Blasting off to space in Halo: Reach

Bungie showed off two new additions to Halo: Reach during the E3 madness. Firefight is back with new treats and the campaign will offer at least one major new gameplay feature with space combat. Oh yes, Bungie will be sending you off into space to take on the Covenant threat head on.

The demo took place in the level “Long Night of Solace” where we see the Covenant invading the planet Reach in mass. The skyline was filled with various ships as the beaches were getting pelted with drop pods holding Elites. If it wasn’t for the limited time during the demo, I would have asked for the demoer to stand still for a few minutes just to take in the beautiful scene.

Nobel Team needed to make their way through the infested coastline to a nearby UNSC station housing a Saber space craft. Nobel Team and his team of three easily made short work of the Covenant with the use of the new weapons and armor abilities. The AI for the squadmates seemed to be pretty good as they were able to take out Covenant soldiers without the player’s assistance. Competent AI finally? Hope so!

The Spartans eventually reach their objective, strap into the Saber and blast off into space. The Saber looked like it handled along the same line as the Banshee as it’s able to boost, do flips and perform barrel rolls. The ship has a machine turret as its main means of fire, heat seeking missiles and rechargeable shields. The ship also has a life meter of its own and will take damage when shields are down.

For the most part, the Spartans were taking on Seraph Fighters, the Covenant equivalent of the Saber. Sabers and Seraphs dog fights were taking place all over as UNSC space stations were launching volleys of fire against anything in the path of the cannons.

The visuals on the planet Reach are beautiful but it barely compares to just how breathtaking space looks. You need to see space combat in action to truly appreciate it all. Since this wasn’t a hands-on demo, I can’t say how the Saber handles but it’s probably safe to assume it’ll be very similar to a Banshee’s controls. There will be four-player co-op in Reach and each player will take control of a Saber during this section of the game.

All in all, Halo: Reach is looking mighty fine. Can’t wait for this game to be out come this September.

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Hamza Aziz
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