After much hype, fanfare and fuss, the Halo: Reach beta has finally arrived.
Bungie's FPS had a few technical problems as everyone jumped on the servers at the same time, bringing proceedings to a grinding halt. Yet the problems have mostly cleared and dedicated fans have been able to get a taste of Halo: Reach.
So now the question is... what do you guys think of it? Do you think Bungie has done a good job of reinventing the Halo formula to keep it fresh or is there a slight whiff of stale FPS in the air? Here are a few of our quick impressions for now:
What We Liked
Pistol - Halo fans have been crying for the return of the Halo 1 pistol since... well, since Halo 1. And despite claims that the pistol is back to being awesome, it's never really matched how it was back in Halo 1. We're now at Halo: Reach and guess what? The pistol is back to being awesome! And this time, it really, really just might be.
Jetpacks - Because they're jetpacks. Everyone loves jetpacks. If we had to expand with a proper reason, then jetpacks add a whole new element to Halo, as you have to account for threats appearing from below or players who can suddenly fly away during battle, dropping grenades from above... it changes the dynamics and makes the maps a lot more interesting.
New Game Modes - It must be hard to come up with new game modes given how many FPS games are out there and how many developers strive to make theirs different. Still, with Team SWAT, Headhunter and Stockpile, Bungie has found three new engaging modes that work well within the Halo universe.
What We Didn't Like
Assassinations - They seemed quite cool when we saw them in the trailer. Yet it just doesn't really work with Halo. The bash on the back of the head was quite satisfying already and replacing it with a canned animation seems like a needless move into Aliens vs Predator territory.
Different Loadouts - One of the appeals of the Halo series is that while Call of Duty and its ilk started placing an emphasis on what weapons you choose before you start fighting, Halo placed everyone on a level footing. Now, choosing the right armour is one such example of what can make a huge difference. It might ultimately add another layer of depth to the FPS but it's a shame to see Halo loses one of its purest traits.
Needler Rifle - Some of the new weapons are quite cool (see Designated Marksman Rifle) but others, such as the strange Needler rifle, seem... pointless. Still, this balances out the return of the Halo 1 pistol, so swings and roundabouts.
What do you like and dislike about the Halo: Reach beta based on what you've played so far? Let us know in the comments section below!