades are thrown. Once a standard frag is tossed, they wobble out of control, giving an additional sense of controlled chaos, something Halo has always excelled at. Reach feels, what’s the word? “Right.” Hopefully the beta clears up whatever exploits cheaters find, and the balance can be finely tuned for the full release.

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