by Jody Mulhern
previewed on X360
More emotional approach (cntd)
Regardless, in Reach, we yet again assume control of an elite super-soldier. Unfortunately, we haven’t been given a name yet, but this much is clear; you are the new addition to Noble Team, a multi-talented squad of Spartans, and for the first time, we get to see the faces behind the destruction. Bungie’s reasons for doing so are quite obvious, as past experience has taught them that it is difficult to relate to a helmet. Motion capture has also been implemented and, as we have seen from the in-engine world premier, facial expressions are much improved from those seen in Halo 3. It has been a while since we have seen a truly involving plot in a shooter, (Bioshock comes to mind) never mind a Halo game. Let’s hope that all changes come autumn.
So far, it has been confirmed that Reach will be another first-person shooter. We can only speculate as to the new gameplay additions and tweaks the developers have implemented to ensure it isn’t just another first-person shooter. As mentioned earlier, Reach will chronicle the missions of Noble Team, which could mean that we are in for a more intense form of squad-based combat. This opens a lot of possibilities, but still leaves me praying I won’t end up babysitting a crew of trigger-happy pirates as they charge headlong to certain death. Perhaps the implementation of Noble Team is intended to create a more believable co-op experience where each of your friends assumes the role of one of the games major characters. Personally, I hope the squad-based gameplay will encourage players to form a healthy relationship with their military comrades. A relationship a lot healthier than the one between Masterchief and Cortana, not to mention a lot less creepy.
Graphically, Halo is looking considerably better this time around; a much darker but prettier universe with more dynamic lighting and effects. In fact, Bungie claims that the performance of Reach will demand up to 80% of the 360’s processing capabilities. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise as the battlefield activity has been bumped up to a maximum of 40 AI characters, or 20 vehicles. Yep, we’re in for a battle on the scale of which we have never seen before in a Halo game. Excited?
To capture the essence of what an alien invasion should really be like, Bungie has vowed to make the Covenant a truly terrifying enemy. As they should be… being monsters and all that. Grunts will be as thirsty for your blood as the Elites, so much for the wisecracking comic relief. It isn’t particularly clear how Bungie plans on doing this, (making them stronger would be a mere sell-out) though I’m guessing… Covenant zombies? Hey! I’m speculating here!
Another triple A
As you have no doubt guessed, details are still pretty scarce, but this much is true; the worst thing about Halo: Reach is the wait. Autumn seems so far away to be waiting for what’s sure to be another triple A title from Bungie, and human hibernation through the summer would be mentally questionable. So, hang in there, and remember this; Halo: Reach isn’t Halo 4, but that doesn’t cloud its potential for being the greatest Halo yet.