Halo: Reach First Impressions

[UPDATE] Spartans stand tall--on the ground and in space--in this gameplay look at Halo: Reach direct from Microsoft's 2010 E3 press conference and private demo.

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Halo: Reach is without a doubt one of the most anticipated titles for the Xbox 360 in 2010, and Microsoft didn't wait long into its E3 press conference this year to unveil some more details about the game. Bungie creative director Marcus Lehto took to the stage to tout the success of the recent multiplayer beta (more than 2.7 million players) but more importantly showed off a section of the single-player campaign that featured some of the action gamers can expect when the game ships in September this year.

As a recap, Halo: Reach focuses on events that occurred before the first Halo game, specifically on the planet called Reach that has become the last line of defense for humanity from invading Covenant forces. Reach is also where the Spartan program was developed (the same program that made Halo series protagonist Master Chief). The 2010 E3 demo began with some views of outer space, with a slow, lingering shot of the planet Reach. The demo then zoomed above a mountainside, where a Hornet-like dropship was in flight before dropping off four Spartan warriors (including what looked like some of the characters glimpsed in the Reach trailer released late last year).

The game's HUD looked quite stripped back, with a map on the lower left, shields along the top, and weapon and ammo indicators in the top right. The Spartan being played during the demo was sporting an assault rifle and soon had to make use of it as hovering Covenant ships began to eject drop pods with Elite Covenant soldiers. The action was pretty frenetic, and there seemed to be some extra armor abilities in play (the demo tester seemed to sprint at one stage). The Covenant were attacking a human base near the top of the mountain, and the group of four Spartan soldiers had to battle their way up to the installation. At the top, a sizable group of Covenant had taken hold, where quite a few Jackal enemies sporting shields were camped. The Spartan in the demo then pulled out the grenade-launcher-type weapon that was seen in the multiplayer beta--this weapon could explode its projectiles on contact or could be held off until it bounced into a more advantageous position, as the demo showed when the Spartan launched a projectile but waited to detonate until it bounced under the shields of some Jackals.

Once the Spartans were inside the base, we were treated to a close-quarters execution kill, with the main Spartan soldier sneaking up behind an Elite, stabbing it in the back before finishing it with a brutal strike to the neck (all with the camera zoomed out to third-person perspective to view the action). Over the in-game comms, the Spartan soldier was ordered to "get to the Sabre before the Covenant wrecks it." The Sabre turned out to be a multistage rocket, which the Spartans quickly boarded.

The Sabre then launched straight up, eventually breaking the atmosphere of Reach and flying into space. At this stage, the Sabre's booster rockets ejected, leaving a much more maneuverable ship, which then flew directly into a Covenant fleet, lasers firing at every enemy it saw. That's right--space combat looks to be one of the big new additions in this latest Halo offering.

Halo: Reach looked quite good, with an impressive level of graphical detail that looks to surpass previous efforts. We're excited to see more of Halo Reach, and we should have more impressions on this Xbox 360-exclusive soon as part of our extensive E3 2010 coverage.

UPDATE: We got a chance to take a look at an extended version of the space battle sequence in a private demo of the areas we saw during Microsoft's E3 press conference. The first thing we took note of is the HUD surrounding your ship where you see information for machine guns, thruster heat, shields, and hull integrity. After some quick maneuvers (it looks like you can do an immediate loop-the-loop), we saw the Sabre (your ship) engage the incoming Covenant fleet. In addition to the standard weapon, the Sabre also has homing missiles, which you can use by targeting an enemy and locking on to them. The initial barrage of enemy Banshees was then followed by a rather large squad of Seraphs, which appeared to be slightly more difficult to deal with than the Banshees.

After those first waves of enemies, the space station's (the thing you happen to be guarding) defenses come back online, unleashing an impressive array of fire on incoming Covenant forces, but just about as things were turning south for Noble Squad, the demo came to an end. Halo: Reach's space battle looks mighty impressive and the thought of being able to play it cooperatively with four other human players makes it even more enticing.

