Sup biddies. I dove into the Halo Reach beta for a few hours over the weekend and fumbled my way through the new gametypes, maps, powers, and weapons. I’m here to distill what I’ve learned into a short guide on what to expect when you fire up the beta with an emphasis on what’s changed from Halo 3. One thing to keep in mind is that the auto-aim assist has been turned way down – you’re going to have to earn those headshots now, son.
Protip: If you want to keep the controls similar to Halo 3, switch to the Recon control scheme. Otherwise, be prepared to use RB as your melee attack, X as your reload/weapon pickup, and B as your grenade type changer.
The biggest change is the addition of special armor abilities that you can pick from each time you spawn via a loadout selection menu. Loadout options will change based on the gametype you get in matchmaking. These abilities are not consumable and will recharge if you do not use them for a bit. You can see your ability status on the bottom left corner of your screen via a circular meter around the icon. The default button to use your ability is LB and you can deactivate the power up at any time by pressing LB again to conserve energy.
Spartan(common loadouts listed):
- Sprint – (Scout Loadout) Makes you run faster – you can use it in bursts or all at once. Especially fun if you have the sword or hammer.
- Active Camouflage - (Stalker Loadout) Like the old powerup, it makes you invisible. You will also act like a mobile radar jammer, filling all radar screens around you (including your own) with red dots, so don’t rely on it to find enemies.
- Jetpack – (Airborne Loadout) Makes you fly! Keep in mind, the rules of physics will still apply. If you’re falling like a rock, it’ll take more juice to keep you afloat. Think Tribes more than Duke Nukem.
- Armor Lock – (Guardian Loadout) As long as you hold down LB, you will be invincible and immobile. It also acts like an EMP, draining the shields of anyone next to you. Very useful for defending an area as you basically become an attention grabber, buying valuable time for your teammates to help. (MMO Tank!)
- Evade – (Both Loadouts) As a Covenant Elite, your armor ability makes you do an evasive roll in the direction you are moving. Use it to avoid bad things. On a fully charged meter, you will be able to evade twice before having to recharge. Keep this in mind if you get into a skirmish with someone.
There are two new gametypes currently available, Stockpile and Headhunter.
- Stockpile – You’ll see this in the Grab Bag playlist. Basically there are two bases on the map, indicated by giant colored columns. Neutral flags will spawn randomly across the map. Your goal is to bring and drop those flags into your team’s colored area. BEWARE: the marker colors for the bases on your HUD are not necessarily the colors of the bases. Make sure you are going to the right team’s base! A timer at your base will count down every 60 seconds. When it reaches zero, the game will reset the flags and give each team a point for each flag inside their base. First team to 10 points wins. Remember that you can screw with the other team by removing the flags from their base. Even if the flags are a little outside the cylinder they will not count.
- Headhunter – This one appears in FFA. Each time someone kills someone, a flaming skull will drop. The goal is to collect these skulls and bring them to the designated drop off area. First one to 25 dropped off skulls wins. Or, if you drop off 10 skulls at once, you’ll get a skullamanjaro and win instantly no matter what the score is. You just have to run over a skull to pick it up. If you die, you will drop all of the skulls you were carrying, Sonic The Hedgehog style. The game will put markers on people, indicating the number of skulls they are carrying so you can prioritize your kills. Also, be mindful that the drop off areas will move periodically.
- Covy Team Slayer – Not really a new gametype, it’s just Team Slayer with everyone playing as Covenant.
- DMR – It looks like a Battle Rifle, with the key difference being that it’s single fire action. Use it as you would the BR, aim for the head at medium-long range.
- Needle Rifle – The covenant version of the DMR, it looks kinda like a long Needler. Needles will still explode dudes if you stick them with enough. Same usage scenarios as the DMR.
- Focus Rifle – Think of it like Quake’s Lightning Gun. It’ll fire a constant beam that you’ll have to train on an enemy. Has surprisingly long range and you can zoom in twice. Looks kind of like the Beam Rifle did in Halo 3.
- Plasma Repeater – Unlike the plasma rifle in previous Halos, this one consumes ammo. Think Covenant version of the assault rifle.
- Grenade Launcher – It’s not as easy to use as the rocket launcher is, but just as powerful. If you’re good with it you can bounce it places for the win.
- Plasma Launcher – Use it like you would the Spartan Laser. When you’re ready to fire, hold down the RT to start charging it and paint your targets. Watch your crosshairs – it will fire after 4 dots have lit up at the corners no matter what. When you let go, plasma balls will home and seek your target, even if you die right after they fire.
This should sum up what you need to know before heading into Matchmaking. If you want more detailed info, read Bungie’s Official Beta Guide.
(Updated on 5/3 with stuff I learned playing this more over the weekend.)