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Reach Weaponry

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Now that I have a hang of the game and have had an equal mix of good competitive games and bad ones, I've decided to give some insight on Reach's aresnal, as objectively as possible, and ending it with a subjective message to the whiners. :P

First and foremost, the assault rifle. The AR in this game seems very nerfed at first, but taking a step back, it's a decent weapon. The first thing anyone needs to know about combat in reach is how the shielding system works now. Melee damage and headshot damage no longer bleeds over the depleted shields, meaning that bashes and headshots only go through to the health meter if shields are entirely depleted. This prevents what my friends call the ubiquitous "pudduh-pudduh-SMACK" in Halo 3; causing some shield damage with the assault rifle and following up with a lethal punch. If you're going to even attempt that in Reach, don't get too bash-happy; take your time and wait for your enemy's sheilds to drain entirely before you punch. Outside of melee range, the AR is decent. You can kill a fully shielded enemy without depleting the entire magazine, as long as you lay off the trigger and fire in short, controlled bursts. The plasma repeater is the replacement for the plasma rifle, and in essence is the same thing, just bigger and with a different heat handling. As your heat increases, the rate of fire goes down, and if you want to fire fast again, manually cool it with the reload button. It's also slightly more accurate, to compliment the human assault rifle.

The pistol is back. While it's not AS powerful as its Halo 1 iteration, it's no longer a situational sidearm often ditched in favor of other weapons. Five shots to kill, four to drop shields and then one more to the dome. The key to using the pistol in this game is to not spam it. A little part of me dies when I encounter someone and they start rapid-firing the pistol, and only hitting me with the first shot while I stand there, taking my time, lining up my shots, and emerging the victor. The only time you should pull the trigger in a spammy panic is when your enemy is close to you and they have low or no shields. Long range sniping is discouraged despite the 2x scope, as the shots aren't dead accurate even on the first shot like they were in Halo 1, but nothing stopping you from trying.

The DMR is a great weapon, but requires a bit of practice to get used to. Pace your shots, line them up before pulling the trigger, and don't spam it in a bloodthirsty rush; when the inner circle on the reticle grows larger than the outer one, slow down. Getting headshots with it is much like the pistol in Halo 1: aim slightly above the head and let the aim assistance do the rest. It's not a sure-fire way but it will increase your chances as opposed to shots getting absorbed by the target's back. The needle rifle is the Covenant answer to the DMR, and functions more or less the same; it just has a faster rate of fire, less damage, and when you stick three shots into an unshielded target, they explode in a satisfying pink cloud.

The grenade launcher, found in the showers on Powerhouse (in case you didn't know, it's always there when I look), is definitely something new and fun to use. Pull the trigger, hold it, and release when you want it to explode. It you can aim and judge distance properly, it's the best anti-jetpack weapon around, and unlike your frag and plasma grenades, the reload time prevents it from being spammy and annoying.

The sword has been nerfed, but not entirely castrated. The lunge distance seems to be lessened, and an enemy facing you can parry your slash simply by throwing a melee attack, regardless of weapon. It emphasizes stealth, and compliments the Stalker class; always check your six when you see that jammer going off.

The plasma launcher is a new concept and can either be incredibly cheap or incredibly useless. Aim at a person to get a lock on them, then hold the trigger to charge up. Four balls will fill up around your reticle, indicating how many homing plasma bolts you will fire on releasing the trigger. They will then home in on your target and stick to whatever they touch, and then explode, much like plasma grenades. While it seems like a juggernaut, it's easily avoided by turning a corner shortly after they launch; they'll attempt to track you and just end up uselessly sticking to the wall.

Other than that, there isn't much for me to say about the other weapons I've encountered. The focus rifle, apparently the predecessor to the beam rifle, is more or less a sentinel beam with a scope. Not much has changed about the shotgun; in terms of lore, it's not the same shotgun as the ones in the previous Halos, however it works just the same as it did in Halo 3 but with a little less range. The plasma pistol's only new feature is a lock-on indicator for the homing EMP charge, other than that it's more or less the same deal. The needler's been changed up, but it's just as powerful and situational as it ever was, and still easy to dodge. If you're feeling sadistic, though, needle rifle shots and needler shots compliment each other and if you stick about 5 needles into an unshielded target, you can get a supercombine by finishing them off with a needle rifle shot. Also, the hammer remains mostly unchanged; besides problems arisen on account of network issues, there wasn't much wrong with it.

As for my subjective message, I'd like to address everyone whining about the DMR replacing the battle rifle: suck it up and adapt. You've lost your pseudo-skill weapon in lieu of a weapon that actually requires some skill; gone are days of spamming the trigger and sweeping by the enemy's head to get kills. Learn how to line up a shot BEFORE taking it, and also learn how to not spam and fire conservatively, yet effectively. Keep in mind you are using a new weapon. Treat it as such and stop using it like a BR and comparing it; it's not the same.

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updated May 19th, 2010 at 05:12 AM (No real reason I guess?)

Literature , Reviews


  1. Pooky's Avatar
    Just going to comment on a couple things in your post that bugged me slightly (people actually read blogs?)

    Not much has changed about the shotgun; in terms of lore, it's not the same shotgun as the ones in the previous Halos, however it works just the same as it did in Halo 3 but with a little less range.
    It's been my experience with Reach that the shotgun has significantly more range than it did in Halo 3, coupled with a tighter spread and less damage. At first it seemed like a step up, but really it just seems to make the thing even more lag dependent than it was in Halo 2.

    Also, the hammer remains mostly unchanged; besides problems arisen on account of network issues, there wasn't much wrong with it.
    Going to disagree here, there was plenty wrong with the Hammer in Halo 3, IMO. The thing took fucking AGES to pull out, was extremely huge and obvious on your back, and was basically only useful for camping around corners. The extremely slow running speed of multiplayer characters in Halo 3 meant that catching up to someone with your hammer out was virtually impossible, since most people would just backpedal and spray their Assault Rifle until you fell over.

    In Reach on the other hand, the hammer is now much faster on the draw, and has a higher rate of fire. This makes it more useful as a trump card during a pitched engagement, and means that you have have the ability to rapidly tear through a room full of enemies without stopping. Most importantly however, you can combine the effect of the Hammer with the speed boost of sprint and chase down distant targets quite effectively.