Discussion

115 comments
Servannus
Servannus

@fulgore182 They also release CoD every year and btw halo used to come out every 3 years until Halo wars

StarlightHunter
StarlightHunter

@sboy1345 Halo Reach does look like the most original Halo game since Halo CE. I see your point, Halo 3 was basicly Halo 2 with better graphics. It looks like they have tried to change the gameplay a little by adding some new mechanics. ODST was basicly Halo 3 with 2 "New" weapons and a visor. We willhave to wait and see.

sboy1345
sboy1345

@StarlightHunter the problem is not the number of games in a franchise, it is the growth or lack of growth of each game in the series. When you look at the Mario franchise, or even Metal Gear Solid, each new game realsed not only umproves from the last, but they also raise the bar for every other game in the genre. There was only one game in the Halo franchise that raised the bar, and that was Halo 1. Companies far to often fall into the Madden syndrome of improving a few things and adding a few new features just so they can push a game out every year. Halo 2 and 3 where great games (ODST is a glorified overprice expansion pack) but has the series really pushed the envelope since the release of Halo 1, compare Halo 1 to Halo 3, putting the graphics aside, how much has the gameplay grown. Fans of the series dont want a repacked Halo 3 with a different title and storyline, we want a revolutionary game that sets a new standard for fps a game that truley deserves the title "Halo"

baklinermr
baklinermr

Wow, looks great, the visuals are amazing! :D

Gundamforce
Gundamforce

Awesome. Especially the space battles part. I almost leaked my pants for just that announcement. September feels so far away. And for those who complain about milking...your double standards never cease to amaze me.

fulgore182
fulgore182

@StarlightHunter doesn't know is that its every year they are releasing a new halo game which is over doing it in its lifespan. yes Mario has a lot, but look how long its been out for.

aahov
aahov

i love halo!

Shishio817
Shishio817

though it doesnt look like anything new, the space combat part is interesting

100proofsoco
100proofsoco

@StarlightHunter If I could give you multiple thumbs up I would

s2i2p2i2o
s2i2p2i2o

I was a fan of the other halo games, but honestly. this just looks like the same thing yet again. and I have grown tired of it.

DarknautXXX
DarknautXXX

Return of the space shooter!!! But when you think about it, space combat seems natural for Halo. It makes me wonder why it hasn't been done yet.

StumBOX
StumBOX

What did people think of the Halo Reach Multiplayer Beta? Thumbs up for like, and thumbs down for dislike.. In my opinion, I think they threw in too much stuff that took it away from what makes Halo multiplayer great! Except I did like the weapons, especially the pistol coming back!

StarlightHunter
StarlightHunter

@fulgore182, Wow over doing it, What planet are you on?, Do you know your gaming history?. This will be the 5th...5TH Halo game, In comparison to Castlevania which has had about 15 games, or Mario which has had about 50 games or, Metal Gear Solid which has had about 10 games, or Metroid which has also had about 10 games, or Pokemon which had a game for each existing colour, or Final Fantasy which had had 13 story games and about 5 Online games, or Sonic which has had the same number of games as Mario, or Resident Evil which has had over 10 games. Yeah they are really over doing Halo all right.......Halo has one of the best story and universes out of any game, I hope they never stop making any because it is such an awsome Sci-Fi game.

StarlightHunter
StarlightHunter

This actually looks pretty damn good, I will be getting it. Everyone loves Halo right..

Vaultboy-101
Vaultboy-101

@fulgore182 if thats really what you think then you need to buy a new set of eyes. It looks awesome and nothing like the others. The space combat is the best new thing so far i think.

Vaultboy-101
Vaultboy-101

Preordering my legendary edition as soon as possible :P

penpusher
penpusher

@masterchief6380 how are they not "staying true" to the book? I'm sorry but are you possibly the only person who didnt know the game isnt just a re-telling of the book? its carrying on where the book left off so that is "following along"

benswinbanks
benswinbanks

Graphically - this updated game engine OWNS ODST, object motion blur ftw

fulgore182
fulgore182

WOW another halo game, they're just over doing it now. Beside it looks the same as the other one, beside the space combat.

ShadeHunter1840
ShadeHunter1840

@masterchief6380 also the spartan 3s were testing tons of different attachments for the new armor, this is why they look "like power rangers mixed with an ODST."

ShadeHunter1840
ShadeHunter1840

@masterchief6380 The book covered relatively small engagements, involving only spartan 2s. This is a planet..plenty of room for other spartans. As for the SPI armor, i read somewhere that these spartan 3s were taken out of the groups from ghosts of onyx and are testing the Mjolnir mark V suits before the production suits are given to the spartans shortly before the attack on reach

jake-lutze
jake-lutze

@Ellanier To be more specific, Elites are stronger, tougher and better than SPARTAN-IIIs. Which star in this game. SPARTAN-IIIs are basically the disposable heroes of Halo, they are stronger than ODSTs, but much weaker than the SPARTAN-IIs, and IIIs are usually sent in in massive waves to simply overpower the covenant, as they are much cheaper than their more powerful counterparts. So IIIs adopt stealth rather than brute force as the way of the IIs.

