Halo Reach preview

Bryan Sheehan ('13)/ Eastside Editorial Assistant and Bryan Sheehan ('13)/ Eastside Editorial Assistant

As the last installment in one of the most well known and widely played video game franchises, Halo Reach is poised to be a swan song of epic proportions. With the first three games setting sales records for the Xbox and Xbox 360, Reach is expected to continue Halo’s dominance in the video game world. Major improvements in the Campaign Mode, Multiplayer Mode and Forge Mode make Reach different from Halo 3, the best selling game of all time on the Xbox, while at the same time building upon the aspects that made Halo 3 so successful.

Campaign Mode

The most radical change in Campaign is that unlike in previous versions, the main character is not the main protagonist and hero of previous Halo games such as Master Chief. Instead, players will be controlling a character named “Noble Six” who is a part of Noble Team, a group fighting a war against The Covenant, a collective of alien races. The Campaign storyline takes place in the year 2552, shortly before the time where the first Halo’s storyline takes place.

The main improvement in Campaign mode is the focus on a more military-like game play. The names of classic Halo weapons have been changed to sound more realistic to a military environment. For example, the Needler has been renamed “T3 GML” and the Magnum is now “M6G”. Also, military-like descriptions of each weapon will be provided if the “back” button is hit while holding the weapon. Other improvements to increase the military realness include more war-type dialogue, civilian militia groups, and fighting off in the distance between armies.

Multiplayer Mode

With new game types, an improved Firefight mode, new weapons, new power-ups and abilities Multiplayer Mode may be the most changed and improved feature of Halo Reach. Headhunter, which players collect skulls for kills, and Stockpile, a variant of Capture the Flag, are some of the new game types added to Multiplayer Mode in the new game. To go along with these game types different “armor abilities” such as sprint, an improved active camo, a jetpack as well as other new weapons such as Plasma and Frag Grenade Launchers and a Needle Rifle.

Matchmaking modes, both social and ranked, have also been improved to better suit different types of players. In social, a player can choose from different preferences when looking for a team such as: “chattiness”, “motivation” (such as good time or competitive), “teamwork” (lone wolf or team oriented), and “tone”. In the new ranked matchmaking called “arena”, players compete in a more hardcore atmosphere to obtain rankings and move up in divisions of play. These will be bronze, silver, gold and steel, comparable to Professional Baseball’s “A, AA, AAA, Majors” system.

Forge Mode

 Forge Mode, in which players get to play the role of map designers, has also seen major changes from its debut version in Halo 3. An added level of precision cuts down on the time it takes to create structures and line up objects, while a new physics system allows objects to be placed in mid air or through other objects.  Forge World, a map designed specifically for Forge Mode, will be five times the size of a normal map with different areas where full levels can be built. These areas include a gulch, an island, an interior space, a small outdoor “pocket” and a piece of land situated on top of a rock overlooking the water.

With vast improvements Halo Reach is slated to be a great end to a great video game series. The release date is set for September 14 but players can pre-order the game now via GameStop.