Previews
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Halo: Reach Beta Preview Part Deux

by on 05/17/2010
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If you checked out our article before the beta dropped on the 3rd you could see all of the goodness that the beta offered. Unfortunately we weren’t able to cover Arena,Generator Defense, or Invasion because they were not available yet. Now though after 400 games of awesomeness I have thoroughly tested every nook and cranny of the Reach beta and can say  I expect great things from the full version.

ARENA
The only way to describe this is to say that it’s Bungie’s way of revolutionizing something for all FPS’s of the future.

At the moment Arena is all different versions of slayer where players are pitted against each other but instead of winning and everyone who wins gains experience that levels them up from 1-50 it now rates you on how well you play. So hiding for your team and letting them do all the dirty work while you go 1-4 may not get you to the top ranks.

Every game a player receives a rating like an SAT score so most scores fall around 1300-1850. This is determined by a players kill to death ratio,assists, headshots,medals, and winning of course. At the end you are given a rating for that game you played and right now in the beta it is set up where you have to play 3 games for that day to receive your ‘daily rating’. If you earn enough daily ratings in the season you are put in a division showing where exactly you rank among all Halo players.

As a Bungie employee said in an interview “A player can be like I am in gold division that is like being in AAA baseball, and then you can be like ‘yeah well I’m in onyx, you just met Roger F**king Clemens”.

Then when the season ends it gets placed on your service record and the new season begins but your division and all your stats are viewable so you have a baseball card that players can view and you can look back on for your Halo career.

One of the best parts are that it only takes into account your top 3 games for that day so playing bad in a few and then really cranking it up in 3 can give you a good rating for that day although your stats overall might show that you really aren’t good enough to be in a high division just because you had 3 lucky games.

This new way to do rank in online games is probably the most impressive and innovative than any other FPS or any game for that matter. So I expect Bungie to be making sure that this really impresses and allows more players to play for the long run instead of plateauing at a level 50 and then thinking “I did it! I am done with Halo.”

INVASION
Invasion is objective gameplay pitting Spartans against Elites.

Spartans are trying to protect their bases while the Elites are trying to invade (get it). They invade by opening up doors at control panels for the most part (basically they sit in a highlighted area to make a clock go down). When this happens a new part of the map is opened up and everyone is offered more and diverse loadouts (along with vehicles).

Bungie totes this map around as the biggest they ever created and I assure you its  massive but with all the buildings and paths to take it isn’t like you are just running around an open field trying to play objective. Its a battlefield an all out war with many different ways to approach the match.

The problem is for the beta is that the playlist is 6v6 the only playlist offering more than 4v4 in the entire beta so for some reason Bungie made it where parties of more than two are seperated.

The system seperates players in to pairs making it so you can spawn on your teammate whenever you die (as long as they aren’t fighting or too close to enemies) which is fun when you have a huge team and you can work together with a friend to help your force. But for a huge objective game it is disappointing not to be able to play with 5 of your friends strategizing to murder elites as they try to attack your planet.

It was made like this for the Beta though and expect a full team of you and your buddies taking care of business in full release.

GENERATOR DEFENSE aka NETWORK TEST 1
This gametype only allows 3v3. It is Spartans vs Elites again and the Spartans are once again trying to defend.

One of the most fun gametypes I have played I must say.

The Spartans must defend three generators spread out around the map which they can lock at any time for 30 seconds (you are unable to lock it up again immediately after it opens to make it fair).

As the game starts though weapons drop in airsupport pods around the map causing a mad dash on both sides to get them, lasers,snipers, and rockets can really affect the game so its a big deal.

This game allows for offense and defense though so everyone gets a shot before the game ends. So if you defend 1 out of 3 generators and your team destroys all 3 you are crowned the winner.

The thing is though this is mostly hear to test Bungie’s network code for the retail game. The game is much laggier sometimes,everything feels delayed, and it feels a lot different to play half the time. They are doing this though for campaign mostly. Stressing this will make the campaign 4 player co-op much easier to handle for everyones connections so we can all enjoy it off release without problem.

So even if you hate it all the data you give to Bungie is worth it in the long run. Plus the map is pretty awesome. We are playing a part of a campaign map and it feels like a forest version of High Ground. The Elites start on an up hill trek and the Spartans are up top trying to prepare.

So if you can imagine a game of 6v6 1 flag where its all Spartans and the one team needs to get the flag out of the base it could be an amazing map to play. Add a warthog to the mix and you may have the best objective map Halo has seen in awhile.

That about does it though for our coverage of the Reach beta although we still haven’t seen a couple of new guns,new vehicles, anything from campaign really, and don’t know if Bungie has anything else hidden up their sleeves but the beta is a good indication of how good this game might be.

I personally think that Halo 3 lost a lot of its push because of poor map design and the ranking system didn’t have any staying power so this game could really push Bungie to that golden pedestal it has been on for most of its history.