tmacainsh
tmacainsh

when he is in space all I can think of is Starfox and "Do a Barrel Roll".. other than that my only issue is the "intense battles" didn't seem as intense as I had hoped.. comparing to MW2/BC2.. and yes I know they are different games but I think they are trying to still capture that feeling of intense omg I think I just sh*t myself feeling of pressure.. everything else though, looks awesome :)

xgraderx
xgraderx

Looks excellent,cant wait.

mariomaker26
mariomaker26

im more of a nintendo person, but im buying that new 360 the showed at the press confference just for this game! and fable 3 of course

Ellanier
Ellanier

@memoryitis Sure, but elites are stronger, tougher, and better than spartans. A quick kill would be quite preferable when an elite could go 1v1 a spartan and win

Ellanier
Ellanier

I'm sold. Now all I need is the money.

Red_pimentao
Red_pimentao

Soldiers with similar body armor, tanks, space combat.... this is turning into a Star Wars Battlefront

RaccoonChump
RaccoonChump

That whole 'space combat' stuff...looks pretty cool!

MAXrat320
MAXrat320

cool. but i like master chief

Crayzorder
Crayzorder

We asked for new additions, and they actually listened for once. Space combat looks amazing. Good job! Hopefully it will be as awesome as it looks.

Fps_NeRtAn
Fps_NeRtAn

@ cozmoandwanda and weapon_d00d816 you guys are kinda both wrong... a bullet can do alot more damage than being stabbed or hit or what ever... from a normal human.

masterchief6380
masterchief6380

I wish Bungie would have stayed true to the book "The Fall of Reach", that was such an amazing story (also dont know why bungie approves the books if they arent going to follow along with them). I just hope you at least see some other Spartans since this is planet Reach after all, also hope they at least keep some of the full scale chaos and show the power of the Covenant as expressed in the book. Looks like a fun game, but I hate when bungie just changes things out of no where, for example the Spartans armor...I thought Spartan 3s had SPI? and the Spartan 2s had all the same Mark V armor as seen in Halo CE, so why do these look like power rangers mixed with an ODST?

Speuj
Speuj

Looking cool! Definitely liking the update to the game engine. The space combat's pretty wicked too. Reminds me of that old Unreal Tournament (can't remember which one... 2004 or something) that allowed you to fly around in space, land, then get out on some mothership. @ Memoryitis, that was the first thing I thought, as well. Sure assassination moves are cool and all, but they should watch to keep them within context so they make sense.

Arevalo232002
Arevalo232002

CAmpaign looks great, but we all know Halo is all about the multiplayer. Cant wait

linkinparkrox11
linkinparkrox11

definitely buying this, just hope they don't have lag issues like halo 3

Memoryitis
Memoryitis

I know Bungie needed to add new stuff, but, the part where the spartan jumps on the elites neck come, just doesnt fit the spartan persona. Spartans are suppose to be tough and heavy killing machines that run straight into battle, not ninja assassins.

x-wing20
x-wing20

I'm more excited about space combat than anything else.

RitsukoEX
RitsukoEX

@Cloud_Reaper Okay! so you don't like Halo! just because you hate it dosen't mean everyone else share your view on it! I hate KillZone 2 but orther people loves it! I don't give a crap about them!

weapon_d00d816
weapon_d00d816

@cozmoandwanda: Uuuuh, yeah, it actually does make sense. Energy shields block everything moving at a super fast speed. Knives don't move like 2000 feet/sec sooooo....yeah. Plus, a knife will always do more damage than a bullet, it's a bigger wound.

slayersdeath200
slayersdeath200

Awesome can't wait to get my hands on it. Legendary edition WOOP WOOP

cozmoandwanda
cozmoandwanda

ok so the elite shields can withstand bullets but not a knife??? more anti-logic by bungie. likewise a melee can drop a shield in one hit but a bullet cannot??

Aural_Assault
Aural_Assault

From the video shown at E3... I'm not terribly impressed. It seems just like every other Halo game. Specifically Halo 2. That's not a bad thing for me, as I love all the campaign in all the Halo games. But I just can't see myself paying $60 for it as of right now. I'll just have to wait and see.

Geetarman42
Geetarman42

idk if i like the "star fox adventures" like space gameplay. Im buying for sure either way though

GameFan1983
GameFan1983

I'd probably say "WHAO" if this is halo 3, but...hello it's 2010, do bungie actully look at their competitors? if reach even worth to compete to say the least