Earlier this month, those who purchased Halo 3: ODST were treated to early access to the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta. Lindsey and I were lucky enough to participate in the multi-player beta, and came away from it with differing opinions. Briefly, she hates it, and I have mixed feelings about it.
Lindsey’s distaste for the game stems from the incorporation of armor abilities. For those of you unaware of the new armor abilities feature of Halo: Reach, it is essentially a class system. The four armor abilities introduced are Active Camoflage (Invisibility), Armor Lock (Invincibility), Jetpack (Controlled Flight), and Sprint (Increased Speed). All four armor abilities have limited use, and have a recharge rate once expended. On every spawn, the armor ability can be changed. This is where Lindsey’s complaint comes in. She feels that the Armor Ability concept is taken directly from Star Wars: Battlefront, and has no place in a Halo multiplayer game. While Halo 3 multiplayer did have problem areas, none of these problem areas were addressed, and instead, drastic changes were applied to areas that were perfectly functional. Lindsey’s other major complaint was with the new controller mapping. The change in location of a few key functions on the controller felt unnecessary and unimproved.
I both agree and disagree. I agree that Halo 3 multiplayer was fine the way it was. I do not feel that a new multiplayer format needed to be introduced. However, I do feel that the introduction of armor abilities, and the option to change your armor ability each time you respawn, creates a new level of player strategy that did not exist before in Halo’s multiplayer. Strategies must constantly shift in Halo: Reach multiplayer, because the armor abilities provide players with a much larger range of options for completing objectives. A team of players that works well together could take advantage of these armor abilities to create a more cohesive effort. On the issue of the controller mapping, I agree that it feels very strange, and will take time to get used to, but I recognize the fact that the armor abilities had to fit in somewhere, and among all of the controller functions, a new priority list had to be developed.
Unfortunately, with the recent end of the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta, fans no longer have the opportunity to experiment with this latest change to the Halo series. They do not have long to wait, however, as it has been announced that Halo: Reach will be released on September 14, 2010.
-[insert I HATE THE FLOOD here]