9:27 AM 0 comments

Halo Highlight Reel: Reach Beta Post-Mortem

The beginning of the beginning of the end!

Goodnight BetaIt is almost hard to believe after all the months of waiting in anticipation for the Halo Reach multiplayer beta, that the beta is all but a distant memory.  In my travels the prevailing sentiments over the beta have been mixed.  While many of the gamers were impressed with the great new modes and armour abilities, others ere taken back by the lack of polish on the visuals and some of the way the game was playing.  Fortunately the issues that most gamers’ had could be chalked up to the beta state of the game.   There are still a lot of coats of paint to go on the final product, in fact I recently read on Bungie.net that the blandest of all the maps, Sword Base, is well into receiving its overhaul and will look quite different in the final product.

The main thing that I took away from the beta is that Halo Reach is still Halo, but is Halo ++, Halo on steroids, it had made the game exactly the same yet completely different at the same time.  I know that this will come off sounding weird, but long time Halo gamers will understand what I am talking about.  When Bungie built the first Halo, they came up with the ultimate console FPS.  With each iteration they have always left the core gameplay intact but have kept tweaking the formula.  The guns, ‘nades, and melee combination is still there, but now with the inclusion of armour abilities and a host of new weapons the gameplay is more varied than ever!

My Oddball I could go into a deep analysis of what Halo Reach had to offer as far as modes and the back-end had to offer, but that would take up a serious amount of page real estate. Instead I thought I would highlight and briefly describe my favourite components of the Halo Reach beta:

  • Level Up: Persistent character creation and modification has arrived to Halo and much like it has in other shooters.  We just had but a taste in the beta.
  • Cool New Game Types and Modes: Arena, Invasion, Headhunter, and Stockpile were the highlights of the beta for me.  It is nice to have some fresh game modes to add to the already legendary library of Halo game types
  • Armour Abilities: Running, flying, sneaking, and shielding are all cool new additions to the game, and your choices effect how you approach each match and situations within each match.
  • File Share: While not new to Halo, I really explored this feature in the beta.
Halo Reach Invasion Mode: Closing Moments

Now that the beta is over and Bungie prepares for its recently announced September 14 release date there is still much to be revealed regarding the single player as well as the multiplayer.  I believe we have only scratched the surface of what Halo Reach has to offer.  I remember looking back post Halo 3’s release and thinking what a complete package that game was.  Reach will have the feature set of Halo 3 plus all off the newly announced features, and perhaps we will even see Firefight make it over from ODST.  June’s E3 will reveal that much more for us, and I can hardly wait.

-SG

9:53 AM 0 comments

Re-Emerged Into Gears of War 2

It is good to chainsaw together! 

HordeFight

Battle-Tested Gear
Reached level 25 in multiplayer

Gamerscore = 30   Acquired 11/5/2010

I have had a passion for Gears of War since the earliest days of its announcement.  In fact if you dig way back into my personal blog archives you can find some Gears dedicated blogs that I posted, in particular, focusing on the Locust and what they may be like when we finally got our hands on the game.  All the information I had on Gears at that time was taken from interviews with Cliff Bleszinski or from an online scan of Destroyed Beauty, an art book of sorts introducing people to the Gears universe.  I played the life out of the first Gears, playing through the campaign several times and many, many hours of multiplayer as well.

Next we had Gears of War 2, and like Cliff said, it was bigger, badder, and more badass.  The launch of Gears 2 even had me standing out in the cold Saskatchewan winter awaiting its midnight release.  I took to the game straight away, ripping through the campaign, and loving the new Horde mode as well as all the multiplayer improvements, but one day I just stopped playing.  I can’t really pin down why, I think other games just stepped up and I never looked back.  Fortunately for me I have some friends who were dedicated, day in and day out, Gears of War 2 multiplayer players.

CanalsRecently I decide to take up my friends invitation to return for some matchmaking.  It was a rough start.  What skills I may of possessed before had severely atrophied, that and the fact that everyone else had their skills finally tuned making game after game a quick march to death for myself.  So why would I continue taking this punishment?  Usually repeated spankings drive me running for cover in game-land.  What kept me in the game was the lure of the achievements.  I had scanned which achievements I could relatively earn quite easily, there were quite a few just within reach.  So I took my punishment and earned some achievements, but along the way I started to get my Gears legs back again, then I started to run, then I started frag some fools!

So even in the face of the Halo: Reach beta, which I have putting most of my gaming energy into, I have been finding myself wanting to put in some Gears multiplayer each day.  I still have some attainable achievements to earn and I am having some fun in the process. The recent announcement of Gears of War 3 has only driven me closer to Gears.  I expect to be playing a fair amount of Gears 2 before its launch so when the last chapter arrives, I will be ready with Lancer in hand!

Gears of War - Official Site

-SG