Why Halo: Reach's multiplayer is better than Halo 3's

4) Graphic violence!

Halo's multiplayer has never been as overtly violent as, say, Gears of War. That said… Halo: Reach contains by far the nastiest, "oh shit" kills of any game in the series. Nothing as gruesome as a curb stomp, of course, but still shockingly brutal for a bunch of rainbow-colored Power Ranger lookalikes.

For example, I've now witnessed a Spartan soldier climbing onto another Spartan's back, then snapping his neck with the fluid ease and sickening sound of a chewed chicken bone. I've crept behind a competitor, whipped out a hidden blade, buried the knife deep into the soft flesh between his helmet and chest plate, then walked away as his body dropped lifeless to the floor.

These animations play alongside "assassinations," Halo's term for meleeing someone in the back. In order to execute that extra flair, you must hold down the melee button instead of simply tapping it; during that extra second, you could lose your prey. But when the reward is this satisfying – so much so that I'm praying it will replace teabagging – how can you resist?

5) Spartans and Elites play differently

We all whined about Arbiter as an unwanted second protagonist in Halo 2, but give the alien some credit – playing as him was a surprising new experience. He didn't move, control or feel the same as Master Chief, and why should he? One's a military genetic soldier and the other's an extraterrestrial religious warrior.

Unfortunately, that difference didn't translate into the multiplayer. Other than weirder armor and uglier faces, the Covenant Elite avatars were completely interchangeable with the Human Spartan avatars.

Not anymore. In Halo: Reach, the Elites are physically bigger than the Spartans. Faster, too. Their health (of which they already have more) regenerates automatically, while Spartans must find health packs if they lose too much life. Elites can use "Evade" while Spartans can't. Spartans can use "Sprint" while Elites can't. The differences are clear and have major impacts on gameplay.

6) But the weapons are sort of the same

Okay, this one's only a slight improvement.

The Plasma Launcher, which is capable of propelling up to four heat-seeking, glowing blue, sticky grenades at one target – at once – is definitely unlike anything you've ever fired in a Halo game before. Too bad the only time I found one on the map during six hours of straight play, its ammo had already been depleted. In theory, though? Awesome. The regular Grenade Launcher is pretty neat as well, since you can shoot out a grenade but time the detonation for later by holding onto the trigger button.

But the other guns, while technically new and certainly as different as the weapons between Halo 2 and Halo 3, don't seem new enough. This is Halo: Reach, after all, not Halo 4. Why does the new Covenant Focus Rifle look like the old Spartan Laser with an orange beam instead of red? Why does the new Plasma Repeater have to be a "modified version" (according to the press release) of the old Plasma Rifle, the new Designated Marksman Rifle a "replacement" of the old Battle Rifle and the new Needle Rifle a "combination" of the new Rifle and the old Needler?

I'm sure these changes and upgrades will cause hardcore Halo fans to salivate. Everyone else, however, might be hoping for completely original inventions.


  • mastereper - September 2, 2010 4:27 p.m.

    I'm very curious to see how the new matchmaking works with the social settings and all. But Reach is a definite buy!
  • gamewriter - September 2, 2010 2:04 a.m.

    the invisability trait is a little to cheatable. every player (or 90% of them) will use this gig and we will all have a super lame game.
  • double07 - August 13, 2010 2:19 a.m.

    FUCK YEAH!!! I ain't ever gonna regret that pre-order!
  • GrandTheftSilly - April 29, 2010 2:24 a.m.

    i cant wait till this game comes out
  • Menelin - April 25, 2010 2:08 a.m.

    "Invasion" done on MAG, "Headhunter" done on Geist, "Assassinations" done on Aliens Vs Predator, etc. Don't even get me started on the loadouts. Generator Defense and the unique connection options are the only things I see that are actually original. Yeah, it's fine to borrow ideas from other games, but when your game finally gets a makeover after almost a decade and most of your "new" reinventions are from other games, well...
  • MW3 - April 23, 2010 4:35 a.m.

    Never really caught halo fever. But Reach has me thinking about shelling out 60 bucks to buy it.
  • sheepgododoom - April 23, 2010 1:50 a.m.

    tribes 4?
  • FalC0nPuncH2012 - April 22, 2010 8:13 p.m.

    Glad to see the multiplayer is improving but I hope you can still get your Recon armor from halo 3
  • american101 - April 22, 2010 8:02 p.m.

    Holy master chief! man oh man oh man. i'mma cry to myself once i aquire such a game. Oh... wait a minute...[sniff] do anyone have a tissue?
  • Rowdie - April 22, 2010 1:22 p.m.

    skykid, look I know kids watching looney tunes have screwed with the meaning of nimrod but can we raise the education level? Nimrod is a great hunter, not a bumbling idiot. So when the rabbit called the balled guy a Nimrod it was in reference to him being a hunter.
  • Rowdie - April 22, 2010 1:18 p.m.

    I'm buying all of that except the more complex maps. They may well be more complex but making the leap from more complex to better, why? I don't see more complex as better. Other games have long had more complex maps and they suck.
  • minimaxi - April 22, 2010 12:24 p.m.

    I used to hate Halo for its kiddie M&Ms pew-pew lazors. now I'm super-hyped for Reach. The notoriously juvenile xbox live might hurt my online experience, though but I want to give it a shot nonetheless
  • elpurplemonkey - April 22, 2010 7:54 a.m.

    Geez, this looks like a rather large change from Halo 3. It seems like a Halo-Battlefield hybrid, which in theory sounds spectacular.
  • Corsair89 - April 22, 2010 6:27 a.m.

    Wow, this game just went from, "I don't give a shit" to "MUST HAVE NOW!"
  • goatse345 - April 22, 2010 5:16 a.m.

    @db1331 PC kids are so cute with their dying game lineups.
  • Cwf2008 - April 22, 2010 3:55 a.m.

    I'll admit this peaked my interest. But still i cant shake the feeling that it now sounds like Section 8, which was a crappy clone of Halo 3...
  • JakkedGamer - April 22, 2010 3:18 a.m.

    WOW.... I love playing as an elite, and now they actually have elite only specific abilities. Finally people will respect elites, and their will be more elite players like myself.
  • michaelmcc827 - April 22, 2010 2:38 a.m.

    This looks epic... recaptcha: cookbook governor
  • Nelson340 - April 22, 2010 12:15 a.m.

    @db1331 Says the person with a Nintendo character in their avatar. And when will you morons learn to be neutral gamers? I don't play Halo myself, but still.
  • SausageLozenge - April 21, 2010 11:44 p.m.

    Bungie for the win!

Showing 1-20 of 45 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000