When using Active Camo, standing still makes you totally invisible, but as you walk and then run you become more visible.
Post-match, you get a Carnage Report. Here, you see the medals you gained from the match: First Strike, Assassin, Killing Spree, Expert Marksman, whatever. You also see your earned credits (cR) go up, fuelled, hopefully, by a nice Victory Bonus. Credits are the payout and currency for doing cool stuff in Reach. They're used to buy aesthetic customisation: new helmets, shoulder pads and the like. But they're also a metric that informs your Military Rank. Your Military Rank, of course, is tied into experience gain, which channels into your progression up the ranking ladder. As you level up, you'll get access to more customisation elements and in some cases customisation regions, in the Armoury.
The Armoury is only a speck on the landscape that is Halo: Reach's new stuff. Obviously, there's too much to expunge in what's an already gargantuan preview, but here are some more highlights: the beta will include four maps, the aforementioned Powerhouse, Swordbase, and Boneyard, as well as one we didn't get to play, Overlook. It'll include classic game types and four new game types: Invasion, Stockpile, Headhunter (described as a new party game objective offering where the goal is to collect and capture the most skulls), and Generator Defence, which pits three Spartans against three Elites on the Overlook map.
How can we forget the new weapons, like the Designated Marksman Rifle (the re-jigged Battle Rifle), and returning vehicles (you'll have to wait till the release of the finished game to get your hands on new vehicles like the Falcon)? And we haven't even breathed a word on the new social, community, and matchmaking features, player rewards, or the single-player. Phew.
Oh well. We'll have to make do with what we've experienced and what that tells us about the game. In short: Halo: Reach's multiplayer is very Halo. Yes there are jet packs, load outs, new weapons, new game modes and other lovely gubbins, but the experience it offers is familiar, at least in a multiplayer sense. The armour abilities add strategic depth, the new game modes are fresh and exciting, but the skills honed through hours of online Halo 3 play are transferable. The Rocket Launcher feels the same. The floaty jumping, the shield, the teabagging, the Plasma Pistol, the Needler, all feel the same. Halo: Reach is Halo at heart, and, ergo, it's stupendously good fun.
As our two and a half hour hands on with Halo: Reach comes to an end, we can't help but feel a tinge of sadness. Sadness that we didn't nail a mid-air assassination, and sadness that we won't get to play the game again until the release of the beta. This is undoubtedly a good sign, one that for many Halo fans signifies the return of the true king of console FPS. Time to polish that crown...
The Halo: Reach beta will be exclusively available through the Halo 3: ODST menu on May 3. Halo: Reach is due out later this year.