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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

  • Skykid - February 26, 2010 10:30 p.m.

    FIRST! Anywho, The news about no more camping makes me very very happy, I hate people who camp in Halo. Its just cheap. Time to get crazy with the sausage.
  • rickrossthaboss - February 26, 2010 11:37 p.m.

    this game is going to be the epitome of a FPS. it's gonna have everything and unfortunately i'm getting too hyped too early. can't wait for it.
  • soccerclownking - February 26, 2010 11:38 p.m.

    looks great, can't wait!
  • R-Ape - February 26, 2010 11:45 p.m.

    hmm the very first picture in the article. i think i seen it in an early illustration by bungie as that bein master chief. who knows
  • lovinmyps3 - February 27, 2010 12:29 a.m.

    I hope the soundtrack is similar to ODST, that was the best part of that game!
  • Cwf2008 - February 27, 2010 2:30 a.m.

    Any iron sights or ADS available?
  • barrage7667 - February 27, 2010 3:06 a.m.

    5 buxks says the xboxrulez will comment on this within 10 houra of me posting this!!
  • Doctalen - February 27, 2010 3:36 a.m.

    I am divided on this. On one hand I promised to not buy any more Halo games after Halo 3. On the other hand, this one looks like it is good. repatcha: septic which <- what?
  • Samael - February 27, 2010 4:22 a.m.

    "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," Ugh, I don't like the sound of this. I've always liked Halo for its color and "fun", for lack of a better word. I also don't like the idea of adding another race to the Covenant at this point. Why were the "Skirmishers" never mentioned/seen after Reach? Making the Sangheili the main foe again was a obvious and great choice though.
  • Migglez - February 27, 2010 4:38 a.m.

    looks real nice its reminding of the open spaces of halo:CE
  • Fizzmonkey - February 27, 2010 6:03 a.m.

    can't wait, probably gonna be one of the best games of the year
  • El_Hombre11 - February 27, 2010 8:42 a.m.

    If I buy this, it's going to be for the campaign. I'm so sick of Halo multiplayer but maybe this game will surprise me. If you ask me, Halo: Combat Evolved was the only one to get it right so far.
  • idlemindkiller - February 27, 2010 1:07 p.m.

    Cant wait. gonna be great!
  • mastersword369 - February 27, 2010 4:23 p.m.

    @Cfw: do you really think there's gonna be ADS in a Halo game?
  • mattol58 - February 27, 2010 7:21 p.m.

    @barrage7667: well what a surprise xboxrulez hasn't commented....yet
  • SausageLozenge - February 27, 2010 8:44 p.m.

    For me most anticipate title. Is it going to be the greatest game that I play this year? Maybe. But it will hands down be the one I play the most. May can not come soon enough.
  • Elit3m0nkey - February 27, 2010 11:22 p.m.

    I am surprised there aren't any "Gaylo" or "Halo sux" comments yet. Not Complaining though. No Halo theme? That sucks. Halo has some the best music in gaming, in my opinion. If it wasn't for the fact SC: Conviction has been delayed soooo many times this would be my most hyped game of the year. Still Fall can't come fast enough
  • SausageLozenge - February 28, 2010 2:20 a.m.

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

Showing 1-20 of 37 comments

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