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Halo Reach's huge battles and new guns

Back in 2007, Bungie invited us to finish the fight. But in 2010 it looks like we’re going to be starting it all over again, as we look back to the events that lead to the elimination of the Spartan super soldiers, the destruction of a colonised planet and the galaxy-spanning war that took Master Chief three whole games to finally put an end to. 

Bungie are at pains to let us know that Halo Reach is most definitely not Halo 4, nor is it a reboot for the entire series. Instead it’s a brand new chapter, told from a different perspective, and – like Halo 3: ODST before it – an opportunity to expand on events in the wider Halo mythology with a grittier, more visceral visual style.

Several of the things that have helped make Halo such an instantly recognisable gaming series have been ejected. Blue skies, grassy plains and sun-dappled beaches make way for thunder storms, mountains of mud, and choking clouds of smoke from settlements under siege. Even the famous Halo theme is gone, fearlessly discarded by the dev team in an effort to reinforce that this isn’t the kind of Halo game where pink aliens will run around waving plasma grenades and cracking jokes. 

You play a member of Noble Team, a squad of six comprising one Master Chief-style Spartan II (surprisingly not the main player character) and five lesser Spartan III types. Each has different specialisations, as Spartan IIIs are designed to be most effective in teams, so there’s a sniper, a stealth type, an assault expert and so on.

Although it’s entirely possible that there will be levels devoted to each different character, rather like ODST, there’s an element of customisation that could potentially imbue the lead warrior, known as Lone Wolf, with the characteristics of a different Spartan. Armour abilities replace the one-off equipment of Halo 3, giving persistent, selectable benefits (can we call them perks?) that can be used repeatedly, subject to a cool-down period. One such armour ability lets you sprint at high speed for a short distance; another awards a limited amount of invisibility. Mmm, familiar. 

Stealth appears to have a bigger role to play in Reach than in previous offerings of the Halo franchise, as there’s an option to perform a context-sensitive assassination move if you manage to sneak up behind an enemy. Holding down the melee button rewards you with a third-person view of a brutal execution – a feature which, if the debates at Bungie come out in favour of including it in multiplayer, sounds like it could cause more harsh words to be uttered across Xbox Live than any amount of noob-enraging teabagging in Halo 3.

While the familiar triumvirate of gun, grenade and melee remains in place, the armoury has been streamlined to accentuate the differences between each type of weapon and remove duplicates. For example, the spike grenades that were functionally identical to plasmas have been cut, and the seldom-seen incendiaries have also been deemed surplus to requirements. 

Guns are much more powerful than in previous games, and the human weapons now hit instantaneously – there’s no need to lead a target to compensate for lag. An assault rifle can chew through a pack of enemies at close range, but online campers will be dismayed to find that the sniper rifle has been nerfed by greatly increasing its reload time.

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37 comments

  • Stebsy - April 7, 2010 2:29 p.m.

    your right the wii has already won the console war wich is a complete load of shit but oh well. as for pples questions about the skirmishers they are relatives of the jackels and they arnt mentioned in the other halo games because they were all on reach when it was destroyed. and though it might not revolutionize the fps genre its definitly a step foward in terms of graphics and lighting and the number of AI on screen at once.
  • ryanlongmuir - March 4, 2010 3:17 a.m.

    this is going to be eppic
  • moanaschuster - March 3, 2010 8:31 a.m.

    this game looks awsome, i wish i had an xbox 360, im stuck wit da PS3
  • GrandTheftAuto - March 2, 2010 2:58 p.m.

    @ xboxrulez Give me ONE good reason why Wii doesnt count as a console?
  • Samwell785 - March 2, 2010 10 a.m.

    The POLYGONNNSSSS
  • D0CCON - March 2, 2010 2:58 a.m.

    I'm guessing in early may, all rentable copies of ODST will be sold out, even if they are currently packing store shelves due to lack of interest.
  • Silentcapt2 - March 2, 2010 12:01 a.m.

    The Halo series has left me fairly disappointed before, however this looks like it's going to be worth buying ODST to try out.
  • Samael - March 1, 2010 8:18 p.m.

    @Skykid Haha, sorry no, it's not that simple. Being the Halo story fan that I am, the Skirmishers make little sense. They seem very similar to the Kig-Yar (Jackals), so maybe they're a kind of genetic off-shoot? That would work I suppose. @boondocks50 That's possible I guess...still strange though.
  • mattol58 - March 1, 2010 6:38 p.m.

    @xboxrulez: You take xbox 360 way too far dude.....
  • tienesmota - March 1, 2010 6:05 p.m.

    the faster reloading totally won't eliminate camping, but it'll make snipers actually work for their kills
  • GrandTheftAuto - March 1, 2010 4:42 p.m.

    @ xboxrulez No, it wont revolutionize the gaming industry because it doesnt have anything to revolutonize WITH. It looks good but nah it wont. Oh and fyi the console war is allready won by the shitty wii.. So don't go crazy cus of this you mentally damaged person
  • Visual217 - March 1, 2010 3:59 a.m.

    Looks good, but after Halo 3's huge let down with lag and some other annoying bugs, I told myself never to buy another Halo game, except for Halo Wars, that actually looks good, but ODST just sucks. But Reach makes me think about buying a Halo Game again. But I swear Bungie, if you make this one suck like Halo 3 but made it look badass like in the trailers, you're just making yourself look as if you got monkeys working the devolpment, which I think happened when you released ODST, don't you think? Couldn't even add multiplayer, but include another Halo 3 with it as a desperate attempt. Nuff said
  • Skykid - February 28, 2010 9:56 p.m.

    @mattol58 I feel for you dude. That's going to suck. :(
  • Skykid - February 28, 2010 9:54 p.m.

    @Samel So they added another race to the Covenant, suck it up and deal with it.
  • mattol58 - February 28, 2010 7:52 p.m.

    My gold membership expires just before the beta in May....:,(
  • D0CCON - February 28, 2010 3:57 p.m.

    Halo 1 was great and so was 3, but then I played something else and Halo became very average (be it COD, Battlefield, TF2, or more, the something else was still better than halo). I also completely skipped ODST. Anyways, what I'm trying to say is how impressive Halo Reach is for getting me to be excited about Halo again for the first time in years.
  • boondocks50 - February 28, 2010 2:54 p.m.

    @Samael:the skirmishers could have left the covenent, been killed off, gotten the plague,etc..
  • Makk_Mizzy - February 28, 2010 11:37 a.m.

    I can't wait til September to play this HALO in particular because 40 enemies on one screen is more than enough for to wanna polish my marksman skills!!!! I hope Master Chief make a guest appearance gunning down some alien covenant brains and guts everywhere!!!!
  • n00b - February 28, 2010 3:09 a.m.

    i have never played halo nor has it interested me. however this one seems interesting also is surprising xboxrulez hasten commented yet
  • SausageLozenge - February 28, 2010 2:20 a.m.

    No Halo theme in ODST either, and it had kick ass music.

Showing 1-20 of 37 comments

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