Halo beta Reach-es until May 19

Early play test of Bungie's next sci-fi shooter to feature new arena mode and game types, free XBL Avatar hoodie for participants; Xbox Live Silver members able to check it out May 14-17.

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Halo fans have known the Halo: Reach beta's May 3 start date for months, but Microsoft had been less than definitive about how long the first taste of the upcoming Bungie-developer shooter's multiplayer would last. Today the company revealed a few more details about the beta, including its May 19 termination date.

It's nice to know painted skulls on headgear will still be the height of battlefield fashion in the far-flung future.
It's nice to know painted skulls on headgear will still be the height of battlefield fashion in the far-flung future.

For the half-month that gamers have access to the Halo: Reach beta (through the Halo 3: ODST game disc), players will get to test a variety of new play types and features. At launch, the beta will include three different rotations for players to jump into.

While a variety of new and old match types will be covered on the rotations, they will feature the game's new four-on-four team Deathmatch Arena mode. Starting on May 7, Bungie will add a fourth playlist focusing on large-scale Spartan vs. Elite matches and finally introduce the "Generator Defense" match type into the battles on May 14.

For those intimidated by the new modes and features, Microsoft will host a video walk-through for the beta, hosted by actress Aisha Tyler (from FX's Archer). Like the beta itself, that clip will be accessible through the Halo 3: ODST disc.

For most of the beta, access will be limited to Xbox Live Gold subscribers, as is typical for multiplayer gameplay on the Xbox 360. However, Xbox Live Silver members will get a chance to play the Reach beta (as well as Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST) online for free from 9 a.m. PDT on May 14 through 9 a.m. PDT on May 17. Additionally, all players who finish a full game in the Halo: Reach beta will be able to claim free hoodies for their XBL Avatars by going to the Halo Waypoint area of Xbox Live and accessing their career stats.

The full version of Halo: Reach is set for launch this fall. For more on the game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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