The good part is that Halo: Reach will very soon be available for purchase. Considering it's consistently been one of the most popular videogame franchises around during it's run since 2001, the millions of Halo fans out there have to be pretty excited about an opportunity to dig into a new story that fills out more of the fiction, in this case an all-out war between Spartans and Covenant forces, as well as smack around others online for fun and profit. The fact that it'll soon be out is also the sad part, since this is Bungie's last Halo title before the studio moves into its Activision era to produce some unknown franchise.
I hadn't yet had an opportunity to see close-up any of the campaign from Reach, and having seen one part of a level, it looks like it'll be quite a ride. Since this is supposed to be an epic battle between forces, the sheer scale of the conflict adds a dramatic element to the typical Halo shoot, grenade, melee combat. Racing along in a Warthog equipped with dual rocket pods instead of a chaingun (appropriately titled a rocket hog), you can turn and peer across a vast canyon below the cliffs that stretch out to mountains in the distance. All throughout the air above and beyond the cliff circle fighters hammering away at each other in the sky as explosions silently erupt in the distance. It's quite a scene, and mixed in with the explosions of combat as enemies fire off energy weapons and detonate explosives, makes it seem easy to get wrapped up in the experience.
The goal of this particular section of mission is to help your squad of Spartans disable an anti-air battery. To do so you'll need to shoot through heavy resistance, from the standard grunts to the Revenant vehicles, which Bungie describes as a cross between Wraiths and Ghosts. If you're not all that familiar with Halo it might be a little harder to understand what most of this means since the community is accustomed to the naming conventions, and understands that if you scream 'Scarab!' someone else you're playing with is likely to curse and momentarily panic. Still, even with such a hardcore following, it's always been easy to dive into and enjoy Halo games thanks to tight controls and varied enemy AI that keep encounters interesting.
In this stage, once you reach the anti-air tower and wipe out the enemies that stream forth from it, you can run up and blow the thing to bits. With the skies overhead safe, two utterly massive frigates move into view as a formation of vanguard bombers scream across the sky and light up a number of lumbering scarabs pounding across the valley below. The next part of the mission involves clearing more air space by destroying additional anti-air guns, but that's where the demo cut off.
Large scale fights, exciting gunplay, and a huge scale of conflict seem to be in store for Halo fans when Reach is finally made available next month. With an improved Firefight mode, tweaked multiplayer, and all the other features franchise fanatics would expect, it's hard to imagine many being disappointed with this one. Of course nobody will know for sure until the final game is seen in its entirety.
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