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Once More Unto The βReach

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So a friend shot me a code and I played the Reach beta for a while. No, he has no more, don't bother asking. Since I've come to the realization as of late that I generally suck at the vidya, here's a brief review from the view of one of those terrible casual players that's the cause of the abomination that is Reach (as claimed by the hardcore crowd).

First impression, it feels like a whole new game. I haven't gotten used to all of the new weapons, hell I can't even get to use them half the time on account of me trying to "master" the AR and pistol and not knowing how the maps are laid out. I've used the Focus Rifle once and it's pretty awesome; it's pretty much a toned-down sentinel beam with a scope. That said, something that really, really irks me is the lack of custom games. I'd really like the chance to explore the maps on my own, find everything, and experiment with weapon spread before I jump into a competitive match. In addition, a custom games lobby is about the best way to find glitches and bugs; the only bug I've found through normal play thus far is a known bug with the ammo meters overlapping on the HUD.

Now, onto the armor abilities. As put on paper, they're entirely situational, and not very spammable.

Sprinting has gotten me out of and into tough situations alike, e.g. running out from behind cover to a hallway while under fire, and in another scenario running headlong into someone's pistol. Something potentially annoying, though, is bunny-hopping a bit like in Half-Life 2 Deathmatch. Start a sprint, and if you have enough momentum, jump and let off the left stick, and your power stops draining. When you land, repeat it probably once or twice more until you've run out of power. On that note, if you keep the stick held down while in mid air, your power continues to drain. I dunno what would be a better fix for this; stopping a power drain while in mid air, or simply continuing it until you hit the ground.

The Active Camo requires some practice and is the epitome of "situational". Your camo gets dinged while moving full speed, so people can see you while cloaked and running. It also makes you deaf and deploys a radar jammer around you, which can either help you (gives your teammates some cover on radar) or hurt you (it's an imprecise beacon, "hey look, i'm here somewhere being invisible!", not to mention that you can't tell fake dots from real ones either).

There's a number of people getting annoyed by Armor Lock, and in a sense it is a bit annoying. You can't tell what ability someone has unless it's the jetpack, so you'll find yourself firing on someone and suddenly they break up the flow of everything by going invincible for a second. While in an armor lock, they can freely pan the camera round and follow a target, and then come out of it with a punch or with guns blazing (once the gun is readied). However, this annoyance can very well go two ways. I've seen some players come out of an armor lock and almost immediately get assassinated by a person who wasn't affected by the EMP (my guess is that the EMP release was too weak and didn't go far), and I've been able on a couple occasions to correctly guess when someone would come out of a lock and kill them will a well-timed grenade.

There's a few people I talked to who were afraid that jetpacks would be abused the most and would basically contribute to BR bunnyhopping 2.0. Jetpacks have a slow takeoff, and aren't very maneuverable. Depending on the map (namely Powerhouse), taking to the air can turn you into a clay pigeon if the enemy is attentive. Unless there's cover you can fly up into before your shields run out, or the person shooting at you can't aim for anything, flight as an evasive maneuver doesn't really work.

Despite saying that it feels like a new game at first, some of the gametypes feel just the same as ever, ESPECIALLY any objective gametype in Free For All; a huge luck-based clusterfuck of people converging on the objective(s), where anyone between the person sitting at the objective and the straggler who gets there last most likely is dead from grenade spam. I'd also like to note that Oddball is now yet harder to control the ball in; take everything that the ball does to you in Halo 3 and add in removal of the motion tracker.

So, that's about my first impression of Reach. I need more playtime to pass better judgement on it, but so far to me, team games with a couple friends are still the way to go in, and doing that is more fun than it is in Halo 3.

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updated April 30th, 2010 at 04:35 AM

Tags: beta , halo , halo reach , reach , review
Categories
Literature , Reviews

Comments

  1. Kornman00's Avatar
    I miss LAN parties
  2. Arteen's Avatar
    βReach, heh.