Review | Halo Reach Multiplayer
Reaching new heights
Format: Xbox 360 | Genre: FPS | Publisher: Microsoft | Developer: Bungie | Release date: 14/09/2010 | Price: £44.99
With the singleplayer element reviewed, Greg Giddens dedicates himself to HALO REACH multiplayer.
IT’S A very good sign if, even in defeat, you’re smiling, and Halo Reach’s multiplayer component pulls this off brilliantly. It’s pure arcade fun with a sprinkling of objective based modes to give it structure. As such it’s appealing and accessible to a wide audience and has an unrivalled scope to keep things interesting for years to come.
Almost every conceivable game mode is already awaiting you in Bungie’s exceptional Matchmaking setup. The standard Halo modes return from the deathmatch setup in Slayer to the bomb placing objective setup of Assault, but the ones that truly standout can be found in the new additions. Head Hunter takes the frantic, adrenaline pumping kill-feast and collection dynamic of Oddball and elevates the frenzy by essentially giving everyone a skull to score with. When a player dies, they drop a skull which can be collected and taken to a location shifting score zone. That is the only way to score; kills are a means to an end and nothing more. It’s incredibly fast paced and your heart rate can’t help but match it. Then there’s Invasion, a dynamic objective based mode. One team of Spartans defend whilst a team of Elites attacks. There are three phases to fight through with the first two being for the attacking team to capture control points as a means to grab a power core in the third and final phase. Invasion requires a higher level of teamwork and strategy than the many other modes. As a result it feels significantly different, unique to the Halo setup which is usually more arcade based. It’s a terrific addition that appeals to the more strategically minded player and certainly helps bridge the gap between Halo and other titles such as Modern Warfare 2.
Also returning is Firefight mode from Halo 3 ODST, where you fight with up to three teammates against wave after wave of increasingly difficult enemies. Firefight is exactly the same as the ODST version on the surface bar additional enemies and new maps, however, Halo Reach’s version sees one significant upgrade that makes this mode a great deal more accessible and appealing; Matchmaking has been added. The restrictions of playing with friends online or local are no more, now complete strangers are able to meet up and battle it out cooperatively, and Firefight benefits for it.
The majority of the modes also have multiple variants. Some change the weapon and equipment load-outs whilst others tweak the objectives themselves to offer up a different challenge in a familiar setup. Considering all the variants you’re looking at over two dozen game modes over eight Firefight maps and 13 standard maps, and then there’s Forge.
Make it yourself
The editing suite Forge has been expanded from its original state to offer the budding console game modder an incredible tool for creating their own maps and game modes. It’s overwhelmingly vast with options to edit items and their properties, player and enemies properties, map layouts and weapon, equipment, and vehicle load-outs. In the unlikely event there’s a mode not currently available then the tools are there to aid you in creating it. However, whilst its potential is high its scope makes learning all its intricacies tricky. In a few months time, however, we’re likely to see some interesting things appear from the community.
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