For most Halo fans, May 3rd was going to be a day filled with glittery dolphins and shiny rainbows because the long awaited Halo: Reach beta was finally going to be released. And what did they get?
Bloody dolphins and broken rainbows.
Why would this happen? Well, mainly because of server issues. Many players were constantly losing connection, along with long playlist download time and laggy games. And that's why I'm waiting until now to post this and not yesterday since servers are up and running smoothly.
So what do I think? Its freakin awesome. Basically, graphics look great, music sounds like how Halo music should, menu system is improved, new weapons are fun and exciting to use, grenades are overpowered, the new ranking system is unique, and controls take a second to get used to. Want to hear more about what I think? Keep reading. If not, don't let the door hit you on the way out...
Starting off from the beginning, the menu system now has an added "Y Button Friend List" feel from Halo 2 to it. While sitting in the lobby you can see what your other friends are doing- provided they are playing the beta. I honestly love the new lobby menu. It is definetly easier to see what others are doing and connect with friends. The Spartan customization is much more in depth than before, which you can use credits earned by playing games to unlock pieces of armor, instead of playing campaign level Z on legendary or earning achievement X.
As of right now, only three playlists are open. One arena (ranked), and two standard (social). The arena, I feel, is gonna be huge. It feels more in depth than ranked matches in Halo 3, since you are scored on how well you play over three games. Right now Arena has only a few Team Slayer variants, which includes my personal favorite- Team Swat. Standard is your social playlist, for those who don't want to be ranked but can still gain credits, which is the new experience points. It includes two game types, Grab Bag and Free for all. Grab Bag consists of the party games- Team Crazy King, 1 Flag CTF, Stockpile, Oddball, etc. My favorite is currently Covy Slayer, since it's the only opportunity to play as the Covenant Elites, and use their totally awesome Evade armor ability. I love me some evade....
Game play is of course where it's at. My transition from Halo 3 to Reach was a little bumpy. New default controls move the reload to X, melee to RB, armor abilities to LB, and grenade switch to B. This can be changed around to be similar to the Halo 3 control scheme using Recon controller configuration. I don't know how many times I have changed my grenade selection instead of beating down someone. Speaking of 'nades, they make me very sad. If one lands right at your feet, you might as well start respawning then. They tear directly through your shields and can take down at least half of your health bar. Very frustrating indeed. Thankfully, I haven't found spamming to be too much of an issue, but I could also be blind. No biggie.
Maps. Two maps are playable right now. I currently have a love/hate relationship with both. Sword Base is fun for dropping in on unsuspecting enemies, hiding around corners with the shotty/sword, or using the Plasma Launcher. However, it can get boring to play on, especially if it's the fifth game in a row. And it looks pretty bland, lacking any special feature about it. Powerhouse is much more open and definetly fun to play on, but playing over and over again makes it monotonous. Thank god more things will be unlocked as time goes by.
Guns. Bang. Boom. Whatever the sound plasma makes when launched. First off, super weapons are super. My favorite is the grenade launcher, but I have yet to gain a complete understanding of how to properly use it. Least favorite? Needler. I can never seem to get the explosion of needles when I need them too, even when they should be exploding. Not that there isn't anything wrong with the gun, I just don't know how to use it.
Out of the new weapons that are currently in the beta, all of them fit right into the flow of the battle and are enjoyable to use. DMRs and Needler Rifles are Team Swat's main weapons. The Plasma Repeater and Plasma Launcher are the Convenant counterpart's to the Assault Rifle and Rocket Launcher. But damn is it fun to use the Plasma Launcher on enemies. Watching your timed plasma bolt shots land on an enemy is so satisfying. And quickly touching upon armor abilities, sprint and jetpack are fun, armor lock and active camo are quite annoying. Especially since active camo jams motion tracker and completely messes everyone up, including yourself and teammates.
That wraps up my initial feelings and thoughts about the launch of the Halo: Reach beta. This of course being my first blog post, I'm asking that if you read please provide constructive criticism. Don't be the selfrighteous a-hole and point out every single flaw in this. I don't want to be like the guy below...