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Halo: Reach Multiplayer Beta Hands On

Xboxic have taken a little time out to give you the rundown on what to expect from the biggest Xbox LIVE event of the spring, the Halo Reach Multiplayer Beta. Having played all the current available matchmaking modes, this tiny snippet of gameplay experience is enough to make you realise how far advanced the Halo universe has developed since Halo 3.


Menu screen still plays creepy haunting music

Not that you are going to want to bother with all the matchmaking settings upon your first game, because you just want to get your ass in there and shoot something, or use the Jet Packs you’ve heard so much about? It is worth noting though how varied the Social Settings are to suit any gaming individual depending upon how chatty and motivated you feel, or whether you’re up for some teamwork with or without rowdy trash talk! The ability to connect to other gamers by connection quality, language and skill level is also another option, but for the beta, would you really be that fussy - we all just want to have a great time together, right?

On the main matchmaking screen it will detail your own party and show other online friends who are currently playing the game so that you will no longer have to dig through your friends list to send out game invites. You can see who is online and what they’re up too straight on the screen with the new Active Roster features. Following your options, here you can choose from the beta playlist choices of: Arena, Free-For-All & Grab Bag for competitively ranked, Spartan on Spartan or 4-on-4 Slayer/Objective games respectively. When all players are ready to play, you will notice a whole new veto option on the left enabling you to choose a different map and gameplay type where the majority vote will be chosen. Players have more involvement in selecting their favourite gametypes rather than just the old Halo 3 style of pressing Veto and hoping the next randomly selected choice is something you can enjoy.

Pressing Start before a match will enable you to change your Armor and Emblem configurations just as you can in Halo 3, but new Armor upgrades must be earned by obtaining in game credit points. Credit points are awarded at the end of each match based on different game play factors, so in short the better you play, the more credits you obtain per match and you’ll be beefing up your Spartan in no time.


Taken from Stockpile Gameplay

Familiar gametypes include Team Slayer, Oddball and Capture the Flag, but new game mode Stock Pile adds a twist to an old favourite. Within a set time limit, players must collect as many of the available flags within the map as they can and store them in capture points. Flags are only captured when the time limit is up so long as they are resting on your own team’s capture point. All players are free to steal flags from the other team and once the capture time is up, flags are reset, the points are added and time to start the collection process over again.

Another new game mode, HeadHunter is sure to prove popular since it feels and plays like the most competive slayer mode imaginable. With each kill you steal the skull of your enemy, the more kills you obtain, the more skulls you are likely to collect which puts a number above your head. To score you must drop off your collected skulls at a capture point, but if you are killed along the way you lose all your skulls which lay burning on the floor ready for collection by the other players. So the higher the number above your head, the bigger the prize for the enemy on your tracks!


Taken from HeadHunter Gameplay

Long gone are the days of running around a map to find a shield or just shooting at your enemy and hoping for the best, you now have load-out options that change how you play and how others can attack you. You can only choose one Load-out armour ability at a time from the Jet Pack, Armor Locking, Scout Running, and Invincibility options. The Armour Lock disables your movement but for a short time you are invincible to every bullet, grenade, plasma and vehicle damage - nothing can touch you; in an Armor Lock players are wasting their time even trying as you hit a fist to the ground, lighting up a powerful electric blue shield around you. The use of Jet Packs on your Spartan is probably the most anticipated load-out feature of all, and you will not be disappointed. One quick hit of the left-bumper and you’re up and away able to shoot down on those below as you fly through the map. All armor abilities have limited time, so you need to use them sparingly - nothing quite like flying in the air unexpectedly as an enemy is racing towards you with his Plasma-Repeater or Needler Rifle.

Within the beta you will encounter some old familiar weapons that have had a revamp and great new ones never seen before, but for the hardcore fans out there, you may be disappointed by the lack of Battle Rifle which has been replaced with a DMR. The DMR can only be described as a more basic Battle Rifle which fires only one single shot at a time instead of a short burst. On the flipside if you have never been much of a Battle Rifle lover, then the DMR should not be too much of a disappointment.

As this is a beta, only a few maps are playable: Sword Base, Power House, Bone Yard and Overlook which have internal and external elements, great hiding spots and a familiar futuristic Halo feel, but more detailed. Each and every map in the beta has a noticable graphical improvement from Halo 3 with the final retail game looking yet to be even more polished. If you’re hyped about creating some great screenshots and fan made videos you will be pleased to hear that although no forge mode is present in the beta, you do still have the Theatre options with the ability to upload content to your fileshare.


An Xboxic Picked Youtube Favourite

Whilst many are already getting stuck in the beta through Press Codes and Bungie Friends & Family downloads, the Monday public opening for the majority may still seem a long way off for a beta on a massive scale as this. If you have high expectations - they will be exceeded; if you think this is just going to be Halo 3 with minor improvements, then think again! The whole gameplay system from the minute the beta is loaded until your very last in-game death of the day is a more mature, futuristic military experience that you will not want to come to an end on May 19th. Expect pre-orders to soar, because when Bungie stated the beta surpasses the quality of a lot of finished games, they meant it!

The Halo: Reach beta kicks off on May 3rd from the Halo 3: ODST menu and the full game will be released this fall. As a way for even more Halo fans to join the fun, online multiplayer for the Halo: Reach beta, Halo 3: ODST and Halo 3 games will be free for all Xbox LIVE members during the ‘Halo Multiplayer Unlock Weekend’ which runs from May 14th - May 17th.

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2 comments on 'Halo: Reach Multiplayer Beta Hands On'

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Comment by newguy on 2010-04-30 16:21:58 | Reply

you guys don’t have any beta codes to give away do you?

We tried, but they didn’t come through. I wanted to do a giveaway alongside this news item, but MS Press people didn’t issue us with any to giveaway following requests for a handful.

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