by Mat Ombler
previewed on X360
How is the latest release from Bungie shaping up so far? Bloody fantastic, that's how. Going back to the events that took place before Halo: Combat Evolved, Bungie's newest release sees you fighting to protect the planet Reach from a Covenant attack. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Halo series, you play the part of a super soldier, a Spartan, fighting against the Elites, the Covenant. Instead of being in the shoes of Master Chief, you see your action on Reach through the eyes of a character called Noble 6, and there certainly is plenty of action.
Good made Awesome
There seem to be a lot of questions floating around at the moment regarding this title. What is different about this game, you might be asking. What sets this game apart from the rest of the Halo series, and if I didn't like the original games why should I feel compelled to play this one? Answer; because everything, everything and everything is better.
Reach is a lot different from Halo 3 for a number of reasons. As if being able to take a hail of bullets to the face and drop from 100ft and not feel a thing wasn't enough, you now come fully equipped with armor abilities. This adds a whole new dimension to the multiplayer world of Halo, and considerably changes the way you will play depending on the load-out you have selected. This means that at the beginning of most games, you choose one of four individual load-outs, with each one having a unique armor ability and a predefined choice of weaponry.
The jetpack load-out grants you the chance to defy gravity with a quick tap of Rb, whilst the active camo ability makes you temporarily invisible whilst jamming all nearby radars. For those of you who always complained that you wish there was some kind of sprint button like in Call of Duty, Bungie have now whacked one in there as one of the load-outs, allowing you to lower your weapon and run like a mad man for a couple of seconds. Finally, the "armor lock-down" ability grants the player temporary invulnerability, removing the shields of any nearby players when activated and leaving you completely impervious to any form of damage. These abilities really do change the way you play Halo, and the fact that there are four different abilities mean that there is a lot of variation when it comes to the multiplayer.
Infinity Ward Influence
In general, Bungie seemed to have taken everything that was right about the Halo 3 multiplayer, kept it, and then added a sprinkle of dilute Call of Duty goodness. It goes without saying that this game does feel like Modern Warfare 2 at times, and that's not a bad thing at all. The main complaint with Halo 3 was the speed of your player, which has now been answered, and also the way in which you leveled up. Instead of gaining "skill" by winning consecutive games as seen in Halo 3, Reach now rewards you with experience, with the amount you gain depending on your own personal performance in the game. This is a big relief to a lot of players out there, as even if your team loses, you're still going to be rewarded if you played well, another step up from Halo 3. As well as earning experience, you earn credits to pimp up your armor, meaning the harder and longer you play, the more chance you have of looking like a suave' and handsomely dressed version of the Ironman.