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Halo Reach Preview

News - Xbox 360

Written by Justin Thomas
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I have finally started getting excited about Halo: Reach, the latest entry in Microsoft's flagship franchise. After doing some research, I have to admit it really seems that they put in the necessary effort to make this the best Halo game to date.

Looking at the multiplayer aspect, it seems to have been greatly improved with the inclusion of new weapons and abilities with existing ones. They also decided to add a new element to the gameplay in the form of adding augments to the armor, creating a variety of rechargeable abilities. You can cloak, sprint, use a jet pack, evade incoming attacks or just become an immobile, bulletproof tank of a soldier that can reflect things back at the attacker. If you are the type to sneak around and attack someone in the back with a melee attack, you will now be rewarded with an animation instead of the usual generic smack to the spine. The weapons have really taken a new turn as well. Don’t worry, reader, nothing too drastic has been changed. The battle rifle will no longer have a three round burst. Rather, it is a single shot rifle where you can shoot as fast or slowly as you want. If you want that long-range kill, you are going to have to take it a little slower so the target reticule doesn’t expand too much. But, at closer range you can let the bullets fly. They brought in a grenade launcher, which is strong but needs to be reloaded after every shot, and a focus rifle, which is a sniper rifle that fires a constant beam of energy. These are just a few of the new things done to the weapons in Halo Reach.

Forge has also been improved and, if the player is willing to take the time to toy with it, can create some truly amazing maps. They made Forge into an actual world environment that you can alter. Unlike the old Forge, in which you could only slightly alter the maps, you can now create custom maps with full map altering tools. If you want to make a whole new base and suspend it thirty feet in the air, you can. You can even meld pieces into the map or color coordinate the buildings so that they are obvious for team games. They really want the players to have fun with making levels. If you want to get from one part of forge to the other, you will actually need a Banshee or Pelican to get there.

I have not really had a chance to see much about the new firefight mode that they made, but it seems like they have really improved it for the better. No longer will the game spawn enemies from just a single drop ship or a spawn point in a building, but will utilize multiple points with drop pods, randomized drop ships and spawn points. Also it seems as if the new weapons and abilities are going to make the firefight experience all the more fun.

The campaign takes on a whole new look with the classic feel that seems to be missing from the more recent Halo games. The designers decided that they really needed a “human” feel in the campaign. Instead of playing as Master Chief you play as Lieutenant, a replacement of the dead sixth Spartan from the Noble Squad. Noble Squad is a group of Spartans who have stayed alive by looking out for each other. Its the classic squad where everyone is good at something, from the demolitions expert to the sniper who never seems to miss his mark.

They seemed to have “revamped” the graphics of this game. They actually scratched a lot of the way the game was going to be made and instead redesigned the way they make the world you play in. They are actually working with four times the amount of pixels of Halo 3, which allows for far more intricate character expressions and a more beautiful environment. Aside from just having more pixels to help your gaming experience look nice, they also worked on having an improved AI and a faster smoother running game. It now has the ability to run a combat situation in which four Spartans, ten marines, the player and thirty covenant can be run simultaneously with no problems with lag or AI. I am excited to be able to experience a fun and challenging battle situation with this new AI. I hope it lives up to everything they hope it can do.

All in all, I am really looking forward to the finished product. I will be at the midnight release and playing the game as soon as possible. Once I have played the game in its final form I will be sure to let everyone know if the hype was truly worth it or if they failed to come through and create a great game.

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