Why wait? Experience two of the Halo: Reach campaign missions now! [VIDEO]

Earlier this week, I finished Halo: Reach. I met every new character, fought through every new environment, fired every new weapon and piloted every new vehicle. I've seen how the war between humanity and Covenant begins, and I know how the story of the Spartan Noble Team ends.

But I'm not here to boast… I'm here to share. Although our review can't post until Saturday, September 11, the folks at Bungie and Microsoft are allowing us to talk about two of the game's campaign missions now. Even more exciting? We recorded gameplay from both.

Here, then, is a video sneak peek at Nightfall and Tip of the Spear, the fourth and fifth missions in Halo: Reach. Watch our footage , then stick around as I point out some of the more interesting elements from each.

If you remember Halo: Combat Evolved, you will instantly appreciate the fourth level of Halo: Reach. Why? Because the stealthy combat and hushed evening setting are a clear homage to the original's third mission, Truth and Reconciliation. You're creeping across high cliffs, taking advantage of night vision and a 2x zoom sniper rifle to kill Grunts and Jackals before they're even aware you're there.

Nearly a decade and one generation of consoles later, however, the experience has obviously been updated and enhanced. For example, THIS guy shows up:

Reach is not Earth – this is a completely different planet, and the designers at Bungie clearly want gamers to understand that. So you'll occasionally run into exotic wildlife, such as the husked hulk pictured above, or a flock of ostrich-like birds that run by you later.

Also, when you sneak up on an unsuspecting enemy, you don't just bop it on the back of the head... as with the multiplayer, you can hold down the melee button for a fully animated assassination. The chance to feel like more of a Spartan badass will inspire you to search for more strategic ways of approaching a fight. Fortunately, the armor abilities are also in single player:

Rather than choose your armor ability during each respawn like in multiplayer, you equip and swap them the same as weapons. At this point in the mission, I gave up Armor Lock for Active Camo so that I could remove the most powerful enemy in the area before the full battle was underway. You'll notice the screen above shows Hologram – this is an ability that wasn't in the multiplayer beta. Whenever you use it, a copy of your character runs forward to whatever point you indicate on the terrain ahead. Very useful for seeing if someone or something is hiding around a blind corner.

Here's a final difference – forklift! In Halo: Reach, you'll encounter as many pedestrian vehicles as shiny sci-fi ones. They don't really do much besides beep when they're backing up, but if you somehow manage to take out a Wraith with one, think of the story you'll be able to tell your friends.

Next page: Watch video of Halo: Reach's fifth mission, Tip of the Spear

Charlie Barratt
I enjoy sunshine, the company of kittens and turning frowns upside down. I am also a fan of sarcasm. Let's be friends!