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EDITORIAL: My Halo Reach Beta Experience

May 6, 2010

The only complaint I have about the Halo Reach Beta has nothing to do with the game itself.

I decided to wait a couple of days until the craze died out to download and play the much anticipated beta. So last night, I fired up my Xbox 360 and began downloading Reach only to discover something troubling. For some reason I couldn’t background the downloader and do anything else, like play Hexic while my download finished. This meant that I stared at a download meter, the digital equivalent of watching paint dry, for a solid hour. I was pretty annoyed, it was late, and I knew that some how I was going to hate the Halo Reach Beta.

I was wrong. When launching the beta, Bungie went out of it’s way to stress that this is an actual beta. You aren’t here to have fun damn it, you are here to help Bungie. Surprisingly it was very stable; I didn’t run in to a single problem or a single issue in which I knew that what I was playing was indeed a beta.

I can safely say that when Halo Reach hits stores in the fall, I will be pretty addicted to the multiplayer component, seeing that a lot has changed. The ranks and medals are more than just for bragging rights; awarding players with credits to buy new armor bits and the like. The matchmaking system, one of my larger gripes in past Halo games, is a vast improvement from its predecessors. Though this is something I think might change once the masses have at Reach, if this system remains just as stable with hundreds of millions instead of millions, it’ll be a much smoother experience.

Gameplay itself is actually quite refreshing. The old Halo system of combat is still very much intact but the addition of different classes with special armor abilities, like a jetpack and a cloaking device, adds a bit of variety to an experience we all have come to love for so long. The weapon redesigns are nice, powerful, and lend to the prequel feel. My favorite of these is the new, semi-automatic Battle Rifle which is pretty damn bad ass. Sniping on the fly has never been so easy.

All in all, the multiplayer experience in the new Halo Reach Beta is a definite improvement on something that has been more or less the same for a while. Bungie’s looks to be going out with a bang, and I anticipate it’s going to be a loud one.

A Gamer Gazette Editorial by Jorge Valens

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