Will Halo: Reach be the biggest game of 2010?
Will Halo: Reach be the biggest game of 2010?

Will Halo: Reach be the biggest game of 2010?

If there is any lingering doubt about the sheer magnitude of Halo, it is eradicated in an instant. Here we are, in a plush West End hotel, with Channel 5's The Gadget Show presenter Jason Bradbury as host, to get a hands on preview of a multiplayer beta. A multiplayer beta. If this were any other game you'd think, "whatever". But then this is not any other game. This is Halo.

More specifically, Halo: Reach, the next Halo game from Bungie. And we're hugely excited, not just because we know full well that multiplayer is what's best about Halo, but because Halo's multiplayer is one of the best things about gaming. Despite Modern Warfare's huge popularity, Halo 3's multiplayer, both competitive and cooperative, continues its impressive run near the top of the most played Xbox LIVE games charts. Put simply, Halo's multiplayer is fantastic, and as our trembling hands navigate Reach's menu screen for the first time, we dribble at the prospect that in only a few seconds we'll be playing what will undoubtedly be the best Halo multiplayer experience ever created.

Why? Iteration. With each iteration, Halo's multiplayer gets better. Halo's multiplayer was great; Halo 2's multiplayer was brilliant (and important); Halo 3's multiplayer was masterful, and Halo 3: ODST's multiplayer was, well, pretty much the same, but it had Firefight, making it ever so slightly better. It follows, then, that Halo: Reach's multiplayer will be jaw-droppingly, ball-bustingly awesome.

And so it proves, in a reassuring fashion. Our play test only sees three game modes across three maps, but what fun! We begin with eight-player Oddball on Powerhouse, a new map that supports all available party types. We take the opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the new controls and new mechanics. The big two: grenades and shooty shooty bang bang, are still on the left and right triggers respectively, of course. But the new persistent, re-usable armour abilities are default mapped to LB, and the classic Halo melee, or the new third-person assassinations if you're in the right place, are now default mapped to RB.

At the beginning of a match, and indeed when you die during one, you can select your load out. Load outs only represent the armour ability and weapon set the player chooses to start with in a multiplayer match, so while we at first think of Modern Warfare, the comparison quickly becomes irrelevant; load outs aren’t player created but pre-determined by the gametype, map, and other factors. The load out governs your armor ability, starting weapon, secondary weapon, and grenade cache. That's it. You may wish to start with the Jet Pack (yes, there are jet packs in Halo!), or perhaps Sprint, or, if you're feeling like turtling, Armour Lock. The choice is yours, and it's a strategic one.

Here's how they work: displayed on the bottom left of the screen is a small icon representing the equipped armour ability. Around it is a circle that evaporates as you use the ability. Take the Spartan-only ability Sprint, for example. As you hold down LB, you gain a short burst of speed. Once depleted, there is a short recharge before you can sprint again (true of all armour abilities), thus limiting its use.

The important thing to note is that all five (that we know of) armour abilities are useful. Balance is key, and initially it appears as if the Jet Pack is overpowered because everyone and their dog uses it straight away (mid-air assassinations are a beautiful thing). But soon things settle down, and we experiment with others. Sprint, for example, is hugely useful, because it allows you to race from objective to objective in the blink of an eye. Armour Lock, which allows the player to create a temporary personal invulnerable shield that deflects rockets, Gravity Hammer blows and even vehicles, is also great, particularly when you're defending an objective. Even better, when the armour lock dissipates, it releases an EMP field that disables enemy shield and vehicles nearby. Take that suckers.

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User Comments

Mark_S's Avatar


Oorah! ;-)

Great preview Wes - can't wait to play it now!
Posted 17:54 on 21 April 2010
GeNeCyDe1993's Avatar

GeNeCyDe1993@ Karlius

Cheers Karlius, just ordered it from there before i saw this post, so a TU :D

(would have been a TD if you had posted a cheaper price and i has missed it ;) )
Posted 16:37 on 21 April 2010
SexyJams's Avatar


That's a reasonable price.
I might just not bother with the Beta anyway, I suck at multiplayer.
Posted 16:05 on 21 April 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ GeNeCyDe1993

£14.85 Has been as lower than £8 but as there is a load of hype around the Beta its gone up!
Posted 16:03 on 21 April 2010
SexyJams's Avatar


Wow, incredibly excited about this.
An amazingly in depth and gripping preview Wes.
I don't know whether it was down to the content of the preview, or the way it was written, but I seriously enjoyed reading it the whole way through; well done Wes :)
Posted 15:58 on 21 April 2010
GeNeCyDe1993's Avatar


Ok since i traded it in...Cheapest i can get ODST new anyone? ;)

Good preview Wes, cant wait now.
Posted 15:52 on 21 April 2010
scaz2244's Avatar


sounds really good going to have to re buy ODST now can you buy a pre owned version and still be able to use the reach beta looking forward to may 3rd halo is going to be the new king of multiplayer again wooo:D
Posted 15:08 on 21 April 2010
Wido's Avatar


This sounds good. I need to get ODST before May 3rd :D

Good preview Wes.
Posted 14:47 on 21 April 2010
wyp100's Avatar

wyp100@ IndoorHeroes

You'd think so, but Armour Lock doesn't play in an offensive way. When you use it, you can't do anything else at all, so it's really a last resort thing or, if you've got the reactions of a cat, you can use it to avoid being splattered by vehicles or insta-killed by melee attacks.
Posted 14:46 on 21 April 2010
IndoorHeroes's Avatar


Sounds awesome. The Armour Lock ability also sounds super over powered considering the shield stripping EMP blast it ends on!
Posted 14:39 on 21 April 2010
Get2DaChoppa's Avatar


Yeah really good preview Wezloy. Really looking forward to Reach, Halo 3 multiplayer is probably my most played multiplayer over the last couple of years so hopefully this will improve the experience.
Posted 14:20 on 21 April 2010
Karlius's Avatar


Wow great and very full preview. Love it.

As long as you buy it new K3RT then yes I believe so. Not sure if it had a code with it or a gateway like Crackdown did with Halo 3.
Posted 14:15 on 21 April 2010
K3RT's Avatar


Sounds awesome
If I buy ODST now does that mean I can try the beta on may the 3rd?
Posted 14:12 on 21 April 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 14/09/2010
Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 741 10
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