Halo: Reach Beta Review

It’s always sad to see something go before its’ time, and that is exactly what happened for the Halo: Reach beta.  At 10 a.m. on May 20th, 2010 the beta left us, leaving fond memories of shooting, grenading, and brutally murdering opponents from behind (with the new close quarters combat system).  Now with a long wait until its fall release, Reach has left us with high hopes for what’s to come.

Playing the beta almost everyday of its run, I have to give the game two trigger fingers up! Bungie got so many things right on this beta run, and with the promise of using collected data to fix problems, the game itself should be jaw-droppingly amazing.  Bungie has taken what is great about Halo’s online play and made it better by throwing a plethora of new game types at us.  Now, while many will argue these game types add nothing new to the FPS universe, they add immensely to the Halo online universe.  Halo is a great FPS, always has been, and now since they are taking the things that have been missing (and people have had to look for elsewhere), and adding them to the game, it securing Halo’s spot in history has a truly remarkable FPS.

So what’s new/different about the Noble Team Spartans in this game from Halo 3’s Master Chief you may ask?   Well, let’s start with the big thing: classes.  You can pick from guard, stalker, scout, and airborne; each with a different armor ability you can activate when charged.  These armor classes can be easily changed between rounds and provide a fun dynamic to the game.  One down side to them though is some dominate a little more than others.  Take airborne for example.  People are getting so good at feathering the jet-packs they can cover the board easier than any other class.  It wouldn’t be a bad thing if Bungie reduced the fuel on the packs to make them less dominate. Duel wielding is also a thing of the past for these Spartans. Honestly, I was sad to see this gone, but probably had to go since your left bumper activates your armor ability and could no longer reload your second gun.

The game modes, of course, will be a big factor in choosing classes, as there are many modes where different armor abilities can shine.  While the classic game types are still in the game you now also have 3 plot, stockpile, invasion, generator defense (aka network test 1), slayer swat, SvE slayer, and Covy slayer.  Some of these game types even restrict what armor abilities you can use, if any.  All these game modes will have players competing for top spots as gamers will be ranked to play with others comparable to their skill level during the season that have been added to the game.  Periodically the season will end and another will start at which point everyone will be set back to the bottom ranking (newbies expect to get your butt kicked by the pros at this point).

While the game is certainly not perfect, with a pile of things like low hit indicators, too much grenade damage, and game types that need to be tweaked to make them more enjoyable,  Bungie is certainly working hard to make it that way.  This is an example of how a developer should act.  Even after they have severed ties with Microsoft, they aren’t just letting this game fizzle away. In fact unless something goes terribly wrong from here till September, this should be the best Halo title to date by leaps and bounds.  All this new content… and we didn’t even have to pay $15 for it.  That’s how you take care of the people who keep you in business.

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